Love Is Action: Why You Can't Just Say The Words

By: Stephanie Kirby

Updated January 28, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Fawley

Some people have no problem saying, "I love you.” It just comes out perfectly natural for them. Others struggle to get the words out, even just once, to the person they love. But whether it comes easy to you or not, the important thing to understand is that love is action.


Love is not simply a feeling or an emotion. It's not just words. You've probably heard the saying that "love is a verb", and there's a lot of truth behind that. Love isn't something you can just say it's something that you need to do. Therefore, love is action.

Love is not simply a feeling or an emotion. It's not just words. You've probably heard the saying that "love is a verb.” There's a lot of truth behind that. Love isn't something you can just say; it's something that you need to do. Therefore, love is action.

The Overuse of the Word "Love"

We live in a society that overuses the word love. You hear people say it all the time. We love ice cream. We love dogs. You love having a 3-day weekend. You love the way the sand feels between your toes.

We have used the word love so much, and in ways that it really wasn't meant to be used, which has lessened the meaning of the word to some extent. Simply saying that you love someone may not mean as much to them when you also say, in the next breath, that you love pizza or the smell of bacon.

Some people also struggle with being too quick to say the word love to other people. They may not actually know if they love the person or not, but they don't want to lose what they already have going. So, in an effort to try to keep the person they tell them that they love them. This could be a dangerous thing to do, and can also be a sign of low self-esteem.

What Does "Love Is Action" Mean?

So, what does the phrase “love is action” really mean? How are you supposed to show someone that you love them?

This can mean different things to different people. That's what makes it so challenging to show someone that you love them. Different people think different things show love. For example, you may feel loved if someone spends a lot of time with you. If they make sure that they do your favorite activities with you or spend the holidays with you. When they go out of their way to do the things that you want to do with you, instead of doing the things that they would rather do. These actions make you feel loved.

But for other people, it may be something completely different. Some people want to receive love through words of affirmation. They want to constantly be told why you love them and not just that you love them. To them, this is a way to put love in action instead of just simply saying that you love them.

The best way that you can show someone love is to find out directly from them what makes them feel loved. They may be able to tell you right off the bat, or they may not have any idea. It's something that a lot of people have never really thought about. They may know that some things make them feel loved and others don't, but they may have never put it into words before. This is another reason it can be so complicated to express your love to someone else.


Ways to Show Love

So, if you want to really put love into action, here are some ideas on ways that you can show love. Remember that it's always best to find out what really speaks the most to a person, and then do those things. But if you really don't know, or if the person isn't able to tell you, these things will give you a great start.

Prioritize What They Like to Do

People are naturally selfish. We like to do the things that we like to do. But when you want to show someone that you love them, you need to prioritize what they want to do over what you want at times.

This doesn't mean that you need to become a doormat, or that you can never do the things that you want. It simply means that you work to make sure that you're including activities that the other person would like to do. Or that you are participating in activities that you might not want to do on your own just so you can spend time with them.

An example of this would be going to a baseball game together when you can't stand the sport. Or hanging out at the mall when you hate shopping. You aren't doing the activity because you personally would choose to do it—you're doing it because the person that you love likes doing it.

Tell Them in Creative Ways

It's easy to just get in the habit of telling someone you love them at certain times of the day. It may be when you're getting ready to end a phone call or getting ready to go to bed. But it can really communicate to someone that you love them when you show them that you're thinking about them throughout the day.

This could be sending a simple text message in the middle of the day to let them know that you love them and are thinking about them. It's always great to include a compliment because everyone loves to receive compliments.

You could also leave a note in lipstick on the bathroom mirror, a sticky note in their car, or write a note on a napkin in their lunch for work. There is no limitation on how creative you can get in doing this.

Look for Ways to Help Them

When you love someone, do your best to try to anticipate what their needs are. This can be a great way to show someone not only that you love them but that you truly know them as well.

Think about what they might need to get ready before a busy day that they have planned, or something that they might need from the store that they haven't asked you for. Look for ways to do little things that will help them out throughout their day. This can go a long way in communicating love to your significant other.


Be Close to Them

There are ways that you can physically show people that you love them in appropriate ways. And this isn't about sex. Make sure that you sit next to them when you can, even if it's just on the couch watching TV. Offer to rub their shoulders for them if they've had a stressful day. Hold her hand as you walk down the street.

Foot rubs and back massages go a long way in communicating love after a long day of work.

Remember What You Used to Do

Love can be an easy thing to show in the early stages of a relationship, but as a relationship progresses, things can settle in. When the newness of a relationship wears off, it's easy to get set in habits and routines. If you want to make sure that you're continuing to show someone that you love them, think about the things that you did at the beginning of your relationship.

People are great at showing love when they're first interested in someone. It's completely normal to forget about yourself and do the things that they like to do. We put our best foot forward all the time. If they need help with something, we jump in to help them. We don't even hesitate because we want them to know that we love them.

If your relationship has been a long-term one, you may need to look back and analyze to see if you're really doing a good job of still showing love to your significant other. If you find out that you're not, go back and think about those things you did in the beginning and start doing them again. It's a great way to sweep your significant other off their feet once again.

Action That Does Not Equal Love

It's important to address that while it's great to actually show love as an action in relationships, there are some limitations and things that you should think about with this concept.

For example, having sex is not the same thing as love. If you're in a new relationship, do not trick yourself into thinking that if you have sex with the person, they will know that you love them or that they will love you. It is perfectly possible for people to have sex without being in love. So, don't fall for the lie that someone loves you because they're showing you physically. This is not what love is action means.

Do You Struggle With Showing Love?

If showing love is a struggle for you, it may be something that you want to talk to a therapist about. There may be a specific situation from your past that makes you uncomfortable in communicating your love to someone else. There could be any number of reasons why it's a struggle for you.

Talking with a therapist can help you get to the bottom of why you may have difficulty expressing love. You can learn other important communication skills that you can use to improve your relationship. And you can learn important tips and strategies on how to protect yourself in relationships as well.

Studies have shown that online therapy can aid people who have difficulties expressing themselves because of a social phobia or similar issue. For example, a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) was a useful method of treating individuals with social anxiety. The results of the study indicate that symptoms associated with social anxiety were significantly reduced, even at a follow-up five years after the program. CBT is a widely accepted form of therapy that works by helping participants reframe the unhelpful thoughts that often lead to difficulty in certain situations, such as social interactions or romantic relationships.  

As mentioned above, online therapy is there when you want to better express yourself, physically or emotionally, with your partner. WithBetterHelp, you can speak with a licensed therapist from the comfort of your own home. Just send a message when you are having trouble communicating with your partner, need to ask a question, or simply want to chat. The qualified experts at BetterHelp can guide you and your partner toward a more loving relationship. Read below for counselor reviews, from those who have experienced similar issues. 

Counselor Reviews

“I always look forward to my therapy session with Donna. She helps in clarifying my thoughts in a concise manner and allows me to express myself more. The way I think tends to spiral into a cycle and chatting with Donna helps me to identify the signs of this in order to escape the cycle before it overly effects my well being.”

“Sarah had help me to feel more confident about myself and what I want to active. Also make me feel confident again to be able to express myself without feeling scared to be judge. Thank you!!” 


Love isn't simply just a word. And it's not just a feeling. Love is a choice and showing that love means choosing actions that communicate it to your significant other. Love is action.

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