I think about the eyes of love often. It was something that my husband and I would speak about every now and then throughout our marriage. It’s that view we have of the person we are with. It’s formed over time and through experience and it shapes our perception and vision of the one we love. For my husband and me, time may have marched on all around us, but when we looked at each other what we saw was far more than a visual image. It went beyond physical presence, beyond countenance, into a deep intimacy borne through time and familiarity. Although we saw each other, we did so through a lens of shared love and experience. We saw the inner person, while most of the world at a glance would only see the casing.
I remember as a kid I had a friend, Eleanor, whose parents were much older. Eleanor had been unexpected, an only child, arriving when her parents were in their mid to late 40s. I remember being fascinated that anyone could have ever found her father attractive. He was round and wrinkled and balding. Yet Eleanor’s mother absolutely adored him. He was the air she breathed. I know now when Eleanor’s mother looked at her husband, she saw the young man she married, the father of her child and a lifetime of shared experiences. What confounded me as a teenager is now crystal clear.
I was fortunate in my marriage that, despite a few rocky patches, we never lost the eyes of love. My husband was not a romantic by any means, but occasionally he could turn a remarkable phrase that would melt my heart. When he did, I knew it was because he was looking at me through the eyes of love. He had told me sometime after our first grandchild was born that I was his past, his present and his future. I realize that I shared this honour with family and friends, but I knew what he was trying to say: Because we met and were and continued to be, we had both a history and a future – as long as we looked at each other through the eyes of love.