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Those Three Words

Reflections by this Scot on those three words...

By Paul StewartPublished 4 months ago 4 min read

"Those three words are said too much, they’re not enough."

The older I get, the truer those words from Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars, become. There is no denying the power of those words. They can change minds, change lives, mend hearts, start revolutions. Saying them and hearing them can be incredibly powerful.

However, those words, those three simple words said in the correct order that carry such unfathomable power, are also undervalued and overused.

Like any words, when the wrong intent or there is a lack of substance or meaning behind them, can lose their power.

When those three words are said in a throwaway fashion instead of actually communicating what you mean by those words. when you may as well be saying "Pass me the salt, darling" They lose their value.

This is something I have been guilty of in the past. Saying them but not really acting on them or not really saying them with the right sentiment, the right driving force behind them.

I'd say them in a throwaway fashion because I didn't want to say anything else. It's easy to say those three words...they are designed to sound good and feel good saying and hearing. But like most words and phrases, what is the point in saying them, given how powerful they can be, if they are not being fully and properly utilised.

This is something I have been guilty of in the past. I have said and done things that have hurt my wife...ruined trust between us...caused a big giant chasm between us and just generally messed things up. But, still, I would say those three words, almost like a hack.

These days, I try not to, though. I do still do it...use them almost as a throwaway. It's something I am constantly working on. Trying to think before I utter those three words. Trying to live up to what they mean. Show my wife that she can trust me, that I want to be loyal to her, that I want to be her complement and partner and not just some drain on her.

If I do all that, then I can rightly say those three words and she will know that I mean them.

It's not that she doesn't believe me when I say them. But saying them is not enough. That's the point. You need to act on them.

So, that's what I have been trying.

For me, those three words are a privilege. Something I get to say to her because of all she means to me, all she's done for me and just how supportive she has been. There has been so many things that have gone wrong...and more often than's on me when things have gone wrong. This isn't a pity party. That is just the honest truth. I accept that.

That's part of what I have realised about those three words and their importance.

I feel privileged that I can say them to someone and truly honestly believe it in my heart and feel privileged to hear someone say them to me with real meaning behind them.

Now, when I say those three words, I try to include a specific reason why I am uttering them...and my wife, Ruth, has given me plenty of reasons in recent years.

You often as I have screwed up and things have nearly ended in divorce, she has continued to put up with me, worked things through with me, supported me through my various problems with addiction and other detrimental actions. If anything, when I've pulled away and done really horrible's her support, caring attitude and forgiveness that has made those three words feel even more important. She has shown me what it means to really mean those words.

The fact that I still get to wake up with her in my life and go to sleep with her in my life, is something I am learning to treasure.

I treasure so much about her, and she warrants those three words for so many different reasons from the small and seemingly insignificant such as her warm smile, her wild laughter at something silly (usually animal-related) and just her understanding nature. It's been a rocky path, but there is no one I would rather traverse the rocky path with, than her.

Every day I just want to make sure she realises that she made the right decision to back me. It doesn't always go according to the plan, but every day I try to better my approach to our relationship, my engagement in our relationship and earn back her trust.

There are times, when it works, and we are back on track. It's usually the little things that speak the loudest volumes. Little gifts here and there, little comments here and there.

It has also extended into how I think about those three words in other areas of my life. I am constantly trying to improve how I treat and interact with others in my life with regards to those three words. It makes me really cherish those in my life who I would use those words with. I am not the best at staying in contact with members of my extended family, if I am honest. Life is busy, but reflecting on how powerful those three words are, I never want to use them as a throwaway with anyone. I want any time I say them to anyone to have real meaning behind them.

I am not suggesting that when everyone uses those three words, that they don't mean them. I am merely highlighting the need to always keep in mind why we are saying them and for them to become perfunctory. That is what my introspective and reflective look at the power and misuse of those three words has led me to conclude. Yes, you should use them, but you should mean them.

Those three words can do so much good in this world, in all of our relationships, in solving so many problems that they are too numerous to mention here, but only when they are backed with actions and meaning befitting them.

Looking back over 21+ years with my wife, I have many regrets, but do not regret every saying those three words and will continue to do my best to back them up, evolving as we continue our journey together.

Stream of Consciousnessmarriagelovefeaturefamilyfact or fiction

About the Creator

Paul Stewart

Scottish-Italian poet/writer from Glasgow.

Overflowing in English language torture and word abuse.

"Every man has a sane spot somewhere" R.L Stevenson

The Accidental Poet - Poetry Collection is now available!

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Comments (10)

  • Shirley Belk4 months ago

    I've heard it said (and I believe it to be,) that love is a VERB. I think you understand that now in your marriage. Am happy for you both!

  • Jess Boyes4 months ago

    Beautiful 😊

  • Phil Flannery4 months ago

    On the theory that we are all a work in progress, it sounds like you are progressing well.

  • John Cox4 months ago

    This is beautiful and heartfelt, Paul. The conviction in your words and humility in your spirit rings true.

  • May the two of you be blessed with many decades more of living out the example of what those three words mean together. Blessings, my friends.

  • JBaz4 months ago

    So true. These three words have so much power when used properly. I do. It like them used as a throw away or as you say, easier to do. Very insightful and personal piece Paul. Plus great song choice

  • Ruth Stewart4 months ago

    Those three Turkish Delight! 😂👍❤️

  • Teresa Renton4 months ago

    I hope she reads this Paul 😍 And you chose the best song! One of my favourites 🤗

  • Kendall Defoe 4 months ago


  • Dana Crandell4 months ago

    Very well "spoken", Sir. I've said it before, but you, like me, are a fortunate man, and she obviously sees something in you worth hanging on to. Don't forget to work on some self-love and forgiveness, too. Thanks for sharing, my friend!

Paul StewartWritten by Paul Stewart

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