First and foremost, it’s important to understand that a love language extends to all forms of relationships – whether they be romantic, platonic, or domestic. In all facets of life, our world is very romanticised. Sometimes we forget that the word love actually describes an emotional state we experience every day, and language simply decodes that information.
When I first took the love language test, I viewed it as the key to understanding why I couldn’t find a relationship. And, just to clarify, I wasn’t looking for just any partnership – I wanted something filled with mutual respect, shared values, and of course, that auspicious spark. Who doesn’t want (and deserve) such a love?
The problem with this idealistic thought process, however, is it deprives us of the love we want. Really.
The person I was when I first discovered my love language – words of affirmation – was someone who wanted to give. I enthusiastically spent countless nights perfecting paragraphs of delicate text, a form of emotional expenditure that fell on deaf ears. I never realised that the reason I failed to find a lover, or a friend that understood me, wasn’t because I was an inherently flawed human (everyone is), but because I refused to understand myself first.
I was a person whose heart fluttered reading the literature of Austen and Bronte, and stung listening to Jeff Buckley. Someone who owned a list containing all the nice things people have ever said about them, reading it when only when feeling especially uncertain. And once upon a time, a ten-year-old girl who wrote love letters about her primary-school crush, which were subsequently found under a bookcase by her mother, several years later.
The next time I attempted to find my love language, I viewed my answers as a standard for how people in my life needed to communicate. This originally seemed unnatural, as I had previously lived (and loved) with no expectations. It was a totally new way of thinking, and I thought I had it all figured out.
That was, until I met someone who also loved words. Being so caught up in a verbal frenzy of detailed compliments, lyrical analysis, and overwhelming vulnerability, I forgot that sometimes pretty words are just that. Pretty.
The truth is, knowing how you want to receive love is only half the battle. Sometimes, you’ll find someone speaking your language, yet the meaning still gets lost in translation. And in those moments, I feel relieved.
Coming home to a room filled with romance books, 90s ballads, and a list of nice things, I know there is one person who’ll always hear me.