I completely agree with some sort of built-in support. There were some things I wanted to do with CursorRuler but couldn't because of API limitations. For example, line styling (e.g. dotted, dashed, etc.). In a perfect world the core functionality of my plugin would be built-in and hackable through a nice API. But, alas
CursorRuler can be made thicker to simulate full column highlighting or as thick as you need to match your row highlight. The 4th example in the description of the cursor_rulers setting is one way of doing it:
"cursor_rulers": [0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9]
Despite being awkward, there is a way to change the ruler colors as described here. If you set the color to match your row highlight or even to a more subtle level I bet that would help alleviate it being distractive.