It seems that a difficult lesson to learn for men and women is the power of the words “I love you!” I know it took over half of my life, and the end of a deeply meaningful relationship, for me to do so.
We all come with scars inflicted upon mostly by our family. Though most parents (there are a few exceptions) mean well, they are a product of their own upbringing. And while each generation seems to be getting better at expressing love instead of fear (remember, those are the only two emotions we express on our planet), most parents still inflict deep scars as we grow up. They do so because they are reflecting the scars built from their parents’ fears. And so, almost each and every one of us failed to experience and receive the love we knew we were entitled to. For men, it’s a little worse for, as we grew up, we were exposed to a variety of situations on TV, movies, music and in our own environment, most of which teach us to not be vulnerable. Worse, we were taught the value, or lack thereof, of the words “I love you.”
It seems to me that men and women assign different values to these three simple, and yet so powerful, words. Women tend to want to believe (or do they really believe?) that “true love” is declared when someone expresses those words to them. Experience tries to teach them the potential fallacy of this belief as most men use those words simply to receive sexual favors. Men who eventually evolve, then come to understand the power of those words and use it with deep meaning. That usually takes quite a long time and a lot of broken hearts in the process.
Men tend to want to show that they love someone by the actions they take. Does your partner bring you breakfast in bed? Does he cook you fancy dinners, complete with menus? Does he bring you flowers for no reason whatsoever, only to show that he was thinking lovingly about you? Is he always available when you need him to do something? And much more. If the answer to some, most, or all of these questions is “Yes”, then your partner loves you, whether he says it to you or not.
While women no doubt appreciate all the things men do for them, they need to hear the words. Word of advice for women: Tell Him!!! Do not assume he does not love you because he doesn’t say it. Tell him you need to hear those words and, more importantly, tell him the reason. Tell him that if he doesn’t say those words, you will start to think that he doesn’t love you, no matter what he does that is romantic! And men tend to forget because there are so very many problems (real or imagined) we are busy solving. So, remind him over and over again. Don’t get tired or exasperated, just repeat it. But when he says “I love you” make sure that he means it! Look into his eyes… you’ll know. And watch his actions…they’ll speak volume about how he feels for you.
I am most proud of the fact that I taught my parents this lesson. My parents live in Spain and are Spanish and grew up poor and in a harsh post=Spanish Civil War and World War II environment. They grew up without feeling loved. Moreover, in Spain, few men or women of that generation can express their love verbally. One day, my cousin, is in her early 40s, told me that her husband had never told her he loved her! I was … aghast. I then thought of asking my mother whether my dad (and her husband) had ever said it to her. She replied that he had once or twice. I then asked whether she had. I was amazed that she said she hadn’t! I suggested that, when we were off the phone, she go to him, take his face in her hands and tell him “I love you!”. She laughed but I said I was serious. We discussed the fact that my dad, who is a man with great fears, was likely to react negatively in an attempt to not be vulnerable. I encouraged her to just keep telling him “I love you.” The next day I called and asked whether she had done … She had! And dad’s reaction? He had reacted exactly as we had discussed, but she stuck to her words. I am so proud of my parents who have now started a trend in this small farming town in which they live. They now tell each other “I love you” in public!!! And other couples, who at first eyed them with puzzled looks, are starting to do the same!!! It took great courage for my mother to initiate this. It took great courage (probably even greater) for my father to follow in her footsteps. And with great courage came great reward. Best of all, I know they are sincere when they say “I love you” to each other. Even better, I know they are sincere when they tell me “I love you” when we end our conversations. I had waited 55 years to hear those words from them. I had the courage to utter them first. And you could feel the sigh of relief from my mom when I first said them. She even started crying … as did I.
“I love you”…such simple words that hold some much energy and so much power. Word of advice for men: Use them wisely for the hurt you inflict on your partner will reflect back to you.
In the words of Abraham-Hicks: “Don’t let the evidence that manifests be the criteria that makes you believe.” In other words, don’t be fooled by what you see. Your partner’s love is often expressed in ways that you misinterpret.
As always , in love – Jean-Pierre