18. What do you think your spouse loves most about you?
When you’re in love with someone, it’s impossible to pinpoint that one bit of magic that makes them Mr. or Mrs. Right. It’s usually a combination of many factors that leads you to know that this is someone with whom you can happily share your Life. So when asked to say what it is that your Daddy loves most about me, I wasn’t really sure how to answer. I thought, “I’ll go with the first thing that pops to mind. This will be easy.”
For possibly the first time, my mind was 100% blank. I know your Daddy loves me – that is unquestionable – but I have never been asked to define that love, and that’s where I had trouble. In fact, I even considered changing the question to something easier, but this blog series is based on transparency. Changing the question because it was difficult to answer or because I wasn’t sure if I would pick correctly wasn’t the right thing to do.
So, yeah. I cheated. I didn’t fill in the blanks on my own. Instead, I asked. His response was simple but also rather complex – the thing he loves most about me is the way I love him back.
That doesn’t mean he would transfer his love to someone else if another person were to come along and love him. Many people easily get their focus shifted to another person, but your Daddy is not like that. Cheating is not something I worry about with him – he knows how much he would lose if he ever did, and our family and our love is far more important than any hotty-trotty little fling who might present herself.
It’s easy to be physically attracted to someone and “love” their body. You might love the way that person makes you feel or the way he or she makes you laugh. It might be that this person can provide financial stability. Or perhaps you have been with someone who cheated on you, so you seek someone who is faithful, regardless of what else they are.
Truly loving someone is all those things and none of those things. It’s however you decide love should be and what you think is important. It’s finding someone who meets certain criteria – stable, loving, faithful, honest, sincere – but who also can be an a la carte menu of things that are important to just you – sense of humor, hobbies, looks, personality, career.
Maybe you don’t care about financial stability. Ideally, you will be financially stable on your own before you enter a long-term relationship. My parents always said I needed to be able to take care of myself without any help because the world didn’t automatically deliver Prince Charming, a white picket-fenced house and two perfect children wrapped in a 50-plus-year marriage. Just as my parents did before me, I want each of you girls to be on your own and have your own stability prior to deciding with whom you will share your Life.
Maybe you don’t care about someone’s looks. Or maybe you do. Maybe you prefer a tall person with dark hair or someone of average height with blue eyes. Whatever it is you seek, only you know if it’s worth passing up a chance at love to find that ideal physical appearance you think you prefer. I have always been drawn to slimmer, taller guys, and I have a history of dating guys with tattoos, light brown hair and infectious smiles. However, when the right person comes along, you don’t always care that they didn’t walk straight from your imagination into your heart.
If it’s right, it’s right. And that, my dear daughters, is where your Daddy and I are. His response makes that clear. It’s simple. I love him. He loves me. It’s the greatest part of who we are as a couple.
On the other hand, his response is complex. I interpret that response in a different way than he meant it. What he meant is that he loves the fact that I actually return the love he has for me, and that may sound funny to you. You’re probably thinking, “Daddy loves Mama just because she loves him back?”
No, that’s not exactly it. Your Daddy took a blessedly broken path to get to me, but those are stories he will have to share with you if/when he is ready. His previous marriage and the struggles he had are for him to explain in his own way and his own time. For now, I’ll just say that your Daddy’s Life was not always filled with love and respect, so when he found me and actually received in return the love he was sending out into the world, he decided that the thing he loves most about me is that I love him, too.
He will tell you that it’s much more than that, though.
He loves me for all the little things that go into shaping the love I have for him. It’s the way I fix his lunch or wash his clothes or make sure he has the things he needs. It’s how I ask about his day and run my hand across the top of his closely-cut hair as I pass in the living room. I laugh at his jokes (most of the time). I ask his opinion. I share secrets, watch the same TV shows, make homecooked meals for him suited to his tastes, understand his love of art and more.
At the root, his response simply means that we are in love. That is the thing he loves most about me. It’s not a superficial, change-on-a-whim love that can easily be discarded. We are in this for the long-haul, and there’s such an overwhelming awesomeness that comes from knowing that. You have to set aside the physicality and all the superficial aspects of a relationship and look at what’s left. It’s what you see when all those other things are stripped away that matters the most.
What I see is a man who loves me for the way I love him which is a different byproduct of the way he loves me. It’s an infinite circle of loving awesomeness, and I am happy to chase my tail in that circle for the rest of my Life with your Daddy.
Or maybe it’s him chasing my tail.
What?! I didn’t say physicality was unimportant! 🙂