I respect my husband for the ways that he is strong, desire him for how he’s dominant and confident, and admire him for his skill, but those are not the reasons I love him.
I respect my husband for the ways that he is strong. I desire him for the ways he’s dominant and confident. I admire him for his skill and endurance. I appreciate him for all the things he does for me. But if I’m honest, those things are not why I love him.
So here’s a list. Abridged.
- If I’m in a room, concentrating on something, sometimes he’ll slowly creep past the open door till I notice him, then he runs away laughing.
- How he cried at the little drummer boy’s love for his friend, the lamb.
- His collection of stuffed animals, kitschy Christmas decorations, and toys.
- His love of being cuddled.
- His irrational fear of blood-sucking animals. As a related point, when he gets really scared of something, he gets very quiet and his hands shake. This is a cue that he needs a hug. Or something in the room needs to be killed.
- His goofy humor, including an uncountable number of terrible puns.
- How he sometimes gets really flustered when he’s trying to explain something. A hug is usually called for here.
- That split second after he’s given me a mug of tea that he’s made for me in which he looks at me, waiting for me to smile.
- How he freaks out over climate warming and environmental damage. Wild eyed, gesticulating, shouting, totally emotionally invested freak-outs. He requires a hug at these points.
It’s human nature to love things that need us. That’s why we surround ourselves with creatures that are basically furry balls of need with fangs (needs that are usually voiced in the form of querulous demands).
Maybe it’s human nature to love things that need us because providing for others’ needs gives us the opportunity to feel strong. And feeling strong may be how we learn to love ourselves.
Strength doesn’t see others in the shapes made of need and fear. Strength gives others the space to be vulnerable. Strength seeks out opportunities to earn trust.
In fact, strength can’t exist in the absence of need. In oneself, in others.
So the final reason I love my husband? The one that sums it all up:
10. His vulnerability.
There’s a certain type of vulnerability that’s masculine. It’s a lot harder to pin down simply because of our ingrained gender binary that says, “women=vulnerable/men=invulnerable.”
But it’s there, waiting to be discovered.
I love that being vulnerable is an incredible act of trust. His being vulnerable is a demonstration of trust in my strength and my ability to give him a place to feel safe.
And the gift of allowing me to be strong for him is the greatest gift of all.
Aside from hugs.
—Photo Krikit ♥/Flickr