Just so you know, you don’t have to tell your spouse how much you love them every day.
Seriously. They already know, according to research cited by Mic News.
Those three words actually have little impact on relationships, Mic’s Gina Vaynshteyn explained. Your partner, no matter how many times you tell them you love them, already knows how you feel, according to a 2005 Harvard study cited by Mic.
So while you may feel good telling someone you love them, any couple that's in a healthy, loving relationship will already know how the other feels, Vaynshteyn wrote.
The phrase is mainly for expressing emotions verbally. According to Vaynshteyn, Americans rely more on their “innermost personality layer,” or verbal speech, to express feelings, which is why they’re prone to saying “I love you” more often than other cultures.
Vaynshteyn said the phrase became popular stateside because of the rise of feminism and the concept of “free love” in the 1960s.
But since that time, the phrase has been associated with a number of different meanings. Friends will often tell each other they love them, for example. People have also grown accustomed to gauging emotions in different ways, which has made the phrase lose the heavy weight it once carried, Vaynshteyn wrote. So even if you say it, it does very little.
Of course, this doesn’t mean people should totally forget saying “I love you” altogether. I wrote in September about how words can make or break a relationship, even when they aren't said.
Maybe, like other cultures, the nature of “I love you” is changing in America.
According to the Harvard study, countries outside the United States tend to rely on their “outermost personality layer,” which means they’re more expressive with hugs, touching and physical interactions than Americans, Vaynshteyn wrote.
For some foreign countries, the phrase is a declaration of marriage, said only to your spouse, not friends or family, according to the study.