How often are we so caught up in our own lives, or lost in our own head, that we hear what someone says but don’t really listen to them? That’s me, unfortunately, more than I’d like to admit. Or at least it used to be. It’s something I’m working on, especially with my husband.

Most days I am all too quick to brush off his compliments as if they don’t matter. As if they’re little nothings. But they do matterthey are significant. If I would just slow down and listen to his words, I would catch many genuine opportunities to connect with the person I love most—and that’s a big thing, especially as a stay-at-home mama who talks to a toddler most of the day. Sweet as she is, sometimes I just need to talk to her daddy.

Ladies, take it from me: listen to your husband’s sweet words. Specifically, listen when you think he’s giving too many I love yous.

My husband and I are high school sweethearts. We started dating when we were teenagers. The first I love you came on our one month anniversary, and there have been so many since then. At times, to me, I love you has felt as though it’s been put on autopilot. But this hubby of mine is helping me slow down and listen more intently.

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The last time there were too many I love yous, I was quick to point it out. “You just said that,” I said. “Do you remember?” And he got quiet. I looked at him. With puppy dog eyes, he said, “But when I look at you, the first thing I think is I love her. And so I tell you.”

Ouch. My heart and my brain could have slapped my face at that moment. I don’t think he realized those words would stick with me.

Here is this guy—but not just any guy, my husband—pouring out his heart to me.

Here I am, with my mind focused elsewhere and with false thinking that those three little words could lose their worth if they were shared too many times. He’s telling me because he genuinely means it and feels it every time he speaks them—no matter the frequency. To him, the more often, the better. That should be more than sufficient for me.

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It was a wakeup call. A reminder to take a breather, forget the ever-long list of to-dos or whatever’s next for the day and be present and listen, then respond. I love him, too. His words matter. They always do.

While I’m at it, I’m learning to accept his other compliments because I know he means them, too.

When he says I’m pretty, he doesn’t notice the dark circles under my eyes.

When he thanks me for doing the laundry, he doesn’t mind that it isn’t folded.

When he sees dishes in the sink, he’s thankful our daughter ate well today.

I shouldn’t always go to the negatives of a situationhe doesn’t see them anyway.

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I miss what’s important when I’m too quick to dismiss him. I’m missing the man standing in front of me, telling me how much he loves me, thanking me for the work I’ve done, and genuinely saying the things I wish I could hear at the end of another long day when my world finally slows, the house is quiet, and I’m the last one awake.

Wives, listen closely to your husband’s sweet words. When he says so, he means so.

Ashley Hill

Ashley Hill is a wife and a new mom who writes, paints, and bakes when she isn't chasing after her little girl. After working in New York City for a period of time, Ashley felt God calling her back to a quieter life in West Virginia where she was born and raised. She writes about motherhood at https://www.raisinbabies.com.