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happy friday + saying i love you…



Happy Friday friends! Today, I wanted to end the week by talking about those "three little words". Growing up with Asian parents who immigrated to the US, Bob and I both can count on one hand the number of times we heard our parents say "I love you" to one another. It's not that they didn't love each other, but culturally especially during their generation, affection isn't shown outwardly the way it's so common in the US. Luckily, they told their kids that…so we always knew we were loved. It got me to thinking about how often I tell Bob or Ruby I love them in a day. Bob is actually much better about it than I am, and in the beginning years of our relationship, I realized how much more he said it then I did. At one point I thought, "Wow, this guy tells me he loves me too much!" And then I realized that is never something you should complain about in a relationship. Over the years, it's made me realize how important it is to tell those closest to you how much you love them every day…especially before going to bed, leaving for work, or just in those moments when they need extra love and support. And because you never know what life will bring or when you will or won't see someone again. Here's wishing you a weekend full of those three magic words… — Joy

And ps. congrats to Cassidy F. from San Diego for being our winner of the Serena & Lily giveaway. All readers can still use the code OHJOY10 for 10% off through the 20th.

{photo by Oh Joy of Ruby with her funny morning bed head. I hope she never gets sick of me telling her 263 times a day that I love her.}


  1. Her eyes say it all – full of wonder and awe! So sweet! Growing up, my parents didn’t say it much to us… but now, my mom won’t ever hang up the phone until we say it to each other. She usually says thanks after I say it too…

  2. Such a good post – growing up, my family has a thing where we never end a phone conversation without saying “I love you”…we just wanted that to be the last thing we said before we see each other the next time. You really can never hear or say it enough.
    Happy weekend!

  3. So interesting! I am the same way about saying it out loud. I am more of a “show them you love them” person but my husband likes to hear it. Something we’re constantly working important!

  4. I understand how you feel. I grew up in a family were those three little words weren’t said very often. I’ve gone the complete opposite way with my kids and husband now; ‘I love you’ is a part of of our everyday.

  5. My parents are immigrants too, and saying I Love You to their kids or each other wasn’t part of their culture. So we never heard it. In high school, I started noticing my friends would end every phone call with Love You to their family. So now I say it freely to my close friends and long-term boyfriends. But it took a while to feel comfortable doing so. Our family still doesn’t say it, but their actions always spoke loudly enough. I embrace both styles.

  6. I can relate to the minimal i love you’s w/my parents. great post…. i need to remind myself to say those 3 words everyday. you are right… you just never know what life brings the next day. we need to cherish those magic words! Ruby is adorable!!!

  7. Gosh I cannot get through a day without saying I love you or hearing it back. My boyfriend and I say it to each other 100 times through the day and it helps us feel just as crazy about each other as when we first met. My parents were always big on saying it so I think its just part of my genes. 🙂

  8. hi joy,
    as the daughter of two Indian parents who also immigrated here in their late 20’s, i completely relate to this post. i think it’s really important to express affection to the people you love as much as you can. glad you do with Ruby and Bob. :]

  9. I love this. I’ve dated guys where we actually get really obsessive about saying I love you- like every time we talk. I think it’s an American thing. It’s actually kind of weird, and this makes me think I should savor the words a little more- saying them and hearing them.

  10. Ruby is the sweetest baby. Everytime you share a photo of her I can’t help but smile. She is precious.
    And I say I love you to my boyfriend at least 10x per day. I think we say I love you to each other 3 or 4 times before we leave to go to work in the morning. It is imperative!

  11. My parents immigrated here from Asia too, and they never said “I love you” to each other and rarely to us kids. When my husband and I first started dating, I felt extremely uncomfortable when he said it numerous times each day. Even now it’s something that I have to actively strive to do.

  12. what a great post! those three little words are so important and wonderful 🙂 I say it as often as I can to my boyfriend and my family. i grew in an asian and hawaiian culture so there wasn’t as much I love yous but I do my best to share those words with my besties, family, and boyfriend 🙂 have a splendid weekend my dear!

  13. ♥ Joy…I don’t know you but if you ever need a baby sitter for that little one…I tell you WHAT. I just want to play with her hair. lol

  14. This is SUCH a sweet post! Written so perfectly, really Joy, it’s heart warming! And your little one, my my, she is just precious.
    Happy Weekend!

  15. Such a sweet message! I think I need to up the number of “I Love You”s I spread around. Thanks for the reminder! Have a great weekend!

