Since the day I got married I haven't gone a single day without repeatedly telling Sarah I love her. We say it in different ways - from calling each other "Habibi" (which means beloved in Arabic), to cheesy text messages, to a simple "I love you". Of course without me saying a word she already knows I love her, but I also know she delights in me telling her so. And saying it often makes me smile. I get reminded of her beauty, her love for me, and God's grace in blessing us with each other.
In John 21, Jesus takes a stroll with his disciple Peter and asks him three times in a row: "Peter, do you love me?" After the third time Peter says, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." I picture him thinking something like, "C'mon man, you're omniscient. Why do you need me to tell you that I love you?" But Jesus wanted to hear Peter say it, not just feel it inside. And it was for Peter's benefit as much as for Jesus'.
I've been learning over the last few months how conscious repetition leads to rooted truth. Taking communion weekly at Cumberland Community Church reminds me of Christ's sacrifice and my participation in the Body. Praying with my wife every morning before I leave for work contributes to a more peaceful, Spirit-filled day. Wrestling every Tuesday night for the Lord's work among the nations keeps me globally-minded and in a mindset of prayer. And telling my wife "I love you" many times throughout the day only serves to increase that love and strengthen the hold the Spirit has on our hearts. And expressing my feelings verbally has got to have a direct correlation to why nowadays I laugh louder, cry more often(I'm on a 4-day streak), and grieve more deeply than I ever have before.