Do you love me? This is a universal question that speaks to the deepest part of the human soul — to know that you are loved. The Bible talks about three important concepts — faith, hope and love. It then goes on to say that the greatest of these is love.
Being loved comes to mind for us as we celebrate our anniversary of 44 loving years together this week. We’ve been fortunate to be able to share the ups and downs of life and it has brought us even closer together.
Love is obviously important in marriage. It’s also needed even more than ever in the world today, where there is so much division. There’s division in countries, polarization in politics and healthcare, and even anger and separation in families. Yet, the word ‘love’ continues to be a powerful influence in many places, including music.
In the mid ‘60s, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, wrote a popular song, “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” That’s just as timely today as it was then. Here are some of the words: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. No, not just for some, but for everyone.”
You may agree with us that we could, indeed, use more love and tolerance, and less hatred and violence in the world today.
Our opening question, “Do you love me?” is also a popular song from the play, “Fiddler on the Roof,” which has Tevye asking his wife, Golde, of 25 years, “Do you love me?” Golde goes into a long list of things she has done for him over the years. Tevye asks again, “But do you love me?” Finally, on his third ask, she says, “I suppose I do.” He then responds, “I suppose I love you, too.” Then they sing together, “After 25 years, it’s nice to know.”
Yes, it IS nice to know. It would be wonderful if all children grew up in families where they were told that they are loved. However, there are some families where it is difficult to tell family members — “I love you.’ If you are from a Scandinavian background, like us, emotions were not always easily, outwardly expressed. There’s a joke about the Norwegian farmer who loved his wife so much, that he almost told her!
It’s worth taking time to express the words — I love you. We often say, “Each day is a gift.” We don’t know how long we, or the ones we love, will be here. Don’t wait to express your love for others. Do it now! Many would give anything to say “I love you” one last time or to hear those words from someone else. Don’t live in regret in those days of grief. Speak those precious words now while you still can.
It’s important to also understand it’s not just about the words. There needs to be a balance between words that express love and actions that show love. In the classic musical, “My Fair Lady” by Lerner and Loewe, Eliza Doolittle sings in frustration, “Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words. If you’re in love, show me!”
So, how can you show love? Commit yourself to a consistent course of action of different acts of service for another. Thought leader, Simon Sinek, says, “It’s not the intensity, it’s the consistency” in your actions. He likens it to going to a gym to work out. Working out for eight hours then quitting won’t get you in shape. It’s the consistent 20-30 minute workouts over a period of time that will get you in shape. Likewise, the consistent fulfilling of the needs of others, before you are even asked, is what can show your love.
We’ve talked about the importance of showing and expressing love toward others. There’s another important concept that can too easily be ignored. That concept is showing and expressing love for ourselves — self-love. Forgive yourself and others. Recognize that we’re all not perfect. We’re a work in progress. It’s loving yourself, independent of needing someone else to love you. The irony is that when you love yourself, your energy will shine and attract others.
What about you? Do you find it easy, or difficult, to express love? We encourage you to use every opportunity to express love with words and actions to those close to you, because as Tevye and Golde sang, when it comes to love, “It’s nice to know.”