We were gathered in front of Beth-Anne’s fireplace, on a very cold winter’s night, discussing our upcoming posts, and Carol suggested the languages of love for the At Issue topic. I’d never heard of the book, so after she gave me a quick summary, I thought, “Great!” This is exactly the kind of thing I like to have for our At Issue week. A topic that encourages us to discuss our differences, a topic that will encourage others to comment, a topic that will teach me something while I think and write about it. And I love slotting things into categories, naming and numbering, if only for the pleasure of then questioning the names and numbers. Yes, I thought, great idea. I was all cozied up in front of the fire, and feeling a genuine pleasure at the thought of this Valentine’s-related week of writing. Heart-warming, I thought. Fun, I thought. This will be great, I thought.
Meanwhile, Beth-Anne and Carol were confidently discussing the languages of love and who in their lives speaks what. As I stopped mentally piling up the reasons why this was such a great idea and tuned in more carefully to what they were saying, I got still and observant. Like watching a tennis match, I watched them go back and forth with assurance, naming who was what. How could they do this so quickly and fluently? How could they be so sure? So confident? How could dominance in one area present itself so clearly in husbands, sisters, friends? I mean, all of those ways of expressing love are what make love work, right? Love just doesn’t work if any of those five things are deficient. And if you need all of them, how can one be dominant? As their confidently constructed piles of assignments of who was what grew, so did my uncertainty about this whole idea. My warm and cozy feeling gave way to a chill. My excitement gave way to panic.
OMG, I don’t KNOW which language of love I speak. I don’t know in which one I prefer to be spoken to. I am DEAF and MUTE in the LANGUAGES OF LOVE!! Naming and numbering is all fun and games until someone begins to DOUBT her ABILITY to LOVE COHERENTLY. I have to go back out into that wintery chill certain in the knowledge that I am a broken vessel of love. Damn you, Carol. What kind of a crazy idea is this, anyway?