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I grew up thinking that the words “I love you” were a statement of my endearment for someone. So whenever someone would say, “I love you” to me, I would sweetly say, “thank you” with a wink. And whenever I shared my endearment for another person using those special three words, I expected nothing more than a smile in return.
Since I have been married, I have been learning that I actually have it all wrong. My wife has spent the last two years training me to know that the words “I love you” are actually a question. Whenever my wife says, “I love you” what she is actually asking is, “Do you love me?” Even more, she is waiting for a response. If she says, “I love you” and I respond with smile, a “thank you,” and a wink, I have not yet answered the question. What she desires in return is: “Honey, I love you too.” Anything less is inadequate.
It turns out that women need to hear that they are loved every single day. While we men don’t need to hear about our spouse’s unconditional love on a regular basis, God made women to need this in a special way. I sure don’t long to hear it like Ann does.
Ann lights up when she hears it; it is music to her ears. I am also learning that there are a thousands different ways to say it. One of the best ways that I’ve found to say the simple words is by giving Ann something that she loves. Above all else Ann loves furry animals, so I send her pictures of animals all the time. Whenever I get the chance to meet a new animal with her I do. This communicates to her that I love what she loves and that I love her. I can also communicate that I love her by enjoying the creation with her. Last week on the trail, we were exploring a beach at low tide and it was so fun to find new colorful creatures. The time pointing them out and talking about each one showed my love. She needs love like flowers need the sun and the rain. When I neglect telling her, she wilts. When I pursue her with my love, she blooms. It’s really as simple as that.
Ann, you are amazingly beautiful. I love spending my days with you. I am so glad that I married you. I enjoyed every minute of our time backpacking the West Coast Trail, and I’m looking forward to more adventures in Squamish next week. Thanks for all the little things you do. I love you so much. Please forgive me for the times when I have given you less.