Love: Romantic Idea or Actual Reality?
Perhaps the most used (read, abused) word in any language. Love is one of the first words we hear as babies and perhaps the last we hear as we depart from this world, if we are lucky to have family around the deathbed. But what is love? Or better still shall I pose this question in the lyrics of some famous singer, “if love’s so nice, tell me why it hurts so bad?”
I would not go into any dry definitions of this great word but what I know for sure is that I love my wife, my mother, children and the list goes on. I hope you feel the same way too? The irony is that those we claim to love are usually the ones we hurt the most. People who feel victimized by individuals usually get their dose of it from those who claim to love them. Is it not about time we had a convention on love or a UN day for Love?
While you contemplate this, let me narrow my essay on this subject to the kind of love that exists between woman and man. In my high school Family Life Education (F.L.E) Class, this was defined as Eros, as distinct from Agape and Philos.
What shocks me of late is that many a young man or woman has declared that they do not believe that this kind of love actually exists. You would not hear this from teenagers, it is normally uttered by those in their late twenties and above mainly due to some bad experience like a misadventure into long-drawn infatuation that they thought was love.
Once when I confronted a friend about his statement that he does not believe in love, he could not support his position. I ventured to explain that if his definition of love is those fairy tale mental fictions of unalloyed bliss in a partnership that has resources (financial, psychological and physical) well guaranteed to stay at the peak all the time with no quarrels, never hurting one another for once, then that does not exist and I have never seen any such thing anywhere, not even in a novel.
I went on to explain that love does exist and I am enjoying one right now. It does have its challenges yet it is beautiful and beautifying physically, mentally and spiritually. Mine is a relationship that has its challenges and of course I do have my fights with my beloved wife but still it is a beautiful relationship that we and our children cherish. Is it a perfect relationship? You bet no! But no less a great one than any indeed, that’s for sure.
You need to understand that the obstacles, the occasional hurts that you inflict on each other either by error or inadvertently, are all part of this mixed sack; the dark background on the canvas is what makes the painting shine in its multifarious facets beautifying your life. Is this a license to hurt? Do not try it because once your partner is assured of your deliberate ill intentions, your experiment ends there and then. Love, as my F.L.E teacher described it, is a relationship of mutual understanding, caring and respect. You cannot cheat on that for as the saying goes, you can never break the law, you can only break yourself against the law.
There will be problems, occasional tense situations, anger, some kind of resentment but do not let these irritations distract you from this one commodity that the world needs the most today, Love! Sonnet 116 by the great William Shakespeare should suffice for a sermon on this matter:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
In parting, let me share my thoughts (in verse) on how to navigate the turbulent waters of a sustained relationship of love:
In the house of marital union
Things shine at the beginning
Then the years bring the tension
Hearts weary mired by corrosion
Yet the heart that truly loves
Won’t its glitter easily lose
When the screws start to move
It takes the spanner to quickly screw
Here’s to those who truly love
Self you cater but also the other
This is the way to love’s wonder
There for each other: the winsome order!