9 Ways Men Say "I Love You"

Cary McNeal
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Flickr photo by jessica.garro
Those of you who like '80s music might remember the Howard Jones song "What Is Love?" which includes these lyrics:

Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you're beautiful!

No, wait. Sorry, that's She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby. I always get him and Howard Jones mixed up -- they looked sort of alike back then.

Here's what Howard Jones sang:

What is love, anyway?

Does anybody love anybody, anyway?

Despite his apparent fondness for repetition and the word anyway, Howie asks an important question.

What is love?

The answer depends on who you ask, but there's one thing we can probably all agree on: Love is action, not words. Words are nice -- who doesn't want to be told, "I love you"? -- but action is where love really proves itself. Talk is cheap. You might say you love someone, but would you give him a kidney?

I bring this up because many men tend to be, well, less than effusive with their feelings. It's not that we as men don't love you; we do. We just forget to talk about it. To us it's a given, so when you ask us out of the blue, "Do you love me?", you're likely to get a look of befuddlement and mild annoyance and the reply, "Of course I love you." Duh!

I think men are much better at showing their love than talking about it. As much as I'd like to claim that it's because we're brilliant enough to know that actions speak louder than words, the truth is more likely that we're just forgetful or hesitant to say aloud how we feel. Still, if you're insecure about your man's feelings for you, consider his actions, actions that say "I love you" more strongly than any words. Things like:

  1. He spends more time with you than anyone else.
  2. He works hard and helps support your family.
  3. He takes care of you and the kids when you're sick.
  4. He comforts you when you're down.
  5. He celebrates your victories and mourns your losses.
  6. He supports your career, hobbies, and friendships.
  7. He accepts you for who you are, warts and all.
  8. He kills spiders for you.
  9. He turns off the alarm when you're too sleepy.

The list could go on, but you get the idea. And yes, you do all these things for him too (except maybe killing the spiders), which is what makes you a successful couple.

I know what you're thinking: This dad dude is just trying to get guys off the hook for not being more expressive with their feelings. Not at all. I agree that men need to show their love in both word and action. Both are important, and you should never settle for less than what you need to feel comfortable in your relationship.

What I'm saying is that love often shows itself in ways that require a second look and an ever-broadening appreciation of how it might be revealed.

Do you like to hear the words "I love you" or are actions enough?

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