BY MICHAEL WEST
IT is not surprising that last week’s topic generated so many reactions such that *BECKY OLORUNPOMI,* a certified relationship & marriage counsellor, author, conference speaker and convener of an annual Singles’ Summit, decided to deepen the topic in her elaborate response. Love language, she argues, is what the ‘chasing’ all about. Please read on:
In his column of May 14, 2021, Michael West, in a piece entitled: “Why Do Men Stop ‘Chasing’ in Relationship?” addressed an issue that often generate suspicion and tension in relationships. Reading the article, I, being a woman, came up with some perspectives to the topic; and that was what necessitated this contribution.
The issue of men not continuing the ‘chasing’ once the relationship is established has been a contentious issue with various reasons adduced. Women love to be chased and still expect their men to continue chasing them even after the relationship has been established. They, however, get disenchanted when it is not happening. Men, on their part, do not see the need for further chasing since the purpose for the chase has been achieved.
To an average man, it’s senseless to continue chasing when he’s gotten the game of his hunting. But a woman doesn’t understand why there should be a stop to the regular calls and showering of love from her man just because she has yielded to his overtures. These divergent views are a reason for psychological distance and emotional yearning for continuity in relationship and even in marriage.
The truth about relationship is that both genders desire to be loved and appreciated. However, expressing love language differs and it is based on individual’s nature and nurture. Personality, temperament, upbringing and exposures affect the way we accept and express love. These variables also affect the way we communicate our love languages which have been categorised by Gary Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages” into: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touching, and Receiving and Giving of Gifts.
The strategies a man applies is an indirect love language spoken in wooing his woman. He might have used the same or even better strategies on another woman without success. It’s like a man in a foreign land where people communicate with him in the foreign language which he understands but nobody speaks his own native language. If he suddenly meets someone who speaks his language, there would be immediate connection and attraction for friendship. However, the promising relationship may be threatened if the friend stops communicating with him in the valued native language. Nobody likes to experience such a communication “breakdown.”
So, what women apparently mean by ‘chasing’ them even after the relationship has been established is the nurturing of the relationship which is the romantic language their emotions understand and desire, and not ‘chasing’ like men think. Those love languages are needed and vital in keeping the marriage going. The work or responsibility of wooing a woman doesn’t end when she consents, in fact, that’s when it begins. There has to be love languages spoken in relationship to further nurture it to a lasting union.
I learnt of a newly wedded couple where the wife mildly accused her husband of not loving her any longer just six months into their marriage. The man, confused about the wrong accusation, asked what the problem was. She told him he had stopped telling her, “I love you” since they got married. The shocked man responded, “But I told you in front of everybody six months ago that I loved you. If I have changed my mind, I would have told you.” Many men get bewildered by some of their wives’ complaints or accusations of not loving them after they’ve started a relationship or solemnised it.
To him, his commitment to his wife and marriage must not necessarily be verbally communicated. But to the woman, especially if her love language is words of affirmation, she needs and would desire to keep hearing those words of affirmation if possible on daily or hourly basis. A number of men don’t know there’s something called ‘love language’ or they are not interested in knowing or speaking it. I have taught this subject on a number of platforms and gatherings, both online and offline, to arrive at this conclusion.
The recent online testament of Bankole Wellington (Banky W) and his wife, Adesuwa, on their journey to parenthood also buttresses this position. The couple narrated how, at a point in their marriage, there was a tension which almost resulted to physical stonewalling until it was resolved. And it’s about this love language. According to Banky W, being a typical African man, he didn’t see the importance in speaking any love language despite Adesuwa’s efforts to let him know.
The issue was raised again and taught during their pre-marital counselling and both were exposed to each other’s love languages which were Quality time (for Adesuwa) and Acts of service (for Banky W), it still didn’t register until it became a major issue in the marriage safe for divine intervention which brought about a peaceful change.
I also had an interaction with a senior male colleague who told me how he disliked his wife’s attitude of not giving him attention especially when he needed her. I told him that’s a love language called ‘quality time’ but he said he wouldn’t like to admit it as a love language even though he knows it is. Like Michael West pointed in his article, a man who has successfully plucked a mango fruit, inasmuch as he needs no more throwing of stones at the tree, would take a step further by washing and preparing it for consumption. This is a nurturing of the relationship. This mostly includes speaking her love language (and vice versa).
Sending love messages to your spouse or affirming them with positive words may be a sign that their love language is words of affirmation and this could be the chasing she is talking about. I think most ladies have this as their love language because it’s being said that Women are moved by what they hear. Some other women’s love language is quality time where they appreciate full and undivided attention from their men during conversations.
Some men, like my colleague, may also have this love language though they may not apply it. For example, “physical touch,” “physical receiving or accepting gifts” and “acts of service” are all ways of speaking the love languages of one’s partner irrespective of the stage their relationship is. This is to keep the relationship moving.
Worthy of note is the fact that it is not a bad thing to have different love languages from one’s partner or spouse. It only shows they are wired differently and interpret love differently. They only need to learn each other’s language and speak it. This is where understanding and maturity come in. The truth is, understanding your love language and especially your partner’s is a gradual and continual process.
Marriage is a beautiful union with great benefits but it entails responsibilities which include effective communication with love language being a tool. This, for the umpteenth time, is not the sole responsibility of the man or the woman but both. This will help reduce stress or suspicion.
In conclusion, couples need to keep making their relationships romantic and lovely, not only with sex and hangouts but by speaking your spouse’s love language. Keep learning and speaking until you can master it. This, I believe, is the “chasing” she is talking about.
Michael West: firstname.lastname@example.org