the boy that never smiles

  • originally posted january 2014

When I met my husband last May, I noticed a feature of his that was quite odd. Whenever he would smile, he would quickly catch himself doing so and immediately stop. His face would go cold, almost like he wouldn’t allow himself the pleasure of grinning. As you can imagine, I asked him about it often. “Why do you keep stopping yourself from smiling?” or “Why can’t you just let yourself enjoy the moment? Smile, it’s okay!” His answers came in the form of glares and smirks, I guess because he didn’t really know why he did what he did.

By June, I thought I had it figured out. He didn’t want to let himself be happy; he was scared of that vulnerability. It was almost like he was expecting backlash for smiling, so he wanted to take it away before I had the chance to chastise him.

It went from being silly, something I laughed off, to being something very sad. My heart was heavy for him. I wanted my love to not only be happy, but to feel safe being happy. Nothing bad was going to happen to him if he smiled big … but only time would tell if he could believe that or not.

Then a funny thing happened last month. I was sitting on the couch and a realization came to me. I turned to my husband and said, “You smile now.”

“What?” he asked, confused.

“Well remember how you used to always stop when you caught yourself smiling?”

“Yeah.”

“You don’t do that anymore. You smile now.”

It was a beautiful revelation. My husband not only felt happy, but he felt safe. When he smiles now, he smiles that big smile that makes me fall in love with him even more. He smiles that big smile that lights up his eyes. He smiles that big smile that lets me see the little boy in him.

And he never stops.