Updated: Apr 7
Hey guys! today’s article is about love, its diverse expressions, and how we should be open to receiving love the way others give it. Many of us must have heard about Gary Chapman’s five love languages. Out of the list of love languages, he gives us which are (in no particular order)—Words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, receiving gifts and quality time, I identify mostly with two which are words of affirmation and acts of service. These are the ways I feel loved; when people encourage me with words and when they do things for me, it blows my mind away (dear future husband, hint hint).
Although in a previous article which I wrote two years ago on this topic, I had mentioned physical touch as my second love language. But now living in Nigeria for about three years, I have come to appreciate acts of service because there are certain things that come up with just living in Lagos, that I didn’t necessarily have to do while I lived in Lafayette.
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When it comes to me expressing my love for others, I speak a totally different language. I love giving gifts to people and spending some quality time with them. My cousins can testify to this—I am always recruiting them to either go to the movies or spend the weekend with me. So the way I receive love isn’t the same way I give it.
From loads of teachings I have heard about the five love languages (especially for married couples) people are often told to learn how others want to be loved, and love them that way because if they spend time doing the opposite, the recipient might not even acknowledge what they are spending their time doing for them.
I’ve often heard some women say this about their spouse—“I feel loved when he helps around the house (or more specifically) takes out the trash.” Their husband might be risking their lives every day to make ends meet, but if that trash isn’t out of the house, then the other partner might feel unloved. But it shouldn’t be so. The pressure put on individuals to learn people’s love languages, especially their partners, should be the same amount of pressure put on people to receive love the way others give it.
This is because people come from various backgrounds. They perceive and give love differently than the person right next to them. Maybe they went through experiences in life which taught them to speak a language different from others. But when two people decide to come together, both parties should be willing to embrace the uniqueness each individual brings to the table. Sometimes, those who even grow up in the same home, still express love differently.
Different expressions, but the same love
So I have a brother and a male cousin who grew up with us as well, which makes him more like a brother to me. Being the only female with them in Lagos, I tend to ask them to do a lot of things like buying fuel for the generator, washing my car after I have driven it around Lagos bad roads, putting the fuel in the generator, driving me to run my errands (because I hate driving) calling artisans to fix things around the house, exterminating rats from the house, and so on. My requests are oftentimes endless.
Now my cousin is willing to do all these things for me. In fact, he is literally at my beck and call. He drives me around when I don’t feel like driving and even comes to keep me company when I need someone to stay with me. In all he does for me, I can tell that he loves me, it’s pretty obvious and I receive that love well.
On the other hand, you wouldn’t catch my brother doing all the things that my cousin does. He wouldn’t wash my car, but rather pay someone to do it for me. If I call him saying that I need this and that done around the house, he wouldn’t bat an eyelid. In his words—call your concierge (referencing my cousin). In the beginning, I would get upset, stating that if it were my cousin, he would do it for me. But one day I had to pause and reflect, thinking about how my brother expresses his love for me.
Expression of love from my brother is giving me money when I am broke, or rushing down to the pharmacy to be with me, when I called him saying I was not feeling too good, is screaming at my cousin who jumped on my hospital bed unknowingly disregarding the fact that I just had surgery, and my brother did not want anyone to stress me. It is in him racing down Lekki-Epe Expressway, to see the man who threatened to slap me on the road. It is also in him purchasing masks for me because he knows I am not going to get one myself. It is in calling me to make sure I have stocked up my house with food that would last me during a lockdown.
I had to learn to accept the way he loves me, being okay with the fact that he is a completely different person from who my cousin is, but still loves me regardless. I had to learn to make that adjustment. He loves me, yes but differently. The world is a very diverse place, filled with diverse people. Just because your friend’s husband does xyz for her, shouldn’t mean that you should not appreciate your husband’s zyx even if you might prefer an xyz; it is just as beautiful.
We can also learn to fill in the gaps where others fall short.
If it’s that your partner doesn’t take out the trash or do the dishes, if you don’t like to do those either, then hire someone who will take the burden off you guys and focus on other things. Now, this isn’t a call for people not to try and make their partners feel loved or accepted, rather it is a call to accept people’s languages of love, even when we don’t understand it (there is always subtitle, haha).
Let’s accept others for who they are and make accommodations for their unique expressions of love; it is what makes the world a beautiful place.
Over to you guys, what do you think? Leave your comments below, also remember to like, share and subscribe, never to miss an update.
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About The Author: Evi Idoghor is a Christian, writer, and content creator on Letstalknationblog.com. She is a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to effect change, she launched her online platform––Let’s Talk Nation––to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that would make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, where she lived for about 11 years. Also, she lived in Nigeria and South Korea and currently loves traveling the world while learning about other fascinating cultures. You can find her on all social media platforms with @eviidoghor.