Some Thoughts on Relationships

I have never really had much of a reason to sit and think long on this subject, but it has come up so many times in recent conversations that I couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that I should write about it. I’ll just begin, and give it my best.

When I turned twenty, I fell in love with Stephanie. Three years later, I married her. For those of you who haven’t met Steph, she is quite beautiful. Her beauty is, in fact, something so refined, so rare, so… beyond words that I’m at a loss wondering how to describe such a thing. Sometimes, when she and I are out with friends, I enjoy just keeping my distance in order to observe men as they attempt to speak to her, watching in amusement as they stumble about. This will certainly appear to be an ostentatious embellishment, but I can assure you it is not. On at least three occasions, while the two of us have dined out at a public restaurant, certain men have gotten up from their tables, left their wives, and approached mine just to tell her that she was, well… beautiful. Now, please don’t jump to conclusions about where all of this is leading. Steph’s beauty is not the focus of this essay; instead, it is a point that must be established in order for the essay to go in the direction that I’ve intended. People have said to me that I must be the luckiest man in the world to have the love and commitment of a woman who is so attractive. But I disagree. You see, Steph has never realized how beautiful she is. In fact, she often times complains that she must be the ugliest girl she has ever seen. So, if I were to base my appreciation for her only on her physical qualities, then she could quite possibly feel that my appreciation was either based on nothing, or that it was at best a feeling that would fade with time.

I met Steph through a friendship that I had developed with her brother Craig. The first time I saw her, I was stopping by her brother’s house to check in on him. How could I ever forget? She was lying on the couch reading a book. I still can remember, as I made my way through the room, simply being overwhelmed by her. I can think of nothing else to say in effort to better describe my thoughts at that moment of first seeing her. Needless to say, I was not disappointed in the least when I discovered that Craig was not home! Steph and I only spoke briefly that day, as I quickly ran out of things to say due to my nervousness. It would be months before we spoke again. Those months passed quickly however, and one day as I was talking to Craig, I asked him why he had not mentioned before that he had a sister. He replied, “Oh her. Yes, she has had a crush on you for so long now. I think maybe years.” My heart ascended into my lower mouth, dropped back down, bounced twice, and landed sideways wrapped tightly around three ribs. But I played it cool. To make the story short, I ended up calling her, asking her nervously to go out with me, she did, and now we live in a little house and have two small children named Alek and Taylor. Alek looks like me with Steph’s dimples, Taylor looks like Steph with my smile.

That moment when I first saw Steph has now been seven years ago. At the time, it was tremendously important to me that I made a way to once again see this beautiful girl who had, with a smile, elicited from within me a fantastic hope. But the thing that intrigues me the most, and the thing that has served as the inspiration behind this essay, is the mystical element of her; the girl behind the pretty face whom has captured my affections and held my heart with tremendous verve. You see, it has not been her looks that has served as the relational glue in our marriage. However much I do still enjoy looking at her, I have noticed that sometimes, when she sits up in bed first thing in the morning, she reminds me ever so much of Claire from LOST in the final season (stress the final season). The first time I observed this phenomenon, I screamed a little inside. But my point is that, rather than her looks, it is the person of her that has held my heart and my desires. Even though those blue eyes may have caught my attention initially, I have since realized that no matter what may happen to fade her beauty, I will still love her the same as I do now, which is more every day. I did not commit myself on the day of our marriage to her body or her radiant smile; I committed myself to the girl. Thus, no matter what happens to her physical attributes, as long as the girl is there, so is my commitment. C. S. Lewis wrote these words, “The idea that being in love is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or a promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; the curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love.” Lewis also wrote, “A promise must be about things I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry.” And,” Being in love is a good thing but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also many things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied upon to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go.” (Cited source: C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. From book three titled Christian Behavior: ch 6, Christian Marriage)

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14 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Relationships

  1. You are very lucky to have found such a deep and meaningful love, a love that goes deep within, well past the exterior beauty to the interior landscape.

    Your description of Steph’s own self-doubts confirms my belief that all women believe themselves to be basically ugly. We each know our own faults too, too well and those are the things that stare back at us in the mirror. Surely, there must be some beautiful women out there who know they are beautiful and are content with their looks. But I’ve never known one.

    Also, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to wake up beautiful.(Of course, as I already know…I’d never know I was beautiful…) But I know that beauty opens doors and avenues of conversation. I know an astoundingly beautiful women who is in her 30’s. It fascinates me to be with her in public, to observe how waiters respond to her, how the gaze of a stranger lingers. Beauty carries with it, it’s own price tag, but I’d love to try it on for size some day!

