Do I love you because you’re beautiful,â€¨Or are you beautiful because I love you?â€¨~Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Cinderella
Licking a bit of egg roll off my finger, I squinted at my husband with suspicion. Whenever I do things with my tongue, he pays attention. Whenever I squint at him he gets nervous.
I settled back in the restaurant booth. This was going to be interesting.
â€œThere was an article by a woman named Pamela Fox that made me sad,â€ I said. â€œShe and her husband made a list of what bothered them about each other, and a second list of what they loved about each other. Her husband said one of the things that bothered him was that she wasnâ€™t more attractive.â€
My husband frowned. â€œSay more.â€
â€œLet me read a section to youâ€¦ â€˜I discovered then that my partner resented that he wasnâ€™t more physically attracted to me â€” that I wasnâ€™t as attractive as his dream mate. He appreciates a massive amount about me and about our relationship, and thatâ€™s why he wishes that my face was a 10 to him, so that Iâ€™d be compatible with him on all counts.
My reaction? First 5 minutes: mature, poised, totally understanding and beyond silly needs like wanting to be attractive. Next 3 hours: sobbing under my blanket, hiding in my room.â€™â€ https://medium.com/@pamelafox/not-the-most-beautiful-woman-in-the-world-75f9dd123968#.alar97nr3
My husband looked as sad as I felt.
â€œI canâ€™t imagine that,â€ he said. Big heavy pause. â€œYou do know I think you are gorgeous, right?â€
He was trying to assure, and despite a black hole of insecurity that exists within me, thatâ€™s not what I was fishing for.
â€œHow can you love someone without seeing his or her beauty?â€ I said. â€œEven if a person is not physically perfectâ€”and who isâ€”doesnâ€™t everything change when love arrives? Shouldnâ€™t that be how it works?â€
I saw my husbandâ€™s mind whirling and sorting. He can be much more realistic than me, and I suspected he was struggling to find the right words. He has told me of relationships within his circle of friends that exist on something beyond physical attractionâ€”like security or statusâ€”but has viewed them as curiosities. He took my hand as he processed.
â€œLook,â€ I said, â€œI know I am not a classic beauty. But even if nobody else in this whole wide world thinks Iâ€™m special, I want to be beautiful to you. Iâ€™d be crushed if you told me otherwise, and I guess that is why I feel horrible for Pamela. Is it somehow different for men?â€
â€œI can only speak for myself,â€ he said, â€œBut I feel the same as you. Attraction matters in both directions. What “is” definitelyÂ changes with love and time.â€
I sighed, relieved for the validation between us. He took my sigh for doubt.
â€œGail, I am so damn proud to have you at my side. I hope you know that.â€
Truth be told, I never know it. I want it, I crave it, but I never take it for granted. That is why Pamela’s story, which had to be hard to write through the tears, opened up a meaningful conversation between my husband and me.
Iâ€™m not a great beauty, but he thinks I am. It is reflected in his eyes and transmitted through his touch, actions, and words.
The best part of my day? My sweet, handsome, goofy, romantic husband.
Would you stay with a partner who does not find you beautiful? Why or why not?