There are three little words that women are dying to hear and yet men find themselves unable to say them . No , those words are not ” I’ll clean up “as one wag has suggested. The three magic words are ” I love you ” and many women have grown old waiting to hear them . Why is it that so many men are hesitant or reluctant to utter these tender words that a woman aches to hear ?
The trait is pretty much universal.
Currently there is a very funny beer commercial that shows a young couple seated on a park bench . He is carrying on about all the things he just LOVES about his beer . As he is going on and on , she asks whether he loves HER. ” Of course” , he says but then gets tongue-tied as he finds himself unable to get the words out.
And who can forget the musical ” Fiddler On the Roof ” when Tevye’s wife upbraids him for never having said he loves her. In reply, Tevye bursts into song asking why he has to say those words when he has shown his love for her in all the things he does for her day in and day out .
A leading Indian newspaper, The Hindu , interviewed several couples and one wife responded , “I know my husband loves me. But he shows all his love through his actions and has never ever said ‘I love you’ during the 30 years of our married life.”
There are a couple of explanations for why men find it difficult to say those three little words.When it’s an unmarried couple, the man may shy away from those words because they imply an increase in commitment , a prelude to getting married and settling down. It must be admitted that , unlike women , most men have a “commitment phobia ” and are loath to do anything that threatens their bachelor status .
In the case of married couples , the reluctance probably stems from societal pressure to be ” manly”. Declarations of love are seen as “something real men don’t do” and feel ” funny” to male ears. One young wife said it best when she said “Love to a man may be more of action and less talk … A man, I guess, is reluctant to say ‘I love you’ for he may feel weak and vulnerable. He is scared of the commitment attached to those words and a responsibility that he is not sure he can handle.” To which a man responded “.. it is not just ego alone that makes a man uneasy saying it ,as commonly assumed by women. It may also be fear that she might not respond with equal affection or that she may even laugh it off and that can be very demoralising…..” ‘
Another wife felt ” It is purely a case of ego … ( they feel ) they may fall of the pedestal if they speak what is in their hearts. I guess culture too has a part to play for men are brought up to assume they are superior to women.”
That same lady said poignantly ” Growing up on a diet of Mills and Boon and entering married life starry-eyed, I longed to hear those three little words from my husband who is now no more. But they never came my way”.
Perhaps we husbands should realize how important it is for women to hear these words and , putting aside our reservations, give voice to what is in our hearts. Time waits for no one and , one day, it may be too late.