The Overuse of ‘I Love You’

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It’s wonderful to hear the phrase ‘I love you’. Whether it’s from your child/children, your spouse, a family member or friend. It’s almost magical the way it makes you feel. You are special, you are appreciated…you are loved. It’s even more special when you hear it for the first time from someone you also love. It’s a wonderful feeling to give and receive.

I feel like there comes a point in your relationship, whether it be dating or marriage, where overuse of the phrase ‘I love you’ starts to happen. It becomes as casual as ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’. We say it every time we see the person and on every phone call. We say it so often that it becomes habitual. We say it quick and even mumbled, we use it as an apology, we say it when we’re angry, we say it when we’re needy or need something, we say it because it was said to us first and sometimes we say it when we don’t feel it. The importance of the phrase becomes diminished, less important and all too common. It loses its magic, its importance and its meaning.

Yesterday my husband and I got into an argument. We both went up to bed together but didn’t talk. I said goodnight to which he followed with ‘goodnight, I love you.’ I waited to say it back. I was angry. We didn’t resolve the conflict and I felt like he said it just to say it. I felt like he didn’t mean it. I know he did and he does, but in the moment, it felt fake. I mumbled it back in my unhappy voice and went to bed.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to use this phrase. It’s important to tell those that we love how we feel because you never know what could happen to you or them. The feelings of unconditional love that you share with your family are foundational. They are the pillars which you build your lives upon and around. They are the words that give you hope, strength and the ability to fight through difficult times. But there are also words that when said, do the complete opposite. The phrase is used as a weapon. We use to get what we want. We use it to make our partner feel bad. We say it just because. We say it just to hear it back. We spit it out like word vomit and we selfishly take it in without gratitude.

I’m grateful my husband says I love you, even when I feel he’s saying it just to say. He never fails me there. I remember the first time he said it to me standing in our old kitchen hugging. I couldn’t stop smiling. I still get butterflies when I think about it.

Love is a beautiful thing. If you love someone, tell them…tell them often and always, just mean it. Really, truly mean it. Don’t say it to get out of an argument or to get something that you want. Don’t use it as a test or a punishment. Life is short, love the ones you’re with. One of my favorite sayings is a Swedish proverb, “Love me when I least deserve it, for that is when I really need it.” I’m lucky I have a husband who does this and through it all, I know we will always love one another.

How to be a Partner in Your Marriage

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As a wife and mother, I think it’s hard to remember how to be a partner in my marriage. I get so caught up in telling my husband all the things he needs to do that I stop telling him the things I should like how much I love and appreciate him. I forget about the feelings we had when we first met, the love that grew over time and all the special moments in between. They become distant memories and at times, so does our love.

My sister, who was the maid of honor at our wedding, said something I’ll forget, “Always remember how you feel on this day and try to live each day like that”. I haven’t done that…we haven’t done that. I’m too focused on my to-do lists, my stress and my anxiety. I don’t treat him like a partner and I don’t act like one either. I become resentful towards him for all the things I do as a wife and mother instead of how grateful I am for everything that he provides our family.

It’s easy to get angry, feel frustrated and place blame. It’s harder to be understanding, loving when you want to be yelling and accepting of each others flaws. Marriage is so tough, it really is. It’s something you have to work at every single day. It’s a partnership that requires participation from both parties. Of course there are times when one person is giving more effort than the other, but that’s when you go the extra mile. That’s when you comfort instead of criticize, love instead of leave and really be a partner instead of a pessimist.

The balance of wife, motherhood and work is challenging. I am constantly finding myself in an internal battle of how to manage and at times, an external battle with those I love most. I think the best way to be a partner in your marriage is to just be there. Be present. Put down the phones, share a meal together, have a date night (even if it’s in your own home!) and communicate. The biggest fights can sometimes come from miscommunication. Men and women have different roles in marriage but the common ground begins with love. After all, isn’t that what brought you two together in the first place? You fell in love. You saw this person over time as someone you can truly spend the rest of your life with. You got engaged, you got married and along that way maybe you’ve had a few kids (and pets!). But the one thing that should never change is your love.

