The many ways we say, "I love you"
How often do you count the ways you love your spouse? In the beginning of a relationship, you may flood each other with tokens of your feelings, but as time goes by, there are new ways to say "I love you." Author T. W. Winslow explains.
Love lettersWhen my wife and I were first dating (more years ago than I'd like to admit), we frequently exchanged love letters, little romantic gifts, and other such things to express how much we cared for each other. With the passing years, though our love has grown immensely, the number of love letters and such has decreased considerably. I guess that's typical in most long term relationships.
When relationships are new, we tend to express our love in dramatic ways - through cards, flowers, love letters and other romantic gestures. This is wonderful and is part of what makes a new romance so fun and exciting. But this romantic exuberance is difficult to maintain. The expressions of love, which were so common initially, dwindle with time as our lives and relationships grow increasingly complicated and we focus on more than just the one we love.
This isn't to say we love our partners any less. In fact for most, our love and commitment only deepens with time. But if this is true, why then don't we continue to flood our partners with expressions of our love? Perhaps we feel these things are no longer necessary - that our partners should know how we feel. Maybe as our lives become more complicated, we find it difficult to make time for such things. Or it just might be possible our expressions of love haven't really slowed, but rather have merely changed and become less obvious.
See if some of these don't ring a bell:
- Reading the note your partner left for you on the kitchen counter telling you to be careful driving as the roads may be icy.
- Getting a call from them at the office for no reason at all.
- Trying out a new recipe and having them eat every bite, even when you know it wasn't very good.
- The simple act of going to work each morning, and coming straight home each night.
- Passing up that fancy red sports car you've had your eye on, and buying that ugly mini-van instead.
- Cleaning the house or making dinner because you know your partner needs a break.
- Telling them it's "okay," even when it's not.
- Listening intently to a story you've heard a hundred times before.
- Pulling the covers over them in the middle of the night.
- Not eating the last cookie in the jar.
- Stroking their hair while they sleep.
- Holding hands in front of your friends.
- Not noticing his thinning hair.
- Continuing to think she's still a size five.
- Not throwing out his favorite sweatshirt, even though its faded and tattered.
- Remembering to pick up bread on your way home from work.
- Having them come to your rescue when you've locked your keys in the car - again, and not make you feel silly because of it.
- The way they make you feel like the most attractive person in the room, even when you know you're not.
- Just knowing they are there for you, and you for them - each and every day.
These things may not be as romantic as a love letter or as exciting as being surprised with a dozen roses, but they do say just as loudly, "I love you."