I don’t know what it is about those three little words, but they are rarely said enough. “I love you.” Is it really that hard?
When I studied abroad in England for four months I began ending every phone conversation with an “I love you.” My motivation was a bit morbid I must admit. I vowed that my last words to anyone I cared about I wanted to be “I love you.” not just “Bye.”
So I started saying “I love you.” every time before I hung up the phone. For some reason this felt foreign and uncomfortable at times, but I pushed through because I really meant it. The reaction I got was a bit jumbled at first. Sometimes I would get hung up on before they responded. But the more I got into the habit, the more they got accustomed to saying “I love you.” or “I love you, too.” back.
When I came home the habit stuck. I didn’t realize how unusual this was until I hung up the phone at work once, of course ending with an “I love you.” My coworker said, “Oh, your husband?” with a smile. I said, “No, my mother.” They looked a bit shocked.
Then a funny thing started happening. I noticed my parents started saying “I love you.” first when hanging up the phone. They said it to me, they said it to my sister. My sister started doing the same thing. We have never been an emotionally reserved family, but we’re not a super lovey dovey bunch either. Amazing what a little change, and a lot of love, can do.
Now I say “I love you.” to my friends. Perhaps, not as often as I should, but I always try to get it in when I leave a message. Sometimes all you need to know is that someone cares.
So this Valentine’s Day, and every day, I encourage you to say more I love you’s because none of us get tired of hearing it. We all need to know we matter, and in the wise words of the Beatles “All you need is love.”