Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Collateral Pleasure

With Jason working nights and being a full-time student and (!) needing to find time to sleep occasionally, opportunities for intimacy are pretty limited. We frequently have to decide if we want to spend the twenty minutes that we have between one activity and the next talking or "something else." Which means that sometimes our coming together (sorry -- trying to be delicate here, but yeah, I'm talking about sex) is a bit frantic and, quite frankly, a bit selfish. We don't mean for it to be and it's not our favorite, but for this season, it's what's for dinner.

A few weeks ago, I was apologizing to Jason for the whole selfish thing and he responded that it was okay, he still enjoyed the "collateral pleasure" of our time together. And being the sexy vixen that I am, I promptly responded by saying that I was totally going to use that phrase for a blog. (Yes, my pillow talk leaves a little something to be desired.)

So here it is.

Now that we've got all of our giggling out of the way (you're done giggling, right?), I seriously love that phrase. It's easy to think in terms of collateral damage. To see how something negative affects us negatively. But I don't think that we think very often about how our positive actions can have a good impact not only on others, but on us as well.

I know that a lot of the time when I'm doing something (particularly a menial task) for someone else, I can get pretty resentful. I love to be served, but not so much a fan of the serving. I have to be very intentional about doing something for someone else, because at my heart, I'm a pretty selfish person. I'll try to listen to a friend and end up talking more than listening. I'll try to talk to my husband about what he's doing at school and end up talking about my band or the blog (see my post-sex conversation for an example). I'll try to help the kids with a project and then get frustrated that they don't do it exactly the way I tell them to do it. The collateral damage is that my friend feels unheard, my husband feels unimportant and my kids feel inferior.


Sometimes I don't do that.
Sometimes I can actually let my friend say their piece and keep my mouth shut.
Sometimes I get really excited about what my husband is doing and let my news wait until another time.
Sometimes I'll just go with the flow and let my kids set the pace for how we're doing something.

And in those moments, when people feel appreciated, loved, treasured, important, and all kinds of other good stuff, I get a little kick too. A little collateral pleasure, if you will.

Which is a pretty good motivation to live that way instead.

Where are areas where you find collateral pleasure? What places where there might be more collateral damage can you turn into collateral pleasure?
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
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