By: Danielle Wilson
“How can you even stand how good looking I am?” You are trying on new sunglasses and want my opinion. We are going back and forth on the different frames.
You’re grinning at me, and I say with exaggerated enthusiasm, “I can’t!” as I walk out of the bedroom and into the bathroom. I’m rolling my eyes at your lack of modesty, but you are good looking. I’m considering this when I catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. My face is tired and unwashed, makeup free. It’s 10AM on Saturday, and I’ve already been up for about four hours with our baby but haven’t had a chance to clean up yet. My wavy hair has only the top pulled back and the sides puff out from my face. The icing on the cake is the enormous coffee stain down the front of my white shirt because three hours ago, Sam leaped on me from the ottoman while I was taking a sip.
I thought about what a hot mess I looked like in front of my effortlessly good-looking husband. Then, I realized I didn’t really care that much and walked out of the bathroom.
How much has changed?
In the early days of our relationship, I didn’t want you to see me without makeup, ever. Now, seven years later, I’m wearing a coffee stain and unwashed mom hair. Where did this comfortableness come from?
You have seen me at my best, and at my worst, confident and vulnerable. Our first dates. Our wedding day. Giving birth. This morning.
I have also seen you at your best and worst. We’ve loved; we’ve fought. How do married people do it? What is this feeling that we have for each other? This feeling that keeps changing over time. That adds layers, year to year, experience after experience. Like tree rings, showing the seasons of drought and abundance. “Love” does not feel adequate for this knowing of each other.
I don’t really know what I thought marriage was going to be like when I said “I do” on that humid July day. Everyone said that it was hard, but I couldn’t think of ever not feeling for you what I felt that afternoon.
When daily life is boring and hard, when life is too busy to even have a solid conversation with each other, when it’s been months since we’ve had a meal together that didn’t involve the Trolls soundtrack and persuading a toddler to just try the nuggets, when my clothes are covered in coffee/spit up/baby poop, how do I know that you still love me?
A few weeks ago, I was at my most vulnerable, and you embraced the moment with perfect empathy and gentleness, and I knew that you loved me.
Monday, you went out into the pouring rain to buy the sauce that I wanted for dinner. And when you again forgot it, you turned around and went back.
Yesterday, I came home from work, and you had folded all of my laundry.
You value my opinion on your sunglasses.
Only you can swing the tide of my emotions so easily and so drastically with just a word or a remark, or even worse, the lack thereof–no reaction, indifference. You don’t say much about it, but I know I have a similar effect on you. Learning to harness and wield this power responsibly and kindly has been one of our first hard-earned lessons in marriage. But we’re getting better at it, adding a solid ring to our tree, finding love in the small moments of living our lives together.