I’ll never be one to write a love song because that is not how I show up in the world.
But I can certainly write a love story.
So, this is a love story.
I’ll never stop writing about her because from the day she said “yes” and “I do”, our life together continues to get better and better.
You don’t build something beautiful and long-lasting by avoiding the painful and difficult, you walk through these together.
Because no matter what happens, at the centre of our lives and existence, there is good. Everlasting good. A God who is working for our good. And his grace is more than enough for all that we may face.
And for the short time that I am here on this earth, hello!
I will write love stories about her.
I am a better man because of her. Stronger and vulnerable. Focussed and with loftier ambition. Joyful, wonderful, all because
Boys shouting. Two of them wrestling. It’s too tame to call fighting. There is always a competition of some sort. First vs second, second vs third, third vs first and all against mum and dad.
Paper planes on the floor everywhere. Dishes strewn, clean ones of course, and no one to put them away. The dog wanders without aim, she’s nervous too. Nowhere to lie. A boy wails, one pleads innocence, desperate to not lose electronic privileges, his grip tight around my arm. Another stands silent — he knows the truth. Restlessness. Hunger pangs. It’s nearly midday. Saturday, our rest day. But it doesn’t feel peaceful.
And then she enters.
The sweetness of her perfume, the freshness in her demeanor — she’s had a break from the madness of boys, me included. An intentional move of rest from the organised chaos and entropy of our lives. Her face relaxes into a grin. That smile, oh that smile. She loves me beyond the beautiful mess of our lives right now. Our love transcends the seasons. I’m sure she still sees the 19-year-old in me. Cigarette in mouth, hat backward, an unlikely doctor and dad back then but certainly bad-boy boyfriend material. Her face reflects it. She knows where we’ve come from. Our jokes, some of them 22 years old. Butterflies in my stomach always with her touch, our love story is still being written.
Her presence shifts the energy in the room. How could it not?
For she’s mum and she’s provider. She’s Chief Justice and the Finance Minister. Event organiser and soccer coach. She’s Cake Artist and Practice manager. She’s triage nurse and first responder. She’s Master Chef and Mathematics tutor. She’s proofreader and bedtime storyteller. She’s lover and she’s best friend. She’s wise and quiet but ferocious when she needs to be. She’s everything we could ever ask for in this life.
In her there is mercy. A deep well of reliable understanding and love. It’s a cushion for the blows in life, for what they may face in the future. It is probably why they always choose that side of the bed at night. Their pain, unsettled sleep, worrisome dreams, she’s the remedy for them all. Mum.
The softness of her voice melts the tension in the room. Her scent, intoxicating. Her energy — It’s calming. It’s restful. It’s unhurried love. No one has bothered to shower except me — a husband in training, a man who is still learning to love his beautiful wife and lead this raucous brood of boys.
The simple is significant. The significant embedded into our daily dance. Love, laugh, enjoy, forgive, repair, recline, and awe-filled worship of our God and the fun stuff. Let’s not forget the fun stuff. Butterflies again….
17 years is nothing but neither is 50 if it’s been the one day on repeat, the same day after “I do”. Those who boast about numbers never get a thought in my book. For the husbands I admire deeply are better men because of their wives and they aren’t afraid to admit it.
The look in their eyes, their voice as it cracks, the tears of joy as they talk and think about their wives. This is marriage. Tell me more….
The strength of their lives is their marriage.
They’ve learned about forgiveness and the importance of apology. Walked through suffering, their worst days, and sailed together through the stormy seas of an unpredictable world.
They repair what is broken between them.
They love on purpose, with intention and delight.
It’s not a show but the boring on the outside and beautiful on the inside dance of marriage across the seasons.
A plain and simple life is a full life — Proverbs 13:7 (TPT)
For I’ve seen it before, in my work at the end of life. It’s in the way that they look at each other, the way they sit and hold each other, bracing themselves for the news and what is to come. True love overcoming fear. “We’re in this together, tied forever, you and I”. Perhaps it’s the clarity that death brings which makes me ask myself, why can’t I live this way all the time? With that heightened attention, with that degree of intimacy?
