When we express our ultimate words of love for our ultimate loved one, are we expressing the words they need to hear, or the ones we need to hear?
For years I have been letting Maggie know how much I love her and want us to be together for all time. This, I always believed, was the ultimate reassurance and expression of love for her. Surely she should realise that if I only ever wanted to be with her, it would help to soothe away her fears and anxieties.
But while she was clearly pleased to hear this, it didn’t do the job I felt it should. In her times of worry and stress, I would let her know more frequently, or with more intensity, that I was here for her, that she was not alone. Somehow, though, it was never quite enough and I would despair at being unable to give her the emotional security she so desperately needed.
Over the 17 years we have been together our souls have grown more and more entwined. I cannot think of a worse thing than to be separated from her. Together we can cope with anything; apart I feel I could not survive.
Yet it wasn’t until the other day that I had a blinding flash of the obvious: all this time I have been trying to support and reassure Maggie against my biggest fear rather than hers, which is subtly different.
Maggie doesn’t fear being alone in the same way I do; her biggest fear is that if people knew who she really was, were able to look deep into her soul, they would not like her, would not want to be with her, would be incapable of loving her. And then she would be truly alone.
But I do know Maggie. I know her desires, her insecurities, her dreams, her pleasures, her fears, her loves and her guilts. I know Maggie better than anyone else in the world; sometimes I know her better that she knows herself. I have looked deep into her soul, many, many times. I know exactly who she is, and I am deeply, powerfully and eternally in love with her.
So finally I realise it is not enough for me to proclaim my love and let her know I will always be there for her; I also need to remind her that I do know exactly who she is inside. And that she is worthy of that love.