| Written By: Dewey Wilson, Ph.D.
Saying “I love you” to your spouse means so much more than simply expressing your romantic feelings. Research conducted in recent years actually reveals that saying the three words, “I love you,” also represents a commitment to future behavior. Meaning, when we sincerely tell our spouse “I love you,” we are committing to them that our behavior, both in their presence and when apart, will demonstrate unquestionable attitudes of love and the resolve to protect our covenant of marriage.
Based on the above information, neglecting to tell your spouse “I love you” on a consistent basis can give Satan an open door to plant seeds of doubt and suspicion in each spouse’s mind. Interestingly, when this occurs, husbands and wives will often tend to wait for the other to say these three powerful words, which, if not heard in a relatively short period of time can lead to an “I love you standoff.”
Kinda sounds silly, but many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Because the element of love is such an important part of any relationship, especially marriage, when we as husbands and wives begin to no longer hear these words from our spouse, it becomes much easier for us to question their commitment as well as to develop a critical spirit for almost everything they do. We essentially give Satan an opportunity to do his work, which Scripture reminds us not to do. So, how do we avoid allowing this to occur?
First, in the same manner that Paul tells the church at Ephesus to not give Satan a foothold to do his work (Ephesians 4:27), husbands and wives should not let a day go by without telling their spouse, “I love you.” This means even when your marriage seems strong, take nothing for granted. Keep your commitment to the marriage, and to your spouse, strong by consistently saying, "I love you!"
Second, if you and your spouse are engaged in the “I love you standoff,” recognize that your lack of saying these three words could possibly be a weapon you are using against your spouse. Be willing to make the first move toward coming together. Remember John 10:10 - Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. You may not realize it, but the longer you and your spouse refuse to come together, the more opportunity Satan has to kill your trust, steal your joy and even possibly destroy your marriage.
Lastly, it could be that you have not heard these words come from your spouse in months or even years. Please remember that in Christ, there are no hopeless situations, but only people who perceive them as hopeless. Begin by asking God to re-ignite love for your spouse and the desire to verbally express love to them with no expectations of any form of reciprocation. God is faithful and with Him all things are possible (Mark 10:27).