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If you’ve been around for awhile you have most likely heard me state that I believe when the Bible says we were “made in God’s image” it is talking about language.  Genesis begins with, “In the beginning, God said …” and John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”  Yes, I’ve heard the argument that Jesus is “The Word” in question.  That doesn’t change my argument because I’ve been told that Jesus dwells in me.

According to the Bible, words — language — are what God used to create the universe.  He spoke it into existence.  With words God also condemned the serpent to crawl upon his belly and doomed Eve to painful child-birth.  He condemned Cain to be a fugitive and a wanderer upon the earth.    God used words to create and condemn — and he gave that power to man.

There are three words in particular that can be used to create (security,  acceptance, belonging, happiness) and destroy (insecurity, loneliness, rejection and despair).  I love you.

In my family — most of us — say the words easily, and we mean them.  I routinely tell my sisters and brother that I love them.  I have told my friends that I love them.  I said the words easily to my parents and grandparents.  That is because I had no doubt I was (am) loved in return.

I have a friend who never married, and in fact  never managed to sustain an romantic relationship for any significant length of time.  She told me once that she doesn’t remember her mother ever telling any of them that she loved them.  She never heard her parents exchange those three little words — and she herself has never said them to anybody except her little sister.

Why?  I think — keep in mind that my opinion is worth what you paid for it — that it is because although the words I love  you can strengthen and empower the recipient, they can also destroy the giver.  There is no greater pain than rejection.  To love and not be loved in return destroys from the inside out.  Such a rejection rips the still beating heart from one’s breast and exposes it to the world as flawed and worthless.

It is easy to say I love you, when you know you are loved, but any uncertainty may cause those words to forever remain unspoken.

Who is it you can easily say, I love you to?  Who is it that makes you hesitate? Why?  Isn’t it because your hesitation is a form of self-preservation?

In case you are wondering where this introspection came from, you can blame it on (but please don’t condemn) David McMahon  of Authorblog.  I just recently became aware of his blog, and am quite enjoying it.  The post that inspired these ramblings is: Weekend Wandering, and his question is:  Do you say I love you often enough?

My answer is, yes.  And my question is, Do you?

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. My answer is YES! But I didn’t used to. For me NOT saying it is truly a matter of not feeling it. And I won’t say it if I don’t feel it! But I have learned that if you DON’T feel it, you can pray FOR it – and it will be given!

    And by the way Quilly… I love YOU!

  2. Very thought provoking. I don’t remember my mother ever saying I love you to me. I know she did, but neither of my parents were very demonstrative in that regard. I always tried to remember to tell my kids that I love them, although sometimes I want to strangle them. I refuse to let my husband out the door without us saying we love each other. Three little words-so powerful.

  3. Quilly ~ Very thoughtful post, I always tell my sister I love her, but this is about it. Sometimes you don’t need to say it but your family and friends know you do. It actually surprises me when someone says it to me. I don’t expect it from my friends. I know that they do and this is good enough for me.

  4. hmmm… want me to be honest?

    i grew up in a family where these words were hardly ever spoken and i am still very sparse with them. they are rather strong words, and… yes, perhaps i’m afraid to say them out loud… i never got to learn differently (and my partner is similar in that regard). i use them in my thoughs more liberally, though – but only when i mean it.

  5. The last thing I say to Betty every night is ” I love you”. I grew up in a home filled with love but the words wern’t used. Finns don’t say I love you. But in our home my children were told that we love them. Even now when I finish talking to either of my sons on the phone we close with ” I love you”. I do think it is important not just top love but to say the words.

  6. those words can be said too often
    without sincerity
    so that the power is lost
    and the person who utters them
    seems shallow
    and unlikely to me

    find other words

    convey much more

    search deeper to express

    there is real meaning there

  7. Hubby and I say those words to eachother every day, many times during the day. They never lose their meaning. We say them to Elijah as well. He is starting to say them back. We don’t know if he understands their meaning, but we know he loves us by the way he rushes to us with an excited, “Mummy!” or “Daddy” and big cuddles upon arrival at our house.

  8. Thank you for the kind words about my blog. You post really carries a strong message, because love sustains us through most of our lives.

    Not a day goes past where I forget to tell my family just how much they mean to me.

  9. Morgan — Why less often? I consistently tell my family that I love them and I often tell my friends — even the ones who can’t say it back. Love is a gift that is richer when it is shared.

    Doug — you want her phone number? She is considerably older than you — in fact, next year she will apply for social security. You could help her through the process …

    Melli — I think telling some one you love them when you don’t is the worse sort of abuse. As I said, the words hold the power to create and destroy. They should not be used blithely.

    Jill — I don’t remember my mother telling me she loved me. She died when I was three. However, she left behind a poem I read for the first time when I was a teen, and one verse is etched forever in my memory, “Who will love my baby as much as I do?”

    My maternal grandmother and my brother’s and sister’s did such an outstanding job of loving me, I still marvel that I am not a spoiled rotten brat.

    (All right! I heard that! Very funny!)

    Bill — how do you know they know? I don’t ever want to regret not having said, “I love you” when I could have.

    Polona — they are life changing words, and should be used with caution and conscience. Despite the fact that I say them often, I do not say them lightly.

    Dr. John — I wish more dads — men in general — were comfortable expressing their love verbally.

    Use Sparingly — the words, without actions to support them, are often weapons of destruction.

    David, I hope a few of my friends wander your way. I think they’ll find your blog worth their while.

  10. This post came back to me this morning as the teener was leaving to catch the school bus. As he was about to go down the hall to exit, he turned and said to Herself: word.

    She looked at me quizzically and I responded with “that’s how they tell each other ‘I love you.'”

    Beats what “word” meant before xmas.

    The teener has such a deep soul. And, at times, a vocabulary to match.

  11. Saying those words and meaning them becomes a way of being that creates joy and safety and freedom and life. You are dead on with this one! What becomes possible is unimaginable. A free heart can fuel the world.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

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