For the longest time in my life, I didn’t know what my language of love was. To be more clear what that is, I didn’t know how to express my love to a partner. Instead, I typically focused more on my own needs than theirs. I usually struggled to offer intimacy in non-sexual ways such as cuddling, kissing, and holding hands. And I often forgot on a regular basis to show them they mattered in those little special ways, like leaving a small love note in a hidden place to be eventually happily discovered by them. The only time this ever changed was when I was in the “doghouse” and trying to get out of it, or when I had an agenda behind offering it.
After many years of pain and suffering and choosing to turn my will and life over to the care of God, that completely changed. It was only then did I begin to learn a new language of love. It was then my heart gained the desire to be more of a giver and think of the needs of my partner more than my own. It was then I found the natural drive to regularly offer intimacy on every level. And, it was then I began to truly enjoy showing my partner at least once every day in a unique way how much they mattered to me. Now, I’ve been on the other side of the coin for the past few years though, as the Universe has been teaching me what it feels like to be on the receiving end of someone who isn’t in touch with their language of love. And honestly, it’s been extremely frustrating and led to much loneliness and emptiness.
While I do feel my partner loves me, he’s often struggled to provide daily moments of intimacy or special tokens that say I really matter to him, two things I truly desire in a relationship. Much of that is specifically because he never learned that language of love in his younger years, just like I didn’t. We both came from families that didn’t teach us those type of things. Instead we learned various dysfunctional forms of love that were usually quite conditional-based and ones that carried into our adulthood. Until I went through several years of utter pain and suffering that led to me seeking a closer relationship and help from God did any of this change for me.
My partner is still on his path of self-discovery to learn what his language of love is. While there have been some moments where his has been similar to my own, we’ve joked that it often feels like we’re on completely different flights and carriers, instead of being on the same flight and in nearby rows like a healthy couple tends to be. Unfortunately, the love language he’s developed thus far is one that’s left me feeling more alone and that I don’t matter, because it’s one that doesn’t involve much closeness, touch, or special signs of his love. His love language is one that involves holding the fort down, like paying the bills, keeping food on the table, and basically making sure there’s a roof over our head. While each of those are important, they don’t fulfill a huge part of why I’m in a relationship in the first place.
All of this has led to me most recently asking myself questions that I honestly don’t want to be asking because it brings up fear. Maybe his language of love will never mirror my own? Maybe intimacy and closeness and day-to-day random acts of love are never going to be his thing? Maybe his language of love and my language of love are better suited for others out there who mirror more of what our is and may always be. These are questions I wrestle with quite a bit as of late.
I love my partner, truly I do. But as I continue to battle chronic pain and wait upon God for further guidance and ultimately relief that may or may not ever come (although I maintain the faith that it eventually will), I absolutely desire and need closeness, intimacy, and to feel special with whom I’m monogamously tied to. Whether my partner will ever be able to provide that I don’t know, but I can’t fault him for that if he never does, because all of our love languages are unique to each and every one of us. Thankfully, now I know at least what my prior relationships must have felt when I didn’t know what my own language of love was or even how to express it.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson