I still remember the first time I said those words to him. I was nervous. I thought I knew what his reaction would be but I could not be sure. But I had to say it. I felt it so deeply, I thought I would burst if I did not say those words out loud.
We were sitting on the couch in his apartment. I couldn't look at him. I just blurted it out. "I love you". My first instinct was to run away. But I didn't. I stayed to hear his response, "I love you too".
It at that moment that the life we have began. It was built on those three little words. Our love grew and our life did too.
Life began to get complicated, as life always does. There was happiness and joy. But it was tempered with pain and struggle. The struggle of building our family, the realities of being parents, the house, work, life, all of this changed us. We were no longer the boy and the girl on the couch. We had to work to find out who we were and who we wanted to be.
There were times when the words were not said out loud. There was always something else that got in the way. Kids, work, life weighed heavily on our shoulders. We each went to our separate corners to decompress. Or we would wearily tumble into bed, sleep coming as our heads hit the pillow. Another opportunity missed to say the words that mean so much.
There were other times that the words were said in such a way that they lost their meaning. Love You became synonymous with Bye or Have a Good Day. The words were thrown out as he is rushing off to work and I am wrangling the kids. "Love You" I say, my hand fluttering a good bye wave barely conscious of his exit as I try and impress on a two year old the importance of wearing pants or something. Another opportunity missed to mean the words that mean so much.
Those words do mean something now just as they did then. I need to think back to that ugly couch in that rundown apartment. I need to remember how he made me feel, how he still makes me feel. He is the one I have chosen. We have built a life together based on those three words. I love the life we have, the family we have created. I loved him then. I love him now.
Those words need to be said. Those words need to be meant. With a touch on the face, a look in to his eyes, I need to say "I love you". Then there is no mistake, he will know how I feel.
And so I say to him today, just as I did 13 years ago in front of God, our family and friends, "I love you. I love you. I love you."