Valentine’s Day may be one of my favorite holidays. I haven’t decided yet, but it ranks close to the top of the list.
I’m all about cute little cards and lots of chocolate. I think date nights are fun and red is one of my favorite colors. But more than all of that, I believe that setting aside a day to celebrate love is needed. Yes, we are to love one another constantly – whether there is a holiday or not.
However, picking a day and doing something special for the people we love holds vast meaning.
Only this Valentine’s Day, I don’t want to be so focused on gifts and heart candies. Rather, I want the language I speak to hold deep meaning. Because we tend to throw around three little words with hardly a thought, right?
“I love you.”
There’s something about that sentence – 3 simple words.
They hold such deep meaning and vulnerable truth, yet we live in a culture where love is thrown around like confetti. Everyone can have some whenever they want. In fact, we don’t just love people. We love food and events and songs and movies and money. We love ourselves. We love the idea of love.
We love the idea of love so much that when we say those three precious words they can come out sounding like everything else. No special meaning. No real importance.
Because I say “I love ice cream” and “I love my husband” with the same words. Do you?
So, as I walked past the aisle of pink teddy bears and chocolate hearts, I got to thinking about this incredible and precious thing called love. And I got to thinking about those three simple words that really aren’t that simple when you ponder them.
To truly mean it – to communicate love well this Valentine’s Day and beyond – our “I love you” needs some work.
How to say I love you with depth and meaning:
1. We quit believing that people will fulfill us.
Maybe this sounds harsh but please understand this, friend. Your spouse, your children, your best friend, your parent – they will not fulfill you. So often we say “I love you” because we want the same response. We want to know that the person on the other end of the line hears, understands, and reciprocates. Basically, we’re throwing out some bait and waiting for a bite. I told you it might sound harsh.
The impact of understanding this is huge. When you say “I love you” because you genuinely feel strong love toward the other person – and when it’s not about hearing the same words in return – you have just shown vulnerable, real love.
Saying “I love you” with depth starts with understanding that fulfillment does not come from another human being – it comes from Christ alone.
2. We say it often – but not too often.
Over-spoken words tend to lose significance. There is importance in repetition, don’t get me wrong. And I don’t believe we should quit saying “I love you.” But I do believe we should stop saying that we love so many other things – possessions, events, restaurants, and pleasures.
How does our “I love you” have meaning when we say it as often as we say we love TV shows, books, food, or Facebook?
There’s a line between meaning the words and speaking the words. Find that line for yourself, but just be aware that it is there.
3. We show love in other ways, too.
Have an attitude of love rather than just speaking the words. Be love to those around you.
Think through the numerous ways you can show someone love with your actions this Valentine’s Day. Deliver flowers, make a meal, pay for someone’s coffee, pick up groceries for your neighbor… The list is long, my friend.
We can say “I love you” all day long, but our actions must match our speech. So, continue to speak those three life-giving words, but add some life-giving actions into the mix.Over-spoken words tend to lose significance. Say 'I love you' with words AND actions! Click To Tweet
4. We recognize that our love shares the gospel.
As a believer, your love impacts those around you with truth. When you share love, you are sharing the gospel. Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” God models true love for us.
When you recognize that demonstrating love has a kingdom impact, your “I love you” has depth. Kingdom love means forgiveness, acceptance, grace, and new life. And when you love someone with that kind of love, depth is inevitable.
Valentine’s Day is fun and worth celebrating. Setting aside a day to enjoy the gift of love is beautiful. But our “I love you” matters on February 14th and every other day of the year.
Let Valentine’s Day be a stepping stone into a year of abundant love and depth as you speak – and live – the words “I love you.”
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” [1 Peter 4:8]