“The phrase ‘I love you’ can be said with sincerity, during a fleeting moment of connection. Or it can be said with integrity, after much thought and deliberation.” —Robyn Wahlgast
Here are examples of comments a sincere man might make during the course of a relationship. These are real examples from real women:
- “You’re amazing—I can’t wait to see you again.”
- “I’ll call you next week when I’m back in town.”
- “I promise I’ll tell her about us. Just give me some time to break the news to her.”
- “You would love Bali—I’m going to take you to Echo Beach some day.”
- “I do see her occasionally outside the office, but you’re the one I want to be with.”
The truth in each case is that the man’s statement did NOT signal the beginning of a long, lasting romance—as each woman assumed—but rather the end. The trip to Bali never happened. One man simply disappeared. Another decided to return to his ex.
The women are left wondering: How could he speak with such conviction at the time? —I know he meant what he said. Wasn’t he sincere?
The answer is a concept related to sincerity: integrity. People with integrity hold back from making impulsive promises—promises which may be sincerely felt in the moment—until they have a plan for following through. The phrase “I love you” can be said with sincerity, during a fleeting moment of connection. Or it can be said with integrity, after much thought and deliberation. The words are the same, but the intention behind them can vary greatly. You may wonder if there is a trick you can use to determine whether your man is merely sincere or whether he embodies true integrity. Actually, there are two simple signs, and they aren’t tricky to spot.
Sign #1: His actions match his words.
You must train yourself to ignore (or mentally downplay) the sweet words, and focus on his actions. If he says he’ll call on Tuesday and he actually does call on Tuesday, that is a man of his word. You can invest some trust in him. You are looking for a pattern where he follows through on his promises, no matter how small.
If your guy is boyishly enthusiastic when he’s with you, but later “forgets” to do that thing he promised, you have found yourself a man who is possibly sincere (he meant it when he said it) but not functioning at a level of integrity necessary for the long haul. If this is his typical behavioral pattern, consider breaking up with him and moving on. While each of us can intentionally practice living with integrity, the desire has to come from within. You can’t “love” a man into becoming trustworthy. It’s a commitment he must want to make for himself.
Sign #2: He actively plans for the future—with you in it.
The man of integrity considers your perspective in all he does. He doesn’t want to mislead you or over-promise. He may withhold loving statements for as long as he can because he knows they have deep meaning and implications for the future. So, he will demonstrate his love for you with his actions, long before the declaration. Here are some nonverbal ways a man might let you know that you are becoming the center of his world: He…
- Introduces you to the most important people in his life
- Takes on an additional job or more hours at work because he’s saving for your future
- Gets his finances in order and retires his debts
- Brings you into major life decisions and asks for your opinion on matters that are important to him
- Puts his house on the market, talks about relocating, or otherwise makes it clear that he is willing to make significant life changes for your benefit
Big romantic displays and passionate words are exciting. We can’t help but get swept up in the promise of a new relationship. But remember to take a deep breath and watch his actions closely.
Only give your heart to the man who knows how to turn a sincere wish into reality.