But then I acknowledge what I have now. And it’s unmistakable. It’s a wonder beyond words. It’s sublime because,
I don’t know when it became the case always, but her presence is calming, a replenishment to us all. I am teaching my three how to love, honour, and obey her. To treat her as precious and one to behold. Their mother. My wife. Our Kylie.
They must know how much she means to me. Silent hugs and forehead kisses. Lively conversation — a dialogue rich in laughter. Humour. Wisdom. Generosity. Dreaming of life created together and a world different because she said: “I do”.
I’ll never know why men complain or their words hang disrepute and dishonour on the one they say they love. It all matters. Your words matter. It reflects a heart apart from their beloved. And it makes it easy for me to decide on my friendship with you.
A surface-level intimacy. One tainted with anger, shame perhaps, and now contempt, fertile ground for the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is not ever where I want to live.
So I am intentional, always.
For a man who talks to his wife and about her in this way cannot be trusted. He is a dangerous man. Lost perhaps. Sad I wonder? Deeply insecure I imagine. And most definitely not in my circle of trusted advisors. But there is redemption and hope, there always is. A path back through apology, recognition of hurt, and a promise of change. Serve, obey and honour— that is love. Marriage love.
Marriage is growth.
Two lives joined together, moulded into one. An adventure through the seasons. A celebration of the depths of intimacy. The beauty of oneness. Life’s edges are smoother, sweeter and brighter because you are together, united as one.
And for us, in everything that we’ve faced, she’s more beautiful to me than ever. My priority over doctoring and even our three. Because I know the strength of my life, begins and ends with how I love my wife. It is what my God has asked me to do.
I am a better doctor because I am a better husband first.
I am the better dad because I am a better husband first.
I am a passionate advocate and justice seeker because I am a better husband first.
My strategy in this life is thus simple.
It is black and white to me.
It begins with the first priority which is intimately tied to the second
Love God & love Kylie.
I want to do a TED Talk, love Kylie first. I want to write a book, love Kylie first. I want to raise these boys into men who will change the world, love Kylie first. I want to buy a Black Tesla Model S Plaid, love Kylie first. I want to…..love Kylie first.
And this is all because,
The boys gather around her. She draws them away from their play, I mean fighting. The meanness subsides. Their shouting stops. She doesn’t respond to their anger. That’s not how you talk to her. The barrier of entry into her world is much higher than that. It is calm. It’s soft, it’s healing, it’s gentle, it’s gratitude, it’s polite, it’s wonder and it’s awe.
Little does she know that she’s training them. This is the barrier of entry into a woman’s world. It’s not by power, it’s not by force, it’s not by anger nor by the strength of your will. We both want our three to write their own love story and we know it begins with ours.
Soon they’re settled. Munching. Crunching. The sweet silence of mealtime. But this is not a story about her cooking. Her kitchen creations. Her unlimited creativity. But if it was, I’d write words to describe the wonderous heights of deliciousness the five of us have shared.
But I want you to know that that is an expression of a woman free to be her own, exploring, lifting the lid, setting new standards, pushing boundaries, living on the edge of discovery, and writing her own story. Safe and secure, loved and cherished, esteemed and respected.
I had to demolish my insecurity in the years since I married her. I had to rid myself of the old channels and pathways of defunct thinking. I am a husband in training.
The real work of marriage sits between the commitments of life, its seasons, and its surprises.
It’s in how you respond to the little things, to the daily insignificances which compound if not addressed.
It’s in how you repair when you’ve hurt one another, how you return to love, forgive, forget and learn to dream again.
For me it came down to this:
Everything and anything to preserve her dignity.
As woman, wife, mother, businesswoman, advocate, justice-seeker, and child of God.
All my words and actions have consequences.
