Believe it or not, the words “I love you” are not very meaningful for me. When Steve and I were experiencing extreme strife in our marriage he would still say “I love you.” At first, it was relieving to hear those words….like, whew, even though he’s treating me poorly, at least he still loves me.
But after a short time, those words were worthless. Why? Because they were not backed up with action. Actually, his actions were the complete opposite of love. (Before you think I am throwing him under the bus, please let me tell you that, for several years in our marriage, I was quite terrible. I used words as weapons. I will get into that in another blog post.)
“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
In “2 Words To Remove From Your Marriage” and “3 Magic Words For Your Marriage!” we talked about how our words matter. They do! Words can be weapons or they can be nutrients. But there is a key to unlock the positive power in words….action.
Our words are meaningless if they are not accompanied by action.
Back in the day, people used to bind a contract with their “word.” You may have heard it said, “I am a man of my word.” That means…I will do as I say I will do. There is ACTION attached to my words.
This type of agreement hardly occurs anymore. If we want someone to commit to something, our best bet is to draw up a document…even going as far as having an attorney create it. And even then, there are ways to get out of contracts. Mostly, our “word” does not hold any weight because we seem to be forgetting about the action that must follow it.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18
When Steve and I were reconciling our marriage, I asked him to refrain from saying “I love you.” The words actually became painful to hear, because they represented a deceitful time in our marriage. Instead, I asked him to SHOW me his love. (we have since added those three words back into our vocabulary and I do like them 🙂 )
I can picture myself, in a very Jerry McGuire-way, yelling to Steve….
SHOW me the love! Show me the Loooovvveeee!
And he did. Oh, did he show me the love. Gradually, trust was rebuilt in our marriage because we were intentional in showing (giving) love. For us, the words began to mean more AFTER we experienced the action. That was one of the many things that helped to repair a very broken marriage.
How did we do it? Well, let me tell you the FIRST thing we did…
We looked to the perfect example of love in action,
Just to name a few, He showed love by becoming human, living among a sinful world, working tirelessly to teach and lead people to salvation, and oh, you know…He DIED ON THE CROSS. Just a little somethin’ to SHOW us how much He loves us.
There are SO many ways we can back up our words with actions. Our next blog post will focus on one of the tools we used to help us do just that. Stay tuned! Until then, look within yourself…I imagine you can come up with some actions that will back up your words. (Comment below with some “love in action” ideas!)
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