The I Do Chronicles {Part 1}: Always say I Love You. Unnecessarily sappy? (You be the judge)

i do chronicles1

When I wrote 10 Years of Wonderful and asked you at the end of the post whether a few marriage posts here and there might be something you’d like to see, most of you said yes, although a few of you were worried about my trying to write a step-by-by prescription for matrimony.

But I hope I can put your mind at ease by assuring you that I never intended to do anything of the sort. Every lasting marriage is so diverse in the things that make it work that prescribing anything more than the most general of guidelines would be pointless.

And yet.

Even if you never use anything specific from my ideas, I hope they will at least encourage you to examine your own marriage (or, if you’re not married yet, what you desire for your future marriage) for ways that you can improve or add a little bit of something extra. Also, please don’t ever think that I think I’ve got everything figured out. Because I don’t. And I hope that y’all will give me lots of feedback because I’m eager to learn how to do this whole marriage thing better too.

And so, I’m starting a series called The “I Do” Chronicles. I chose the name, not only because it’s a recognizable phrase associated with matrimony but because I want this to be a positive series that focuses on simple, affirming ways to improve your marriage, rather than a list of “Don’ts”  to avoid.

I don’t know about you, but every time I watch a movie where one person tells the other over the phone that they love them, and then the other person doesn’t reciprocate, I want to holler, “SAY IT BACK!” at the screen.

It bothers me even more when a husband and wife sign off with just a “Bye.” I know this may not be a big deal for some, but one thing that Shaun and I have done since the beginning is to always, always say, “I love you,” when we: leave to go somewhere, hang up the phone, or go to bed at night.

Earth-shattering? Hardly.

Unnecessarily sappy? Some might think so.

Especially when your text messages look like this:

love you

The thing is, neither one of us is a particularly sappy sort. I think we could both easily lapse into the habit of simply walking out the door and tossing a, “See you at dinner,” over our shoulders.

And so we’ve chosen a habit that combats our natural anti-sappiness instead.

Because, as that text above illustrates, there are no guarantees that we will see each other again after we walk out that door.

If you’re wondering why I said, “Don’t die, or I’ll never forgive you!” I posted a little more about that on Facebook and IG the other day.

Fullscreen capture 2252014 103642 AM-001  

I know it’s kind of hard to read, but it basically says that, as my husband’s plane was taking off for his work trip on Sunday, they realized that a wheel (on the side he was sitting on in the exit row ) wasn’t turning, which could have resulted in a crash on the runway with full fuel tanks.

My heart rate still gets a little jumpy at the thought of what could have happened, and I am so grateful that God was gracious enough to allow them to catch the problem before anything happened.

But y’all. I could have lost my husband that day. And can I tell you just how sad it would have made me to realize that my last words to him had been anything other than an assurance of my love? Also, if I lost him, and we hadn’t made a habit of writing texts like, “Can you please boil water for the spaghetti? Love you!” and “Don’t forget to go to the bank. Love you!” I wouldn’t have those to look back on when I needed a reminder.

Without them, would I be any less sure of his love? Probably not. But I find that, when he affirms what I already know, at least in this area, I don’t mind at all. It feels far from redundant or rote. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the midst of a frustrating moment of being pulled in five different directions, and a run-of-the-mill text from Shaun comes through. Something like, “Won’t be home til 7.” I glance at it and go back to changing a diaper, disappointed that he’ll be home late but distracted by the task at hand. And then, my phone beeps again, and this time it says, “Love you.”

I smile every time. Every single time. Even though I expect it. Even though it’s a ritual. Even though it should be old by now.

Also?

It’s very hard to say the words, “I love you,” and stay irritated at someone. It’s an audible reminder of the truth. You’re driving me crazy right now, but I love you. You’ve just hurt my feelings, but I love you. I completely disagree with how you did that, but I. love. you.

Not because I feel it right now. But because I chose you. God gave me you.

love covers sins

(If you’d like to print out this simple reminder, simply right click and save it to your computer, then print it; it’s already scaled to an 8X10 size)

1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love “ is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” And I find this to be especially true when I’m declaring that love in speech and writing.

So, there you have it. Something simple, obvious, and—maybe even to some folks—unnecessarily sappy that helps us stay focused on the truth. And the truth is that we love each other, regardless of any ooey gooey emotions we might or might not be feeling.

We love because He first loved us. And we want our marriage to reflect that and bring Him glory.

