The Overuse of ‘I Love You’

Couple-in-Love.-Clip-Art-C
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

couple
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!

Is Marriage Ever Easy?

marriage-clipart-k8660880
Is marriage ever easy? Or does it ever get easier? Is there a point where you’re just on cruise control and then…

“Everything is awesome!!!
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!
Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream!” (Tegan & Sara)

Yeah, I just quoted the LEGO Movie song. But honestly…marriage is tough. And I feel like as the decisions in your lives get tougher, so does your relationship. It gets pushed and pulled and twisted and turned and flipped upside down to a point of exhaustion. Your relationship is starts wearing thin and sometimes you even wonder, why am I married to this person? It’s terrible to say, it really is, but in a heated moment, can you tell me you’ve never thought it? You probably have. And you’ve probably discussed that thought with your friend(s) at some point or another. Maybe you confided in one friend during the course of a conversation or in a group setting among friends. And this applies to women and men….the difference is what is said. Here’s what I picture:

Woman to girlfriend: ‘Ugh, Larry is so irritating, I don’t even know why I married him, he’s literally laying on the couch doing nothing while I try to make dinner as the kids run wild…” and then the woman would spin off into layers of issues she currently has with her husband.

Man to friend: ‘Yeah, she’s being a nag lately but whatever, so did you catch the game last night?’

Maybe I’m completely off…maybe? But it seems to be when it comes to feelings, women think and feel with our hearts while men think and feel with their heads. Yes, men can make heartfelt decisions, but most of their decisions are based on problematic thinking while women’s decisions are based on our emotions. So when women rationalize with feelings, men don’t understand it, the same way we don’t understand their right vs. wrong, facts-not-feelings rationalizations.

I read ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ my first year of marriage. The book was super insightful and now I might consider reading it again. I think when you get into a routine with someone you forget how they operate until something shakes up both of your worlds and you see yourself on opposite sides of the room. A disagreement heats up and now you’re both standing there in shock thinking ‘what the heck just happened?‘. You may even stare at the person contemplating, ‘who are you‘? Because you’re both so polar opposite on your stance you start to question if this person is truly even your significant other. Who is this stranger among you? And where did they take your significant other to?

It’s easier to throw a curve ball than it is to hit one. But when it comes to matters of the heart, why aren’t we playing on the same team?

Things change when you have kids. Your marriage changes. Your lives revolve around them, and not in a bad way but in a ‘it just happens’ way. You have birthday parties and sport schedules and school projects and all the things that make having children a joy but also the exhaustion of your existence. But in the beginning of it all, in the beginning of this newest family member’s life, all if you have is each other. All you have is the two of you parenting. And it’s not easy. It’s a huge adjustment. And you expect there to just be acceptance, trust, love and perfect harmony except there’s not…there’s fear of the unknown, chaos, criticism and arguing. You begin to act like children. You fight with words. And you while you can forgive those words, you can never take them back.

Sure, there is love and those tender moments of ‘firsts’, but there are a lot of sleepless nights and delirious arguing. And then more things change. You buy a pet, get a new house, welcome another child and the cycle continues.

I don’t know if marriage is ever easy or if it ever will be easy. But I know that I love my husband and there is no one else in the entire world that I would rather be in this journey with than him. And because we’re not perfect we’re going to fight, we’re going to argue and we’re going to fight some more. But we’re not going to give up, we’re not going to walk away and we’re not going to leave our promise to one another. ‘No one ever said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it’. At the end of the day, no fight is worth it, but your love is.