Paradise City

I, Christina, never wanted to live in Hawaii. Visit, yes! Live, no thanks. Is it because I hated the sunshine, beautiful water and amazing waves lapping on a sandy beach? Nope. In fact I love those aspects of island life. But, I thought living in paradise would eventually become mundane. It would have no other choice than to fall into everyday life full of monotony. Hawaii would no longer be the paradise of a vacation with picture windows, bonfires on the beach, snorkeling, whale watching, sunset gazing and luaus. Days would be full of average, every day stuff…work, laundry, school, kids, etc. with the occasional days doing things that were reminiscent of what living in Hawaii should be.

I felt this way about intimacy too, pre-streak, on the streak and up until last week.

“I don’t want to live in paradise!” I would frustratingly proclaim during our umpteenth conversation turned argument about sex. I knew Nathaniel heard the words, I knew he understood the grammatical structure of the statement, but why couldn’t he grasp the contextual meaning I was trying to convey? How could he really want to live in a sexual paradise every day?

(“Paradise”= Any sexual encounter that is…Extra… Above and Beyond…Use Your Imagination…Fill in the Blank)

Okay, ya…I saw it. I got how he could want to, but did he really think about all the work required to live like that on a daily basis?

From my perspective I could only see living every day like we are on our honeymoon as work, or as a constant adrenaline rush, no thanks, too exhausting. Arguing my point of view never worked to change his mind, nor could he ever change my mind. We always agreed with unspoken words to live in the middle with occasional vacation like nights popping up at random. No harm, no foul, but no resolution either. The topic was always either sidestepped or it would eventually peter out and we would move on to another topic. I suppose, looking back, that made me feel like I had won the discussion since I did not have to live in paradise nightly. But, in reality it was not a victory because the topic revived itself every few months.

Presently…our almost nine year old son has my fierceness, stubbornness and anger issues. It is oh so delightful to see my negative traits mirrored back at me on a daily basis. Or not. But, I am working very hard and diligently every day to change my negative behaviors into positive ones, not only for myself but for my son as well. If I can control my wild tongue and bursts of anger then the hope is he will learn from me and control himself too. In an email conversation with my husband last week, he was praising my positive actions during a rough patch with our son. He ended the email with this…

“There was this lady I knew who said she never wanted to live in paradise.”

And then it hit me!

In all aspects of life like our homeschooling, raising our children, and even during intimacy with my husband it is not about living in the adrenaline rush of paradise every day, it is about WANTING to live there.

I giggled when I made the realization reading his email. His side of the conversation turned argument was never about needing to make sex everyday roof shattering amazing, it was simpler than that. It was about wanting to have amazing every night.

Want and Need are vastly different creatures that are often disguised as twins.

Every time we had the Paradise argument and I heard how he wanted to have this amazing sexual experience nightly, I assumed he needed it and was determined to get it. And I can be co-dependent enough at times to fall into that trap of fulfilling a man’s needs at the cost of mine. Hence my side of the argument I was unwilling to budge on.

But, what I had missed in all those conversations/arguments was a deeper meaning of the word WANT. I heard the word in every discussion. I understood the grammatical structure of the sentence, but I was the one not grasping the contextual meaning.

From my husband’s perspective, want, was and is a very positive word and I continually made it into a negative word. Want is good. Want is motivation, a kick in the pants, a goal, a carrot on a string. We want to move into a bigger house, we want to buy a new car, we want great behavior from our kids, I want a book deal…all good things. All these things are wanted enough that we try to attain them. We try, daily, even though we do not always succeed every day. We take the steps forward on a daily basis needed to achieve our wants in life.

And that was the V-8 slap on the forehead moment for me. Want was not synonymous with my archaic viewpoint of a man’s need.

Want was synonymous with TRY!

Of course!

I now try daily to be more mindful of money so we don’t deplete our funds and one day we will be able to move and buy that new car. I also try daily to show my son a better way to behave so the family can have more peace-filled days than not. And…yes now I try daily to make intimacy more exciting, not because my husband wants it nor needs it, but because trying, though hard work, makes the results come faster and now I am consistently appreciative instead of taking paradise for granted.

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