Making love in the kitchen
Making love in the kitchen
And from the get-go, to be clear, this is not about the physical act of making love in the kitchen or anywhere else, but the richness missed in life when we do confine making love to the physical act.
When my relationship with my husband started I had romantic imaginings of the togetherness we would be – around the house, out and about, in the garden, just the two of us and with others – and that these daily activities infused with the love and deep care we had for each other would be the foundation for, and extension of, all and every physical interaction.
Life had different plans. We did love and deeply care for one another, but ideals, expectation and individuality got in the way of us surrendering into the richness and potential of our relationship.
I remember talking to him once about my ‘notion’ that we could go to the supermarket together and share everyday life experiences and his response being that that was a waste of time when it was a job one person could do.
This was a moment of many when we denied ourselves and each other the opportunity for greater depths of tender togetherness and intimacy; the realisation that every moment, every day is alive with rich potential for learning, deepening and growing in relationship with ourselves and everyone around us.
And that often it is in the smallest detail that the grandest love is experienced, a moment of stillness, a delicate touch, how profound eye contact can be and that it is not the overt and much applauded gestures of flowers, ‘a-deux’ dinners and romantic getaways that constitute true love. In fact, without love these can often be empty if not devastating experiences because we feel the lack and falsehood in them when not built on a foundation of true relationship.
And so my husband and I carried on. On the face of it a fresh couple, looking good, playing the part, when in truth we were being played to not go to a depth of intimacy; not set the foundation for a steady, strong, enriching relationship and incrementally we got used to this status quo, the daily rhythms of life slipping into mundanity.
Many grand opportunities missed and when things finally greyed themselves to disparaging disconnection we were apparently too far down the line for any recovery.
No great scene of animosity, but plenty of unresolved disappointment; built protection against incremental undermining; cemented as our own and each other’s worst enemies.
And it was done...
We have moved on, many years divorced and for mostly practical, parenting responsibility reasons we have kept in touch, maintaining basic respect.
And over the years something very beautiful has happened. Something that flies in the face of social statistical norms in which the accepted set up is that a couple divorced will be forever bitter, resentful, regretful and sore with each other and the situation; that they are justified and supported in so being by drama perpetuation that is grossly exacerbated by the media. The filth of juicy gossip hitting many targets.
The lack of tenderness, transparency, honesty and care in our marriage achieved its ‘fail’ target. And the trajectory could have continued into lifelong ‘failure’ in divorce. But that has not been the case. My ex-husband is remarried and living overseas and when we talk or see each other, the fundamental respect has deepened to tenderness and a grander love than we ever dared when we were together. My sense is that this has happened because, away from the demand for false intimacy, we have surrendered into the learning on offer and the responsibility of keeping our relationship on track for everyone affected.
At times it is almost confusing to love my ex-husband as I do today because it is so contra the pictures much publicised of what commonly happens. Bitterness, animosity, resentment and ongoing combat are not only expected but become the focus of much salacious tongue wagging and schadenfreude, feeding the notions (lies) that life, relationships and marriage are a struggle.
What is it that we fear in our relationships and around intimacy? Too many knocks that have us hardened to the innate tenderness we feel inside and the natural affinity we have with others? Too many practised reactions in protection from perceived threat? Too many patterns of behaviour from previous experience, that block us from arriving fresh and open in all of our everyday interactions?
The magic is that whatever it looks like on the surface – together, separated, divorced – the opportunities in relationships are ever there for the maximising and we are always either making love or not, every moment and every where, including the kitchen.