That's been my manta with my beloved since we started our FLR some months ago. This morning, lying with my head in the crook of her arm, I realized a bit more about what is happening with that mantra.
I love her all the time.
When I serve her, I get to say "I love you" with my actions. A day when I don't get to serve her is NOT a good day. Though that happens, it doesn't happen very often. That's why it's important for me to know that she knows that I'm serving her. What's the point of saying "I love you" if your beloved can't hear it? (Okay, it's not completely pointless but I hope you get the idea.)
That's related to the point of Lady Grey's post on Please, Thank You, and Denial . For me, there are two big caveats in referring to this post: 1) The relationship that kicked off Lady Grey's thinking is very different from ours, and 2) Lady Grey's relationship is very different from ours. Nevertheless, I get a thrill when she says:
When I'm faced with [a gift from my submissive], I simply say "that's very nice" or something of that sort, which acknowledges the gift without having to say thank you. I'm not thankful that he's brought me a gift any more than I'm thankful that he's following my orders. It's expected. Following orders is expected. Being given gifts is expected. There's a constant expectation and assumption of service in a D/s situation ... and the only "please" or "thank you" that will be heard is when it's coming out of my sub's mouth.I have commented before that my beloved is a hyper-considerate person. "Please" and "Thank you" are in her nature. And while I wouldn't try to change that, I felt that it was important to acknowledge where a service being performed by a submissive is different from a gift being given in a symmetrical relationship (for lack of a better term - our relationship is asymmetrical, which isn't to say un-equal, but which is probably worth its own post). Put another way, I do things for my beloved not ONLY to make her happy, but to tell her that I love her. So for us, finding a way to distinguish that might be very useful.
Obedience is something I get to do less often, which makes it more fun and more valuable. That having been said, I'd like to do it more (unlike some other pleasurable activities which I could mention...). Obedience is my way of answering her implied question: "Do you love me?" The harder obedience is, the more, to me, it says, "Yes, I love you." That's the value of her making tasks harder, or making them gratuitously hard. She sends me little "I love you"s by text or IM on some days - little silly things to do like not sitting down for a period of time or not eating something, or eating something I don't like. That way she says to me, "I want you to be thinking about me" and "You love me enough to do this, right?" I am very grateful for those, and I am grateful for the difficulty they present.
Even my nightly check-ins with her by e-mail have that value. They say, "Do you care enough about this relationship dynamic to do the inconvenient thing and e-mail me every night?" Fortunately, the answer is (almost) always "Yes." The consequence for not doing so, is the (harder) reminder, that I said it was, and forces me to contemplate the reason why it didn't happen.