If You Love Them, Prove It

When the couple walked into my counseling office, it was obvious things were not good between them. Their heads were down, there were very little pleasantries offered, they chose opposite sofas on which to sit, and neither wanted to be the first to talk. When they finally started opening up, each told story after story about how the other had overlooked them, stopped spending time with them, and failed to act lovingly toward them. And each confirmed that they had been acting that way toward the other!

Now, here’s the kicker…when I asked them why they were still in the marriage, each said, “Because I love them!” It was at that point, I wanted to say, “Prove it.”

So often, we say we love our spouse, and we mean it…in our head. The problem comes when the love we profess from our head isn’t confirmed in our words and behaviors. And as the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”

This realization hit me especially hard while listening to yet another Willie Nelson song. (Many of you are probably hoping this Willie phase will quickly pass.) The song is called, “You Were Always On My Mind.” In the song, the singer is confessing that he failed to demonstrate the love he professed, and he begs for another chance. Take a look at the lyrics…


Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel second best
Girl I’m sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
And maybe I didn’t hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
I guess I never told you
I am so happy that you’re mine
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
Tell me
Tell me that your sweet love hasn’t died
And give me
Give me one more chance to keep you satisfied
I’ll keep you satisfied…


If we’re honest, we all can say we’ve been just as guilty of saying we love our spouse, but not demonstrating it. But, just having them on our mind and not on our itinerary, is not enough. And if we continue to do this, we will eventually carry the guilt when our spouse is no longer there.

So how are you failing to demonstrate the love you say you have for your spouse? What are some of the simple actions of love you’ve stopped doing? If you’re having trouble coming up with things, think back to when you were dating or first married. Here are some examples to help you jump start your thinking:

  • Being intentional in saying, “I love you,” rather than just using it as a tag line at the end of a phone call.
  • Complimenting your spouse…especially when you’re not trying to get something for yourself.
  • Listening for the things they like or want, so that you can surprise them later…then doing it!
  • Flirting with them, not as a sexual come on, but just because. (Ok, this one is more for the guys.)
  • Finding a way to help or serve them, even if you think they should be helping and serving you.
  • Showing affection with no sexual strings attached. (Again, probably more for the guys.)
  • Giving them your undivided attention…even if you’d rather be doing something else.
  • Putting them ahead of you, without keeping score.

Saying you love your spouse means very little if you’re not demonstrating it in tangible ways. So don’t just tell them you love them. Prove it! And if you do, you’ll probably stay in love and out of marriage counseling…and divorce court.

2 thoughts on “If You Love Them, Prove It”

  1. As always, an awesome read and many teachable moments! Thanks Bret for your Godly counsel and advice for couples married 10 or 50 years! Thanks for marrying me and Paul 17 1/2 years ago and whether we are on a mountaintop or a valley, you always know the question to ask to prompt our minds spinning …for the good!


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