I’ve been saying my wife is out of my league and too good for me for 10 solid years, ever since we started dating. Because…well, look at her and look at me. Many guys express similar sentiments about their wives, and we genuinely mean it as a compliment. Unfortunately, it’s a sentiment that’s really started to harm our marriage.
Background: the same scene has played out in a similar fashion over the years no matter where we go and who we meet. MJ’s beauty turns heads as she enters a room and attracts more than her fair share of attention. It’s not uncommon for strangers on a train to stop her and tell her exactly how gorgeous she is out of left field, even when I’m sitting right there. And speaking of me, I get looked at too. Only it’s very different.
They look at her, then they look at me. Once more at her, and then back to me with eyebrows raised. It’s the “Huh…how the hell did that happen?” look. Is he rich (he is not)? Is he famous (nope)? Did she lose a bet? Does he have her brainwashed? You get the point.
Even my friends, on our wedding day, asked her what the hell she was doing.
Did it sting? Yeah, it did. But instead of letting that show, I just embraced it and went with it. It became my go-to response and elicited laughs every time. Unfortunately, it stopped being a joke when, somewhere along the line, it became my reality.
I’d routinely ask MJ why she was with me. I’d demand to know how someone like her could possibly want to be with a schmuck like me. At first she’d give my ego a stroke and list out my good qualities, but that only lasted so long. Soon when I brought it up she’d just roll her eyes and say nothing. Until recently, when she had PLENTY to say about it.
“Do you have any idea how hurtful it is when you say that? First of all, women like confidence. I don’t want to hear about how awful you are and a list of everything you think is wrong with you as you throw yourself a pity party. Second, you have no idea how insulting it is to ME when you say these things about yourself. If you’re so clearly horrible and you have to constantly ask me why I married you, it makes me feel like an idiot for marrying someone I shouldn’t be married to, according to you. And if you tell someone the same thing long enough, they just might start to believe it.”
Whoa. She’s right. She’s 110% right in every way. And in a fit irony, I realized I now had a very concrete reason for feeling like an idiot.
Like many men, I spent a lot of time worried about leagues and whether I (as a self-described 5 on the 1 to 10 scale), had any business landing what I considered to be a hard 9 (if you need more info and a few laughs, check out this movie). But all those numbers, all those rankings — what a waste of time. Because come to find out, there are no leagues as far as my wife is concerned. The rankings don’t exist. They never did.
My raging insecurities put a genuine strain on my marriage. When I think of all the time I wasted basically trying to convince my wife I’m not good enough for her, I want to slap myself as I wonder “what the hell was I thinking?” But even worse, I’m sure I said some of that crap in front of my kids. Sam isn’t old enough to pick up on it, but Will sure is. So a few days ago when he said “Mom, you always look so pretty and dad doesn’t,” it didn’t surprise me at all. It just saddened me that I passed such a stupid message on to him.
Guys, our wives chose us for a reason. Hopefully, many reasons. We showed them love they never had, devotion they always wanted, and support they’ll always appreciate. And we’re attractive to them or else they wouldn’t be with us. We just need to realize it.