It’s a question we don’t hear all that often, but whenever it comes, we have to proceed with caution. Is it a trick? A trap? Probably not in most cases, yet there is a lot to consider in that split second when you are expected to reply as someone asks you, “How much do you love me?”
Call me a cynic. Go ahead, but what I’m about to tell you is true. When someone in my life asks this question, my first response is, “Uh, what do you want?” Usually it’s an unpleasant chore like cleaning up a mess they or a pet made. Sometimes the person wants me to bake them some cookies or a cake, and there are always times when they want some money or ask me to buy something for them. It has often preceded a report that something I value has been broken or permanently stained. Rarely do my loved ones ask because they really want to know how much I love them.
Your situation may be different. Perhaps you are at the start of a budding romantic relationship with someone who is a little insecure. That’s not necessarily a knock on your beloved. He or she may be insecure because of something you have or have not done. People need to know we love them. When we do not show them, they may wonder. Even when we tell them a dozen times a day, if we do not show them, they may not feel or know it.
It’s totally plausible that you’ve been busy with work or school. I’m not here to lay blame at your feet, either. Some people need more attention than we do in order to feel valued. When we give them the affection that is sufficient for us, it is hard to understand why it is not enough for them. The simple answer to this is, everyone is different. It’s a good thing that we are, too.
All of that is part of forming a solid, lasting relationship. We meet someone who charms and wows us in all the ways we want to be charmed and wowed. Over time, we are happy to learn that we have a lot of values and interests in common with this person, maybe we even like the same games and movies. We begin to feel at home when they are near.
With all that good between us, there is sometimes a discrepancy in how much romance or plain old attention each of us needs. We have to learn what the other person needs in the way of affection and attention. Then, we try to meet that need. Maybe he needs more attention from you while he needs to give you a little less. Both are possible at the same time, but finding that balance takes time and some effort.
That is why, unless you have good reason to suspect that your loved one is laying the groundwork to ask a huge favor (as mine usually do), and even if you’re not sure why the question is set before you, you want to have some idea about what to say when you are asked, “How much do you love me?” The last thing you ever want to do is create an uncomfortable pause, stammer around, or – heaven forbid! – balk at it. Fortunately, there are a lot of good sources where you can find something that will help to express your true feelings.
The classic answer quoted by lovers for the past century is all or part of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s, How Do I Love Thee? It is a poem worth memorizing for anyone in love or wanting to be in love one day. You can recite it to a man or a woman without changing a single word and whoever is on the receiving end will be wildly impressed that you learned it, you know, just for them.
If you think that’s too much or you just stink at memorization, try something shorter. Think of a line from a good movie. You can quote it exactly, as I have done with this one:
You have bewitched me body and soul, and I love, I love, I LOVE YOU – Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice (movie)
Or take the sentiment and put your own spin on it, like I did here with Arwen’s declaration of love to Aragorn:
I love you so much that I would rather spend one lifetime with you than a thousand ages in this world without you.
This line from Henry in 50 First Dates is simple yet expressive:
I love you very much, probably more than anybody could love another person.
The last three words in this response come from the movie, Jerry McGuire, right before the more famous “hello” line:
I love you more than I love anything, anyone, even myself, for I am not me without you; you complete me.
Spend any amount of time on social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr, and you are bound to see many good quotes about love. It will usually appear in the form of a quote graphic.
You can commit a couple of these to memory, but it is better to rephrase them in your own words. It is really not good to risk your beloved going to her timeline in a couple of weeks and coming across the exact same thing you said in that tender moment.
For example, this quote:
You are my best friend, my human diary and my other half. You mean the world to me and I LOVE YOU.
Could be restated something like this:
We are soul mates. You complete me. You are everything to me and I love you more than my meager words can tell.
This quote is absolutely lovely:
Thinking of you keeps me awake. Dreaming of you keeps me asleep. Being with you keeps me alive.
And could easily be restated like this to answer the “how much” question:
How much? I don’t know. I think of you when I am awake, I dream of you when I sleep. I feel more alive when I am with you and cannot bear to be apart from you. That much.
This uncomplicated quote:
I wish I could turn back the clock. I’d find you sooner and love you longer.
Can be re-written as a “how much” answer, too:
So much that I wish I could turn back time, find you sooner and love you longer.
Answer with Action
One anonymous quote says,
If you ask how much I love you, I won’t say anything. I’ll take your hand, fill the spaces between your fingers with mine, and stay with you until you know.
Skipping past the “if” to the moment the question is asked, do exactly what it says without talking about it. If your partner restates the question as you are holding hands, you might say something like:
I can’t find the words, so I’m showing you.
Of course, there are more ways of showing your love without words. A big, wet and sloppy kiss is a good beginning. I’m sure your imagination can take it from there.
You know your partner. Maybe physical affection would not be a good choice when that question is posed. It is an excellent option, though, if you know they’ll love it.
What is the best reply when someone asks, “How much do you love me? The best response is one that tells the truth about your feelings, and about the nature of love.
It is often attributed to Albert Einstein, but more likely he never said it; yet, it is a quaint and true point when we say,
“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.”
If you say I love you enough to, I love you up to, I love you as high as, as deep as, as long as, as strong as, then your love has a limit. That’s not what love is and certainly not what they need to hear if they’re asking the question.
“How much do I love you? I don’t know. I don’t think of it that way. It isn’t that way. There’s no top or bottom to it. No way to measure or count it. My love for you is just there, constant and whole and all consuming.”
Pay close attention as you read, “How Do I Love Thee?” You will notice that the “depth and breadth and height” are those that “my soul can reach,” not that of the ocean, the mountains, or the ends of the earth, which have visible and fixed limits.
“What do you mean? Does your love for me have weight or volume? Does it have limits or boundaries? The love I have for you, has none of these. I love you more than that.”
“If I can tell you how much I love you, however vast that measure might be, then you should certainly be disappointed. That would mean my love for you has limits. Rest assured, it does not.”
You should not be afraid of the question, “How much do you love me?” but the last thing you want to do is get that deer in the headlights look when it comes. Have your reply ready. Review the samples here, look for examples elsewhere, and be sure to put them into your very own words. You know you love this person, so you should be prepared to tell them in any setting and in any format that it needs to be said. Thanks for reading!