Language today can be confusing. As an English major and teacher, I find that it irks me when people don’t speak or write in a grammatically correct way. However, I know that language, like people, develops and changes over the years. If I insisted on using the same dictionary for playing Scrabble that I used 25 years ago, I would lose more than my fair share of games.
There are so many more words in use now than there were even a few years ago. Not only that, but words are used in different ways …. meanings have morphed. It is a truly educational experience to listen to the way many people communicate with one another these days. If my grandmother were still alive I doubt she would understand much of what is said! Sometimes I have trouble interpreting the meaning coming out of people’s mouths.
One word in particular that has become commonplace in verbal vocabulary is the word “like”. Listen to anyone in our culture conversing for any length of time. No doubt you will hear the word “like”, more often than you might care to count in the space of a few sentences. “I, like, don’t know what I’d like to do this afternoon. Like, are you free to, like, hang out? Or would you, like, like to go to the movies. I don’t think John would like to come because he, like, doesn’t “like like” me anymore like he used to. I still like him, but I don’t “like like” him like I used to either. ”
“Like” is often used as punctuation more than as an actual word with meaning. Also, to “like” someone “like that”, or to “like like” someone doesn’t mean to like them at all – it means “be in love” with them, to be attracted to them, or to have a crush on them.
Imprecise communication can lead to big problems. Misunderstandings in relationships are often due to not saying what we mean, and not meaning what we say. I have as much trouble with this as the next person, and it’s something that I know I need to work on.
My mom has also always been an advocate of being careful how we say things. Her favorite example of miscommunication is the story of a man who, when asked by his wife what he wanted for breakfast, told her, “Put me in an egg and boil it!”. Umm … no, I don’t think that’s what he really meant to say! And if the wife had indeed tried to do what her husband had asked, she would have been the one in hot water!
Like all married couples, my husband and I sometimes have tension between us. In reflecting, I realize that I must take responsibility for my own irritability, unpredictability, and lack of clear communication in relating to him. Lack of sleep, stress caused by other relationships, a “power surge” of hormones, or the change in my home routines because Peter is presently out of work can be contributing factors, but they are not excuses.
So yesterday my husband asked me if I liked him. Most of the time I do like him. But in all honesty, sometimes I don’t like him … he irritates me, he does things I can’t stand, and he says things that drive me crazy. And on the other side, I know there are also times when he doesn’t like me either… often for the same reasons!
But do I love my husband? Does he love me? Are we committed to each other for as long as we both shall live? You bet.
There are times when I don’t like my kids because of things they do. There are times when I don’t like my neighbors because their dog barks in the night. There are times when I don’t like my parents because I feel taken for granted. But do I love them? Yes, because that’s what God desires for me to do. And so (eventually) I get myself in gear, alter my attitude, and latch on to love — because love is more than a feeling. Love is a choice, and love is a decision.
So I may not always like you. There will be times when I probably won’t like you. I don’t have to always, like, like you. But I will make every effort to “like like” you. It’s how God is towards me, and I want to be like Him!
Remember: “Like like” = love
Have a great day!