In a healthy marriage, there are a thousand throwaway I love yous. This demands explanation, and there’s probably a better wording to make this point. But there’s also a certain rhetorical power to stating it this way, and so it stays for now.
I’ll illustrate what I’m after this way. Imagine this scene: I am at Walmart, having stopped in after a round of golf. I’m picking up a couple items, but also want to be a useful husband, so I call my wife and ask, “Is there anything else we need while I’m here?” She suggests an item or two, and as I’m attempting to make sufficient mental note of what she has just said, I tell her, “All right, I love you, see you in a few minutes.”
This scene repeats itself hundreds and thousands of times in a healthy marriage. These are the thousand throwaway I love yous.
Let me clarify: it is not the case that such I love yous are insincere. That would be a real problem. It is the case, however, that these I love yous are hardly ever spoken with the breathless passion of a Hollywood ending. As one member of my church noted, if I,...