The 1987 film The Princess Bride is an intergenerational classic with universal appeal. A loving grandfather comes over to read a book to his sick grandson. The boy is disappointed and skeptical regarding his grandfather’s idea to read him a book, but gives in when he learns that the book includes “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”

The Grandson: “Doesn’t sound too bad. I’ll try to stay awake.”

Grandpa (with a tone of sarcasm): “Oh, well, thank you very much, very nice of you.”

The viewer learns early in the movie that the plot will be driven by a romance between Buttercup and the farm boy, Westley. Here are the famous and beloved lines:

Buttercup: “Farm boy, fill these [pitchers] with water – please.”

Westley: “As you wish.”

Grandpa (narrator): “That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying ‘As you wish,’ what he meant was, ‘I love you.’ And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.

The words, “I love you,” are critically important. Not only in romantic relationships, but in parent/child relationships; between relatives; and with close friends. People need to hear these words. Yet, sometimes they can be hard to say. My advice is to be very careful with them romantically–they should be reserved romantically for very serious relationships. And yet, I also think we should learn to say these words frequently to our parents, our children, our extended family, and our close friends.

As the quote suggests, I think it’s also wise to hear “I love you” in other phrases. For Westley, he’s using “As you wish” to express his love through words of tender care and willing service. Buttercup eventually comes to realize that the words mean more than “You’re welcome.”

Their case is obviously romantic. But the idea has broader application to all kinds of love–brotherly, sisterly, parental, friendship, etc.–not only in the words we chose to say, but how we hear phrases of endearment from those we love.

Some examples of important terms of endearment:

Presence: “I’m so glad you’re here.” “I’m so glad we’re together.”

Longing: “I’ll miss you.” “I missed you.”

Greeting: “Good morning!” “It’s so good to see you!”

Farewell: “Goodbye, I look forward to seeing you again.”

Service: “You’re welcome.” “It’s my honor.” “My pleasure.”

Thanksgiving: “I’m thankful for you.” “You’re a gift.”