When Jake and I were dating, he'd say something very sweet and thoughtful. And I would want to puke.
I was not an emotional, touchy-feely person. After Jake and I got married, I changed. Now I embrace that sugary-sweet side of him, and I appreciate those traits of his that don't come quite so naturally to me.
My dad always, always, always said 'I love you'. After every phone call - even if he was just calling to say he was on his way home from the store. Every night before bed. Always, always, always.
Those words were always on the tip of his tongue. He gave hugs freely.
My mom and I - not so much.
Maybe this was partly because it sometimes felt like overkill.
Maybe it was partly because, at times, we questioned if he really did love us. But we knew that he wanted to love us. And he tried to love us well.
Truth be told, he did love us the best that he could, even if it didn't always feel like it.
And maybe his freeness in saying those 3 words was born from a knowledge that he wasn't always great at showing his love, but he could tell us about it.
So maybe this is the lesson to be learned: If you love someone, tell them. If you feel you might have hurt someone, tell them. If you wish you could be better, tell them. If you're sorry, tell them. If you're trying, tell them. Just tell them.
But offer those words when you mean them. Don't hesitate. You're not a 'lovey' person? It doesn't matter. If you love someone, tell them.
One Thing I Know For Sure: Just tell them.