Sunday, October 16, 2011

Have I told you lately?

We went out to dinner with a couple that has been at the marina for a few years.    Somehow we started talking about expressing love.  My wife and I looked at each other and said that we start the day by saying that we love each other, and we end the day that way as well.

I can remember my grandmother telling me that it is important to tell those you love that you do indeed love them and to reinforce those words with actions of love.  Sadly, I don't know that people express in words or deeds their love.  The couple we were with at dinner said that they haven't said "I love you" in six years.   But they have only been married for six years!

I take a lot of life's lessons from music.  One of those songs that came into my head as we were talking was Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately that I Love You".  It's a beautiful song and one that reminds me to express verbally the love that I feel for someone who fills my heart with gladness.

You see, in spite of those times that weren't glad,  I still felt a huge amount of love for the person that I knew was being controlled by alcohol.  When she wasn't drinking, times were wonderful.  It was only when the disease would plant itself firmly between us that I would feel love diminishing.  I think that we are lucky that the flame didn't die out.  There were some pretty cold embers and not much spark for a long time.

Another thing that my grandmother said was not to go to bed angry.  Well,  I went to bed a lot of nights angry.  It did nothing good for me.  I would sleep little, be worn out the next day, and feel resentful and miserable.  Now, we do our best to resolve issues so that we can go to bed saying that we love one another.  I have learned that promptly admitting when I am wrong goes a long way towards getting over anger.  

I believe true intimacy with other people is borne out of self love.  I know my own understanding of love and intimacy has changed a lot since becoming a part of this recovery program. Before recovery,  I felt righteous indignation, resentment, superiority and justified distancing was something I was rightly entitled to. Thanks to recovery today I feel intimacy isn't a contest of wills but an exercise in vulnerability.  I found these two Al-Anon books helped me to understand myself and my partner:  Sexual Intimacy and the Alcoholic Relationship and the Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage.

I am glad that we don't just co-exist without love.  It might work for some people.  Or perhaps there is love, but it isn't easily expressed.  I like that we have worked on being able to re-state our love and communicate it freely. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack.  If you don't have it, no matter what else there is, it's not enough.

Have I Told You Lately that I love you?
Have I told you there's no one else above you?
Fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness,
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.

For the morning sun in all it's glory,
Meets the day with hope and comfort too,
You fill my life with laughter, somehow you make it better,
Ease my troubles, that's what you do. ~ Van Morrison


  1. telling someone something is just as inportant as showing it.

  2. What a great post to read on a Monday morning! And that Van Morrison song is the best.

  3. I love Van Morrison, and I love that song. And I am fond of saying "I love you."

  4. I'm grateful I don't have to face life's challenges alone. My husband is a trusted friend, and a marital partner in every respect. I used to have to be the strong one..never leaning on anyone or asking for help.
    Now, I draw on the strength of him and our marriage all the time.

    Nice post, I completely get it.

  5. is an amazing powerful thing we should def not take for granted...and yeah on the go to be angry...guess sometimes we have to learn the hard way eh?

  6. Very moving post, tying Love to Recovery. Your ability to weave your Recovery through your writing is profound, and motivating. We have always expressed love in words, and beyond words to each other, Our favorite is a sticky note with a heart face on it that we hide from each other in new places, so love always stays new and surprising.

  7. I know what it is like to have trouble saying the words. I didn't grow up hearing the words "I love you." In fact, even now, when I end a call with my parents I always say "I love you" and never hear it returned. Sometimes my mother tries to say the word and she stumbles over them. I smile, but it isn't easy to never hear the words. I don't think my husband and I say it to each other often, face to face. It's more of an end of the phone convo formality. But, like you, I always love my husband deeply. It was the disease I hated.

  8. Wonderful subject and great writing about it. I have to admit that my hubby tells me he loves me more often than I tell him. It has taken me so long to be able to even say that. Of course I respond when he says he loves me but I don't say it first as often as he does. You are right about hearing the words and following up with the deeds. I think I have the deeds part but I am working on being more verbal.

  9. My husband and I NEVER end a conversation without saying "I love you" to each other in it.
    We mean it, too.
    I am so grateful that it's this way with us.

  10. Jeckyll and I might go a day or two without actually saying it, but never a day goes by without a hug, a kiss, a love pat. I remember my parents being the same way, and they've been married 55 years.

  11. The longer I'm in Al-Anon, the more loving I become, and it's a glorious state in which to live.

  12. I'm glad that you and C. have such a good supportive loving relationship. What a blessing!

  13. When DH bought me an MP3 player he loaded one song on it and it was this very song. Makes me smile every time I hear it.

  14. 'Twas indeed originally written as a prayer...

    I like that..

  15. I will have to check out that song! Your grandmother was a wise woman. I agree expressing love verbally & then reinforcing with actions of love. It seems the words can be used loosely sometimes and not supported by the actions. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.


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