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Saying “I Love You” Without Words

I went to a wedding celebration for friends of mine over the weekend. It’s exciting to see “new” love, even though both of these friends are in their 40’s.

The guests played a game where each took a wooden log from a Jenga® game and wrote a piece of marriage advice on it. The pieces were then tossed into a bowl and during the evening Tim or Sofia would draw out a piece and read it. Lots of wonderful advice: don’t go to bed angry, have lots of sex, and remember that she’s always right!

You know, the usual.

I had different advice for them based on an activity I do with couples returning from deployment in my communications workshop for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.

Here it is: Always remember to say “I love you” with no words at all.

What does that mean? Look for the little things you do for each other that “say” how special you think they are. Usually those things involve no words, and are from the heart.

My husband and I were one of the couples featured in a Ladies Home Journal article in July 2015 called “The Little Things Happily Married Couples Do.” There were so many wonderful ways couples showed they cared. Here’s what I said:

I travel a lot for business, and when I’m home, I work in a home office. Sometimes I overwork since I’m right there in my home. At 5:00 p.m. each day, Larry comes in with a glass of wine and sets it down beside the computer and silently leaves. Of course I love that he brings the wine, but its “message” is that it’s time to wrap it up and come out to be with him.

That’s his quiet way of saying he loves me and wants to spend time with me.

What do I do for him? I’m not a big sports fan—not nearly like he is— and he likes it when he’s watching a sporting event in the family room and I’m sitting in the room with him even though I’m doing something else like reading or drawing. He appreciates that I’m there. It’s certainly not much, but he seems to like it.

My challenge to you is to write down something your loved one does for you that you totally appreciate.

How does he or she show that special caring love? Usually it’s something small. When you both identify something (and there may be more than one), take a moment to share them with each other. You could be surprised at the response you get. You might hear, “I had no idea that meant so much to you!”

There’s something special that happens when you share these small things. It brings you closer.

Now, let’s extend this activity. Who says you can only do this with your significant other? Try this with your children if they’re old enough. How cool it would be for them to hear about something they do that makes you feel loved. Maybe you can dial down the “love” part of this and share with a co-worker something they do that you appreciate because it makes your job easier.

The key here is to find small things that make you and others feel good and share them! It’s amazing how simple it is to let someone know they are important to you. Have fun!



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