Love is a universal language expressed in many different forms and ways. Ultimately I think it goes back to our way of life and the diversity of our daily cultural practices that determines the way we express love.
Often I have been asked to translate “I love you” in my own language. Yet it always leaves me blank because I either don’t know or there isn’t an exact word for it. I have seen love, I have heard its synonyms but never the word itself.
So attending today’s mass and listening to the homily I have learned that there are 5 different languages of love which are;
- Gift Giving
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Services
- Quality Time
It has come to my realization that because of the kind of cultural practices that my ancestors have had, words of affirmation was one of the love language that wasn’t common. Marriages back then were mostly traditionally arranged that affection came after marriage. Societal roles of men and women kept them apart that words of affirmation wasn’t practiced as often. However, there was always like this unspoken I love you among married couples, siblings, family and friends that everyone knew of but never necessarily had to say. Thus, there wasn’t an exact native word for it but it could be seen in the other 4 love languages.
In my culture, love was the way a father takes care of his family. It was the cold nights he stayed out at sea making sure to come home with fish for his family. It was the way a mother made sure her family had enough to eat even when she was left very little to nothing. It was the way women carried heavy baskets of food while cradling their babies walking mountainous and rugged roads just so their families could live for another day. It was the fuel of their strength to accomplish their daily struggles and the light in their eyes as they told stories at dinner time.
It was the way brothers came together to build houses for their families, the way they went out fishing and shared their catch with the whole village. It was the way sisters harvest sago and made gardens for their families. It was the way grandparents nurtured their grandchildren despite of old age. It was the way we shared with our neighbors and helped each other. Love was about the togetherness of our families and communities despite not having all the materialistic things of the world. We may not have had the exact affirmative word for love but it was our way of life.