Aderonke Adebanjo: Teach me HOW to love you

by Aderonke Adebanjo

I like to say it like this: Don’t assume. Communicate. That way you’re sure that you are doing it right.

I was at a concert the other day and one of the artists said something during her performance about love. I can’t remember exactly what she said right now but I do remember that the reaction of a guy sitting behind got me thinking. It’s all a blur right now, not sure why (!), but whatever it was he said made me realize that perhaps one of the reasons why people find it hard to love is because they don’t know HOW to love the person they’re with and sometimes they might not even be willing to learn.

There’s a book called ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman. Great book. It talks about five different ways people receive love. For example, one of the Love Languages is Words of Affirmation. Some people feel their partner’s love when their partner affirms them with their words. Another is Quality Time. Some people feel their partner’s love by the amount of quality time their partner spends with them. It goes on and on (Go buy the book!). A person can have more than one Love Language and it is very important to know yours and your partner’s because it will make loving them much easier. I guess you can read the book together or observe your partner’s behavior when you exhibit any of the languages. Discussing it is probably the easiest way but if that feels awkward, observation can work too!

Back to the dude at the concert. He and I got talking afterwards because when he said what he said, I turned around and one of my responses was, “But love is about compromise,” and then I told him that we needed to talk some more and we did. His argument was somewhere along the lines of a girl should accept a guy’s love however he gives it and she should accept that that’s how he knows HOW to love and my argument was  that it is important  for people to try to understand how a person wants and needs to be loved.

Taking the Love Languages for instance, if one of your partner’s Love Languages is Quality Time but all you want to do is hang with the boys all the time, clearly your partner will not feel loved. If she complains about it, she might sound like she’s nagging because you don’t get that that’s how she understands and feels love. If your Love Language is Words of Affirmation but your partner never affirms you with her words but speaks negatively a lot of time, doesn’t acknowledge your hard work, doesn’t commend your efforts, clearly you won’t feel loved, right?

Love is an action word. It should be deliberate. It’s about compromise. It’s about giving. It’s about learning. It’s about being willing to learn. When we consider the person we love, it’s very important that we understand and know how they need to be loved and act accordingly.

So, whenever you get the chance, through your words and actions ask your partner to teach you how to love him/her. Don’t assume you are getting it right. We all know what assumption can do. I like to say it like this: Don’t assume. Communicate. That way you’re sure that you are doing it right. And when they complain, listen. When they appreciate something you do, pay attention. Find the patterns, embrace them, and then do what you gotta do. It’ll make life and love so much easier.

By the way, I love this scripture! It shows that love no be beans talk i.e. it ain’t for kids!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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