Shattered dishes lay scattered across the floor and as you take in the surrounding wreckage, you consider burning the house to the ground just to prove a point. Amidst your rage, you notice the ice-cold stare aimed in your direction. It’s not cold in the way that it’s devoid of emotion, it is simply calm and collected. Grey eyes bore into you. “Are you done now?” At some point in this impasse, you feel a disturbingly familiar sense of déjà vu. Once all the dust settles and the breakfast china is replaced, you realise that this was all the result of a miscommunication. Just like the many that came before and probably like the many that will come after. This is the point where you’ll start questioning your relationship. What are we even doing? Can we keep doing this? Does he even want to do this anymore? Is the love still there? Do we speak the same love languages?
Your problem isn’t that the love died…
Or that you have nothing in common anymore: your problem is a language barrier. You and your significant other speak different love languages. This does not diminish what you have or the love you share. If anything, it makes it more special. Despite your differences, you are here making it work. Regardless of the challenges and frustrations of not understanding or being understood all the time you know that what you have is real. That deserves to be celebrated.
You experience the world one way and he experiences the world another way. To you, love and how you show it means something very different than what it means it to him. While you see things in burning red and every emotion blazes through and consumes you, he feels tranquility and stillness. You bring a kind of peace that does not need to be defined, or stated because his feelings for you just are.
The problem with loving in different languages is that you will always interpret things differently.
The same fight will always be about two different things. It will never be easy like it is in the movies. You’ll have to work doubly hard at understanding each other. But if at the end of the day the person snoring loudly in your ear is the brightest part of your galaxy, it is definitely worth the obstacles. Relationships don’t work unless you do.
And you’ll really have to work. Yin and Yang were night and day but together created balance. You’ll need someone to keep your fire in check or you’ll end up consuming yourself and he’ll need you to keep warm. Accept that you will always love each other differently. For you it is grand gestures, flowers and impassioned declarations of affection. For him it is as simple as being comfortable enough to sleep next to you and telling you that he’s scared of the future.
The more you try to evaluate the magnitude of another’s feelings based on a definition of love in a language your partner doesn’t speak, the more harm you will do to your relationship. Imagine trying to explain the colour red to someone who only sees in black and white. You wouldn’t get angry with them for not understanding red; you’d just accept that they see the same colour as you – just in a different light.
So, the next time you go to explode and become furious about what is likely to be a simple miscommunication, don’t. Force yourself to learn your partner’s language. This does not mean you have to speak it, but you have to respect them enough to learn it. Then, the next time you feel that spark of angry fire in your heart, consider how they would interpret whatever it is that is sending you into a rage. I love you means I love you, regardless of the language it’s in.