Back in my Triassic period, one of the fastest ways to get a pink slip from me was to pop out with three little words... “I love you.” Yup, premature enunciations of love would get a guy’s boyfriend status revoked. I had two golden rules... don’t tell me you love me and don’t ask me to marry you.
I love you, I love you, I love you... I’d heard it uttered in the dark by a frightened mother. I’d read it in ink-stained poetry. I’d heard those words professed by lovers, drunken men, and snakes... at times, all one and the same. I'd heard it threatened through clenched teeth and seen it hanging from a noose. I’d heard it in English, French, Italian, and even Albanian.
I’d heard it enough to know that it did not mean what it was supposed to mean. And therefore, those words did not trigger in me requited sentiments, no, no, instead they brought cold anger and contempt.
For I had already learned that love is a verb, not a capricious noun made up of pheromones, hormones, and other such sweet aphrodisiacs. So the rule was don’t tell me, show me. Because if I can’t tell by your actions that you love me, then let’s just stick with like.
My husband was a quick study and he took my warning seriously. He soon figured out that to get into my heart he needed to demonstrate my three little words... blood, sweat, and tears.
After all, those actions of love were given for me by a King and I would expect no less from a husband. He gave willingly all that was needed, and eventually I proposed to him.
These words were read at our wedding, “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death;” Sgs 8:6. And while we sport no visible branding, no colorful appellation tattoos, no vials of blood worn ‘round the neck... they are there in spirit.
Now when I hear the words “I love you”, I am at peace because he has earned the right to say them.
Picture credit: Armor for Man and Horse: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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