Falling in love is one of those magical experiences where we feel butterflies in our stomach, our heart flutters, and we feel nearly weightless in our own body. The moment the person you love tells you they love you is hands down unforgettable. It doesn’t even have to be all romantic and mushy-gushy like in the movies. Hearing “I love you” from the person you love is special regardless of where you are and what you’re doing in that moment.
Then what? Your boyfriend/girlfriend said they love you and you said it back (hopefully!?!)…cool. Sooo, does this mean we’re going to text each other “I love you” before going to bed every night? Or when we wake up every morning? Or every time we say goodbye on the phone or in person? Saying “I love you” becomes habitual and sometimes we might say it without even realizing it (of course we mean it, but that’s beside the point). And then it becomes so much a part of our everyday greetings, “goodbyes”, and “goodnights” that if the other person doesn’t reciprocate we might feel well…a little disappointed. Let’s avoid that disappointment all together. Let’s stop habitually reciprocating “I love you” all the time. Let’s start making the words “I love you” as meaningful as we can by choosing not to use them like the Boy Who Cried Wolf.
What if we all started saying “I love you” less? It might sound odd but let’s think about it. Relationships can reach a stage where both parties are fully aware of the love the other person has for them. So is it necessary to constantly tell a person that you love them when they in fact already know you do? Well, obviously don’t stop saying it all together, but it becomes more meaningful to show your love rather than just say those three words. Hold their hand, kiss them passionately, surprise them with their favorite candy, or write them a letter telling them all the things you love about them. Sometimes it just takes a look to know that the other person is thinking how much they love you. We all want to feel loved mentally and emotionally, not just physically.
Substituting those three special words with acts of love will heighten the meaning of “I love you” when we do say it. Imagine feeling the way you felt the first time your boyfriend/girlfriend told you they loved you every time they say it. Who wouldn’t want that?! How realistic is this really?? I don’t know yet, but I think we should experiment to find out. So, I challenge all of you in a relationship to try this out. Don’t be so quick to respond “I love you” back. Smile, give them a kiss, or even be a little sassy and say “I know” (maybe with a winky face 😉 on the side). If they are at work and tell you they miss you, instead of just saying “miss you too, love you”, show your affection by calling them later, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
We might surprise ourselves and actually enjoy saying “I love you” less and showing it more. And if this all goes well, there’s the comfort. The comfort in knowing you’re in a relationship where it’s okay to not tell each other “I love you” seventeen times a day. The comfort in knowing you are both secure enough to have one person say it and the other just take it in.
Challenge accepted? Good luck!