I've been debating for a while about taking down this blog. I thought I no longer had anything to offer here. I was wrong.
I started DD with stars in my eyes. I saw all these happy couples who seemed to have it all figured out. They made their relationship a priority. They truly communicated. They were happy. Yes, there was an occasional meeting face down across a knee, but once it was over, all was forgiven and they continued on their merry way.
I wanted that.
I wasn't foolish enough to think that would be us from day 1. Sure there are some who seem to slide seamlessly into DD, but in those cases, I think the tendencies towards leadership and submission were already there. DD just put a structure around it.
We stumbled around a bit at first, mainly because we hadn't yet learned to communicate. Once we figured that out, things seemed to flow a little easier. We still hit an occasional bump, but we talked them through and got through them together. We hadn't quite reached the level of those couples I envied, but we were getting there.
Then we hit some major roadblocks. My sister and her kids moved in with us. Steve felt that it was too hard to maintain things with others in the house so he took DD off the table until they were gone. I didn't agree with that decision, but I accepted it. About the time they finally moved out, I found out I was pregnant so he was leery of bringing it back right then.
Then everything happened last year and Steve was so afraid of hurting me or making things worse that he would barely touch me. It drove me crazy. It felt like my life was spinning out of control and I craved the structure of DD. I also wanted to feel normal again and it's hard to do that when everyone treats you like you're made of glass.
Over the last few months, we've started to bring DD back. In some ways, it's like we're starting over from the very beginning. We have an advantage this time around because now we know how to communicate, but we're still stumbling a bit while we find our footing.
That is why I've decided to keep this blog going. While I admire those couples who seem to have it figured out, I suspect Steve and I aren't the only ones still stumbling around. I want those couples to see that they're not the only ones. I don't want them to give up hope because they haven't reached their goal in the time frame they envisioned.
I want newbies to see that it's okay if you don't get it right away or you have setbacks that lead to a do-over. I want them to realize that it's a journey and that any movement, even backtracking to figure out where you went wrong, is still progress.
I want the couples considering DD to see that it's not a magic pill that fixes everything as soon as you decide to incorporate it into your relationship. I want them to see that you have to be willing to commit and work hard together to make it work.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Five years ago, I hit send on an email to Steve. It wasn't easy. It had taken me a year to decide whether or not to bring up the idea, another week to actually write it, and then several beers to work up the courage to send it.
I knew that email was going to be a turning point. What happened next would be determined by Steve's reaction. Either he would think I was nuts and ignore the email, in which case I'd have to decide whether or not I was willing to continue in our marriage the way it was. Or he would see the email for what it truly was, a desperate cry for help in fixing things, and be willing to join me in trying to fix things, with or without my unusual solution for doing so.
I couldn't bring myself to stay in the room while he read it. To be honest, I ran off and hid in the shower in the master bath. I stayed in there long after I was clean, the hot water had ran out, and I had heard our bedroom door open. I thought it took a lot of courage to send that email, but it was nothing compared to what it took to walk out of that bathroom to see Steve's reaction to it.
Thankfully, he didn't think I was nuts and was willing to give it a try if it meant fixing our marriage. Five years later, we're still going. A lot has happened over these past five years. Some things have had us jumping in joy. Others have broken our hearts. But we've weathered it, both good and bad, together.
DD owes a lot of credit for that. While it seemed like a crazy idea at the time, it's worked for us. We learned how to talk to each other and listen. We started making time for each other and showing appreciation for the little things. We began to identify behaviors that were destructive to our relationship and take steps to get away from them.
It didn't change things overnight. It took time. Sometimes we'd stumble and we'd need a little help from each other, sometimes you guys as well, to find our way back. There were times when we had things in such a mess that we had to backtrack to figure out exactly where we went wrong so we could fix it. Occasionally, I'd veer off and blaze my own trail (not necessarily a good one), but Steve always came to find me. It wasn't always easy, but we stayed committed to it, and more importantly we stayed committed to each other and improving our marriage.
It's been a heck of a journey so far, but from where I'm standing, I think we can call it a successful one. I can't wait to see what the next five years brings.