Be the kind of partner you want your spouse to be. And never, ever ever give up. You took the vows and you made the promises. You are a team…so partner up and enjoy the ride!

Wow, I’m Old.

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On April 15th, I walked into the bathroom at work which was turned into a girls changing room. As I maneuvered my way around shoes and bags, I listened to four twenty-somethings discuss their ‘outfits’. “I just didn’t think these leggings were going to be so short,” said one. “Omigosh! I love your dress,” gushed another. The conversation then turned into which bar they were starting at followed by a discussion about dating. I chuckled to myself as I thought, ‘wow, I’m old.’ Here are four young, single girls getting ready to go out for the day/night while all I could think about was my sick baby, her fever and getting her to the peds office (I work at a CPA firm and being the end of tax season almost all the CPA’s leave in the afternoon to go drink…no, I’m not a CPA).

And that’s when it hit me, I’m old. I mean wow, I’m old. I can’t even remember the last time I went ‘out, out’ let alone mulled over an outfit which wasn’t followed by ‘Ugh, nothing fits me!’ or ‘Why can’t I just lose this baby weight?!’. The bar seems like a place of my past and drinking isn’t an all-night affair but a glass of wine (because frankly, hangovers now seem to last as long as a cold!). Dating would consist of the few and far between date nights my husband and I get (but luckily I have him and no longer have to worry about what I considered to be ‘the awful dating scene’).

My girlfriends discussion is our kids, why our husband drive us nuts and going out consists of the park or out to lunch for an afternoon play date. Sure, we go out without the kids, but those nights are usually couple dinners at someone’s house and because of hectic schedules probably only occur once a month.

The older I get, the more I realize the bar scene just isn’t for me. Yes, going out and having a good time is great, but the idea of being at a bar until 2AM no longer appeals to me. I’ll take going out to dinner and the movies any day of the week!

But some days I miss my freedom. I miss being able to go somewhere without it taking twenty plus minutes or planning a vacation that’s actually a vacation. I miss the ‘pre-baby skinny me’ that could wear anything and drink without a three-day hangover. But now I’m a mom and those days are over which is okay by me. I think about how blessed I am to have a child because some people will never get that chance. I look at my daughter and my heart fills up with so much love. So yes, I am getting old but I view it as older and wiser…even if at times I still act like a kid. 🙂

You’re Not a New Homeowner if Something Doesn’t Break!

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Congratulations, you’re a new homeowner! Time to decorate, furnish and oh, deal with everything falling apart and breaking! It wasn’t easy moving with a baby and it’s not been easy unpacking either (we are getting there!), but seeing her joy in our new home as she crawls all over the place laughing is worth all the stress we had with our move.

So we’re in the house and  getting settled, trying to figure how to operate appliances without manuals, finding out that our lighting is wired completely backwards and will require a good amount of adjusting and all the minor and some major things that are broken and/or need fixing. Not to mention all the things you don’t realize you need until you move in or how expensive they can be either!

Our house is a blessing and I absolutely love it but I feel like you’re not a new homeowner until something breaks. Yesterday we had a major break…our sump pump somehow got disconnected and flooded the storage area through the drywall and into our new carpet. Yes, it could have been worse, it wasn’t the entire basement but on my day off trying to figure out what to do with a crying baby, I was quite frazzled. I was able to see the pipe disconnected and with a few phone calls shut it off and was able to get someone to come out and fix it.

The worst part was the water damage on our brand new carpet. Since we don’t have any furniture upstairs we spend the majority of our time in the basement. Now, we have huge blowers down there, no TV and no play area for our daughter (we moved everything upstairs for now). On top of all that fun, it set us back $450! What?! Luckily, my call within 24 hours allowed for the carpet company to save the carpet and the pad underneath.

I’m told by many it’s one thing after another. I even had a friend whose neighbor gave her the following words of wisdom, “Do you know when you stop doing renovations to a house? When you’re dead.” I couldn’t help but laugh because it’s so true, they never end!

But again, it could always be worse. As for now, we are chipping away at the boxes, adjusting to our new home and hopefully steering clear of any more major disasters!