couple hand in hand walking into the sunset

With domestic harmony and inner peace.

Written by Susan Jarvis

Lately, my life has been like living inside a whirlwind of overwhelm. I have been pinched and pulled in all directions!  My mind ticks constantly and every waking moment is devoted to problem-solving. No wonder I feel wired and switched on most of my day.  As you can guess, I’ve not had any energy or motivation for bedroom folk dancing.  Come to think of it, no motivation for vacuuming either. I don’t have inner peace, I have an inner riot.

I was thinking about life in general and had an epiphany and it provided an opportunity for some soul searching and a bit of an emotional, quasi-spiritual, relationship reset.  The epiphany occurred when I looked at my gorgeous partner and couldn’t remember the last time we had been intimate. As it turned out, neither could he, so we chatted about it like two reasonable and mature adults who care about each other’s wellbeing. What we discovered was that both of us had succumbed to the sh*tstorm that is sometimes life. We were two whirlwinds rotating in opposite directions! We both needed to find some inner peace and bring our lives, and emotions, into harmony with each other so that we could dance the wild tango again. We weren’t ready to hang up our dancing shoes, that’s for sure.

Speaking from the heart is important!

I think half the battle in any relationship is to recognise the problems that are occurring with all honesty and then take the necessary actions to resolve them without hurting feelings and bruising egos. Speaking from the heart comes with risk but also immense reward. BUT…where do you start without making someone feel that you’ve put a dagger in their heart?

We wanted to avoid a conversation that might escalate into a tit-for-tat melodrama so we started with making a list of all the crap in our lives that required attention. Some of it was outside of our direct control such as issues at work however the ones at home were within our reach. Neither of us realised that our domestic harmony had become slightly fractured and that one of us felt that they were carrying the domestic load more than the other. Not just who cooked most nights or did the cleaning, but an unequal division of the emotional labour required to manage a household, and that’s just as heavy as vacuuming! 

We certainly unpacked a lot of sore points between us (and yes, there were tears) however we made a pact not to let that come between us as a couple nor as the individuals that we are. We recognised that our relationship needs regular maintenance and we both need to work on self-preservation of our identities and individuality so that we feel valued. That's when I burst out laughing with the question: "Does self-preservation mean I have to make Susan Jam?"

That really tickled my funny bone and gave us a good chuckle and set the mood for both of us spend time thinking about we needed in our lives to stay sane and stay together.

Recipe for self-care

We recognised and owned up to the knowledge that we both need time alone just as much as we need time together. For my partner, this meant arranging a regular catch up with friends from his Defence days and getting back to spending time with his favourite lens chasing light and landscapes.

For me, I like to retreat away from conversation and noise. To not have to use my brain or voice for a period of time is meditation for my mind and a luxury I rarely indulge in. I’m also a huge nature buff (and like to be in the buff in nature).  

To stop myself feeling that all of my mental energy is devoted to others, I now strive to do something for me every day. It doesn't have to be huge. Sometimes it's an extra 10 minute snooze, putting on a beauty mask or driving up to the lookout at sunset. Just the simple act of choosing something that is for MY benefit and no one else’s is what makes it feel particularly special. I have always been a fan of self-pleasuring however I’ve discovered that choosing moments of self-centred actions are just as important as is reaching for my favourite pleasure device!

Recipe for relationship resilience (with sugar and spice!)

woman in red top with hand on heart

Here are my tips from our relationship revamp. Since we made a commitment to schedule these activities our relationship has reignited (we’re in the 7 year itch phase) and I have to say, we are incredibly proud of how we managed our emotions and communicated with heart, warmth and honesty.

  • Regular massage

I think this should be mandatory for everyone!  The benefits of massage are amazing. It's the greatest stress relief for your body (besides an orgasm). My darling partner is my giver the majority of the time, though when I need that next level up I will see a trained masseuse.

If you have never had a hot stone massage before go and have one!

  • Love and laugh wholeheartedly

This may mean different things to different people.  For us, it's about loving the other person even when they are at their worst and allowing that person to see, and love you, at your worst too. It’s also about taking the time to appreciate the smaller things in life and share a belly laugh together.

  • Keeping your Ego on a leash

Learn to be gracious and open to receiving and giving honest feedback. If your Ego feels bruised you need to self-check this and we wholeheartedly recommend reaching out for support from a qualified counsellor such as a sexologist or psychologist.

  • Schedule time for sex

When you plan for sexy times together it adds a whole other dimension to the experience. Firstly, the greatest gift you can ever give the person you love is your time and attention. Locking lovemaking into your diary demonstrates devotion to your amour and commitment to the relationship. Then, there is the sweet anticipation and planning for the sexy interlude. Whether that be a weekend away, a luxury hotel or a new sex toy (check out the best sellers at www.TheSpicyBoudoir.com). The imagination can run absolutely wild and fuel the build-up of desire and anticipation in the lead up to the main event!

  • Communication - checking in with each other

No relationship will be a great relationship unless there is communication. Never assume (like us) that because nothing has been said that all is A-OK.  Make a commitment to check-in and provide a welcome and safe space for hearts to speak freely.

  • Sex is often a barometer

Sex is not just for procreating and doesn’t have to always be about a penis in a vagina!  Our bodies are built to give and receive pleasure in many ways. Think of sexual intimacy as the highest form of expression between two people (also considering those who are polyamorous). If sexual expression isn’t happening in your relationship then there is a reason behind it and not talking about it will do far more damage than not having sex.

In my role as a sex educator, I hear many personal stories of mismatched libido and this experience is far more common than people realise. Quite often people are not aware that low libido can be related to an undiagnosed medical condition, it’s important to get your health checked. Importantly, I stress that ignoring the health of your sexual relationship is not healthy for either party. When two people are committed to each other it is possible to find your way back to that spark. If you have concerns, please speak to your partner and seek out a relationship counsellor to help get your groove back.

Words of Wisdom

What I hope you take away from this article is the understanding that investing time in yourself is the foundation for all of our relationships. That finding a pathway out of the whirlwind of day-to-day living can lead you to inner peace. You will need that inner peace to find harmony in your relationships and in turn, harmony requires nurturing for it to grow and remain in balance. When time and attention is committed to preserving ones’ self the returns will be magnificent in many aspects of your life.

PS. Our sex life is now red hot and frequent again! Thank you inner peace and harmony!

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