When I was young(er), I would look at “old” couples and wonder how they could be so in love after all of that time. How could they even find each other attractive anymore after the weight gain, the wrinkles, the bumps, the bruises, and sometimes the scars.
Now I know.
When you are there for each pound, for each wrinkle, for each scar, you are a part of that other person. And with each day that passes in a marriage, you are (hopefully) becoming more “one”.
If my husband were to look at me from a purely physical standpoint, void of love and respect, I am sure that I would look a terrifying mess, lol. But as I was rushing around the house this morning, getting the kids ready for school, my hair was sticking out in 90 million directions, I had on mismatched clothing because I was cold and in a hurry (complete with flip-flops, of course), he was just looking at me, like he was fascinated with me. Truly, it boggled my mind. “What must he think of me?” I wonder at times.
He told me this story once of an elder in his church that he loved and respected. This man carried a picture of his wife in his wallet from their first season of marriage/courting. He kept it with him every day. Did he compare the her “now” to the her “then”? No. He loved her more today. He didn’t long for the girl she used to be. He loved the her today. But regardless of the age of the body, of the face, she was always the beauty of their youth.
And, so, in my husband’s wallet is a picture of the beauty of our youth. Me with a bared shoulder and fixed hair.
When we look at each other, we don’t look at our bodies. We look into each other’s eyes. And mirrored there is our life: the good, the bad, the ugly–and the beautiful. The rocky foundation, the miscarriages, the drugs, the alcohol, the births, the day that he came home from work and said that two preachers showed up today and invited him to church, the leaving, the returning, the turning to God, and the 12 years since.
And through it all, we have grown in our love (as well as our weight).
Thank you for loving me, Jimmy Martin, as Christ loved the church. Even through the ugly, he/He is there.