By Nombuso Nkambule (@HRH_Nombuso)
I’ll be honest, I rolled my eyes at the thought of another dull version of all this usesless motivational crap you find on the internet by so-called life-coaches. To my pleasant surprise it was anything but. There are five languages of love, and they are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Receiving Gifts. Basically, each one describes your predominant ‘language of love’, whether that be love for a sister, a friend, a mother or a lover; it is how you express and receive your love.
I recently had a spat with a lover (it’s now over) after he cancelled on a date at the eleventh hour. I was so pissed off, I was well-dressed and I’d been looking forward to seeing him and catching up and listening to him talk for hours about the things that he likes. So when that didn’t happen and he cancelled, I was disappointed for a while, then I plotted some imaginary retributions and resolutions, and then I just got over it. I have a pragmatic and somewhat stoic way of dealing with my deeper affections, which has grown out of a ‘know when you’re not wanted’ and ‘don’t get mad, get over it’ mentality. I got to thinking why I was so moved by the cancellation and why I was handling it this way, and then a friend told me about something called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
I’ll be honest, I rolled my eyes at the thought of another dull version of all this useless motivational crap you find on the internet by so-called life-coaches. To my pleasant surprise it was anything but. There are five languages of love, and they are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Receiving Gifts. Basically, each one describes your predominant ‘language of love’, whether that be love for a sister, a friend, a mother or a lover; it is how you express and receive your love. Taking the test, I discovered that mine is quality time. And that’s when I had my ‘aha moment’, and saw why it was that I was so affected by my guy’s cancellation. “In quality time, nothing says ‘I love you’ like full undivided attention. Being there for this kind of person is critical,” says Chapman. And I agree. I have always had this insatiable thirst for building connections and being together. Not that I’m super clingy or anything, but one of the worst ways to hurt me is to cancel dates or to ignore me or to make me feel like I have to beg for your attention.
I encouraged my twin sister to try the test out, and to no surprise her love language matched mine, we’re both quality time people. I have an idea this might have something to do with our mutual biological nesting in our mother’s womb for nine whole months. Understanding her love language has made our relationship a whole lot better. Everyone thinks twins are always the best of friends, but I’ll admit that it took a while for my sister and I to get there. We’re besties now, we understand each other’s love languages intuitively so it’s just automatic. We see each other almost every day and just hang or study together or draw on our chalkboards. That’s us saying we love each other, choosing to spend our time together. Choosing to just be together.
The love languages don’t have to be romantic and I have learnt that they aren’t as cliché in execution as you may think. That friend who is always down for groove and wants to stay out and eat youth till 5am every weekend is probably a quality time person. That is spending time and being together over drugs and alcohol, it’s important for that friend to be together. There is a reason Dick and Harry especially like going out with their home-boy Tom who balls out on Ciroc and Dom for his two best buds every time they hit the club. It makes Dick and Harry feel like the don-king-fathers of the club when their friend showers them with the champagne. An expensive shower it may be but it’s an expensive gift that Dick and Harry like to receive because gifts are their love language.
If you can understand your own love language, and that of your lover’s for example, you might find that certain personality clashes and tensions might suddenly make all the sense in the world. Take the quality time lady and the busy acts of service man as an example: She might want to go on dates or talk all day and plan all sorts of activities for the two of them to spend time together but he’s a busy career man who can’t make the time for her as often as she requires and deserves. She gets frustrated with his absence and he knows it and so to appease his lady-love, he always makes sure to make her tea in the evenings every night when he gets home and wakes earlier than her every day to make and have breakfast with her before he goes to work. Imagine if all people in relationships could figure out each other’s love languages and the tensions this would resolve. He would continue to love her with acts of service, but he would also know to try to be there to spend some time with her as often as possible. She would continue to spend as much time together with him and she would make sure he could come home from a long day of work with night shoes and a cigar at the door. Okay, maybe something a little less extravagant, but you get the deal.
I found this mushy motivational stuff useful in my daily relationships with my network of peers, friends and family and all their different love languages. I’m seeing the results that come with just taking the time to understand a person’s form of expression. I’m still trying and testing it, perhaps you should too?
Nombuso Nkambule is a modern day princess of the Valoyi clan. She is your go to new girl on opinions on love, boys and oestrogen. A born writer, doctor in the making and struggling model who is just trying to survive the bone throw in these Jozi streets.