My husband (then boyfriend) and I had a conversation about those words. We realized our encounter or should I say lack thereof were similar. He had hardly heard or used the words growing up as a child either. At that point we decided that our love was too important not to acknowledge it. So we began and continue to this day to verbally express our love for each other. We have since passed on this expression of love to our children as we don't want a day to go by with them ever wondering whether mommy or daddy loves them. As a result, our children freely express their love for us, their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents and other family members. It's the most endearing thing to hear a child say "I love you"! So what could have prevented our parents from saying those words to us? I think they were so focused on making ends meet that they failed to realize how important it was for us to hear. I can only speak for Caribbean culture because that's where our families are from. Based on this culture, I also think it was a form of Caribbean "tough love". They just assumed that we knew how they felt about us. This unspoken awkwardness, I believe, was probably something passed down generation to generation. To me it's a generational curse especially for children because this may cause them to grow up with low self-esteem depending on other environmental factors. Everyone wants to hear and know that they're loved, even children. So to all the newlyweds and new parents, say those words to each other and to your children at every opportunity. Once the couples establish their love and are confident in their relationships, then they can pass this virtue on to their children. After all, we are who they first learn about and how to LOVE!
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13:13