By Brie Gowen
I sat on the living room couch, and my husband just home from work sat on the floor with our six year old daughter. Their backs were to me, but I listened in to their conversation. At each question and answer I became more and more aware of how things had changed in the relationship between my husband and I. His attention, fully focused on our daughter, with me in the background, and the scene was far removed from the one set twenty years ago when I first fell in love with him.
Back then it was the guitar. There’s just something about a man playing a guitar. Maybe it’s not like that for you, but for me I went weak in the knees at a man who could handle a strat confidently. Even to this day I’d say my favorite sound is the particular one of fingers sliding across frets. When my husband, even before he was my husband, used to serenade me while he strummed his guitar I went all goo-goo eyes for sure. He could play so well. I loved that about him. Now he hardly ever plays.
I remember when I first saw him strumming his electric acoustic on stage I felt an attraction. He was tall, thin, and had this long, dark hair. The lights glistened off his luxurious locks, and his strong features were complimented by the stray hair that fell across his eyes while he bent down over his instrument to perform. I was smitten from the moment I first laid eyes on him, and many dates consisted of me just playing with that hair. I loved it. Now it’s gone an almost dull salt and pepper color. Definitely more salt than pepper, I would say.
When we were younger we would run to watch movies at the theater all day, or take a long road trip without any definite plan of where we’d end up. He was spontaneous, fun, and like most others, I was drawn to him. He had a playful spirit, a peculiar light that emanated from within, and knew how to make you have the best of times doing absolutely nothing. We could drive around for hours listening to the radio and never bore of the mundane. I loved that about him. I can’t imagine us running off for a quiet car ride nowadays.
I sat on the couch and I listened to my husband (the man I had fallen in love with twenty years ago) speak softly to my firstborn. “Do you understand what it means to say you want Jesus to come into your heart?”
I watched in joy as this man I had loved almost forever spoke about Christ with our daughter, and I knew I would continue to love him forever. Through all the changes, growing pains, loss, and turmoil the past two decades had brought us, I loved him still. And watching him lead our child to a personal relationship with Jesus I realized I loved him even more. I loved the way he led his family. I loved the way he fathered our girls. I loved the way he appreciated me, and I loved that he let me know he did. I especially loved his salt and pepper hair.
I loved our life together, and though it was far different from the way it was at the beginning, I knew it was better. I even knew the best had yet to come. We had matured together, endured together, created life together, and prayed together. We had fought, and then made up. We had made mistakes, and then we had forgiven. We had learned that life changes people and things, but it never changes the heart of the one you love.
Looking back to that day when I first glimpsed my teenage, future husband strumming his guitar, I never knew it would be like this. I thought I loved his talent, his handsome face, or the way he looked in those jeans! I never realized I would love the way he fiercely protected his daughters, or the way he worried about us when we were out of his sight. I never knew I’d melt with affection when he helped strangers in need, or when he told Bible stories to our girls.
Forever in my memory now will be watching my strong, Godly partner lead our child to salvation. The way he seasoned his words with kindness, insight, and especially love. The way he spoke truth, adoration, and guidance. The way his eyes glistened with emotional tears as they prayed together, and how the stray hairs fell across his forehead in a dashingly handsome way. The contented smile on his face afterwards. The way he looked at me across the room.
I never knew I would love this about my husband, but I now know I always will.