Yesterday I tackled a question that is hurtful and makes me angry. So today I want to flip perspectives and answer the question I LOVE to be asked! My hubby and I have been married for over 12 years. We are still very much in love, are often told we still act like newlyweds, and we have a great sex life as well. The one I often hear when people hear about my background is, "That is unheard of to have a relationship with the depth and longevity of yours. And how on earth do you have a good physically intimate relationship with all that you have been through?"
I love this question because it gives me the opportunity to say the things hubby would never say about himself. I get the opportunity to tell people what makes him so amazing! When we were newly dating/engaged I heard the kindest words I have ever heard in my life and they came from that man. He looked me in the eye and said, "I love you and respect you too much to tell you I can't wait for you." And then he did it, wait that is. I know I made the wait hell on him because I tried often to entice him. And yet he waited for me. I was Mrs. Hubby before we had sex. Now that is big in any relationship these days but considering we had both experienced sex before and I was still believing that my value was based in my sexual self, this was HUGE!
As newlyweds, hubby did something absolutely unheard of, something that helped me to understand that my value was not based in sex. When he saw me mentally checking out, going to my happy safe spot in my mind, he would stop no matter what level of physicality we were in. He would stop, look me in the eyes and tell me, "You're mind isn't here. If I can't have all of you then I don't want any of you. I am not going to be another man who takes from you." He stopped us in the middle of hot and heavy making out and he even a couple of times stopped in the middle of the deed simply to know that when we were together, I was completely with him. Now, honestly, what kind of man can stop in the middle of sex because he knows you are mentally and emotionally checked out?!?!?
When I had nightmares and woke up screaming, he held me close. He protected me, and not just physically. Having been in a previous abusive relationship, I would panic anytime hubby would get frustrated. I was just waiting for the trigger that would push him far enough that frustrated became angry and angry became abusive. It never happened. He showed me that he could be frustrated and I didn't have to cower.
He allowed me the freedom to tend to my wounds. We actually jokingly refer to our newlywed years as the sexually anorexic years. He made it safe for me to be a woman. He made me not fear being hit. He made me not fear my own femininity and its power. He made it safe to be more than sexy but to be beautiful. My value never came from my bedroom performance. This was a difficult thing to adjust to. I tried to find my worth there, but he wouldn't let me keep looking there.
As the years have passed, I have learned that sex actually is enjoyable and not dirty. He gave me such a gift in allowing me to be in control of my own body that I learned to trust him and to want to enjoy his physical attentions. We have a strong and healthy sex life, much more than in our newlywed years! He still knows when I need to be safe. A couple of months ago something happened that rocked me. I had the ability to tell him that I just needed my body to be mine for a little while. His response was, "Just let me know when you are ready." He held me but didn't get sexual in his touch until I gave the go ahead. Because I know this about my husband, the time of needing my body to be mine alone, was rather short. It was amazing though to know that he wasn't rushing me or annoyed with me. I am certain that his allowing me to be safe for the last 12 years is why when I need to feel safe now, it is a short lived break.
The single kindest thing ever done for me was my husband refusing to be one more guy who took from me. Not only did he not take from me, he gave so much to me!