I’m a writer, so when I came across a question about how to show love without words, I really had to think about it. Words are ‘my thing.’ Words are how I express…everything, but especially love. I write books about love.
But I thought about it, and there are some pretty significant ways I show J he’s special to me…that he is loved…differently and apart from and maybe even above all others…without using words.
I initiate touch with J. I know this is something common or mundane to many other people. Touch can be casual for most people I know. They’ll place their hand on a stranger’s shoulder moving through a crowd; they’ll greet an old friend with a hearty hug…not me. I don’t initiate touch. Before J came into my life, I *never* initiated it with *anyone.* I mean, there are a select few friends in my life that I’ve hugged and will hug, but they always initiate it. I still rarely initiate touch. Even a toddler wanting to be carried has to signal to me with raised arms before I’m sure about touching. I want to make sure the touch is wanted and acceptable, and I’m pretty unsure about that from other people all the time…if they *want* contact of any kind with me. I can touch J with confidence, any time, though. He’s the only person I’ve ever felt that way about. So that’s a pretty huge way for me to show love without words.
J, on the other hand, is not a wordy guy. I’ve written that before. In fact, I’ve written those exact words about J before. So, actually MOST of his expressions of love are without words, except for the actual words, ‘I love you,’ and a handful of other clipped phrases that I’ve learned to interpret the love inside over the years. He shows me love non-verbally with his touch as well (obviously), but also just with his *presence.* There aren’t many people in my life who have shown me patience and constancy, but J does. And it overwhelms me with love on a regular basis. J shows up. J stays.
Knowing I can count on J is a grand expression of love to me. When we were ‘new’…before we lived together…I lost my car keys in the parking lot at the office where I worked in the snow. I have anxiety normally, and I wanted to go home, obviously, so that wasn’t a good moment for me. J showed up and helped me find my keys. He changed his own plan to drive home after work to meet me and help me. And he never berated me for changing his plans or for losing my keys or for calling on him in a time of need. He showed up. He stayed. He’s never broken a promise. He calls when he’s running late or when plans change. He’s reliable. Dependable. A lot of people don’t think that sounds sexy, but to me, that’s what love looks like. J shows up.
And J stays. Over the years, friends have come and gone out of my life, some I was happy to see go and I’m glad the connection has been lost, but most of them have made me sad to some degree. Some have made me terribly sad. I don’t forget about people. And despite my INFJ door-slam reputation, I’m very rarely the one who leaves. People leave me. Often. I just close the door behind them. Lots and lots of people have left me. Some because of differing politics, or personal values. Some because they found my anxiety manifestations ‘exhausting.’ Some because I didn’t just immediately open up to them with the same level of vulnerability they gave me, in a quid pro quo sort of way. Almost like, ‘Here I’ve told you some really personally revealing information about myself that you didn’t ask for. Now it’s your turn to give me some personal dirt on YOU…’ And I’m just not made that way. So a lot of people leave. But not J. J has stuck it out with me through some pretty rough times. Emergency. Death. Illness. Destruction. Heavy duty anxiety and self esteem issues. And unbridled joy too. Marriage. Parenthood. Success. Relative financial freedom. Travel.
Marcus Zusak has this great quote in his novel, The Book Thief:
“A DEFINITION NOT FOUND
IN THE DICTIONARY
Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
often deciphered by children”
Not leaving is actually a pretty unique wordless expression of love in my life, and I’m grateful for J giving me that.