Na Wa For You if Your Love Language is ‘Quality Time’ in 2024

I know a girl – and her relationship to me is not important, only that I know her well – whose love language is filtered through the most precious resource available to humankind at this stage of our development. She needs quality time. My good sis is out here suffering.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Five Love Languages, a concept developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, this article written by Steph Duchess on Adventures From the Bedrooms of African Women provides useful insights with anecdotes and examples that are easy to understand. For the uninitiated, the five love languages are:
Words of Affirmation
Physical Touch
Acts of Service
Receiving Gifts
Quality Time

It is the latter-most language that has the aforementioned individual in the relationship trenches.

In 2023, Human Progress declared that this is the best time to be alive, citing that we are better fed, richer, more educated and more humane than ever before. I acknowledge, grudgingly, even as the ticker on my local news channel announces the ever increasing number of civilian deaths and general destruction and devastation around the globe. The reality is, we are doing better as a species and while there was and will always be war, famine and destruction, we are better equipped to respond to these things. Our technological advancements have made us more efficient in tackling these problems. The same goes for love. Technology has taken much of the heavy lifting out of expressing love in 2024.

Is your partner’s love language words of affirmation? Do you struggle to find the words to affirm and uplift them? Chances are, there’s an app for that! Chatgpt will have you sounding like Cyrano with a few simple commands. Acts of service can easily be outsourced with apps like Instacart and Uber. Your significant other will be fed and chauffeured without you ever having to leave the comfort of your sofa, and you’ll look like a hero. Does s/he like to be spoiled by receiving gifts? With the click of a button, that need can be met within a few hours! Physical touch is a little more challenging to outsource, but I am now recently acquainted with some freaky people who aside the odd peck in the morning before work have given over to inviting third parties into the bedroom to touch their spouse just so they don’t have to. You can outsource or find a workaround for all of the five love languages in 2024 except for one: Quality Time spent together.

While it is true that people are ‘richer’ now (interpreted as having more disposable income than our fore-bearers) we are experiencing an parallel phenomenon called Time Poverty. Lluis Martinez-Ribes wrote a fascinating piece on the concept of time poverty in this LinkedIn article, ‘Why do you have less time every day?‘ Simply put, being time-poor means that despite having financial freedom, one suffers from having very little free leisure time. Look around you. Heck, look at you. We are all busier than ever. Work keeps us occupied past closing time. The barrage of Reels and Tiktok videos have to be watched to keep up with the zeitgeist. We often sit for hours in traffic trying to make it from one destination to the next. Forget the hours; every minute of the day is precious. If you’ve had the time to make it this far into this post consider it a luxury.

My friend and others like her are no less busy than the rest of us, but that does not negate that they need intentional, uninterrupted time spent with the person whom they’ve chosen to love…or at least hope to eventually find love with. When your love language is quality time spent in the context in which we find ourselves today, its easy to fall into feelings of unworthiness, often preceded by the receiving of signals that your way of receiving love is burdensome. A partner can certainly try to outsource time spent, but we’ve seen how that romcom concludes. The story never changes. The busy person always loses the guy/gal to whomever was willing to make the time.

Time is valuable. It’s not renewable. We can’t borrow it because we can’t generate more of it. If you have a partner – whom you truly love – who’s love language is time spent, consider yourself lucky to be able to give them something that’s incredibly rare. You have an opportunity to give something that nobody else has: Your time. Your presence. You. And if you are a person who has someone who is willing to make such an exceptional sacrifice, consider yourself equally exceptional.

PS: If you think this post is about me, it’s not. My love language is money.

Happy Valentine’s day.

*Na wa loosely translates as ‘you have a serious problem’