The other day my wife wrote a piece called When He Looks at Me. If you haven’t read it you can find it here. It was more or less her interpretation of what I see when I look at her. She hit it pretty spot on too. I see absolute beauty, safety, strength, intelligence. I don’t see the imperfections. I see what those “imperfections” mean. I thought, “what better way to accompany that than to hear from me exactly what I think when I see her.” So here it is.
The first thing I see is beauty. I can’t deny it. My wife is a beautiful woman. From the moment I first laid eyes on her sitting in the pew at church more than 15 years ago I couldn’t take my eyes off of her; her blonde hair, her fair skin, her shape. I was drawn to her. Her mom noticed it, too. I’ve been told that she told Heather she thought I was staring at her. I was. I don’t deny it.
As she’s aged she’s only gotten more beautiful in my eyes.
I see fun. We laugh together, a lot. Sometimes it’s about dumb stuff. Sometimes the kids are doing something that we can’t help but laugh. Sometimes I’ve said something stupid. Regardless of what it is, we laugh a lot. We laugh when it’s appropriate. We laugh when others might think it’s not appropriate. We have our inside jokes that only we laugh at.
I see pain. I’ve seen my wife through some times when her body just didn’t want to cooperate with her, times when we really wanted to be intimate, but couldn’t. I’ve seen hip pain. I’ve seen injuries that are intensely painful, every time she moves. I’ve seen shoulder pain that kept her from being able to move her head and neck for days at a time. I’ve seen emotional pain where she had to break down and cry. I’ve seen the loss of a child.
I’ve seen the strength that comes from dealing with that pain as well. Yes, she cries. Yes, I’m there for her every time, but she’s takes that pain and turns it into beauty. I’ve seen the words she writes to express that pain. I’ve seen the beautiful things she makes to honor that pain.
I see the good time and the bad times. Our relationship, like any other relationship on the planet has had it’s ups and downs. When things are good and everyone is happy it’s easy to be at peace. When times are tough those are the times it’s not so easy, but those times show that some things are worth fighting for.
I see the woman who’s carried six beautiful children. I see the toll it’s taken on her body. I see the stretch marks, the extra weight. I see the sleepless nights because she’s so uncomfortable. I see the love that woman has for those children. I see the hope she has for those kids and their future.
I see a reason to be a good man. She’s a beautiful, smart, sexy, sassy, independent woman. She doesn’t need me, but she chose me. To show her the love and the care that I have for her means I have to work every day to be the best man I can. That doesn’t mean being the biggest and the strongest. I’m not that and I never will be that.
To me it means to show her, every day that she’s the most important part of my life. I have to show her that I want to be with her, show her that I care. I have to do the small things around the house without being asked. I have to talk to her. I have to hug her. I have to kiss her. The things she cares about are important to me, not because they’re things I want, but they’re things she wants. I have to let her have her time to herself when she needs it. I have to encourage her in the things she wants to pursue, whether it’s writing a book, planting a garden or being a mother. I have to show her that the things that matter to her also matter to me.
I have to be the best I can be at my job because she depends on me. I have to take care of the hard parts of being a responsible adult, even if I don’t want to. I have to step out of my comfort zone when she needs me to. I have to know when it’s okay to have fun and when it’s time to be serious.
I see a teacher. Every moment of her life is a teaching moment. She’s ready at the drop of a hat to study a leaf with a curious four year old. She’ll stop whatever she’s doing to have a tea party with a toddler. I’ve seen the frustration that comes with trying to teach math to a kid that just doesn’t get it. I’ve seen endless hours preparing, books strewn all around her, paper scattered everywhere as she prepares for a new year.
I see a woman who, when I was ready to quit a job I hated stood strong with me, even if it meant we had to scrape by. I’ve seen a woman who built me up when I was at my lowest. When I thought there was no hope and no money coming in she was there to tell me it would be okay. We’d make it work. We’ve always made it work. She was my strength when I had none.
This woman, this beautiful woman makes me want to be a better man. Every moment of our lives together has brought us to the place where we are. We’ve seen the beginning. We’ve seen love. We’ve seen laughter. We’ve been to the brink of separation. We’ve come back from the brink stronger than ever before. We’ve seen good times. We’ve seen bad times. We’ve seen hard times. We’ve seen easy times.
All of this shows on her body, and it shows on mine. We’re not as young as we used to be, but much like she said, our bodies are the story of our lives together, the good and the bad. When I look at her that’s what I see. I see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. I see my wife and I see the love of my life. I see the greatest gift God could give a man; a partner, a lover, a friend. I see us when I look at her.