My partner and I speak different native languages but these are not the only languages that we have that are different. Our common language that we speak at home is English and we have the languages that we have established together…our body language, how we tell each other we love each other, our shared and common experiences, and our inside jokes.
At the same time, we have very different backgrounds, cultural references and cultural expectations. I speak languages of being an extrovert in the world and an over communicator, an out loud processor with a flare for the dramatic (or so I have been told). I speak languages of processing everything out loud and “I feel…” statements and overly pastoral lingo. I have low patience and a tendency to always thinking I’m right when I am ticked off. She speaks the languages of being an introvert in the world, thinking through things linearly and needing time and space to process. She speaks languages of needing more logic for the why of what I am asking and not needing as much verbal cues. She speaks the language of her heart when she is upset instead of my impatience and has a deep sense of what is just and deserving. She speaks the language of probably not really liking that I am writing about this because it may be too public and yet my motto is the more we know and share and communicate.
All of these languages are not wrong. None of them are the right language and all of them go waaayyy beyond just speaking the same verbal language even though sometimes that makes a huge difference in understanding one another. These spaces do not fall along gender lines and they definitely aren’t all chalked to our cultural background..some but not all. Our expectations are filled with where we come from and what we have experienced and what we though we were being understood as.
We are smack dab in the middle of finding all of this out about each other which I believe is a constant process because relationships of all sorts are extremely hard. They are hard because of our many different languages. No one person is speaking just like the other or communicating just like the other.
As I move through this world, the spoken language is first and foremost on my mind every single day but then I have really come to recognize that we are allll speaking such different and many languages.
Ana and I read a study the other day that highlighted that in this German culture you actually gain more respect, help and acknowledgement if you lecture those around you to do the right thing. To me, this language is harsh and rude and unfriendly. Imagine if we could place ourselves in speaking that different language to at least understand a little more.
A minute ago, Ana and I both looked at each other and said, “I acknowledge I did not do that in a helpful way for you and I will try to do better.” The reality is that we are both asking things that are foreign languages to each other which means those learnings take time to integrate and understand why and to put in our own daily languages. It doesn’t come naturally and probably will be clumsy and we will mess it up over and over again but if we are committed to understanding and trying we may just all make it.