How to Say “I Love You” with Depth This Valentine’s Day

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.

For Valentine's Day this year, I want to be less focused on chocolate and cute cards. Instead, I want to consider how I am loving others with my words and actions. How can we say "I love you" - three common, over-spoken words - with real depth? Find out four keys for how to say I love you here!

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]

Find out how to say 'I love you' with real depth & meaning this Valentine's Day! #marriage #love Click To Tweet

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14 thoughts on “How to Say “I Love You” with Depth This Valentine’s Day

  1. Great reminder! It got me thinking, sometimes with my children I even say “I love you” as a question, waiting for their obligatory “I love you” response. Thanks for this reminder. And I will always love ice cream too! 😉

    1. I hadn’t thought about posing it as a question… but we all do that sometimes, don’t we? I know I am guilty. Thanks for commenting and for making me feel better about my “love” for ice cream! It’s a real problem in this house. Haha. 🙂

  2. Alison, you’ve shared so thoughtfully here. You’re exactly right about our tendency to toss around love “like confetti.” And while confetti is pretty and might make us feel good for a half-second, it’s not worth much, is it? I appreciate the way you’ve shared ways that we can put the meaning back into our “I love you’s,” and particularly the way you point out our responsibility to the gospel. I’m so glad you shared this with us at Grace & Truth! It’s my pleasure to feature this at A Divine Encounter tomorrow. 🙂

    1. Wow, Jennifer, thank you! I so appreciate the encouragement and the feature. 🙂 I love that you pointed out how confetti can make us feel good for a short while, but it does not last. That’s so true!

      You’ve blessed me today. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Alison, this is so good! I want to say, “I loved this post” ; ) I do. I’m not just tossing around that word either. But you’re right, we use that words so often. In order to make it sound true to those we say it to, we need to be showing it- not just saying it. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I’ll be thinking about it all day, for sure.

    1. Thanks so much, Dawn. I appreciate the encouragement and kind words. 🙂 “Showing it – not just saying it.” That’s what I’ve been trying to notice and be intentional about, as well.
      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Love is a decision. We forgive 70×7. We act like Hosea did to his wife. We act like God did to us as He loved us before we ever realized truly who He is and what He did and does. He drew us to Him. I love your point about acting out the love instead of saying it. We should have fun thinking up ways to surprise our loved ones. But God should come first. I am resolving to try to meet Him first thing in the am this week. Thanks

    1. June, thanks for commenting! I agree. Meeting with the Lord seems to fuel acting in love throughout the day. I think reminding ourselves of Christ’s love spurs us to love others well. 🙂 Thanks for the idea that love is a decision – I completely agree with that!

  5. I love your perspective. Thanks for sharing Debbie. You’re so right, real love has a kingdom impact. Isn’t that the picure Jesus painted when he compared the relationship with a husband and wife to the church. WOW!

  6. Oh, we have been so busy, I haven’t even thought about Valentines Day yet. I love this article though, I’ve slowly learned that it is important to love well every day of the year…not just on holidays. My husband considers himself an everyday romantic, so we don’t get all hot and bothered about holidays, but I used to! Thanks for this important reminder of how to love well in word and in deed.

    1. My husband is the opposite of an everyday romantic. 😉 So I, of course, love days that cause us to embrace some extraordinary romance. He does love and serve me well every day. For that, I am so appreciative!

  7. Such wisdom my friend! This was so so good! V-day is my favorite holiday too! I just love all the hearts and flowers and mushy-ness of it all…but honestly, showing love is an every day thing..and you’re points here are spot on!!! Love you friend!

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