Can you say the words “I Love You”?

Almost ten years ago, my husband and I were in route to Curacao for our honeymoon when we met an older couple that exuded a flirtatious and passionate love for one another. After a few minutes of conversation, we learned they had been married for some 50+ years. That’s a marital success not often heard of in today’s society. So how about you? Can you say the words “I Love You”? And if you can, DO YOU?

Before wishing us a lifetime of love and going on their way, this couple told Mark and I the secret to marital success.  I’m not sure why, but the secret they shared has been burned in my mind ever since.

Are you ready? Here it is: “Never stop taking showers together.”

What do you think? Do you remember the last shower you took with your spouse?

I remember mine. Let’s just say having small children in the home brings a whole new challenge to showering in privacy.  Also, taking a long hot shower where I don’t have to share the steamy, feel-so-great water with another body is sort of my 20-minute mommy escape.

Really though, I think it’s great advice.  But the secret to a lifetime of marital bliss? I’m not so sure. In fact, I’m of the opinion that many factors determine the success or failure of a marriage.

One of the most important factors I’ve mentioned before is having a trustful marriage.  I’ve also mentioned taking time to stay connected with your spouse on a daily and weekly basis through quiet time together, whether that time is spent in physical intimacy or just talking.

Perhaps our new honeymoon friends found their time in the shower to be their daily connect time. In hindsight, I feel like what I should have asked them is “how often do you say I love you.” I mean, I can’t help but think about my parents here. They divorced when I was young, but even in their other marriage’s I never witnessed them say “I love you” to their spouse.

How about in your marriage? How often do you and your spouse say “I love you” to one another? I ask this question because I believe there is power in our words and I know every person on this planet needs and wants to hear “I love you.”  {note: not just “love you” which sounds very non-committal, but the key is to use the word “I” in that phrase. It makes a big difference.}

In the dictionary, the word “love” pertaining to lovers means to have a gender, profoundly, and passionate affection for somebody else. To enjoy a feeling of personal warm attachment.  Sexual passion or desire. To embrace and kiss. To hug and cuddle. This is what I was thinking of when we flew back from our holidays.

With that in mind, there are many ways in which to tell your spouse you love them. The idea is simply to make sure you are intentional in doing so. Don’t worry. If your spouse isn’t saying it to you, they will respond favorably to these actions and you will be rewarded with loving behavior in return.

Here are a few ways to apply the words “I love you” to your marriage: Just Say It!

Say it often.  In the morning. At night. During a moment of hugging. Before hanging up the phone. On the way out the door.  Upon returning. During and after physical intimacy. In the car while out running errands. On date night. In front of your children. At family gatherings. While celebrating birthdays and holidays. You don’t need a special occasion or a dramatic event to happen before you can say “I love you” to the love of your life. Just say it.

Write A Love Letter. If you struggle to speak your heart, then at the very least – write it!  For Christmas last year, my husband’s gift to me was the most beautifully written love letter I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Isn’t it all about the art of gratitude?

He used phrases like “my beloved wife…you have been a Godsend to me…my partner…my best friend…my lover…my wife…the woman I was destined to be with…my soul-mate…the woman I have searched for all of my life…I have been in love with you from the first day we met…I love you…totally…completely…always and forever.”

Even though my husband tells me frequently how much he loves me, reading it in a beautiful letter was enough to fill my love bucket for months!

Show Love In Your Actions. Be affectionate with one another. Hug. Kiss. Hold hands. Give your spouse a love tap.

In the car, while my husband is driving, I’ll reach over to run my fingers through the back of his hair. These are affectionate signs of love that can be done anywhere and around anyone.

There are so many ways to show your love in your actions. Send a sexy text message. Play a game for lovers. Help each other out with maintaining a clean, comfortable home. Take care of your health and appearance so you remain physically attracted to one another. Smile. Laugh at each other’s jokes. Value the other’s opinion. Compliment your spouse. Be sure to say “thank you” often and “I’m sorry” when you’ve said or done something hurtful. Do I want friendship? You bet I do!

The list of showing and speaking our love can go on and on.  Don’t let lack of creative ideas be an excuse for not saying “I love you.”  It doesn’t need to be complicated. It just has to be sincere.