To my lovely husband and the father of my three children,
I'll never forget the first time you said I was beautiful.
I was 17 years old and you were 18. We'd only known each other for a week and I was feeling run down from a cold. I was wearing layers and layers of clothing - each layer adding to my warmth but also to my insecurity. I felt far from beautiful that day. All I remember feeling is discomfort due to my blocked nose and how sluggish my body felt.
You knocked on the front door of my house and I reluctantly opened it. My first words, were, "I know, I know. I look ugly."
You shook your head and smiled, "No, you look beautiful."
I wasn't wearing any make-up. My hair was a mess. My layers of clothing had added two dress sizes onto me. But you took this opportunity to make me feel good about myself.
That day when you first said I was beautiful, I knew I had met a very special person. I knew I'd met someone who would always see me for who I am inside. Not how I look on the outside. And what I knew then - I still know now.
Next year, we'll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary. In six months' time, it'll be our 7 year wedding anniversary.
You still call me beautiful even when I've just woken up. You turn to me and you smile. You place your hands onto my face and say how happy you are to have me.
Even when I had four wisdom teeth extracted and my face was all puffed up and swollen, you said I looked beautiful. You were helping me replace the ice packs on my face and you smiled because you said you liked looking after me.
You've always loved my pregnant body. Your face always beamed with pride knowing that I was carrying our baby. You never cared how much weight I put on and how my body had changed. You always told me that I was beautiful when I had each of our three children growing inside of me. You always came to the antenatal appointments and tightly clutched my hands when our baby came up on the screen. You always left the room smiling.
I want to thank you for loving me for me. For not caring how I look, how I dress. Thank you for being so kind, so considerate, so thoughtful throughout the 8 and a half years that we've been together.
I tell you every day that I appreciate how hard you work for our family. How proud I am to be your wife.
But today, I'm saying it to the whole world.
I want these words to stay with you for the rest of your life. I want you to know I appreciate all the support you've given me with my writing career. The hours you've spent wiping away my tears when I was ready to give up on my dreams. The hours you've spent telling me that you believe in me and persuading me not to give up.
I want to thank you for loving me even when I struggled to love myself.
Thank you for always loving our children as well. For teaching our kids how to play the guitar and how to roller blade. For reading to our girls. For the family photo frame that you proudly have sitting on your desk at work.
When I was a child, I always wondered how I would know I was really in love. Would there be signs? How would I know that I had found the person that I was going to love for the rest of my life?
Well, for me, I knew the day you first called me beautiful. The day when I'd only known you for a week and you smiled at me like you were already falling in love. Like you saw who I was on the inside and you didn't want to let me go.
I knew I had found someone whose babies I'd feel proud to carry. Who'd appreciate all that I did and treat me as an equal. Who I'd want to sleep next to for the rest of my life.
Thank you for believing I'm beautiful - whether I'm a (Australian) size 8 or size 12, whether I'm wearing track pants or a cocktail dress, whether I'm wearing make-up or not.
Thank you for loving me for who I am.
As often as you call me beautiful, I believe you're just as beautiful.
I'm so proud to be married to you.
Thuy Yau is a freelance writer who loves spreading positivity through her work. She is very passionate about psychology and personal development. Her writing has appeared on major Australian news sites and been discussed on radio. She lives in Perth, Australia with her husband and three young children. Check out her motivational blog at Inside a Mother's Mind.