Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep at night and when that happens, my mind just drifts all over the place [it tends to do that at odd hours]. I started reading old whatsapp conversations and one in particular got me thinking about how differently each of us receives & acknowledges the gestures of love/affection directed at us and where the disconnect that tends to create drama usually sets in. So I hit my twitter with a little dose of deep…. Question:
I got some pretty interesting responses [see below for a few].
All very interesting, right?
Which leads me to this thing about love languages; which I’m sure you’ve heard/read about. But if you haven’t already – according to Gary D. Chapman in his acclaimed book – The Five Love Languages – there are 5 love languages.According to Gary, every single one of us understands one [or a combination] but we all ultimately tend to gravitate more towards one. [You can read more about it here www.5lovelanguages.com]. There’s even a test on there to help you determine your own love language. PS: Mine is predominantly – Acts of Service [I think it’s the only one that encompasses little bits of all the other languages] & Receiving gifts [not to be mistaken for materialism]
Usually, when love languages are discussed, they are discussed from the POV of the receiver, i.e. the person who is positioned at the receiving end of the gestures that make up said language. So for e.g. because I prefer – Acts of Service – I expect that my loved ones or anyone looking to catch my attention in a love thing should show me how much via practical helpful gestures. It means that someone can tell me how much they love me day & night, even until hell freezes over but if those beautiful grandiose words aren’t accompanied by actual gestures that make my everyday day-to-day life easier, then we are both wasting each other’s time really.It then follows that I also tend to show my love to the people I love in the same way by trying my best to ease their day-to-day life – perhaps you need laundry dropped off and I have time – I will, perhaps I noticed your nepa units are running out and you’re out of town – I’ll top up so the stuff in your refrigerator don’t get to ruins, perhaps you’re out of town and the house got dusty – I’ll send someone to clean for you so you get back to a clean home feeling less overwhelmed. Sister needs new bras and I’m ordering mine – I’ll add hers, brother had a long day – I’ll leave a home cooked meal etc. I know a friend of mine who said the most romantic thing anyone ever did for her for valentine’s was to replace the worn out tyres on her car that needed immediate attention. Very Practical.
However, I feel like we forget to think about this from the POV of the person on the giving end of the equation. They have a love language too and what if theirs doesn’t match yours? For e.g. a person whose love language is – Physical Touch – expects tons of PDA from their partner but what if said partner is not into PDA? But they always send gifts [a language] and tell you how much they love you [affirmation]? In this scenario, they’re showing love in the way they know & understand it but is it connecting? When our loved ones speak a different love language, it may come across as though they aren’t doing enough but is that really true? And is it to fair to them that we are receiving it wrong?
I sometimes fight with my brother when I feel he’s just not pulling his weight when I need him to which can make me feel like he doesn’t know me at all. However, I have overheard my brother [without even speaking to me first] vehemently defend me in my ‘absence’ to someone. One time when I was doing my detox, he brought me a bagful of fruits, completely unsolicited. What about that time when he mentioned in passing how his life has been so much easier since I moved back to Nigeria. Make of that what you will.
Then there’s my mother who has forgotten my birthday one too many times. I mean, who forgets their own child’s birthday? Does that mean she doesn’t love me? But before I answer that, who has held the forte for nearly 2 decades since our dad passed, who has consistently bailed me out of some tough moments, who has prayed for me every day of my life, who always asks me “do you people have enough?”, who thinks the world of me etc. But who also forgets my birthdays? Yea.
What about the guy whose vibe is too relaxed in his pursuit of you? Yes. How frustrating! You know he likes you; heck you like him too [a lot] and so you wish he’d be more brazen in his attempt to woo you. That he’d text more, call more, thirst more. You wish you’d wake up to loving morning messages that add an extra pep in your step the rest of your day and go to bed with a bump on your forehead because your phone fell out of your hands as you were giggling too much reading his messages in bed at night. Instead you get scheduled calls; you sometimes get grumpy mono-syllabic responses and a generally lacklustre turkey dance that makes you wonder if one of you is being forced to keep up the charade. Alas!
While I think all 3 scenarios have an underlying theme, they are also very different illustrations.
My friends on twitter make a great case that love is about making an effort to learn your partner’s style/love language and that stepping out of character/comfort zone in itself shows a willingness to bring what it is your loved one needs from you to the table. In addition, every time you speak one another’s language, you score emotional points that do great for your relationships. However, until that desired sync is achieved, does that mean they love you any less? I’d love to hear from you guys…..
So lemme ask again…….
“If someone isn’t showing you love in the way and manner that you prefer & understand, does that mean they’re not showing you love?”
Please sound out in the comments please.