What is the Love Language in your Relationship?
Naturally, we are slaves of our backgrounds. Basic life tenets and principles that influence your entire life are entrenched from childhood. It seems alright, till you are exposed to life beyond that circle. For me? That exposure came when I joined a city campus for a teaching degree.
I would meet a girl whose family disposition shed lots of shadows on what I had presumed as ‘Just Fine’ with my own family.
Do not get me wrong. I grew up in a relatively happy family – just that, I’d realize later on that it was a little too basic. I grew up in the countryside, among the Meru people known for their emotional apathy. My girlfriend’s family lived in a middle-class estate in the outskirts of the city.
On my first visit to her home, I suffered a culture shock. No, not the common tribal kind. A sort of rarer and more pleasant one – the ‘love culture’ shock.
Their house had an open veranda space, with a polished wooden plaque side – with a message painstakingly etched into the wood:
“Listen with Ears of Tolerance. See through Eyes of Compassion. Speak with the Language of Love”.
I did not think much of it. Lots of African homes have wall hangings. My father’s living room had an ageless poster of Brazilian Diego Maradona, Miriam Makeba and a few cowrie shells. Her parents were out, at the time.
Her mother came in first, early evening. Mother and daughter camped in the kitchen cooking – and lady chit chat.
I’m alone in the sitting room, watching TV – when the father drives into the compound. As soon as the car’s motor dies, the old man starts shouting: “Hi! Ellen! Ellen!”
There’s a bit of shuffling in the kitchen. Then, the mum runs out of the house. My girlfriend comes and sits by me. She smiles impishly, and shrugs. She says:
“That’s how my dad calls my mum. If she doesn’t answer, he keeps at it with some variations of ‘Hi’ and ‘Ellen’ till she answers. Sometimes, mum hides to see if he’ll keep going!”
“Why?” I ask.
“It’s their love language! Quality time together”.
Growing up, I never saw my parent’s hug, kiss or even touch in the barest show of public affection. Here, now – I’m staying with a couple with grown children who cannot get enough of each other’s company. In this household, members wait up for each other at meal times. To prepare a meal – while the mum mashes potatoes, the father is dicing onions, tomatoes and garlic!
On the couple’s 50th anniversary, they had taken a hot air balloon ride over Maasai Mara Game Reserve. The couple, though, had been too deeply engrossed in conversation about some potato project upcountry!
They so loved their quality time together.
After our joint graduation, tedious induction as trainee teachers and subsequent absorption by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) – I came to realize my girlfriend’s love language. She loved gifting to express her feelings, and it began with her first salary.
While still in our induction, she had insisted on Co-op Bank’s Salary Accounts. When I asked why, she had just said: Daddy is quite choosy, but has been with Co-op Bank all his life. I obliged.
On her first salary, she showered me with gifts. She outdid herself over and above the usual Happy-Socks-gift on Christmas and Valentine’s Days. A Monopoly game set, a fancy set of ear pods – and, of course, a pair of Happy Socks!
Years later, I would come to appreciate the benefits of a long-term financial partnership with Co-op Bank. Presently, it’s even better. All government salaried employees – teachers, policemen, et al – enjoy exclusive financial perks that comes with a Co-op Bank Salary Account.
A Co-op Bank Salary Account is a Zero-balance account, only needs an Identity Card and KRA Pin number to open. To disregard such a minimalist appearance, it’s loaded with benefits. Once you get an account, you automatically qualify for an instant mobile loan of up to Ksh500,000 for small buys – posh furniture, a Smart TV set, et al.
Further, holding a Co-op Salary Account for six months qualifies you to a personal loan of up to Eight Million for larger asset purchases like real estate, cars, government bonds and other investments.
Tell me of a better financial partner, I’ll wait. Co-op Bank nails it.