What are some simple ways you’ve found to remind yourself of your love for your spouse in the midst of the daily grind?

Like what you read? Like M is for Mama on facebook (pretty please?):

20 thoughts on “The I Do Chronicles {Part 1}: Always say I Love You. Unnecessarily sappy? (You be the judge)

  1. Ah! What an encouraging post :) my husband and I have been married just over a year and we say I love you All. The. Time. It makes me sad when people tell us to “just wait”. Frankly, I don’t want to see the day when it’s NOT perfectly normal for “Can you pick up milk?” to be followed with “I love you.” So great to hear you guys are 10 years in and still saying “I love you!” like crazy.

    Our silly thing we do is send crazy nonsensical texts, with “I love you” somewhere in the middle. A la: AjdkdkckdAksksk:@:&;~¥|¥<Iloveyou/&/&/&:\¥~¥,also did

    Totally silly but makes me smile every time :)

  2. Been married 32 years and husband and I say, “I love you” every time one of us leaves for somewhere, when we say goodbye on the telephone, and just in general. We do love each other, it’s nice to be reminded of it and it makes our grown kids smile when they’re home. You never know what’s going to happen – if you love someone, tell’em! Not sappy.

  3. I am often asleep when he wakes or busy with kids that our goodbye I love yous are too quick and seem non important so I want him to know all the ways I love and appreciate him, so in our master bathroom I have wrote “I love you because….” on the top of our bathroom mirror and each day I change the reason out and it may be really deep and then other days silly.

  4. Love this! The teensy thing I do differently is I say “and” instead of “but”. So I would say, “you are driving me nuts about this! And I love you”. or “I love you, and I’d love for you to unload the dishwasher”. I read this somewhere and absolutely love it. To me, using the word but (not to be rude, BUT… I love you, BUT…) feels like an excuse or an exception, almost like it cancels out what you said that was nice. Yes, it does sound a little awkward at times. Now I’m used to it, though, and it helps remind me that sometimes the dishes are dirty AND I love my husband. :]

    1. I really like this, Lauren! Although…I have to admit as I was writing those things that I’ve never actually said them that way. They were just examples. I’ve never actually said, “You’re driving me crazy but OR and I love you.” I just make sure to say the I love you at some point in the conversation. But I completely agree with the concept.

  5. My husband and I will be celebrating 5 years of marriage this May. We are the same way. Growing up that is actually something my Mom instilled in me. (my husband’s family do not say I love you, like ever) She always said never leave the house, hang up the phone or go to bed without saying I Love You, because you never know if that’s the last time you will see that person. Some might think my family over uses the words I love you, but like you stated we just reaffirm what we already know. It’s comforting. I love getting random texts from my husband that simply say, I love you!! We also are the same way with our son. I couldn’t even tell you how many times a day he hears us tell him how much we love him! If you ever saw the movie Elf (with Will Ferrell) the part where he tells his Dad “I love you, I love you, I LOVE YOU” (haha and his voice gets louder each time) Yeah we do that in our house ;)

  6. Excited about your series! This post is great and a super reminder to keep our spouse at the forefront! We aren’t as good as y’all at saying it, so I wanna get better!

  7. My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years and we always make sure we say “I love you” to each other. To us, it is more than the words, it is a reminder of what lies beneath the daily “junk” that can interfere! The words never seem mundane to me. There is reassurance and a deeper meaning to them. With our first child on the way (in 4 weeks or less), I hope that they will one day see the relationship we have with one another and the importance and reassurance that come from those simple words.

    1. I have no doubt that it makes a huge difference for kids to see their parents openly loving each other. Mine pretend to be grossed out when we kiss in front of them, but I think they secretly love it (at least for now :) ).

  8. I agree! I find this is one of those things you don’t know you had until it is gone. It is only when you are feeling unloved that you look back and realize that person hasn’t told you that you are loved in weeks…. and you haven’t said it to them either. I make an effort to send at least one “I LOVE YOU!!!!” text to my husband every day, and I always get at least one back reminding me that he loves me more. Who doesn’t want to hear that every day?
    It also helps kids feel secure knowing, seeing, and hearing that their parents love each other

I love comments so much I'd actually consider making them my seventh kid if I could. Seriously. Love. And I read every single one and will do my darndest to respond, especially if you have a question. So, yeah. Comment away! I'm listening!