I’m sure that when you read the title, your mind went to the “Three Little Word,” and to chocolates, flowers, and the like. And of course, those are important! But there are other things that allow your actions to speak clearly to your loved ones!
The five powerful ways of saying, “I love you” are not what you think they are! I have learned that people remember more how you made them feel than what you may have said!
We don’t just feel love. We love. Our will drives us to seek out the good of the other person often in self-sacrificing ways. Love, then, becomes a way of acting, not just of speaking and feeling. Here are five ways we can say “I love you” to our families.
Communicating: For years my wife and I went through our days like ships passing in the night. We seldom got to speak about much that mattered. So, when it came to communicating about money, things became even more challenging.
The first part of communication was to simply spend time and rebuild the relationship and trust we had enjoyed. Then I needed to learn what she heard and felt about money. It was all about safety and security. Her question, essentially, was, “Are we OK?” I had to learn how to couch my conversation in a way that put her fears to rest. The challenge for me was to overcome how I saw finances, which was as a scorecard. If money was tight, I felt like a failure. Every “no” that I said became another black mark.
What I didn’t realize is that she saw me as her hero, going off to fight the good fight for our survival and for our thriving. So, good communication about money, saying I love you, in financial terms, honors her need to feel secure and addressing any issues that may make her feel otherwise. My wife’s communication has been to show me all the A’s on my report card.
Budgeting: A budget, simply put, is a plan for our income and expenses. Another term for money is currency; it flows. The question isn’t whether it will flow but whether we will provide direction of that flow. If we don’t give the money direction, we will never know where it went.
What? Planning our income and expenses says, “I love you?”
Yes, it does!
First, we love each other by recognizing that the money that comes in is neither mine nor hers. It’s ours. If it’s ours, then what right do I have to make all the plans for it?
Unlike the man behind the curtain, I’m not the great and all-powerful wizard who knows all. The budget is a puzzle. I have some pieces, she has others. Working together we get the big picture put together.
Why budget? Well, let’s look at it from love’s terms. We can find what’s most important to us by following the money. A well-designed budget will be a testament to the fact that our resources go to making sure our needs for today are met and that we are making provision for tomorrow as well. So, the knight in shining armor saves more than the day, but the tomorrows as well. And since that’s the case, the budget (one score card that can improve over time) becomes the instrument, perhaps a plan of salvation that says, “I love you today and for all our tomorrows.”
Having an Emergency Fund: Did you know that nearly 66% of families do not have enough funds to cover a $1,000 emergency? Since my wife worried about our financial security, I began to see how having a dedicated emergency fund could be beneficial. Our emergency fund, and ensuring that we had $1,000 in it, kept an unfortunate situation from becoming a disaster. We didn’t have to “rob Peter to pay Paul.” I didn’t have to go into debt to fix it. And most importantly, I was able to say to my wife, “No sweat, we’ve got this, and we will have that money back in the fund in about three weeks when we go over the next budget.” The emergency fund says “I love you,” by taking the stress of finding funds for those little unforeseen things that happen.
Having Insurance: Making sure you and your family are protected against many of life’s catastrophes says, “I love you,” by transferring the financial risk of loss to someone else who has the money to cover the loss should it happen. Insurance and services in this area include, Life, Heath Homeowners (or Renters), Automotive, Disability, Long-term Care, as well as identity theft. When the chips are down, having this kind of protection is a loving embrace that you have given each other.
Writing a Will: “Oh, come on! That’s morbid! How can having a will say, ‘I love you?!” Simple. Having a will says, “I love you,” by ensuring that you have plan put in place to care for your loved ones after you’ve died. It’s not a pleasant thought. Here’s an even less pleasant thought. You die and have assets left behind. You don’t leave a will, so your estate goes into probate. The process takes months or years, costs thousands of dollars (potentially), and then the state decides who gets how much of what. A will says, “I love you enough to have planned for your good even after I’m gone.” A well-executed will leaves no doubt about your intentions and can ensure that your wishes are followed.
These five actions scream, “I love you,” at the top of your financial lungs. As a coach, I stand ready to guide you through the process that will not only say you love them but will show them! Let me help you find your voice and chart a course for a brighter tomorrow! Life is so much better when we can raise hope for those we love.
Visit me at https://raisinghope.coach for more information!