In honor of World Outlander day, I’d like to take a moment to tell you about how this series has sparked a new excitement in me for my marriage.
Two years ago, I discovered Outlander when I was searching for a new show to watch. I saw the cover art donning a pretty lady in 1940’s garb and handsome Scottish Highlander standing behind her looking rather delectable in his kilt. I immediately thought, yep I’m gonna like this show. I knew absolutely nothing about the series, not the plot, not the history, not even one little hint of what was about to slap me in the face. There is a moment in the pilot when Claire has her first oh sh** moment. Redcoats begin shooting at her but homegirl can’t figure out why because it should be 1946 (and if you know anything about history the British Armed Forces were NOT rocking Redcoats in 1946). Up until that, point Claire knew what to expect from her world as did I, the innocent viewer. When the first gunshot is suddenly fired, I jumped right out of my seat shrieking “sweet Bejesus!” Then the Scottish music began to play as Claire runs for her life and I was hooked.
Right after I finished the first episode, I began investigoogling (searching any and all information pertaining to my new found obsession by way of Google). I found out that there was an ENTIRE book series and if you know anything about me, this was like winning the lottery. Eight books, eight wonderfully long and complicated books. I zipped through the first book in less than a week (on average the books are no less that 1,000 pages). I zipped through the entire first season in the same amount of time. Reading, watching, reading, watching, obsessing, watching, rewatching and more reading. Then I began to research Herself (and us Outlander fans call her) Diana Gabaldon, a 35-year-old research professor and mother of three who decided to write a novel for practice in 1991. That practice novel was none other than Outlander. This led me to create a new saying. Instead of “practice makes perfect” I now say “practice makes Outlander”. As a writer myself, I had already began the journey of writing my first full length novel at the time and reading Diana’s books really pushed me to a whole new level. She takes her time to develop characters but she does so in such a way that it allows you to see exactly who each character is, one detailed layer at a time. Sometimes you feel like you’re off on a little bunny trail, only to find out that this little nucleus of information will go with a dozen other little nucleui that will eventually come together to create a formation that blows your mind. Over and over, Diana does this in her writing and I am floored about how excited I’ve become about marriage because of these books. Why you may ask? I shall tell you.
I am already married. I have been married to my tall hunky husband for almost 7 years now but we are still in the beginning stages of marriage, the hard years, the foggy years, the years of outward focus. This part of marriage focuses mostly on our children and not so much on each other. It has to be a very intentional effort to pay attention to one another. After only a few years of marriage, Claire and Jaime had 20 years of time when they were apart from one another. When they finally reunite, they are older, children are grown and the focus is solely on their relationship. Don’t get me wrong; there is A LOT that happens to them so it’s not with out it’s potential distractions from the other person but the heart of the story is the relationship that exists between these two people. In the still and the quiet when it’s just the two of them, there is sanctuary. That’s what marriage is, after everything, at the end of the day, when it’s just the two spouses, there is that sacred space that only they know. The communicative whispers of fears, dreams, and musings all live in this intimate space meant only for you and your spouse. I’ve learned that I need to protect that sacred space with my very life, it only becomes more precious and more needed with each passing year. The more you protect the intimacy between the two of you the more the other person shows themself to you and you become more of one heart and one mind.
“You are my courage, as I am your conscience,” he whispered, “You are my heart – I am your compassion. We are neither of us whole, alone. Do ye not know that, Sassenach?” –Jamie Fraser
Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn
Yes, I said it, the sex. Sex is hot fun and steamy when you’re newly weds, the pink honeymoon cloud resides around you and your spouse. Your spouse reigns as the most desirable thing since free Wi-Fi. Then life hits, you have babies and you’re tired. You buy a house and you have lots of bills to pay. Sex can be ignored or put on the back burner in the early foggy years of marriage. I used to think that maybe the years of steamy sex were slowly fading into the archives of my 20’s and never to be seen again (they’re not, I assure you). The longer you’ve been together the more familiar you become with the other person and sometimes this can lead to complacency in the bedroom especially in the busy early years of marriage. Sometimes you can forget how much you desired your spouse in the beginning but when the children grow up and move out and the business of life slows down you have the chance to rediscover your spouse. You can have the honeymoon stage all over again, relearning, rediscovering and revamping your sex life. The way Diana describes the sexual relationship between Claire and Jamie is one that illustrates completeness. They are whole when they are together, parts or a puzzle containing only two pieces, a place of true belonging. They are in their fifties and sixties in the last few books of the series, and although James Fraser is described as a very physically desirable man, what makes sex sound so appealing later in marriage is the desire that still burns for the other. It’s a desire that comes from the longing of never wanting to be too far from home, because that’s what you have become to one another, home.
“Bedding her could be anything from tenderness to riot, but to take her when she was a bit the worse for drink was always a particular delight.
Intoxicated, she took less care for him than usual; abandoned and oblivious to all but her own pleasure, she would rake him, bite him – and beg him to serve her so, as well.
He loved the feeling of power in it, the tantalizing choice between joining her at once in animal lust, or of holding himself-for a time- in check, so as to drive her at his whim.”
― Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross
All humans really want at the core of who they are is to be fully known, fully seen and fully loved in spite of it all. In the beginning of marriage when you argue, you’re sure it’s the other person who needs to make drastic changes. It’s their fault, it’s their problem, and your finger is pointing at them. Slowly you begin look at the four fingers pointing back at you and realize you may have had something to do with it. Marriage is a mirror that often gives you an unflattering reflection of yourself if you’re willing to look. I love that Claire always knew exactly who Jamie was and let him be so as he did for her. They made room for the other person to be who they are and loved each other regardless. It’s because of that, the intimacy flourished and the sex stayed steamy.
“You are the most pigheaded man I have ever met,” I said crossly.
“Thank you,” he said, with a small bow.
“That was not a compliment!”
“Aye, it was.” And with another bow, he turned on his heel and strode off on his errand.
Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross
I will leave you with my very favorite quote from the Outlander series that always makes me think of my sexy husband.
“He’s a man…and that’s no small thing to be.”
Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross