I love you…
Të dau (Albanian) – My oldest son spent weeks learning this one so he could first tell his girlfriend in her language.
wǒ ài nǐ (Mandarin Chinese)
Je t’aime (French)
Ich liebe dich (German)
Jeg elsker deg (Norwegian)
Te amo (Spanish)
Heck, the first time a man said them to me…he did not say them at all. He said…3 words, 8 letters and 1 meaning. Thing is that is not the true. Those words have many, many different meanings to different people, in different situations and especially in different cultures. The ancient Greeks got is right…they had six different words for love (Great article on that here).
Those three words are the climax of almost every romance novel ever written. Thirty thousand to one-hundred thousand or more words…and only those three matter in the end. Heck even before then fairy tales and Disney get ahold of us with…And they lived happily ever after.
The thing is…those words are NOT the end. They are supposed to be just the beginning of the story. A story that includes jobs, other friends, families, and perhaps even homes and children in which case you have dirty diapers, flu, PTA and drunken frat parties. If you think that those three little words alone will pay the bills, raise those kids and handle the in-laws…well, is it any wonder the divorce rate hovers around 50%?
In Ægir’s trilogies, the biggest plot conflict has been with Sven coming to terms with his feelings for Kirsty. And thanks to some research and the guidance of my best friend and Norwegian consultant I got that one so right. ‘Jeg elsker deg’ or in the Lofoten dialect ‘Æ ælske dæ’ are NOT words that are thrown around casually. They are serious…life and death serious.
In the back story of Ægir’s, Bjørn’s father only ever said Æ ælske dæ to his mother twice. Once when he thought she was about to die giving birth to Bjørn and then again on his death bed. Twice in thirty-five years…and the first one did not count because he thought she was unconscious and could not hear him. But the man built her a greenhouse that is still standing as testament to his feelings for her almost three decades later…years after he is gone. One built so well that even in the coldest Norwegian winter it is warm inside. One that when his brothers asked to help, he turned them away. And he stocked it…with a new plant on every fishing trip.
Being American, this is a truly a ‘foreign’ concept to me. We throw those words around like candy. We love not just our family, children and partners. We love our friends. We love our cars… Hell, according to Toby Keith…
Then I got to thinking… I have been in relationships where someone told me ‘I love you’ every single day. Same sing song tone. You got the feeling it was more a recording than anything else. Especially if their actions do not match their words. You are left feeling uncertain, insecure and hurt. Those words can actually do more harm than good?
What about on the other hand? Someone who shows you in little ways, big ones and different words how they feel about you. Someone that you never doubt for a minute cares deeply for you. Someone who even puts your needs above their own. But just for whatever reason cannot bring themselves to use those words. Just how fucking important are those silly words? Which one actually loves you more? Interesting dilemma.
Where is the balance?