“You look so cute,” my husband said to me one day. I looked at him, skeptical.
I wasn’t doing anything particularly attractive, I think I was just sitting and staring off into space. I wasn’t dressed particularly nice, either. In fact, I don’t think I’d even brushed my hair yet. Clearly, my husband was joking.
“Are you serious? Or are you joking?” I asked him. The biggest smile spread across his face and he said, “I’m serious.” I couldn’t deny that smile.
I looked cute to him. I was flabbergasted.
In the marriages I knew of growing up, husbands rarely shared words of affection. The closest my father ever got to complimenting my mother was soaked in sarcasm. It sounded so fake and even hurtful to me.
I needed words of kindness or encouragement from my father, but instead I received sarcastic ‘jokes’ about my appearance from him. I was an awkward, insecure teenager uncomfortable with my skinny, stick-like body so what he said really stung. I would try to tell myself that his words didn’t matter and that I was beautiful no matter what he said, but it wasn’t the same as hearing kindness from him. I felt almost like I didn’t quite exist. That I wasn’t important enough to say those things to.
Which explains my disbelief the first time my husband ever said something affectionate to me. Truthfully, the first few times my husband told me thought I was cute, I had to fight the doubt that he was just joking. I wasn’t used to getting attention from guys, much less from one I was interested in.
When he told me I looked pretty when I’d get dressed up for a date, it made me feel great. But I figured once a guy had won me over and I agreed to marry him, he wouldn’t feel a need to keep telling me. Plus, there was no way I was going to be wearing a full-face of makeup and heels every day of our marriage.
When my husband started to use those same kind, affectionate words regularly in our marriage, especially when I didn’t think I looked my best, I had to train my brain to accept his kind words as being sincere.
When he said “you’re cute,” he meant it. I felt seen, as though I existed and that my existence mattered to someone.
I never knew I could feel so valued and loved by a man. Knowing how wonderful his loving words make me feel, I never miss an opportunity to make my husband feel the same way, even if it’s just with a quick, “You look cute, too.”