    Thanks for subscribing, btw.

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  2. Perhaps you wouldn’t notice or haven’t noticed it when you look in the mirror. It may only be noticeable by observing peoples reactions to you. Of course there are, it seems, different types of beauty. And isn’t it possible and even likely that beauty of the strictly sexual sort is the most simplistic? Perhaps such a form of beauty is transcended by the multifaceted and forever more useful type of beauty which serves to put people at ease and make children comfortable in your presence. The later is a beauty that no makeup nor hair artist can create.

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    1. You present a wise perspective, indeed. The later beauty that you speak of is one that lasts far longer than sexual beauty. I’ve seen that beauty in very old people…both male and female. Doesn’t it just make your heart sing when you see a person with the spark of life illuminating the deep canyons etched into their skin?

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  3. What an incredibly beautiful tribute to your wife. I love that you appreciate and marvel at her outer beauty, but are more drawn to and have fallen in love with her inner beauty. She is a very blessed woman. Perhaps the most outstanding statement of this entire post is “I will still love her the same as I do now, which is more every day”; the fact that you will always love her the way you do now in that you will love her more and more every day is phenomenal.

    I hope that you’ve let her read this post and I hope that, whenever she is having a “down day”, she reads your words over and over again until they sink in that she’s utterly beautiful and you love her just as she is.

    Lovely, lovely, lovely post!

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    1. Well, Thank you! I’m glad that you visited. I read through a good bit of your blog over the weekend, and very much enjoyed it. Really, I do try not to leave such long comments as I did, but sometimes there’s no holding back.
      I don’t know if Steph reads this or not. That is a very good question. If she doesn’t, it could be simply because the words on this page are kind of indicative of the way we speak to each other on a regular basis. I’m not one of those quite men who writes his thoughts down one day and you better cherish them forever because that’s all you’re gonna get. Hopefully that makes sense.

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      1. Oh, thanks so much for reading through my stuff this weekend…I’ll be sure to do the same with yours! You’re a brilliant and thoughtful writer, so I’m excited to read your other posts.

        No worries at all about the long comment…it was great! I’m just sorry that I couldn’t respond back with a response worthy of it! Haha. I was so tired and wasn’t even thinking clearly.

        I love that your wife hears what you think of her all the time; that’s pretty rare. Since you tend to marry someone who is your best friend, it’s very easy to fall into the rut of treating them as you would your best friend – hanging out, playing Xbox, making fun of each other – and as great as that is, you should also always make each other feel as though no one else in the world is as important as they are to you, and that, as much as they may be your best friend, you are madly in love with them. It’s wonderful that you speak to each other in such ways.

        It sounds like the 2 of you have found a very special love…make sure you hold on to it and never let it go!

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  4. This was what I actually came back here to read today, Nathan. It made me cry (don’t feel bad, I do that easily) to read about how beautiful Steph is to you and how you feel for her. I hope one day I can add this special love to the other feelings that come and go in my words. Beautiful.

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  5. Sounds like you’re a lucky man! I’m sure Steph is just as grateful to have you as well.
    I don’t think I’d leave my wife behind and appraoch a stranger to proclaim my desire for his wife, though! These guys sound like morons!
    And that’s being kind!

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    1. Yes! Ha ha. You’re right, they are morons. Who would do that!? My wife would have my head.

      And, I’ll admit, it is a little awkward to handle the advances when you’re simply trying to have a quite dinner with your wife. I remember feeling badly, too, for their wives abandoned at their table, and trying to grin with ostensible support…

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  6. you are very lucky to have found this seemingly wonderful woman ! such beautiful words you’ve written about her, I hope you’ve showed her.. though I’m sure she knows all of this and hears of it often 🙂

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    1. I think about how lucky I am every day. I hear people say that just trying to sound like the happy couple. But I can tell you, I’m one extremely fortunate bastard to have this amazing girl. And she’s hot too! I mean wow.

      She says that she’s lucky… Whatever, but I don’t mind her being confused on that. She can think it if she wants to. 🙂

      I did show her this post, and she loved it; however, these words are the way we live, so I don’t think that she comes back here everyday for confirmation. You know?
      Thanks for reading.

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  7. I don’t know what to say here…uh…loss for words…I, I don’t know…I wish more people were like you and your wife…You’re only, what, 29? (Forgive me for guessing your age). Wow. Men like you are so rare. There should be more people like you in the world. You strike me as exceptionally thoughtful, articulate, and intelligent, and I’m not just saying that for the heck of it. Heck, people like you are so rare, men or women…This is a touching article.

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