Mistakes were made…

I have a poster on my classroom wall that says…

Yesterday, a student noticed it, said he liked it, and noted how true it was. I emphatically agreed, extending the conversation a bit with, “if you never fail, it means you aren’t being challenged. If things are always easy, and you always get A’s, that means you aren’t learning anything. And that means I’m not doing my job.”

It honestly looked like a light bulb had just gone on above his head.

And later, one went off above mine, as I related it to this quote and to my own life–my marriage specifically…and even more specifically, our sex life.

Mistakes and failure are necessary to growth. We learn what works and what doesn’t from making mistakes. We give failure a negative connotation, when in truth, it is simply a step in a path toward something else that could not exist without it.

For example…stopping at my marriage failed sounds much worse than, we failed to make it work, and continuing with but we learned from our mistakes, so that our future relationships will benefit from what we did wrong. So in all, growth was achieved, and learning happened. 

I can apply this concept to my own relationship, as well.

Out the gate, our sex life was awesome. But as with any long-term relationship (much like an addiction), it takes more and different and new to excite and keep things going.

We started early with experimentation with toys. He bought me an anal sex kit when we were still dating. That stuck 😊. And we tried working our way through the Kama Sutra positions (a book I received as a gift at my wedding shower). But it didn’t take much back then to spice up something that was already pretty spicy.

After our son was born, and it took some time to heal, physically…we had to find our places again. I struggled to provide attention in the right places, much like many new mothers, and He struggled to figure out the new landscape of our connection now that we were three.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

This was our era of swinging. We had some success here and quite a bit of failure, and eventually we ended up walking away from it, because the sexual encounters were more often disappointing for me. But we made some good friends and did have some good times, learning to connect in a new way with each other. And I do have to admit that “dating” as a team did bring us closer. I also learned that it didn’t make me jealous, as I thought it might, to watch Him fuck another woman. In fact, I enjoyed seeing Him from a different perspective.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

We moved into our first experimentation with D/s after this, but it was mainly only in the bedroom. We also did some other role playing and tried a few new toys. The violet wand was a “failure,” and figging isn’t an experience I ever need to go through again. He also suggested a poly triad at this point, with two subs and Him at the helm. This was a mess for a number of reasons, inexperience and my jealousy at the top of the list.

And so we walked away from it all. For quite some time. And things got pretty dark. I won’t go there now, but regular readers know that this was the time of our first near divorce and our first marriage counselor.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

Then, we tried D/s again…the 24/7 variety. But, still…it didn’t quite fit.

And more darkness.

And another marriage counselor. At which point I read Wife School and started toyed with the idea of truly being a submissive wife (minus the religious connections).

And more darkness.

And then a separation.

And another marriage counselor. At which point I read Kill All the Marriage Counselors (it’s been retitled since, for obvious reasons), and started really wrapping my head around becoming a “surrendered wife.”

And we were okay for a bit – just being normal, vanilla married people. Sort of.

And then the pandemic.

And depression.

And before we hit the point of no return, a sex therapist entered the picture.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And now we are rebuilding our D/s relationship from a much stronger place, beginning to unpack all the things that have worked and all the things that haven’t over the years. Because really, the vast majority of our marriage and connection has been a resounding success. But sometimes it takes a little distance, or almost losing it, to realize that.

All those mistakes and failures create a bumpy road with multiple forks behind us that we couldn’t possibly retrace or follow again. But we are learning from our past, which makes us more likely to grow and succeed…to become stronger because of our shared experience and what we have overcome.

We have learned so much about what the other wants and needs…their strengths and weaknesses…what they can handle and what they can’t. And that makes us a formidable alliance.

In our marriage vows, we used the term, Anam Cara. And that is exactly what we have truly become to one another. Through good times and bad, happiness and hardship, over time, our heartbeats have learned complimentary rhythms.

And we are still learning new songs.

We most certainly aren’t taking the easy road. Pretty much every time we choose the path that “wants wear,” the one that is grassed over and sometimes looks ominous. For some reason, it is our family tradition to do everything the hard way. And yet, here we are, still together, not quite ready to sit in front of the fire and sigh with contentment over having somehow “made it,” but we’re heading in the right direction.

I’ve included once of my favorite poems in this post, because, thematically, it fits perfectly. This particular poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, is often misread as having the lesson “be an individual – go your own way” or “march to your own drummer and that will make the difference.” But it’s not really what Frost meant.

The choices we make and the outcomes of those choices (mistakes, failures, and successes) change us over time. It doesn’t really matter what those choices are…in the end, when we look back…whatever choices we made, all equal in their possibility to begin with…they will shape who we become.

It’s important, too, to note the point about not going back. The paths of our lives are always moving, whether we want them to or not. And unless we’re talking bends in time and time travel, that movement is forward. Retracing our steps, naturally comes with the knowledge of what has already occurred. There is no leaving what we have experienced behind – it is a constant travel mate. But if some of those experiences have been negative – because or our own doing or that of others – it does not mean they cannot be used to shape something positive.

That “sigh” could be one of sadness, relief, or contentment, depending on how we choose to live our lives and how we choose to perceive the events within it.


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  • Mike

    Keeping a marriage going over the long haul is a challenge. As your post started, if you aren’t challenging yourself you are not learning. We have had our ups and downs as well, but neither of us wanted to give up. I led us to where we are, but if my wife was not interested in following it would not have worked. If she has not been willing to challenge herself I’m not sure we’d have made it. It’s good to see your commitment and willingness to try different things. This is where many go off the tracks. Either stubbornness, fear, or most often selfishness stands in the way of growth and improvement. Great post. Thank you for sharing.

  • Lilly

    I loved that you took on a journey through your lives and your relationship.
    It’s hard working on things, looking for new stuff to try, admit if something doesn’t work.
    And also, it’s one of my favourite poems as well!

    • Brigit Delaney

      It is hard, Lilly, I agree. But oh so worth it. I think it’s the hardest thing to admit…that eventually that “new” wears off and you have to work to keep your relationship fresh.

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