I’ve had the amazing good fortune to have grown up in a household where the term, “I love you”, was a very regular happening. Cliff and Charlene Taylor never let an opportunity to say it, go by. I think I’d be safe in saying that Monty (my brother) and I heard “I love you” from them most every day of our young lives. I’ve never had to go a single day in my 61 years wondering if I was loved by them. They’re now in their ’80’s and live just a few blocks from me. I see them several times a week and talk to them on the phone almost every day, and every single time, without exception, we tell one another, “I love you”! I think it makes a difference.
We have a ‘built-in’ need to be loved, and hearing it from those around us goes a long ways in meeting that need. Of course, to say it and not show it with our actions doesn’t do much good. It really, really needs to be both! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened in my office to men and women, some younger, some older than me, who agonize over the fact that their dad never told them that he loved them. I don’t think I’ve ever heard even one of them say that their mom never told them that she loved them. Maybe moms are better at it…..and maybe it’s the validation of a father that we so desperately need. In most cases, it isn’t a situation where the dad didn’t love them….I think it’s more of an issue that they, maybe, weren’t told that themselves. And, in our culture,….as wrong as it may be, men saying “I love you” just isn’t cool.
I’m on a lifelong crusade to encourage you, whoever you are, to tell the people in your life that you love them! I’ve seen quite a few by now that didn’t grow up in an “I love you’ culture, who have broken the pattern. It has changed everything for the better….they all agree! If you love someone, by all means, show them by your actions. But don’t forget to tell them too!