So, in reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, he describes in great detail how the word love can be very confusing. We love activities, objects, animals, nature, and people. We even fall in love with love. He points out that we use love to explain behavior. “‘I did it because I love her’ says a man who is involved in an adulterous relationship. God calls it sin, but he calls it love. The wife of an alcoholic picks up the pieces after her husband’s latest episode. The psychologist calls it co-dependency, but she calls it love. The parent indulges all the child’s wishes. The family therapist calls it irresponsible parenthood, but the parent calls it love.”
Now I’m not by any means of the imagination a psychologist, a professor, a clergywoman, or a counselor. I am just an ordinary woman. I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a girlfriend. But like many, I think all too often we speak the wrong love language. I definitely have.
In my youth, I did some stupid things out of “love” for a guy. And because I loved him I thought, surely he will come to my way of thinking. He would love me in return, enough to change his behavior and better himself. After all, hadn’t I bent over backward for him? Worshiped the ground he walked on? Became his doormat? In order to gain his undivided attention, I forgot who I was.
In my teens, I covered my husband’s transgressions. I hid his secret, sin, and shame. My way of thinking was: This is why I exist, right? That’s my job, isn’t it? His wish was my command. Barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen – if only I knew how to cook then. My smile hid the pain in my heart, as well as makeup did the bruises on my face. I hid the grocery money, and emptied the liquor bottles, refilling half with water hoping he’d never noticed. I’d called his boss to say he was sick in bed after another blackout episode. I told myself: I protect my interest. I do it all in the name of “love.”
I was tired. But because I loved my children, I eventually allowed my kids the freedom of choice. They started listening to the “hip” music their friends were listening to and watched certain movies because I knew they were old enough and smart enough not to repeat negative behaviors. Yes, I was inconsistent, worn-out, and haggard. I practiced tough love, church activities, rules, and schedules, but then lost the victory in my own personal life that I toss responsibility to the wind. I got lazy. It became every person for themselves. I started doing my own thing. I felt defeated. Cold-hearted. Bitter. Since I had lost the battle as a wife, for a moment, I had also forgotten that there was still a war to fight for called Motherhood.
That was many moons ago. And I’m happy to say, although far from perfect, I continue to strive to communicate this language in a healthy way.
Just some rambling thoughts today, as I reflect on Gary Chapman’s point of view about the language of love.
What are your thoughts?
© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved