I love you
. . . three little words.
Grammatically it’s the perfect sentence — it has a pronoun, a verb and an object. ‘I love you’ rolls off the tongue so easily, we use it often—maybe too often—with different people in a number of different contexts without considering its true meaning.
Love has a plethora of meanings…
From the apostles, ancient Greeks and social scientists, to poets, songwriters and authors, love is defined and expressed in many different ways. If you ask your friends, family or work colleagues what love means to them, you’d get a variety of interpretations. All of us have a different perception of what love is. Like the famous song, you could say that love is a many splendoured thing.
Love is a powerful emotion, but communicating love is not inherent in us. We can learn how to communicate that love through our words, actions and non-verbal cues. So how do we communicate our love without using the over-used ‘I Love you’? These are my nine suggestions.
Nine ways to communicate love:
Your facial expression conveys your emotions, be that anger, happiness or love. A smiling face with bright open eyes conveys joy and love.
2. Make eye contact
- Meet your loved one’s eyes, especially when you’re talking. Even when there is no conversation, look at him or her. If you are seen looking, hold his gaze for a moment and smile.
- When you’re out in company, a secret wink to your lover is enough to get the heart fluttering.
- When talking to a friend or colleague, make eye contact. It shows you’re interested in what they have to say and that you are actively listening.
3. Be thoughtful
- Call your wife, husband, son, mum or grandmother during the day to see how their day is going. Say that you are missing him or her.
- At home if your partner has a lot to do, ask ,“what can I do that will help the most?”
- Clean up after yourself – there’s nothing worse than having to constantly pick up or clean up after someone else. It’s also a sign of consideration and respect.
- Send flowers, don’t wait for a special occasion. Men love to receive flowers too!
- If she’s had a hard day offer to cook dinner, a foot or back rub, sympathy.
- A handwritten note in our technology driven world is especially thoughtful.
There are so many thoughtful words and gestures…if you can’t think of any, google thoughtful gestures to express love , you’ll find hundreds of helpful sites.
4. Make physical contact
Touching someone is an intimate gesture. A warm handshake with a friend shows you’re happy to see him or her and that it’s been a pleasure spending time together. Hugging your girlfriend or your mother is a special way to say I love you.
Even a gentle touch on the arm communicates your love. I often hold my daughter’s hand when we are out together, even though she’s an adult. It makes me feel closer to her. I can feel the love!
5. Learn the art of good conversation
Firstly, good conversation is all about good manners. It’s about active listening and taking turns to speak. Listening attentively shows you care. One of my favourite australian writers, Robert Dessaix, in his essay on conversation writes,
conversation is an exchange of ideas, insights, information and feelings that changes the participants.
We would like to think that the participants are changed for the better, feel uplifted by our company and leave us feeling great! If you want to show your love, have a meaningful conversation.
6. Show appreciation
Express gratitude if your mum has done something nice for you. Don’t forget your manners, say please and thank you— a sign of respect in a loving relationship. Send a note of thanks or appreciation to a friend for something they’ve done or said which made you feel good.
7. Give compliments often
People love to receive compliments. Think about what you can compliment your loved one for. We often take things for granted about the people around us. Telling them you love their beautiful smile or shining eyes might just make their day! A sincere compliment is a way of letting a friend know that you admire and love him or her.
8. Write a love poem
Write a poem from the heart to your loved one. Nobel laureate Pablo Naruda wrote his 100 Love Sonnets in celebration of his love for his wife.
I love the handful of the earth you are. Because of its meadows, vast as a planet, I have no other star. You are my replica of the multiplying universe.
Your wide eyes are the only light I know from extinguished constellations; your skin throbs like the streak of a meteor through rain.
Your hips were that much of the moon for me; your deep mouth and its delights, that much sun; your heart, fiery with its long red rays,
was that much ardent light, like honey in the shade. So I pass across your burning form, kissing you—compact and planetary, my dove, my globe.
— Pablo Naruda
If you’re stuck for words find one of his poems. They are the most beautiful words to share with someone you love.
9. Expand your vocabulary
There are many ways to communicate love without the words ‘I love you’, it just requires a little thought. Phrases like ‘I appreciate everything you do for me’ or ‘I’m so happy that you’re my friend’ or ‘Thank you for being part of my life’ convey our love in a meaningful way if we are sincere. They are special because we don’t say them often.
I hope that you’ve taken some inspiration from these suggestions.
If you have different ways to express your love, please share!