Everyday 3 special words are said over and over and over again. Today tends to be a day where people stop and reflect on those words - that phrase - a little longer than normal. Sometimes I wonder if those words have lost their meaning. Sometimes I catch myself saying them out of habit rather than true sincerity.
"Love" is a powerful word. It can build someone up in an instant and just as easily tear them down. It can also be used haphazardly. Think about how many times in the past day or week you've said you "love" something or someone. Did you really mean it? Today, it is just as common for someone to use "love" to describe the feelings they have for their spouse....or a dish of ice cream.
Words matter a lot to me. Have you ever studied the 5 love languages? (If you haven't I highly recommend it, there are books tailored to couples, singles, and parents) My primary love language is words of affirmation. Actions are great, but if you really care about me - I need you to tell me how you feel.
When Brandon and I started dating I was hesitant about using these words. I had started to realize that they had lost some of their meaning to me - they had simply become a normality, or even something I said at time in an attempt to convince myself of what I thought I should be feeling. I didn't want to carry those feelings into a new relationship.
So I did something a little out of the ordinary. Before we officially started "dating" I asked Brandon if he would be willing to refrain from saying this special phrase to me until any engagement. I think he thought I was a little nuts at first, but we both took some time to think and pray about it and ultimately decided that in addition to my feelings, it would be a good emotional boundary to establish in our relationship.
How have we done?
I would be lying to you if I said it was easy, or that there has never been any temptation, but I can honestly say that I think it has been such a blessing to our relationship thus far. I mentioned earlier that my love language was words of affirmation, so this boundary has caused me to look for and give "love" in different ways than I would typically do! Consequently, quality time and acts of service have become huge components in my relationship with Brandon! We both know how much we care about each other, but it is not because of the words we say, but what we do - the conversations we have, the way in which we challenge and encourage one another, his commitment to developing a relationship with my family (my dad in particular), our willingness to spend time and money to travel to spend a weekend together, etc.
The best part is that I know someday when those words are exchanged, they will mean so much more.
In the meantime, today in the mail I got 3 roses - 3 roses that I know stand for 3 words that are preciously being saved to say.