...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

those three words...

last night i sold a couple all up on each other a copy of "1,001 ways to say i love you" and the classic (and very truthful) "she comes first." now, i know i'm a bit jaded (ok, i'm a tremendously huge amount jaded. whatever), but i couldn't help but think if they can take care of the latter, the former probably isn't much of a problem. based on how she was basically mounting him at my counter, she loved him quite satisfactorily. without the pressure of 996 other ways, i figure it was safe to assume he was showing his love for her on a regular basis in about five good ways. does he really need to sprinkle rose petals and leave pretend love tickets ("you make my heart speed!") on her windshield?

in short? yes.

that's really where i could end this post, but after the couple left, i started thinking about the ways we express love for someone, and i didn't have to ponder long to conclude my husband and i are quite guilty of not doing or saying much that conveys "i love you."

before you discredit me, as i have to assume some of you may wish to, trust that i get the fact that by providing for our family by working and financially supporting us, assuring our physical needs are met through food, clothing and shelter, my husband is showing his love for me. but realize that i'm taking that food and cooking it for him, washing his clothes and keeping the house in order in every aspect. so if that is love, then i'm showing it as well.

but what i'm talking about is hearing those three words. i love you.

three syllables. not that hard, really. you barely have to take a breath in order to say them. but we don't.

well, let me clarify. i say them to my sons. "I love you, you know." like i'm ever intending to let them forget. they're already exhibiting that hint of the y chromosome that can make saying it back difficult. but i keep at it. i love everything about them, from their souls to how they smell after playing hard outside all day.

and i say it to my husband. here and there. on the phone when he calls during the day. before he departs. before, during and after sex. wherever.

ok. i kind of feel like i should say here that i'm not one of those people who has to constantly say or hear 'i love you.' however, i don't buy into the argument that you can hear it too much, that it loses its meaning when it's said all the time. that's such bullshit.

you don't have to overkill it with me, but toss me a bone every once in awhile.

sometimes, my husband will say it back after i've said it. but he never says it first (here's where i'm going to throw in that i don't keep a tally of things in my relationship, either, despite how that sounds. i've not got the time!). and when he does say it, it comes out like an aside to whatever else might have been going on in his mind at the time. "oh...yeah, love you, too. and remember, we need milk and basketball practice starts friday." so yes, he says it sometimes. most times not. some days i don't even realize it. or i do, but don't think anything of it.

other times, i do. a year ago, we were in counseling. the therapist asked us to list five things about the other that bothered us. shining brightly at #1 on mine was "he never, ever says he loves me." (yes, there was more, and trust he had plenty on his list about me, though nothing about whether or not i actually expressed or showed my love for him). the therapist assigned my husband to say "i love you" to me at various points and for various reasons over the course of a week. he fulfilled the assignment.

yes. assignment. that's what it became. like clockwork, i knew when he'd say it. robotic. by the third day, i wasn't really hearing it because there was no weight behind it and it came at the exact same time each day.

i suppose you can safely ask, "good god, girl, just what is it you even want?!" it's ok, i won't be offended or angry if you do. hell, i ask myself all the time. and so i'll tell you i don't know what i want or what solution about myself i may hope to find by writing this and hitting 'publish.' what i do know is i don't need 1,001 displays of love (i've read the other book, so i'm taken care of there, btw, but thank you very much if you were curious). it could come to pass i'm the only person who has this issue - who even thinks it's an issue - or even cares about those three words.

but those three words carry a lot of very important weight. and they're not hard. so what does it hurt to just say them every now and again?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because they do hold weight. they give the other person power, they make you vulnerable. I say I love you to my boys ALL the time but I find it so much harder to say it to other people in my life. I think it is because I don't feel vulnerable to my kids. At least not yet. Maybe that is one of the reasons when they become teenagers it is so difficult. Now all of the sudden your child is aware of the power they hold over you, they are aware they can hurt you...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 3:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I have never had trouble saying that, in fact I have probably said it toomuch. Words are powerful things and the lack of them is as well. Too many guys espcially seem to live by the creed I told you I loved you once and if anything changes I will let you know. we are such putzes.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 3:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 3:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And after the week long "assignment", did he continue on his own volition?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

I used to have trouble saying "I love you" to anyone. I think it was hard for me because I got wrapped up into thinking it would be easier to not become so attached to anyone, lest they die or leave...that was the biggest scar I faced from losing my father at a young age. Perhaps, he just has trouble with expressing his feelings that are deeply ingrained into him from a young age. I hope you can find a middle ground :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Edtime Stories said...

I say I love you a lot. I always mean it though love has many faces.
The love of wife/lover
The love of family
The love of a friend

I think saying I love you is powerful and I enjoy making people smile when I tell them.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

I love you... *grin*

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 6:54:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I think you're being totally reasonable -- it's important to say and hear "I love you." My hubby and I say it a lot, and I'm glad we do. Even on days (like today) when I've spent half the day snapping at him (because I'm frustrated with other things and he's an easy target), we still manage to pull back from that and say "I love you." So important.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 7:28:00 PM  
Blogger James Scolari said...

no, what you're asking for isn't odd, nor the problem even remotely uncommon... the real question is, is this a surprise, or did you suspect during courtship that this was/is a man with intimacy issues?

the challenge is, what are you gonna do about it? cause as time passes, you're gonna go from bothered by this to sick of it right up to your eyelashes.

while i understand many of the curiosities of my gender, and personify more than a few, i don't understand the whole problem with intimacy thing, so i can't offer insight there, sorry.

on another note: "pretend love tickets?" ew. that's just creepy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 8:26:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Cat - I think you're quite right. In retrospect, I don't say or hear these words much from others in my life. Backtrack a bit. I find it incredibly easy to say it to my friends. Signing off calls or such, we always say it. But my parents or my sibling? Not so much, and that goes both ways. I assume we all do, we'd just look at each other weird if it was said aloud.

FL - I once dated a guy, who, after being silent for awhile after I said it, finally relented and said "Well...I'm here, ain't I." Yep. The sex was great, the love part? Eh. Totally a master with the say it once and forget it thing.

Tajalude - Ha! After a week, he considered his "assignment" complete. It's still as sporadic.

Nanette - ah, my mystery friend, I think it's quite feasible this is something he comes by through the care and handling of his family. Another one of those things that draws us to people so like ourselves!

Ed - hmmm..all these men on here, all with such an ability to say these three words so easily! I don't it raises something...

Savage - Not only do I love you, too, but I adore you. You're the very air I breath. Am I smothering you?

Kelly - It's an easy habit to fall out of, especially when even the mere sight of them could provoke any untold rage. Falling into the better side of that habit is a work in progress!

View - Was it a surprise to me? Not totally, no. In the beginning, we all have our game face on. I was not the giver of any 'love tickets' though do you wish to know if I was ever the recipient of such? Let's say I was showered in love. The challenge is part of the above mentioned work in progress.

Now my curiosity lies in what quirks of your gender you most possess...pondering, pondering...

Thursday, November 09, 2006 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

Hmm, I never really thought of "I love you" as being all that difficult to say. Is this where we should talk about his upbringing and how affectionate his parents were to him?

When we were in marriage counseling, we had to do the exact same thing with the list of 5 things. The fact that it was #1 ON YOUR LIST really should have said something to him, I would hope!

Thursday, November 09, 2006 10:24:00 AM  

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