I've been married over 30 years to my husband. In that time, we hardly ever say "I love you" to each other ... but we do say "I like you Thiiiiiiiiiiiiis Much!" countless times while opening our arms wide open, straining to open them farther. Sometimes one of us will ask, "do you like me?"; the other will say "yes." Then the next question is "how much?" The one answering "yes" will then stretch our arms as far as possible and say, "thiiiiiiiiis much." Writing this even makes me giggle.
I like my husband a lot. I like hanging out with him. We work and play together. I like sitting quietly with him. I like talking to him. I like traveling with him. I like doing nothing with him. I like sports activities with him. I like shopping with him. I like him doing one thing while I'm doing something else. You probably get it - yes, I like him. And I know he likes me, too.
He's not perfect. He has his foibles, just as I have mine. (Him more than me of course!) Sometimes I sigh; sometimes I roll my eyes ... and he does the same. (Ok, maybe me more than him.) But we really like each other. What I've learned over the past 30+ years is that when you really focus on what matters in a relationship, all those little things that might annoy don't upset the apple cart if you really like that person. But it takes conscious practice to make it a habit.
Sometimes I meet people who purportedly "love" their spouse but appear not to "like" their spouse. Oh, I know sometimes that’s just a surface observation; maybe there’s more underneath. But, I wonder what that really means. And I wonder what “I love you” really means. For me, liking my husband is #1.
TODAY'S HOW TO
A long time ago, my husband and I came to the conclusion that we should be nicest to the person we like the mostest. Familiarity can have a tendency to breed … a lackadaisical rudeness. So we both work really hard to be the nicest to each other. Of course, there are those times when we get caught up in those moments in life when we aren't going to be nice to anyone ... but those are rare.
One of the best compliments I ever heard was from our grandkids’ mother who told me that her kids noticed how nice my husband and I were to each other. They noticed that how we acted toward each other was different from and nicer than how they had observed other couples in their lives acting. I never knew they were watching and taking notes! What a good, and accidental, gift to give our grandkids.
It can be nice to say, “I love you.” It can be even nicer to say “I like you.” Especially if it’s Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much!