He knows, truly, that I’m fierce and unbreakable.
My fiancé is a total gentleman.
And the feminist in me doesn’t mind that one bit.
He’s respectful and thoughtful, gives his undivided attention when you’re speaking to him and does little things here and there, just to remind me I’m well-loved.
While I adore each of these things, it’s often the things he doesn’t do which speak much louder to how he actually sees me.
Actions speak louder than words.
For example, if I’m walking through a forest in high-heeled boots, on the way to one of our gang’s summer bonfires, he’ll continue to walk ahead of me without looking back.
Late at night, he wouldn’t walk me home from his condo to my house a few blocks away.
If I’m angry or upset, he won’t immediately wrap me in his arms.
And it’s these actions that make me fall more deeply in love with him compared to all else.
These little actions may seem insignificant, but I can assure you they're not. Everyone can put on a front or a mask so that you see what you want to see.
More often than not, it's in the most subtle actions that we can see the real self someone is attempting to hide. The real motivations or beliefs that they don't want to make entirely, completely obvious.
I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship before -- I remember the mistakes I made of taking a person's word over their actions. When really, the actions would show and undermine the words they were saying.
My fiance is a respectful man -- but I don't mean that in the sense that he takes care of me and coddles me like a delicate little flower.
Because while the chivalry is beautiful (and I certainly don’t think it’s dead), what he doesn’t do for me means so much more than he’ll ever know.
He sees me for who I am, and exactly what I am capable of.
It’s the unspoken truth that makes my heart skip a beat and swoon– he sincerely knows, deep in his bones, how truly powerful I am.
Finding a partner like that, who doesn't see your womanhood as something that holds you back, but recognizes the strengths that come with who you are? That is an amazing, and I believe very special, kind of person to find.
He understands the feminist in me who resents a culture that prioritizes teaching women preventative measures against sexual assault, rather than properly training its boys to respect women the way they appropriately should.
He admires the independent fire in me; the fire which will only ask for help when I really need it, and otherwise doesn’t want it.
Because he knows that, with or without him, I’m going to be okay because I’m strong.
He knows, better than anyone, that I can take care of myself.
He knows I’ve been through the wringer, and that I’ve pieced myself back together again, long before he arrived.
He's been there for some of it, but most of it he wasn't there for. That said, he has been there to see the aftermath of everything I've been through. And believe me, the aftermath is where all the messiness and unpleasantness exists. Trauma is fun like that... not.
He respects my strength, he respects my tenacity, and he would never compromise an ounce of it just because others, or society, tell him he should act a certain way in order to be a gentleman.
I’m not saying he isn’t allowed to worry about me. I worry about him, all the time. Because that’s what it’s like when you love someone.
But he never lets his worry make him feel entitled enough to forcibly strip away my independence so that he can feel better about himself.
He’d much rather live in that discomfort, knowing that through his passiveness he is paying me the greatest and deepest of respects.
A woman who is a force to be reckoned with.
I love him most because he sees me more clearly, more brilliantly and more honestly than any other human being has seen me before.
Not helpless, not fragile, not dainty, or prideful, or weak.
But unquestionably, irrevocably, undoubtedly the most powerful and beautiful storm he’s ever laid eyes on.
There are many I've met who find a strong, outspoken and powerful woman as a threat. Something that is dangerous, or improper, or unlikeable. There are many who have told me that I am going to end up a lonely spinster because there's no man in the world who would be interested in "putting up with a difficult woman like me".
Because apparently, having ambition and passion and drive makes a woman "tough to put up with" or "inconvenient" to some.
But not o my fiance. No, not to him.
To him, my ambition and passion and drive make me a beautifully complex and attractive human being. They make me a worthy partner for him because he too has ambition and passion and drive. He doesn't feel entitled to carry these traits while denying them to me. No, no. Like a decent and appropriate human being, he encourages these aspects in me, as I do with him.
Because we are equals. Partners. Not one of us is better than the other. Not one of us is more worthy of opportunities than the other.
We are equally capable and entitled to accessing the splendours of life and the fruits of our successes.
Finding a partner who fully believes that? Someone who is cheering for me as much as I am for them, and celebrates my successes rather than feeling intimidated by them?
And I’ll never be able to thank him enough for it.