By Guest Blogger Pam Hondros

So I ordered this snazzy new “poppy” lip set from a friend who’s my “dealer” (like I pull up at her crib and she takes my money and next thing you know, a guy makes the drop…well, he’s the mailman but whatever). The day it arrived, as I folded towels on the kitchen counter, the temptation was too great. There it was…staring at me…a little red gift box, saying “Pam, come on … add some color to your lips…to your life. Be that woman who’s wearing accessories and peppermint flavored lip gloss when her husband comes home.” I hadn’t worn lip gloss since “Kissing Potion” but I remembered my smooth, shiny, 70’s lips, so off I went to the powder room to give it a go.

As I returned to my unfolded pile of laundry, I soon forgot my bell-bottom fantasies and that my poppy lips were still shiny (as long gone are the days when I sought out my reflection in the mirror, the toaster, the car bumper). Then…HE came in from the garage…my husband. “What’s wrong with your mouth?” Geez this guy.

Men. Boys. How in the world do we ever connect with THEM?! What criteria was I using when I decided to spend my life with THIS GUY???? When we were dating, I would say “I love you” as we would hang up the phone. He would say “Okay.” I finally asked him, “Why don’t you say ‘I love you’ back?” His answer…”I told you once. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.”!! Was this his sense of humor or his inability to express his feelings? Actually, it was his love language!

Seriously though, his less-than-smooth delivery and imperfections endear him to me. He’s tested my patience and I have passed. I have survived “girlhood” with its naive expectations of hand-holding and flower deliveries and “Hello Beautifuls” and have blossomed into a peaceful, satisfied, grown woman who prays to be seen thru a lens of grace and knows the need to extend it first.

But this didn’t come naturally. Experience…a particular experience taught me how to love my husband. It was something about a boy that profoundly changed my perspective on men…most thankfully, the way I see my husband.

See…I had a huge crush on this boy. We would go out. At dinner, this guy NEVER paid…he expected Me to drive…he was shorter than me…laughed as he announced his bodily functions…never noticed what I was wearing…didn’t ask me how my day was…and I knew that one day, he’d leave me and marry another girl. BUT…when he reached over in the car and took my hand…He Sent Me. He was just dreamy and for a moment…in that moment, he was all mine. My son. My man-sample. My obnoxious,inappropriate boy with a beautiful core that only his mom gets to see. A surprisingly sweet, occasionally salty, shorter version of my husband. They are one in the same. So often I see my husband in my son. More often, I see my son in my husband.

Women with husbands who are not perfect, let me offer my perspective as a boy-mom.

He was once the most beautiful thing his mom had ever seen. She hoped as he went off to school, that he would have friends who made him laugh. She’d look at him as he slept and pray that his future wife would love him this much…to see what she saw in him. With everything in her, she asked God to keep him safe…to keep the hurts limited only to those most necessary…and for a few loyal friends to lean on. She knew every flaw…every shortcoming…things he never knew that she knew…yet it never changed her love for him. Or maybe only deepened it. She saw as he grew that he wanted to be a man but that he was afraid for the world to see that he wanted to be reassured. She knew that sometimes pain or worry looked like anger or frustration. His mom knew that the weight of the world would be on those little shoulders at times and he would need someone to say “I’m so proud of you…you’re the best thing…the most beautiful thing … It’s gonna be ok and I love you more than anything on this earth. I will always be here.”

Now, when I look at my husband … and I see flaws and failures, I try to imagine all the prayers his mom said for him … Especially those that his wife would show him grace and see his core and how much he would need to hear a woman’s voice saying “You are my everything.”