“I Love You, “I Love You, Too”

It seems that only a decade or so ago, the phrase, “I love you,” was used much less frequently than it is today.  As one commentator stated, “It is now spoken more often, but practiced less.”

 I haven’t checked it out, but I think the “fad” started with those who lost someone unexpectedly and regretted that their last words may have been neglectful or maybe even downright mean.  I recall reading several times that we never know when perhaps our last words have been spoken to loved ones, so always make sure they know that you love them.  Yes, everyone should know they are loved.

 So, now we have every parting, or so it seems, end with an, “I love you,” which elicits an almost obligatory, “I love you, too” (or actually the shortened, “love you,” and “love you, too”).  What else are you going to say?  Except, a very familiar person told me that in spite of being given the, “I love you” departing by one person in particular, she always simply says, “good bye.”  I asked her why, and the answer was… not sure.  Something different going on there.  In this case it appears to be a thoughtful response.

A father recently overheard his daughter end a phone call with an, “I love you, too” (what else).  Asking who was on the phone she answered, “my boyfriend” (by name).  The father reacted strongly about the “I love you, too” sign off to which she responded, “Dad, everyone says that.”  Well, it seems that “I love you” between males and females, if used at all, should mean a lot more than “everyone says that.”  That supports my belief that the term has come to be a social convention not taken that seriously.  That’s what happens when words are bandied about.  I believe it’s now having about the same significance as “have a nice day.”

Just the other night I was watching a popular news talk show fielding responses about current political issues, like always.  I heard an internationally known female political analyst, author, lawyer and other things, sign off with an “I love you guys.”  That was a first and I almost choked on my Spanish peanuts.

Anyway, before I wrote this little bit of trifling drivel, I wanted so bad to experiment with complete strangers.  I imagined checking out at Wal-Mart and after being thanked by the cashier (sometimes), I would comment with something like, “You’re welcome, I love you.”  It would be hilarious.  Except in this day I would probably be accused of sexual harassment.  And if it happened to be a male, I would be punched or maybe hugged.  All this would happen before I could explain that I was doing scientific research.  It might work with telemarketers.

I can’t find any Scripture where Jesus left anyone with an, “I love you,” even though the reality of his love for everyone is beyond anything we can conjure up.  Love was most often associated with doing rather than saying.  Even today, I doubt anyone is convinced that they are loved merely by words alone.  It’s more a matter of actions,  which is nothing new.  Scores of books have been written about the meaning of love with the general consensus being love is a not only a word verbalized, but rather the acts that convince others of its reality.  We are all really moved by others actions toward us rather than what is said.

Driving along discussing this with Pat, I asked her to finish the Scripture verse when Jesus said, “If you love me…” to which she answered correctly, “you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  I then posed the question, shouldn’t that be the same in marriage that if you love me you will, well, do the same?  That didn’t go over too well.

I think it is noteworthy that “God so loved the world that He gave…”(John 3:16). It doesn’t say, “God so loved the world that He told you so every chance He got.”  His love was expressed in a way that none of us can fathom (giving His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us all).  And what does He say will show our love for Him?  Telling Him everyday?  Well, there’s nothing wrong with that.  But the critical way is when our hearts have been changed by His love, and we follow Him the best we are able being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to practice what He teaches.  Not out of some obligatory compulsion, but because we love the law of the Lord from our hearts.  Same with humans.  Real love comes from the heart and really shows its self in serving with gladness.  I can’t read this without being somewhat convicted and feeling a little hypocritical.

So the next time you want to tell someone “I love you,” I think it would be more appropriate to say something like, “I love you, so I’m coming to clean your house today.”  Or, “I love you, so I’m sending you fifty bucks.”  Or better yet, “I was going to say ‘I love you,’ but it’s becoming so trite these days that I’m just going to say ‘bye,’ but you know ‘I love you’ without me having to say it, right?”  That would start another whole conversation.  This is getting silly, so bye.   Love you!


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