Those three little words are overrated. Oh, I don’t suggest they not be used. I suggest that due diligence be paid to the likely impact they have on the sexes, because they register differently both in delivery and reception.
A man’s words impact his mind but don’t program his heart. A woman’s words program both mind and heart. Her “I love you” leads her to also act it out, which reinforces that she does love him. It doubles the dosage of obligating her to him, because her heart and mind are much more closely interconnected than those of males.
Men are quite different in how they hear three little and other words. He hears them, but they don’t register deeply within him; they do little to impress him. His ears are not the sensitive and believable sensors that hers are. If her loving actions accompany or follow her words, then he can begin to believe her love. Men believe what they see and figure out; they don’t believe what they are told until they see evidence of actions that support and reinforce.
On the delivering end, a man says, “I love you.” It isn’t the same obligation that her words carry, because unlike women his words don’t program his heart. Unless his words originate with his heart as the result of his having acted over time as if he loves her, his words mean little although they may carry intent. (But what’s that old saying about the road to hell is paved with good intentions?)
That’s why commitment promised by men ends up disappointing women who act on a man’s words. Commitment primarily serves men, because in matters of love their words are relatively cheap while women value them the same way that women value their own words.
Manly devotion serves women, but it requires time, his actions, and her patience for a man to program his heart with actions that please him for pleasing her and that end up favoring her above all others. Her femininity, uniqueness, and patience keep him interested long enough for him to find virtues that accumulate into fascination and to whom he devotes his interest above all else. Then a man loves her (as women wish they would from the get go).
To men, words are for the purpose of getting what they want. They are hunter-conquerors and competitors. Words are their weapons when physicality is inappropriate; when might can’t make right; and when faced with feminine mystique, female modesty, and appealing vanity that they can’t comprehend much less understand well enough to compete for fear of losing.
In other words, the immovable objects of the dominant sex can be moved by the irresistible force of the superior sex when women pay less attention to masculine words, exploit their feminine nature, and induce men into figuring them out rather than the reverse.