I recognise a person’s dignity at the end of their life, for this is what I do each day. Preservation of their memory, their personhood, their legacy, their spirit, despite what is happening to their body.
In the same way, this is the focus of my marriage.
For her dignity is in the way she carries herself. Her wholeness, her hurt, her troubles, her joy, her peace, her stability and most of all her beauty…I know I play part in it all.
It’s seen as the sadness or joy in her eyes. The spontaneity of her laughter or the flatness of her affect. The lightness in her step and the warmth of her embrace.
It all changed for me when I reordered my priorities — marriage is a lifetime of learning and I am a husband in training.
Love Kylie on purpose.
Serve her with everything that I have.
Obey what God is teaching you.
This makes her beautiful.
This makes her shine.
For sometimes husband forget and I know that I do too.
We make our wives beautiful each day by the way we love, serve, submit and obey.
I know it’s a strange thing to say. But she’s made to feel beautiful first on the inside before it’s stunning for us all to see.
Anything and everything to preserve her dignity.
Perfection isn’t our goal, but mastery.
A beautiful marriage. A dance to behold. An unmistakable rhythm of life and love. A life of rich simplicity because
She smiles at me. Butterflies again. She wraps her arms around my waist and draws me close from the side. She rests her head between my neck and chest. That’s her spot. It’s comfort. It’s peace. It’s our equilibrium. The place we return to each day and how we face the world.
Our gaze settles on the three before us. They’ve somehow arranged themselves, oldest to youngest, abnormally tall to shortest, cutest to….no. They’re friends again. Laughing, joking, unaware they are actually enjoying each other’s presence. Brothers. Best-friends. Band of warriors. Boy-gang.
I feel her exhale. Her warm breath lingers a little longer than usual across my chest. I know she’s smiling by the way she nestles closer. It’s playful and innocent, it’s her. My Kylie.
There isn’t a month that passes that I don’t reflect on where we’ve come from.
I still remember our first kiss — Sunday, August 1st, 1999, 22 years ago today.
I cannot believe that we are here — parents to three healthy boys, living in the country and working together. I love the adventure, the story that God is writing with ours lives.
If you never stop to reflect, you never realise how far you’ve come and what you’ve built. To appreciate her beauty, how sexy she is, and the grace by which she moves, oh those butterflies get me every time.
For me, reflection is the foundation of who i am – this why I write.
It is at the centre of gratitude. Thanksgiving. Praise. Joy and worship. It is the only way to live your life fully.
For some, what we’ve built is only but a dream and I acknowledge that.
I realise that even words cannot express how I feel about her, but I’ll try. For the rest of my life, I will.
I told this story to my friend Cheryl a few years ago when she asked me “how was your weekend?”.
I described to her how the atmosphere changes when Kylie arrives home and how beautiful that moment is.
As I talked, I noticed Cheryl wiping a tear from her eye — apparently, my stories have that effect on people.
But her emotion and what she said after lingered and prompted me to write this piece, “She’s beautiful”.
She said, “I know he loves me and I’d love for him to be able to say those things about me”.
See I think as men and women who love and cherish our spouses, we may struggle with putting into words how we truly feel.
And sometimes it helps to read and hear another person reflect on their marriage because it may lead us consider our relationship and see our love story reflected through the lens of another.
Writing is thinking.
If you can put together a coherent thought about why you love your wife/spouse/partner/husband / significant other, you can write a love letter and say these things to your beloved.
And if anyone is interested, I can teach you how to do this — I do think there is more here — “She’s Beautiful”.
But if you would like to start now, begin with this thought and meditate on it.
“She’s (Or He’s) beautiful (wonderful) because…..”, and simply write.
You’ll be amazed at what you come up with.
If you are still having trouble, let me know and I can teach you.
I plan to write a number prompts “She’s beautiful in the seasons, She’s beautiful in work, She’s beautiful as she creates, She’s beautiful as mum…”.
And if you’d like a “She’s beautiful” mug…let me know too!
Dr. Jonathan Ramachenderan
Enjoy your health