When I was in my twenties, I honestly thought that I would be alone forever. First of all, I found it difficult to relate to men. I didn’t understand men. I didn’t know how to talk to them and felt so painfully awkward and shy around them. As I grew older, I began to realise that although some men felt that this was an endearing quality – often they mistook it for subservience. I may have been shy and awkward – but I was not subservient and although I met many suitors who appeared perfectly suitable on the surface….I knew that if I made the mistake of being with any of them – a part of me would have died inside.
I’ve written before about the conflicts that this would cause between my mother and I. She wanted to see me settled. I would only be with someone if they made me happy. But reflecting back on my younger self…it wasn’t just about them making me feel ‘happy’. I needed to be with someone who would let me grow; let me follow and pursue my dreams; who just loved me the way I was…even when I didn’t. Who would never pressure me to lose weight – because I loathed myself enough; who loved the way that I looked even without make up…
The thing is that it is easy to find someone to date, spend time with, go to restaurants with, go on holidays with…the hard part is to be find someone who loves you when you feel low; or at worst – unlovable.
Most of the men that I met would have been fine when things were good – but I knew that as soon we would hit a rocky patch, our ship would have sunk. I wasn’t prepared to go through any of that drama.
My mum thought I lived with my head in the clouds – but she was from a different generation. Hers was not a generation that was given luxuries such as choice, or love – it was a generation where you were practical and pragmatic. Having said that, I didn’t think that I was any less practical or pragmatic. Hers was a generation where, for the most part, women had had to depend upon their husbands financially – until something bad happened which meant that they had to become self-sufficient. My generation was taught – by our mothers – women – learn from our mistakes; don’t rely on men; get your own job; get your own property; be ambitious – you deserve the world!
So whilst my mother was telling me that I needed to be with a man who could take care of me financially – she wouldn’t listen to me when I told her that it wasn’t financial support that was the most important thing to me, I needed to be with someone who just loved me.
A few years later, I met my future husband. When I was a teenager, I had read Jane Eyre repeatedly. Repeatedly. It was my ‘go to’ book. When life was bought, or I needed to escape, I would pick up Jane Eyre and escape into her world. I think what resonated with me so much was that Jane was quiet, unimposing, an almost invisible character – but Mr Rochester noticed her. It wasn’t her looks or her sparkling personality or her tremendous wit – he just fell in love with her. I guess that was the fairy tale that I wanted for me.
Now I can’t draw any parallels between my husband and Mr Rochester. My husband isn’t several years older than me; or a rich landowner; or secretly married with an insane first wife. But he loved me when I was hard to love. He noticed things in me that nobody else had. He fought to keep us together when it would have been so easy to give up. He continues to look after me and my girls – always putting himself last.
Valentine’s Day is approaching – and I actually hate that particular day. I despised it when I was single..and when I met husband, I no longer saw the relevance of it. Because he shows me everyday how much he loves me. And I’m not talking about cliches such as flowers, or perfume or anything like that. It’s making sure that I have something to eat for breakfast and lunch – because he knows otherwise I won’t. It’s making sure that I get enough sleep – because he knows that I will get ill otherwise. When I needed to make a decision about my job that could have affected us financially – he supported me and trusted me to make the right decision – do what you need to do, I’m there for you, he said.
Once, one of my friends once said to me, I never hear you say anything negative about your husband. I just couldn’t. Not about him. I wasn’t a damsel in distress who needed saving – but he wanted to look after me all the same.
Sometimes, he goes through things that are tough and I wish I could wave a magic wand and make things better for him. Or absorb the pain that he is going through, in the way that he does for me. But every morning, he gets up in the same way. Starting each day with positivity – ready to take on the world. Ready to do what it takes to look after his family. He is an inspiration to me.
I suppose the purpose of this post, is to thank the universe for sending this amazing man into my life. He taught me to laugh again. He makes sure that I’m never lonely. Makes me see things from a different perspective. He lets me grow and take risks and be the best that I can be. An unsung hero. The most amazing man I know.