3 Phrases Vastly More Important Than Saying "I Love You"

Communication in a relationship is necessary, so here are 3 phrases that are important to know.

couple talking Aiman Dairabaeva/ Shutterstock

By Maria Hakki

Saying “I love you!” to the partner is considered the most important element to reinforce your relationship. This idea, which may date as early as our childhood when our parents were constantly repeating they loved us, has been enjoying growing popularity nowadays. But our feelings of affection, which we undoubtedly need to express, are only one aspect of love.

Here are three more which deserve our attention, as well as three other phrases that also seem essential for a romantic partnership.


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Here are three phrases that are vastly more important than saying, "I love you"

1. "I am sorry."

Sooner or later we will make a mistake as imperfection lies deep In our human nature. And when a mistake is committed, usually our closest one, our partner suffers or bears its consequences. In such a situation confessing that we are wrong is necessary, as well as showing that we understand we have caused pain.


And although some people might find it difficult to express their feelings of regret a simple phrase such as “I am sorry” is more than a good start.

Why apologizing is important

Couple therapists say that very often the partner who offended the other does not agree with the injured partner’s perception of the situation, stating their intentions were pure. This causes conflicts between the couple and the partners find themselves fighting the battle of who is wrong and who is right which certainly doesn’t lead to a positive end. That’s why apologizing is crucial! It provides acknowledgment of the hurt partner’s feelings and shows an attempt to fix the mistake by the one who committed it.

In psychology, this is called a “repair attempt” and comes to help make the partner realize that we don’t mean to impose negativity and that we want to diffuse the tense situation. And it’s actually a very good strategy to save our relationship in a longer perspective from poisonous emotions such as anger and hatred.


How you apologize matters.

To say "I am sorry” is a good way of admitting your faults but you need to be cautious about how to phrase your apology. If you say “I am sorry you felt this way when I did … ” you are actually blaming your partner for their negative emotions caused by your errors. You’ll have to express yourself differently.

It is wiser to say “I am sorry I made you feel this way…”  Now you are showing that you validate your partner’s feelings, while you don’t take their point of view as your own. Thus, you become able to clarify the intentions, which involved you both in this and pave the way for a positive outcome from this situation.

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2. "I forgive you."

Trying to make up for our mistakes is the first step if we’ve hurt our loved ones, but their forgiveness will put an end to the conflict. And despite “I forgive you” seems easy to say, forgiveness is not always easily given. The offended partner might need more time to let go of negativity and recover their trust.

But as “There is no love without forgiveness…”,  “...there is no forgiveness without love”. This means forgiving is as important as offering an apology and if your love is true, sooner or later (we need to be patient) the partner forgives. And when forgiveness is given the relationship becomes more sincere and the partners are more prone to apologize to each other in the future.

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3. "I'm proud of you."

Love cannot go without respect and admiration and they are most explicitly manifested when we acknowledge our partner’s accomplishments and praise them for their achievements. So “You make me proud!” is a phrase our loved ones must hear whenever they are successful in something. By showing that we appreciate them we also strengthen our mutual emotional connection and become fonder of each other.


Love has different aspects

There are no easy relationships. But the romantic ones are maybe the most complicated as two different individuals, often from different backgrounds, decide to be together only because of love. And saying out loud that they love each other is their relationship’s milestone.

Yet we mustn’t forget that love has other aspects which are also worth being involved in the partner’s communication. So, don’t be shy to say ”I am sorry” when you are wrong or “I forgive you” when you have forgiven a  mistake. And certainly, don’t refrain from praising your loved one for their achievements with a sincere “You make me proud!”


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Maria Hakki is writer and translator. She has been featured in I Heart Intelligence, Australian National Review, and more.