He takes me for granted

Posted on January 24, 2013 by

I was looking particularly beautiful this morning, but my husband didn’t notice.

He smiled at me blandly, the same way he does every morning. Then he reached for the cup of coffee and newspaper I’d placed on his spot, the same way he does every morning. While I was serving apple pancakes and  packing everyone’s lunches, he read aloud to me the bits he found particularly ridiculous or funny, the same way he does every morning. He didn’t look twice at me when he kissed me good-bye, the same way he does every morning.

Some things never change. Thankfully.

You see, my husband didn’t notice my beauty this morning, but he also took no mind of my sloppy — no, revolting —  appearance last week. Bed-ridden with the flu. Feverish and nauseous, drenched in sweat, and alternating coughing up phlegm and vomiting up chamomile tea. He took no notice of how disgusting I was, and simply checked my temperature, helped me change out of my newest, sweatiest nightshirt, and brought me a fresh cup of tea and some ibuprofen before heading off to work. He didn’t look twice at me when he kissed me good-bye, the same way he does every morning.

This used to drive me absolutely bonkers. I married quite young and am prone to vanity, and there are few things so tiresome as a pretty, young wife. Doesn’t he appreciate me? Doesn’t he feel jealous? Doesn’t he notice how attractive I am, like other men do? Not usually, no. He takes me for granted, and always has.

This is not because he doesn’t love me deeply, but simply because I am such a large and steady part of his life that he doesn’t have to contemplate me very often. How often, after all, are we truly grateful for the air we breath, or the fact that water runs out of the tap when we turn the knob, or that our car starts when we turn the key, or that our arms are still attached to our bodies when we wake up in the morning? Sometimes we take pains to be grateful for these things, but mostly they are simply there. The most important things in our lives are the very things we take for granted — the very things we’d miss most if they disappeared. But they are so ubiquitous that we’d have time for little else if we spent all day appreciating them.

My husband takes me for granted because I’m part of his life. I’m part of his future. When he talks about where he wants to live and what he wants to do in ten years, he takes it for granted that I’m to be included in his plans. He is not secretly plotting to trade me in for a new wife when my health fades or my breasts lose their perpetual battle against gravity. He’s not looking for a new woman, just as he’s not looking for a new arm.

But sometimes… sometimes, when I least expect it… when I least crave it… he surprises me. When he came home from work and I opened the door and waited for him to kiss me, as he always does, he stood there for a moment and just looked at me. “I forget sometimes. I forget how pretty you are.” Then he smiled and came into the house. As he always does.

I’m lucky enough to be able to take him for granted, too.

Posted in: Gender Dynamics