Use Your Actions: When 'I Love You' Isn't Enough

By

Relationship Coach: Expressing Love Through Actions
Relationship reality check: it's time to explore practical ways our actions speak louder than words.

Last week I sat in a Verizon store with 50 million other people on iPhone Launch Day. Unlike everyone else, I was not looking for a fabulous upgrade.  I was waiting in line to do something I had committed to do — two weeks ago. It was time for a relationship reality check.

My husband had asked me to replace his decrepit, old phone because the account is in my name. I told him I would, but never got around to it. On iPhone Launch Day, in the middle of the afternoon, his phone literally broke in half. And, I confronted a simple truth: sometimes "I love you" isn’t enough. For healthy relationships, the magic words need to combine with practical action.    

How often do we say the magic words, "I love you", and then act in ways that communicate something else? Here are some examples to illustrate my point:

  • New Mom: While my partner goes to a daily job and interacts with the world, my big outings are to Costco and Safeway. For 10 months I consistently say, "I need a date", but you smile and reply, "I want to stay home with my two beauties because I love you." Really? Show me the love. Make a dinner reservation!
  • New Father: I change both diapers and engine oil, but I can't show up on your radar. We had tons of bedtime fun when our baby was a twinkle in my eye. But now, when I make a move, you say, "I love you, but not tonight" — for 9 months. Really? Show me the love. Talk to me about a potential solution.     
  • Husband: I've supported your eBay business and trusted you with using our joint credit card to fund it. But you charged twice the amount we agreed. Now, you blow off my concern with a flippant response that ends with, "I love you." Really? Show me the love. Keep our financial agreements. 
  • Girlfriend: It was your week to pick up dry cleaning. I need my power suit for tomorrow's marketing meeting. You came home at 10:00 pm without the dry cleaning — for the second time in four weeks. You tell me I'll rock in whatever I wear. You know this because you love me.  Really? Show me the love. Remember the dry cleaning.    
  • Boyfriend: I'm running late for work. I feed the dog, but I ask you to let him out before you leave an hour later. You agree, but head out and forget about the dog. He's an 85 pound coonhound with a big bladder. I get home first and break out Nature's Miracle.  You laugh it off and say, "But I love you." Really? Show me the love. Let the dog out.       
  • Wife: We divided the household chores and you got the bathroom. We each agreed to do our cleaning chores weekly. But now I think things are growing in the toilet and the sink is taking on a new color. I fear contamination. You laugh and say you'll eventually get around to it because you love me. Really? Show me the love. Sanitize the bathroom.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned the immortal words, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." In a sonnet, she eloquently enumerates the many ways she loves an unnamed someone. Who do we love? If actions speak louder than words, how will we show our love to spouses or partners today? Maybe it's time to fuel the magic words, "I love you" with daily practical action.  

More relationship coach advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by

Gina Binder

Counselor/Therapist

Gina Binder is a Resident in Counseling who helps couples and individuals find the change they need to live the life they desire.  She practices under the clinical supervision of Katherine Rosemond, LPC.  If you're in Northern Virginia, contact Gina for a free 15-minute phone consultation - to see what's possible for you or your relationship.   

To jumpstart change in your relationship, grab Gina's FREE report, How to Make Your Relationship Work When Something's Wrong.     

Location: Manassas, VA
Credentials: MA
Other Articles/News by Gina Binder:

Is Porn Addiction Real?

By

Is porn addiction real? I guess the answer truly depends on who you ask. Clinical psychologist, Dr. David Ley argues that it's not. He claims that few research articles describe compulsive porn use as an actual addiction, and few connect it with either ED or brain changes associated with a chemical addiction. But a Cambridge University study recently found ... Read more

7 Lessons For A Newlywed From Someone Who’s Been There

By

To my beautiful niece, By now you've been married for almost two weeks and I thought I'd drop a line to offer you the kind of marriage advice that no one offered me. If you follow it, you'll have a good shot at doing what your parents and mine couldn't, and what your uncle and I work at daily: succeeding in your marriage. We've learned ... Read more

Betrayed? 3 Things You Should Do Instead Of Revenge Cheat

By

In a committed relationship, when your man cheats, you want to kick him where it hurts. An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth. The thought of inflicting the same kind of cheating pain tastes like the sweetest revenge.    You want to even the score, and make him understand the hell he rained down on you. Or maybe your self-esteem requires ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.