  16. what a beautiful post! i can so relate. coming from a traditional Armenian family, my parents very rarely said the words “i love you” to each other or to me. now that i’m older i completely understand that it’s a cultural thing and because of the way they were brought up. but now with my daughter, i make sure to tell her that i love her about a thousand times a day, as well as my husband. it’s so important to not only show our love but to verbalize it too.
    that Ruby of yours is such a cutie! have a wonderful weekend!

  17. I’m new here. Found you through DwellStudio’s blog. Great post! I can totally relate. Like you, my husband & I also had Asian parents that immigrated to the US. They too never really said those 3 words for the same reasons. Unlike our parents, we are always telling our kids (there’s 5 of them) we love them. We also say it to each other throughout the day, so our kids are used to hearing us say it as well.
    Ruby is adorable! She is very lucky to know she is loved. Glad I found your blog! Have a great weekend!

  18. Love this post because I am Hmong and can totally relate. I always make sure to tell my boys I love them & give hugs everyday.

  19. Joy, I loved this post. I come from a family similar to yours, both of my parents are portuguese and in their households growing up, affection wasn’t a big thing. I mentioned to them one day how excited my grandfather seems to get when I tell him I love him, and they explained all of this to me. A few years back, a young person in our community passed away and since that day my prents agreed they needed to tell their children they love us more often. I work with my father now, we talk on the phone at least 7 times a day and he never hangs up without saying those three words. My mom as well. But a big reason why I love this, is I felt I overuse “i love you” with my fiance, like I was going to wear out its worth- but your post makes perfect sense… there is no wearing out those three words. 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend filled with those three little (really big) words. 🙂

  20. thank you for this post. i come from an asian background as well and both parents and siblings rarely express affection. i’m coming to terms with it and understanding them.
    ruby is so precious! so adorable!

  21. I am so grateful that the last words I said to my brother were ‘I love you’ – at the time I had no idea that I would never see him again. It is now how I end every conversation with someone I love – even a fight.

  22. My mom is the same way (she’s Israeli, though)! She shows her love with actions, not words. Us siblings (all adults now) joke and commiserate about it. Ruby is really gorgeous, Joy!! She will grow up to be quite beautiful.

  23. I so agree! I say it whenever I feel it to be true.
    My mum recommended to me years ago a great book called “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It talks about how different people understand messages of love. For me I need to hear the words but for my fiance acts of love are a better way for him to understand how I feel. Doesn’t have to be grand gestures just little things like remembering he doesn’t like tofu in his chicken pad thai show I care.

  24. Ruby is a doll! She’s just precious. My upbringing was exactly the same (my parents are Indian and Filpino) I very rarely saw my parents embrace and say I love you to each other, but I always knew that the love was there. Saying it myself, especially to my Caucasian boyfriend, is something I’m still getting used to – I’m glad you reminded me how important it is and that others can relate!

  25. This is a really interesting topic! My dad grew up with two parents (American) who didn’t really express their feelings toward their children, so my sister and I heard “I love you” constantly. My boyfriend, whose parents are also American, came from the same type of household. When we first started saying “I love you” to one another, I felt like Bob, saying it way too often. Eventually, we had a talk about it and I realized affection wasn’t huge in his home growing up, but he’s definitely warmed up to the idea. Though I tend to think that actions speak louder than words, everyone wants to hear those three words sometimes.

  26. This is very sweet post, Love the way you written about it, and yes I always telling my hubby n kid how much I love them, every single day especially before bed. I feel so good to let them know that this is how I feel about them.
    Ps: always love Ruby’s photo 🙂

  27. Thanks for this post, I really needed this 🙂
    Btw love rubys bedhead..and her wrinkles on her lil forehead so cute !

  28. Ruby is so cute!
    I’m going to have to differ a little. For me I think when you say “I love you” several times a day a phrase that carries so much weight can become as casual as saying hello and goodbye. My parents said it to me several times a year but not weekly, let alone daily and so when they did say it I really felt the depth of the love because I knew saying “I love you” was serious business and not something they threw around lightly. What I mean is that for me when someone it too much it becomes more of a reflex than a heartfelt sentiment.

  29. You know, when I was growing up, I told my family I loved them constantly. One day, my dad told me that telling someone you love them is great and all, but what really matters is SHOWING that love. I’ve remembered that ever since, and though I still make it a point to speak the words to those I care about, I always try my best to show them the sentiment through my actions, too. Cheers!

  30. I completely know what you’re talking about! I never really thought about it much until I was grown up. I found it awkward at first to hug people and show affection. But love it now! 🙂


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