“I love You”. That phrase bounces back and forth between partner couples as regular as a ping pong ball. It is de rigueur among some couples to say it every few minutes in an almost desperate attempt to find reassurance. “I love you”, “I love you too”, “I love you”, “I love you too”, “I love you”, “I love you too” they chirrup at each other. What does all that protesting about love mean? Does love cease to exist if you do not constantly repeat this magic phrase every day, many times a day, for the rest of your lives?
The conventional wisdom on the subject according to people who set themselves up as experts is that you have to often say to your partner that you love them. Get the message across! But just for one moment stop the fair ride and think about it. You meet and presumably fall in love and decide to be an “item”. That should be that then. A contract is established between you and your partner. How many times a day do you have to sign that contract over and over and over again? If you are truly honest with yourself when that love ceases to exist, it is time to talk about it honestly. Just parroting the mere words “I love you” to ward away the evil day is not going to do it.
In real life we know love does not stand all by itself. When two people come together there are obligations towards each other, there are material ties, dependency ties, even that of a family and children. Admittedly you cannot shrug your shoulders and walk away when love becomes and empty shell. In such cases people stay together to fulfill their obligations, towards each other, towards their children and towards other parties affected by the contract. Just desperately shouting “I love you” is not going to solve your problem. It is time then to be adult about it and have conversations other than “I love you”. If you do not, your LOVE becomes a monster cloud that dominates your household and glowers at you, showering you with guilt and confusion. Don’t allow love to become that all encompassing monster. The persistent message in today’s world is that love is necessary for existence, that it conquers all, that if two people stay together it must be love. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In other societies and in other times people have existed without persistently protesting love. Women have married for security rather than love, men have married for companionship, others have married to escape boredom, or abuse or state terror,. like those Jewish people who married Germans in the 1930s to acquire a certain amount of legitimacy or even material benefits such as food. I bet those people did not have to routinely say to each other “I love you”. They had other priorities on their minds. But then again, love is in the doing, and not in the saying. Men who married Jewish women to rescue them from the Nazis were doing it as an act of love. They did not have to state it. This may sound an extreme example but it is not. I come from a culture and from a time when people did not go around saying “I love you” to each other. It was implied in their being together and in their behaviour towards each other.
Maybe that’s it! We do not do, but we speak. The speaking becomes the reality and not the act itself. For instance wars are won because we say we have won. “Mission accomplished”! The reality on the ground is irrelevant. In such a society the words “I love you” becomes everything because there is nothing else. Couples have to work a twelve hour day beavering away at their various jobs and have no time to show their love through their actions. Hence, the words which bounce back and forth, over the phone, in texts, in cards, in flowers and of course in the social media. Instant gratification! We say the words, we feel gooey about it and we hope the other person feels good too and then we can go back to whatever it was we were doing which was more important in any case.
So the next time you say “I love you”, think about it. Do something that shows you really care. The words are so trite and they have lost all meaning and it only shows your neediness. Think of some other original way of showing your love!