*The Silicon Review – Because Readers Lead*
I recently heard of a friend of a friend who threw himself in front of a speeding vehicle. He wanted to die. Why? Because he had issues with his girlfriend and she threatened to leave him; or something of the sort. Fortunately, or unfortunately, he only broke his leg and didn’t die.
One word, DRAMA.
Campus relationships are dramatic. If Kenya was the US, or at least Nigeria, I’m sure there would be a thrilling television series based on campus relationships and its producers would make a lot of money. I mean, no wonder some of you love gossip that much. As long as you have the right sources, you will be served the sweetest tea: from twisted love triangles and rectangles to girls fighting over boys; from suicide attempts to girls deciding to be lesbian after heartbreaks – does crazy even begin to describe it?
As much as we enjoy hearing that so and so is now a lesbian or so and so left her smelly shit in so and so’s sufurias, there just has to be a better way. Otherwise, what hope is there for us? And the saddest thing is that we take our poor relationships with us as we leave campus. That is why divorce is as common as chicken pox – If it hasn’t happened to you yet, be very careful because it might. And even if a couple doesn’t get divorced, they will probably be surviving in a loveless and hopeless marriage. That, or, they will be cheating on each other.
Anyway, let’s forget about the marriage thing. We are in campus. And, you will forgive me for pointing this out but, ninety-five per cent of campus relationships do not survive campus. Of course, if you are in a relationship, I will allow you to assume that you are in the five per cent who survive.
How kind of me, right?
No matter how you look at it, relationships are doomed. Ideally, a relationship should make you happy. But as it is, if you want to be miserable, get into a relationship and give it time. Sooner or later, that girl you couldn’t get enough of will become clingy and needy. That boy will become emotionally distant. Or he will become overprotective and start acting like your parent. Or she will find every opportunity to snoop through your phone. Or she will cheat. Or he will cheat with your roommate. Or he will start physically abusing you and you can’t leave because you are insecure and you think you deserve the pain.
Then you will start missing classes and getting supps and repeating units. Someone else will start drinking too much and puking in public. Just because you are speaking fluent English doesn’t make it okay for you to puke on my bed – one would think that is obvious but, clearly, it isn’t. Jeez!
And yet, we cannot help falling into relationships. Some of us are looking for love. Some of us are looking for sex. Some of us don’t want to be on the receiving end of memes that target single people. And worst of all, some of us think that relationships will complete us – that they will solve our problems and magically make us better people.
So, if we can’t help getting into relationships, what do we do?
I’ll tell you what we’ll do. First of all, how many languages do you know? I’m guessing English, Kiswahili, Sheng, the Sheng that Mbogi Genje use, (in which case, respect) and your mother tongue. First of all, if you don’t have even the slightest idea who Mbogi Genje are:
Next, I want you to imagine a Kikuyu boy who has never gone to school and a black American girl. Now, put those two together. The only thing they can do is have sex because well, sex can be speechless. But, put them in a discussion group. What happens? Tell them to run a business together, will they be able to do it? Put them in a relationship, how will they be able to insult each other properly when they can’t speak each other’s languages?
And there is your first point – Language. I want you to keep it in mind.
Next, I will tell you about your needs as a human being. You have physical needs like the need to eat and sleep. If you are male – you have the need for football in one form or the other. You have social needs. You have avocado needs if you are a true Kenyan. But we are going to focus on your emotional needs.
You need to feel that you matter. You need to feel secure. You need to have self-worth. If there is someone who loves you, then of course you matter. You must be worth a lot for someone to love you. If someone loves you, then you feel secure because you know that they won’t hurt you. In short, for you to function properly as a human being, you need to feel loved. And that is why we can’t help getting into relationships: We are looking for love because we need it as badly as we need food.
And that is the second point – You need love.
When I say love, I know many of us think of the fairy tale kind of love – the one in which you can go for weeks without eating and sleeping so long as that “someone special loves you.” When we say love, most of us think of the kind of love that lasts happily ever after and that does not face any challenges. We call it “true love.”
Again, you will allow me to burst your bubble – that sort of love is only nature’s way of getting us on heat so that we can reproduce. It’s a manipulation. And as we all know, a cow does not remain in heat for ever. In the same way, our version of being on heat – which we call true love, (God have mercy on us) does not last forever. In some cases, it will last for months. In others, as soon as you’ve had sex with someone, it disappears.
Do you see the problem? We get into relationships expecting to be on heat for ever. And when we are no longer on heat, we conclude that it is no longer true love. So we break up. Or we cheat. We look for another relationship so that we can be on heat again.
You will therefore understand why it’s difficult for our relationships to work. Being on heat makes that other person perfect and when the heat is gone, they become just normal or even unbearable. And then we get hot for another person and that other person becomes perfect so we go for them. And so on and so forth…
Am I saying that the heat is bad? No, absolutely not. That feeling when two people think they are in love is the best feeling ever. But we have to know that it comes with an expiry date.
And when it comes to an end, we will be tempted to look for it elsewhere. But thanks to me, you already know that even if you find it, it will still end and you will still end up feeling as if you have been conned. You will be tempted to go where the grass is greener but after you spend some time there, you will realize that the grass is greener somewhere else and somewhere else after that.
So, instead of going where the grass looks greener, what do we do?
You guessed right. The grass is greener where you water it. So, we water the grass. But how?
It turns out that people speak different love languages. So all you need to do to water your grass is learn to speak the language of your partner. If I speak Luo and you speak to me in Kisii, I will not understand you.
Okay, here are the five love languages:
- Verbal. (eg giving your partner compliments)
- Quality time. (eg ignoring your phones and focusing your attention on each other in a conversation)
- Physical touch (not sex but hugs, kisses, hand-holding bla bla bla)
- Gifts (a rose, an arm band worth fifty bob and so on and so forth)
- Acts of service (eg a lady cooking for a man or a man helping out with the chores)
To put the above into perspective, if the love language that your boyfriend understands is verbal, eg that of compliments, and you keep giving him gifts, you will be speaking to him in Greek yet he only understands Luhya. He will not feel loved and he will be unhappy in the relationship and in his life. You will see that he is unhappy and you will become frustrated because maybe you spend thousands on giving him gifts and you feel that your efforts go unappreciated. It won’t be his or her fault because they probably don’t attach that much importance to gifts. It also won’t be your fault because maybe you grew up in a family where people express love using gifts and that is the only love language you know.
If your girlfriend is unhappy in your relationship because you don’t speak her language, then there will be problems. She will start stressing you. You might find her clingy because her love language is quality time yet you are expressing your love through physical touch.
In conclusion, each individual speaks a certain primary love language. I’m not saying that with this knowledge, every couple will last forever, I’m just saying that you are more likely to be happier in your relationship. And if you feel loved, then you will perform better even in other areas of your life because your relationship will be a source of strength.
This has been a review for the book, “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. If you want to learn more about love languages, and generally be better in relationships, the book is a must read. If you want to know which primary love language you speak, or the language that the person you love speaks, you have to read the book.
I always say that readers lead. It turns out that they lead in every sphere, including relationships.
Remember: Love is not being on heat like a cow or a bitch. Love is two people who choose to speak each other’s love languages. Also remember that learning a second language is not necessarily easy but that the fruits of speaking the same language with the person you love are very sweet.
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