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The Look of Love
© Debbie Porter 29th January, 2005

"If you’ll just take a seat in here, we’ll be out in a moment."

The faux gilt antique chair looked anything but comfortable, but was certainly in keeping with the character and nature of the room. Being an obedient person, I did as I was asked and plonked myself down to wait.

A quick scan of my new surroundings was a little disconcerting – after all, what 44-year-old woman enjoys seeing her image multiplied an infinite number of times as a multitude of mirrors bounce it around the room?

Not this 44-year-old woman, that’s for sure!

Finding something non-reflective to look at, I started to think back to the last time I’d been in a shop like this. The first and last time, for that matter. It had been 23 years ago, and back then the occupants of the mirrored room and uncomfortable chairs had been my mother and future mother-in-law. In some ways, it felt like a lifetime ago … yet in other ways it seemed like only yesterday.

Just then the rustle of someone walking into the room momentarily interrupted my trip down memory lane. There, dressed in a cloud of white and beaming with joy, stood Kylie, my daughter.

The tears sprang unbidden and unexpectedly to my eyes as I absorbed the first sight of my daughter as a bride-to-be.

With satisfaction, Kylie called over her shoulder to the assistant behind, "I told you she’d cry, didn’t I?"

My daughter knew me better than I knew myself. Brushing the tears quickly away, I smiled and marveled at this glowing vision of loveliness floating across the floor. The vast array of mirrors finally had an image worth reflecting more than once, and every angle was displayed to perfection.

A million memories came rushing back of that day when I was standing in Kylie’s place. That once in a lifetime moment when a girl first truly sees herself as a bride – a woman about to step across the threshold from the world that she knows, to a world that is yet to be revealed.

How is it possible that a white dress and veil are able to have such an impact on our hearts and minds? After all, what are the ingredients? A swag of material, a bit of netting, some crystal and pearl beads and a little headpiece – could they really hold so much power?

Of course when combined with the creative artistry of a talented designer, these individual things become something exceptionally special. However, it’s so much more than just that – and that "so much more" is when each of those elements are brought together, and then combined with what can only be described as "the look of love".

That look was in Kylie’s eyes; radiating out with such brilliance that everyone around was drawn to stop for just one brief moment and bask in its rays. It was captivating, with all its innocence, excitement and yet to be realized expectations.

I remember the first time I wore my own dream of a dress – a lacy confection that could easily have sprung from the wardrobe of Gone with the Wind – and I remember wearing "the look". At the time, I had thought it was the fulfillment of everything I’d ever wanted … when in fact it was only the beginning.

Today, more than two decades down the road, the dress and that particular look no longer fit – although I suspect I’d have more success squeezing into my old gown, than I would at manufacturing "the look".

I know that there are some women who still get butterflies in their tummies whenever their husbands walk into the room – but I’m not one of them, and I don’t think I’m alone. I just don’t have that same "look" anymore; in fact, I think I lost it somewhere in those very early years of marriage when two lives struggled to merge into unity.

Yet, having said that, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t throw away what I have now for all the rose-colored glasses and dewy eyed visions in the world. For my daughter, right at this point in time, the look of love in her eyes is perfect … and for me, the look of love that is in my eyes, forged in the fires of 23 years of marriage, is also perfect – quite different, but still perfect.

Now when I look at my husband, I don’t see a man who has to fit my ideals or come up to my standards. I see someone who, just like me, is one of God’s unique creations and works in progress.

There’s no fear in that "look" anymore either. I’ve discovered that forgetting to put Steve’s work clothes in the dryer so that they’ll be ready the next morning, is not a divorceable offense. The years have shown that in our marriage, grace goes a long way – on both sides! With the constant giving of grace, even when we’re a little annoyed, there comes the blessing of peace, security and strength.

The "look of love" I wear today is one that comes from knowing that we’ve already walked some hard roads together, and will keep walking, hand in hand, until death do us part. We signed on for this journey together the moment we said, "I do," and we’re committed to seeing it through.

But perhaps the greatest thing to change the look of love that fills my eyes and heart today is the inclusion of a third member into our relationship – and that’s God. The day that we invited Him into our lives, we also invited Him into our marriage – whether we realized that at the time or not.

Without Him, there would be no acceptance of my husband’s own unique part of this journey. There would be no grace to forgive and no freedom to make mistakes. There would be no peace, no security and no assurance for tomorrow.

Yes, for Steve and me, the look of love has come from understanding the words of King Solomon when he wrote:

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV ~

God, Steve and me – a cord of three strands, held together by grace, commitment, trust, faith, honor, and most important of all, love.
Debbie Porter has encouraged, inspired and entertained thousands of men and women around the world through her writing since June, 2000. Her greatest desire is to encourage and build up the people of God to believe in their God given potential and to step into everything they were created to be. Deb lives with her husband and two teenagers in Sydney, Australia. You can contact Debbie through the "Your Letters" page of FaithWriters’ Magazine, or by visiting her website at http://www.breathfreshair.org