Oh, those three little words

I mentioned the other day that my wife and I just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. Yay! Now, I might be biased but I think this has been a spectacularly successful collaboration and I hope that my wife would agree. I do know that one time she told me that she thought we were doing so well because “we say those three little words to one another.”

“Oh, you mean, ‘I love you,'” I replied, while my mental computer started frantically searching for the last time I had told her that (I knew her mental computer could spit out time, date, ambient temperature and what she was wearing).

“No,” she said, “not those three words. I mean the three words, ‘I was wrong.’ It’s because we’ve been, if not exactly willing, at least able to come to each other and say that when necessary.”

Now, it could be my wife gives me more credit — or grace — in this area than I deserve (I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken), but I have learned how important our words are to our marriage; especially the right words. I’m reminded of something that comedian Rob Becker said in his “Defending the Caveman” monologue: “It’s been reported that the typical woman speaks 5,000 words a day, but the average man speaks only about 2,000. So when a husband comes home and doesn’t have anything to say to his wife it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her; it just means he’s out of words.”

I don’t know that I’ve ever quite run out of words, but they may come to me easier than for other men. As a public service to the guys, then, here are some more three-word sentences you can use to say important things our wives need to hear without going into verb debt. Starting with the basics:

  1. I love you.
  2. I was wrong.
  3. Please forgive me.
  4. You look great!
  5. Let me help.
  6. I’ll clean up.
  7. That was delicious!
  8. That was incredible!
  9. You deserve it.
  10. Don’t get up.
  11. Let’s eat out.

I’ve found it is also useful if I start as many sentences as possible with the three words, “I really appreciate…”

One thing about words, however, is that they can knock down just as easily as they can build up (sometimes even easier). Therefore, here’s a list of three word sentences you shouldn’t say:

  1. You did what?
  2. Not my job.
  3. I told you.
  4. What, meatloaf again?
  5. I give up.
  6. What’s wrong now?
  7. You ready yet?
  8. You blew it.
  9. Don’t wait up.
  10. Where’s my dinner?
  11. Where’s the remote?

I’d also advise that you try to eliminate any sentences from your life that begin with the three words: “If only you’d…” or “My mother always…”

It’s been my experience that working on the first list, while avoiding the second, is bound to have a positive effect on your marriage without blowing your word count. In fact, the more we can work the first list into our regular conversation, the more likely it is for us to hear our wives say three-word sentences such as, “What a guy!” and “Come her, Bubba!” and the less likely we are to hear, “Hit the road!”


On a related note, Joatmoaf at I Love Jet Noise promotes a series of helpful classes for men and a glossary of words that have different meanings depending on whether you are a man or a woman.

4 thoughts on “Oh, those three little words

  1. Great post! I will most certainly pass it on. I know more than a few 2,000-word-max fellas that would appreciate this.

    This would be a fantastic first chapter of a book, you know….

  2. Oh, those three little words

    The Night Writer has a wonderful post on Those three little words. It is funny and true! Well done I love you. I was wrong. Please forgive me. You look great! Let me help. I’ll clean up. That was delicious!

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