The man thought a moment, then he looked at her and asked, "I told you back then that I loved
you, didn't I?"
"You knew that I meant it back then when I said it, didn't you?"
"Yes," she replied.
"Well," he added, "I'll let you know if I change my mind."
It would be funnier if that mindset didn't run rampant through both sexes. In our research of men
and women from all ages, the one thing that seems to be missing from so many relationships is
the inability (or unwillingness) to communicate with each other. Men are the worst, by far, but
women also are guilty too often of neglecting to say what they feel.
Madeleine de Scudery once wrote,
"Love makes mutes of those who
habitually speak most fluently." That
is sad. Thankfully, you can change
the way things are.
One of the wisest pieces of marital
advice we have heard and tried to
apply to our own marriage is also one
of the simplest: Say "I love you" to your
spouse at least once a day. More is
definitely better. The more creative is
How could something so simple work so well?
After asking the most personal and private questions in research sessions around the world, we
can tell you that "Sweet Nothin's," as Brenda Lee's classic Rock and Roll song tells us, can work
Do you want to make your marriage work better, regardless of how long you have been together
and no matter what your age may be? Take a tip from the best marriage partners we have ever
interviewed—learn to say "I love you," and learn to say it often.
SAYING IT, MEANING IT
The best ways to say "I love you" is usually in simple, everyday, seemingly undramatic ways.
The bestselling author Leo Buscaglia often said, "Words and deeds that say 'You enrich my life'
go on forever."
Do you want a relationship that gets better and better? How about one that goes on forever,
getting more romance-filled all the time?
Here are a few suggestions that you can personalize:
- If your lover has a cell phone that allows text messaging, type in "I luv U and miss U!" when
he or she is away. Yes, you can come up with much better ones. Go for it! (Just don't type
anything too steamy if your spouse's cell phone screen is likely to be read by anyone else!)
- For absolutely no reason, give your mate an unexpected hug, then say, "One of the many
things I really love about you is (finish the sentence)." It doesn't have to be Shakespeare.
Just be sure that it is meaningful.
- Seek to become a better listener. (Are you listening, especially men?)
- Plan a special day together, the less scheduled the better.
- Get out the old photograph books, listen to Frank Sinatra or Benny Goodman or the
Beatles, and tell your spouse how much the memories you share mean to you.
- Tickle your spouse teasingly. (Okay, be careful with that one, especially if he or she is
drinking coffee or sleeping.)
- Buy a box of chocolates when it's NOT your anniversary or spouse's birthday.
- Plan a weekend at some romantic spot.
- Blow a kiss, even if you haven't done that since high school.
- Wink, even if you haven't done that since grade school.
- Plan and cook a special meal together, even down to the candles.
- Drink hot chocolate together on the front porch after it rains.
- Find a way to show your appreciation and love in a new way each day.
- Learn to say, "I love you" in a different language. (For starters, type the words on a
computer document, then go to Tools, then Language, then Translation.)
- Use lipstick to write "I love you" inside a heart on your bathroom mirror.
- Play a Benny Goodman (or the Lettermen or...?) CD and ask your spouse to dance.
- Go outside and look at the stars together. When you return inside, hand your lover a note
with the words, ""When you say you love me, the world stops for a moment, the stars stop
shining, the moon stops glowing, the earth stops breathing. Say you love me more, and
see what happens!"
- Make each anniversary and birthday special in some meaningful way. Make sure you
personalize the greeting card.
- Take a bath or shower together. Soaping and shampooing each other can be nice clean
fun. Or dirty.
- Write unexpected love notes and leave them in the most creative places you can think of.
- Buy a gift that says, "I love you." It doesn't have to be expensive to say, "You mean the
world to me."
- Use the good china and silverware.
- Get a professional photo made, frame it for a special gift, and write: "If I had the whole sky
to write the words to express how much I love you, it wouldn't all fit."
- Buy cute Post-It® notes in heart shapes and write, "Nothing is more sensual to me than you
wearing only the moonlight and my kisses." Careful with this one...notes like this have been
known to start passionate fires that aren't easily extinguished!
- Share a passage from a romance novel, then explain why
you enjoy being romantic with your spouse.
- Make up your own "Love Is..." cartoons and stick them on
the front of the newspaper or a favorite magazine.
- Say, "Do you have any idea how much I am in love with
- Write a note that says, "I love you more today than
yesterday, but half as much as tomorrow." Leave it on your
lover's pillow. (Okay, we ripped than one off from the 1969
Spiral Starecase hit, but you can undoubtedly do better!)
- Buy a book or DVD on giving a therapeutic massage.
Define "therapeutic" however you desire.
- Whisper, "The more I know you, the more I love you."
The point is very simple: Do unexpected, spontaneous things with no price tag or expectations
involved. They don't have to be sexual in nature. They don't even have to technically be
romantic. Just make sure they are meaningful.
You may be surprised, over time, at how well your mate responds.
The question inevitably arises, "But what if I do all these things and my spouse doesn't
He or she will. It may not be the way you want, especially at first. But what's the harm in trying?
Make the challenge fun. Seduction is a skill. Saying "I love you" in creative ways is a wonderful
"But my ole man (or ole lady) is like a lump
on a log," we've heard many times. "He (or
she) wouldn't respond to those sweet
nothin's you talk about if I stripped down to
my danged birthday suit and had `Take
me...take me now!' tattooed across my
Tomorrow starts today. Looking back is
Love can only grow if at least one person
in a relationship decides to change things.
It certainly works better if both people are
involved, but start where you are and
change yourself. You may be surprised to
see where it leads.
What do you have to lose?
After all, love is truly never wasted. Loving always make a difference. Loving blesses the one you
love, of course, but it also blesses you, the giver.
The love you build, as it gets better and better, enriches and goes on forever!
HOW TO SAY "I LOVE YOU"
...Learning to Communicate Meaningfully
There's a joke that has probably been around since the first man and woman:
A fiftyish couple sat on the porch swing. The sunset was particularly beautiful. In a moment of
unexpected ardor, the husband reached over and held his wife's hand.
After they watched the sun's waning rays for a few more moments, the wife said, "I wish you
would tell me you love me more often. It's been since you proposed to me."