Friday, March 12, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

My beloved is mine and I am his!
~ Song of Solomon 2:16a


Today Mr. Steady and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary.
It never ceases to amaze the two of us that our love continues to grow each year. God has blessed us immeasurably.
We have been together for almost 20 years- meaning I have spent more of my life with him than without him.
In honor of 16 years of marital bliss and to honor my husband, I have written the following:
I am what he has made me.
My husband enjoys telling me I’m beautiful. He takes great delight in it. I must admit that when we were first married, I didn’t handle his compliments well and would too often off-handedly say things like, “Oh, no I’m not.” Or “I’m too fat.” Or “Did you not see the big zit on my nose?!” or “You’re just saying that because you want something.” Or “Are you blind?” …. Often I would mean it in a sarcastic way and other times I simply meant what I said. Besides my family, Mr. Steady was the first and only boy to tell me I was beautiful. Oh, I’d been told I was cute, I was pretty and such… but not beautiful. Beautiful has a whole different meaning. I never felt it…
When I was about 13, a very pretty and sharply dressed lady from my church said to me, “Amy, you’re such a pretty girl. Too bad you walk like a cow.” Ouch doesn’t even begin to cover it- to this day that comment haunts me. I allowed it to affect me in a very deep way. I thought to myself that I could be a pretty girl but I’d never be more than that because I walk funny.
Needless to say, it was very difficult for me to even begin to believe I was beautiful… until I took the time to really look into my husband’s eyes and see me in a whole new way. In my husband’s eyes, I am beautiful even when I’ve got a zit on the end of my nose or am retaining water or feeling blah… because he looks at me with his heart- He sees me as a whole package- both inside and out and what he sees is beautiful to him. So when I would rebuff his compliments or make sarcastic retorts I was, in a sense, telling my husband his love for me isn’t enough. I was telling him I didn’t want it or believe in it. With those thoughts I had a shift in perspective.
I am reminded of an article in a magazine I read a few years ago, the article started with a story about a group of men who were sharing pictures of their families and one man didn’t want to show a picture of his wife. When asked why, his response was “My wife isn’t pretty anymore.” After a moment of awkward silence an older man came up, put his arm around the other man and said, “She is what you made her.”
I finished reading the article but I can’t really tell you what the rest of it said as I focused on that line- She is what you made her. Wow. That explains it! My husband says I grow more beautiful the longer we are married and now I know the secret. I am what he makes me. Besides God, my husband is the most important and influential person in my life. What he says and how he treats me has a lot to do with what I think of myself. He thinks I’m smart and beautiful- so I am. I know that I am only getting a glimmering glimpse of what I am to him- if I could really see the me I am in his eyes I am sure that I would be shocked and totally humbled. Much more so than I am now.
Because of his love for me and how he treats me and shows me that love I am a better person- I want to be a better person. I want to shower him with love and affection to show how much he means to me. I desire to be beautiful for him!
If a mean man can demean his wife and tell her she’s ugly, fat, or dumb… after years of this she will, with all probability, begin to believe it to be true. She will undoubtedly begin to look and act the way he has portrayed her. So shouldn’t it work the opposite way? If our loving husbands tell us we are beautiful, lovely, smart, and sexy shouldn’t we begin to believe it?! Shouldn’t we hold our heads high with confidence and begin to look the part?! A smile alone will add to our face value!
Today, he has made sure to tell me more than once that he loves me more today than he did when we were married 16 years ago. He also remarked on how our love has grown and improved over the years. And yes, many times, he has told me how very beautiful I am.
… After almost 20 years together, he still makes me blush when he says it.
I am what he has made me.
Beautiful.

2 comments:

  1. This post is very thought-provoking. It resonates with me and my observations after nearly six years of marriage. I will probably ponder it for some time!
    I did want to mention that I share your pain at those long-ago, unkind words that can still haunt. It's interesting to now be a woman in my 30s, probably the age of adults who made critical remarks at my talkativeness, and see their comment from my adult point of view. I think so often adults don't know how to respond to unusual behavior from a child, and unlike our more cautious social interactions with other adults, we sometimes feel quite appropriate about saying something to the child. Note to self: remember that children are people too, just younger versions.

    - April

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  2. Ah, dear sister, this post brought a tear to my eye. I love how my brother-in-law loves you (and your munchkins); the love that shines in his eyes for you...amazing. :o) You are a blessed woman!
    love you to the moon and back

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