Love Expressions

My husband and I share the kind of relationship that tends to cause reactions. If you’re a hopeless romantic, you’ll think we’re adorable, bordering on saccharine sweet. If you’re a member of the “I Hate Lovey Dovey Couples” club, you’ll most likely gag and look away.

Those who know us have witnessed this first hand. We text each other constantly throughout the day, we have silly little sayings and phrases we use, and we don’t hesitate to be affectionate in front of other people. I’m not saying we suck face in public (much), I’m just saying that it’s apparent to anyone around us that we’re not just married, we’re not just in love, we are two halves that make a whole.

Expressing my feelings came very easy to me from a young age. Being surrounded by love does that to a person. One of my fondest memories is sitting on my grandfather’s lap, singing “A Bushel and a Peck.” (

My Paw.

I was very young, but I remember the smell of his cologne, the way his laugh sounded. And feeling utterly and completely cherished. Not every child gets to belong to a family that makes them feel that way. I was lucky enough to have it, and I never take it for granted.

My parents were always very affectionate with me as well. I wasn’t the kid who shied away from kissing my Mom in the mornings when she dropped me off at school. I adored my father, and all my friends knew it. When my brother and I would get into a fight, we weren’t sent to separate rooms to fume. Mom would put us on the couch and force us to hold hands. (Yes, it was a small torture.) But by the end of it all, we’d put away our mad, and inevitably would end up giggling and poking fun at each other again. Love was just the way our world worked.

By the time I met my husband, I’d been through some heartaches–the kind every young girl goes through in the act of searching for love. I’d become a little more reserved in how I tossed around the “L” word. I held it close to the vest, and didn’t use it for just anyone. When I felt myself falling for B, I remember feeling exhilarated, but also leery. Would this be for good? Or would he break me the way the others had? I held back for days before telling him how I felt, and when I did, he expressed his feelings for me as honestly as he could.

We’ve held onto that honesty, that simplicity, in the years since. And we share our feelings in as many different ways as we can think of…text messages, emails, notes and letters and cards.

Translation, coming soon.

When you’re young, and in love, and still have a bit of that hopeless romantic inside, you tend to get creative with love expressions. Brian brought “I Love You To the Moon and Back” to the party. I channeled that feeling from the memory with my grandfather and added “With a Bushel and a Peck and a Hug Around the Neck” to the mix. The ever popular phrase “No Take Backs” from our childhood was added, along with the ever-popular Buzz Lightyear phrase, “To Infinity and Beyond.” Now, our daily love expression, which we have learned to abbreviate (shown above) is: “I love you to the moon and back, with a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, NO TAKE BACKS!, oodles and oodles and oodles, The End, That’s All Folks.”

You may think it’s cute. You may think it’s vomit worthy. But…it’s how our marriage works. I want him to know, without a shadow of a doubt, every single day, that I’m madly in love with him. Just like I know, without a shadow of a doubt, every single day, that he’s madly in love with me.

That became even more important last year when we discovered Brian’s cancer. The moment we didn’t think we’d have to face until we were old and grey was pushed in our faces before we’d had a chance to really live. When you’re faced with the possibility of losing the person who fills your life with light, everything else in the world falls away. The most important thing, above anything else, becomes making certain that your person knows the very essence of the feelings you have for them. And in those moments, more often than not, the words and phrases and notes and text messages aren’t needed.

For 17 terrifying days, and 17 sleepless nights, my entire existence was about holding his hand. Watching him worry. Pushing my love toward him, around him, into him. To buoy him up, to give him something to latch on to. To help him survive.

And on that 18th day, when the sun rose and the tumor was out and the doctors said he wasn’t just fine, he was remarkable, we were surrounded by that love. And we smiled.

Our love expressions remind us to never take it, all of it, for granted. So yeah, it’s a little silly. And it’s a little excessive. But now that the storm has passed, it feels good to be silly, and excessive, and more in love than ever before.

For B.


4 thoughts on “Love Expressions

  1. Kristin at My Art and the Mom in Me

    So lucky that you have each other.. and thank God that Brian is healthy.

    One of the reasons why I think I just love you so much is because of the love that you and Brian share! It is so nice to hear.

    Bobby and I, going on 11 years of marriage this year, are best friends, lovey dovey, really, another version of you and Brian. We talk constantly throughout the day. Really, if an hour goes by, we miss each other! ha!

    But, you know, Abby.. I have come to realize that this is the exception and not the rule. Never let a day go by that you do not count your blessings, I know you don’t. And especially with the scare you and Brian went through, I KNOW you don’t. I don’t either. I, like you, am the luckiest woman alive.

  2. Abby

    You’re such a sweetie. :0) It’s true, we are the exceptions to the rule. Brian and I learned that very early on, and we’re still aware of how different our relationship is in terms of how other people treat each other in their own marriages.

    The few months leading into our wedding, I had SO many people tell me that the first few years of marriage were going to be hard. To expect to fight more often, if not all the time. And I remember thinking then, “Really? Could we really be that different after a ceremony than we are now?”

    My gut instinct was right. I don’t think marriage has to be hard when you have the kinds of relationships we have.

    And believe me when I say—I know I am blessed, and I don’t take it for granted!

  3. Anna

    First of all, I’m so glad that Brian is better. That must have been terrifying.

    Second of all, I am totally going to steal your Mom’s punishment technique of making you hold hands with your brother.

    Third (of all), I sing “A bushel and a peck” to my babies. My Tata sang it to my Mom and she sang it to me. I didn’t know anybody else knew that song.
    We are so alike Abby!

  4. Abby

    It would seem we have very much in common, Ms. Anna! The punishment technique totally works…my mom is a genius. And we are thrilled that Brian is better, too! Believe me!

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