Love is a verb.

Bloganuary

I don’t come from a demonstrative family. We’re not cuddles and hugs. We’re respectful distance and assumptions about feelings.

I don’t remember hearing “I love you” much growing up. I don’t remember hearing it said between my parents, and I don’t remember hearing it said to us, though I’m sure it was. My parents say it now, and children are scads more appealing as toddlers.

Perhaps this is why I struggle to say the words. And struggle I do. They tie my tongue. Thinking about saying them brings on panic and sweats. I feel awkward and anxious, never entirely sure I won’t be rejected. I even struggle with my children. I say it quickly and in passing so the risk is lessened.

I didn’t worry when they were young. We don’t fear rejection from the single-digit set. It’s hugs, cuddles, and “I love you” all the time.

But children grow up and one day they feel less safe. I hate that I connect with my children this way, but we are who we are, and among other things, I’m wary.

To the bones, it seems. The wall that holds the adult world somewhat at bay holds no one exempt, it seems.

If I was an old man, they’d label me taciturn, at least when it comes to touchy-feely stuff. If I’m telling you about an article I recently read, all bets are off. When it comes to intellectual stuff, I’m positively verbose. [i]

For me, love isn’t about the words.

My love language is action. It has always been thus. There’s less risk of rejection in the doing, and I have much fear when it comes to speaking some truths out loud.

The ones that make you vulnerable.

I’ve become pretty good at going toe-to-toe with bullies. I’m going to get punched in the chin one of these days. Do you think they’d shave a bit off my nose if I already needed plastic surgery?


I tell you I love you when I say, “drive carefully.”

I tell you I love you when I deal with the spider.

I tell you I love you when I say, “eat your greens.” I tell you I love you when I ask you if you’ve checked the tires and had an oil change done recently. Take care of things I rely on to keep you safe.

I tell you I love you when I call you on your birthday. When I remember the anniversary of your mother’s death. When I bring you a care package when you’re sick.

I tell you I love you when I tell you I miss you. I tell you I love you when I cook your dinner and make sure it’s a balanced meal.

I tell you I love you when we eat cake for breakfast.

I tell you I love you when I burn a candle, when I dust, when I hang pictures and set out knickknacks. It’s love that makes a home.

I tell you I love you when I do your laundry. And when I refrain from offering tips on how you could better take care of your clothes.

I tell you I love you when I offer to help. And when I refrain.

I tell you I love you when I remind you, yet again, about that thing you need to get done. People who don’t care, don’t bother.

I tell you I love you when I buy fruits and vegetables instead of cookies and chips. Okay, one bag of chips, but it was small and it was pretzels, which are a fake chip. They’re baked. They’re practically health food.  

I tell you I love you when I let you go out in the world which is a dangerous and scary place.

I tell you I love you when I try to make you laugh.  

I tell you I love you when I listen.

I tell you I love you when I pay attention to the things you’re passionate about.

I tell you I love you when I’m honest, even when it hurts. I tell you I love you when I’m angry or disappointed, even though I’m terrified I’ll be rejected forever. So far, that hasn’t happened, but my inside voice remains unconvinced. I tell you I love you when I persist.

I tell you I love you when I tell you, “No.” I tell you I love you when I exercise healthy boundaries. What value would my love have if I didn’t love myself too?

I tell you I love you when I rescue you. I tell you I love you when I remind you that you can swim.

I tell you I love you when I take out the garbage in the morning.


I tell you I love you without words in a million different ways, you just have to pay attention.

Though I understand words are nice too.

I’m working on it.


[i] “I just read an article” is probably the phrase I use most in this life. I used it three times in a single conversation yesterday, referencing three separate articles. I need a new introduction.

header credit: me, via Canva.


11 thoughts on “Love is a verb.

  1. Both my husband and I express love through acts of service (I also express love through giving gifts—the hubs secondary love language is touch), so I identify heavily with this post. Weirdly, I prefer RECEIVING love through acts of service and words of affirmation. We’re all such complicated creatures.

    I tell you I love you when I spend time reading your posts and post thoughtful comments. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a moving, beautiful post. There is so much to gain from the many beautiful ways you tell people you love them. My favourite part was how you excused buying a bag of pretzels. I agree, they ARE practically health food. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very insightful post – words do make us more vulnerable and leave us open to possible rejection – perhaps, our ability to be vulnerable reflects the status of our inner room and can be a way to tell how we are progressing on our path of life . . . perhaps . . . – thank you for sharing these very helpful thoughts

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You’re so right, we show love in so many different ways. The way we show love differs with the person the love is directed at. There are people in my life who I have no hesitation in verbally expressing my love, yet there are others where the words are hard, but the actions of love are not an issue.

    Liked by 2 people

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