We are all (generally) aware of the sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
While Browning’s words are nice, they’re her words. My husband recently sent me a text message, simply stating “Thought experiment: Why do you stick with me?”
I almost responded with a smart remark like, “I’m not with you now, I’m across the country,” or “Because I lost that bet, and am true to my word.” Instead, I figured it would give me some good fodder to write something. (Especially because the text I started to write in response was quickly becoming e-mail length and growing.)
In response to my husband:
I love your creative spark, and the light in your eyes from it when you have a new idea to build your media empire. I love your dedication, not only to me, but to all that you do – even when I question your dedication to certain clients or projects, you maintain your loyalty to them. Although you are self-conscious of it, I love that little spot on your chin where you can’t grow a beard. It’s a soft part of your face I can snuggle my forehead against without having to deal with stubble burn. I love that you are the most gentle of giants, but that that gentle demeanor can turn to a hulk to stand in protection if anyone threatens those that you love. I love that you always push me to do things I normally wouldn’t do, and that you have challenged me to push my own boundaries. I love that when I’m with you I feel that the world around me disappears and I can spend, if even just briefly, that moment with you and only you. I love how you hold me in the crook of your arm while you read graphic novels on your tablet and I drift off to sleep. I love you, not because of one or two little things, but for all that you are.