Frankly Put: Learning to Speak Love
It’s crazy to think that we think we’ve found love in our teens, only to be told whatever we had was just “puppy love” so we wait for our twenties. When we get to our twenties, we are told, “Your 20’s are not for looking for your soulmates and settling, they are for focusing on yourself, for travelling and having fun.” Which I mean… Isn’t wrong per se.
I do find myself thinking though, if not now, when? With a changing mindset that looks at love less as a destination, more as a journey, this has become my mentality. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not to say that people should jump relationship to relationship in search of “the one" through their twenties but at least be prepared for the idea of it. You know, be prepared for the ride. This is me assuming that this whole marriage end-goal is something you might be willing to invest in. Maybe it is being romantic in my thinking to say the learning curve to love shouldn’t be steep.
What good is it to get to your thirties, successful, financially stable and gear into focusing on or falling into love only to crash into the wall that is the fact that perhaps you weren’t prepared? Left with the option of divorce (which is a rising trend) or having to stick in a toxic relationship to brave it out with hope of mending it, which I imagine, are both honestly draining of life. Love has always seemed to be this art of life, be it eros (romantic), philautia (self love) or philia (familial or platonic). I think, that might be the reason why I hesitate so much to use the word because it’s weight is palpable.
Maybe in the schedule of life, you may slot love somewhere in there but you never learnt about it, how to express it, how to receive it, how to communicate it as a part of you. Kinda just hobbling between relationships with ideas we interpret from media consumed. From infancy to toddlerhood, (toddlerhood? Making new terms out here) we learnt to speak by imitation in the languages we are raised with, the sounds into words into sentences into loud-mouthed conversations and questions on questions (<sigh> children). Maybe love is the same. I mean we often talk about love languages and that and perhaps this is a language we ought to learn how to speak and be fluent in. We in our own dialects.
It is always a bit saddening to see two people, who actually do share affection for one another, missing their connection by a hair because of not speaking love to each other in the way the other understands love. The way I picture it sometimes, it is like the whole thing with the apostles and the tongues. For those who aren’t familiar with the story from the Bible, basically, they were just chilling in the upper room when they were filled with the holy spirit and came out speaking in tongues and stuff but saying the same thing with people understanding it in those different languages. Paraphrasing, of course.
When I talk of speaking love, we have different languages too. There are more minor ones out there but the major ones recognized are commonly five; Physical Touch, Quality Time, Gift Giving, Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service, each with their own way of “speaking". Not to put it across like you may not know of this, you probably are aware of this but … do you really know know? Do you really know how you love? Do you know how you wish to be loved (beyond the superficial)? Do you know how others love? Do you know how they wish to be loved? Where does your intimacy lie beyond matters of the bedroom?
I have come to the understanding that this brush paints across all relationships, all types of love. When you sit back and think, for example, do you actually know your parents' love language? Do we love our parents as their love language dictates? Do we even love — I’m kidding, I’m kidding . On the real though, that relationship is really where a lot of us learn the sounds, the words, the sentences we speak. This isn’t to say necessarily that their love language is what they teach us. Perhaps they raised us in the way they wished they were raised so we “speak” a foreign language. Further along, do we know how our siblings love? Or do we just fight and argue as siblings do and live on?
Do we love our friends how they need to be loved? Now, I am not talking about the circumstance friendships, (even though you can apply it there too) I’m talking about the deep friendships we are culturing or I hope we are. The commonly known “best friends", the “circles”, the “cliques", the “homies", the “girls/boys" or however you label yourselves. I think it might be safe to assume, gents admittedly, ladies do this one a bit better relatively than we do. Perhaps you may be aware of yourself and think “My love language is physical touch, how the hell would I express that to my boys?” And you may not be particularly comfortable with the connotation of affection with another male but I guarantee there are ways. I mean, personalized handshakes are a thing, for one. Being aware of the way you speak, being aware of how the other speaks could help you understand how best to go about it. (Bromance is a thing but you know, whatever #toxicmasculinity always)
I guess all this is really just to say, there isn’t a hurry to find and settle with “the one” but finding love is another thing. There isn’t reason to procrastinate in seeking that depth in our friendships. Maybe our twenties are the time to find love. Maybe our twenties are the time to learn to settle in our love languages, maybe then we will know never to settle for less. Although hearts break and character development is key in this life, why should it be by factors well within our control? As I say this though, I think to myself, acknowledging that I too am on this journey. Again not saying that it is a destination you can find with self awareness and once you know you have found love. Love evolves. It is thrown out there that “kiss a couple of frogs, til you find your prince/princess” which I somewhat concur with but don’t waste your life away, digging through swamps, you feel me ?
In conclusion, may we not fear on this journey, finding that not every name we want to call our love will be the one that we tattoo on our hearts and that that mere fact should not be what makes us not love again. If only to put it Frankly.