“I love you.”
Those three simple words can cause so much trouble when they’re said too soon, too late, too often, too little. Why are we so hung up on words? They don’t have to be said to be felt. We experience love every day, we’re just unaware of it. Next time you’re with your partner, open your mind and see how their kind intentions speak volumes of their love for you, and how your responses speak of yours.
They love you when they confide in you. There is a door in their heart that they keep locked up, for opening it makes them vulnerable, and being so makes them uncomfortable. And yet, they trust you enough to show you that side of them. They open the door to their souls and pour it all out to you. They let you into their world and tell you things nobody else knows because they want you to accept them for all they are. You love them when you listen, when you withhold all judgements and provide them the safe space for them to be completely themselves. In your following conversations, you bring up the small things they mentioned in passing because you actually listened, because you were focused on them, because you love them. They smile at you, because you paid attention, because you remembered. They love for you for that.
They love you when they make you a priority. “I’m busy with other things” isn’t a common phrase in their vocabulary, at least not when you’re the one asking them out. They make time for you because you’re important to them. Sometimes, they even go out of their way to reschedule other appointments because you’re worth the effort. You love them when you say, “It’s okay, we can do it some other time.” You love them when you don’t control their daily activities, and you allow them time with other people that are important to them and to do things they want to do. You trust them and their happiness is important to you. You value your personal freedom and you respect theirs. They love you when they see you are making yourself part of their world, but not the centre of it. You love them, and you know that at the end of the day – In one way or another – They’re coming home to you.
They love you when they hold on to you through hard times. They fight for you when you’re tired of fighting for yourself. They catch you when you fall and raise you up when you’re down. They make sure that no matter how long you struggle, that your daily needs are met – That you’re eating enough and that you’re sleeping enough. They help you out in any way they can because they want you to get better, and be your best self again. You love them when you hold on to the hand they extend to you, pull yourself together and push through this difficult period in your life. You love them when you’re at your strongest, when you’ve accomplished something meaningful, and they are the first ones you want to tell and celebrate with. You remember how they were always by your side at your worst and you want them to see you at your best. They are so proud of you because they know how many battles you’ve fought and how far you have come. They love your fighting spirit and they love you. You thank them for being there through thick and thin, for being patient, for being caring, for being loving. You promise to do the same for them. You love them when you keep to your word.
There are plenty of ways we express our love for one another that go beyond reciting words. Next time you’re second-guessing whether your partner loves you, think again, because they may love you so much more than you realise. They may not declare it, but they say it with their behaviour, with their gestures, with more than three words could ever convey.