Last week’s article, Engagement, attracted quite a number of emotional responses that I did not anticipate. This is especially because I did not really intend to write that article. I was just swamped by work last week and I found myself on Thursday without an article. So was like, Oh boy, what do we say this week? Then I remembered I had given a girl a ring over the weekend. And so the article was quickly written.
One of the most touching messages was from a lady who asked:
I have always wanted to be to someone what Charity has been to you. I think I still do. The biggest thing that stood out for me by faaar was how she stuck with you through thin and thin (Hehe). How you took her to dirt (sic) cheap dates or none at all, yet you had great times together. There’s a loooong back story, but I don’t really know how to differentiate between a cheapskate and someone who is truly broke but loves me…how do I know that they love, respect, and are serious with me but are just broke, or they are just being stingy or don’t wanna invest in me? This is so especially at the beginning stages of the relationship when you’re getting to know each other and trying to make impressions.
I may stand here and pretend to be a life coach and give a windy philosophical answer to this lady’s question, but the truth of the matter is, I have no answer. Okay, I do. I don’t know. That is the answer. Life is a risk. And that includes the aspect of trusting someone with your heart. All you can do when you are in love is pray that God guides you.
Life coaches and relationship experts will tell you to take your head alongside your heart. True. I cannot argue with that. But men and women have also perfected the art of deception, and so sometimes your head may not even help you much, until it is too late. A man will tick all the boxes that Creflo Dollar has shoved down your throat, but after you commit to him you realize you have been duped big time.
But there is one thing my pastor, Tony Kiama told me sometime last year, and it stuck. Our church is on Ojijo road, just behind Kenol Petrol Station. At the Petrol Station there is a Galitos. So one evening, after Tuesday prayers, Pastor Tony took my friend Jairus and I to Galitos so that we could discuss some church project as we ate. While eating, Jairus offered me part of his chicken and fries. His reasoning was that he didn’t want to get too full, because he is married and he would find the wife’s food waiting.
Pastor Tony laughed. Then as a side note he looked at me and said,
“My brother, as you look for a wife, marry for love. And for love alone. Because when things get thick, and your woman drives you to the wall, your marriage will stand only if you truly love her. I am saying this not as a pastor, but as an older married man.”
Just like that, that moment passed and we continued to discuss the business that had taken us there. But those words stuck with me for the rest of the evening. It is that night that I purposed in my heart that I would reach out to Charity and work out a reconciliation. Because for all our differences, she is the woman I truly loved. Still do.
Looking back, I think this is where I was getting it wrong. Where we are getting it wrong. And the church is actively helping us to miss the point. Because we no longer seek love relationships. We seek convenient relationships.
Life coaches give us lists of demands that we should expect from spouses and dates. We have all these check lists that we use to verify the suitability of potential partners. These are lists that have been embedded into our subconscious by pastors and televangelists.
Ask any Christian girl what she is looking for in a husband, chances are very high that she will sing like a parrot:
“Priest, provider, protector”
Ask her what she needs protection from, and she will start saying incoherent things about emotional protection and “just feeling safe”. Because that answer is an automatic response that has been wired into her system. And so when you enter into a relationship, instead of loving the other person, you are busy ticking your mental lists.
Oh, he didn’t mention God in our conversation today, will he really be a good priest?
This woman, the way she likes restaurants, can she really cook?
And because we enter relationships with set expectations, those relationships are bound to fail. Because no human being can fit into all those descriptions televangelists passionately yap about. They are good to say, but they do not exist in real life. But when you love someone, their positive attributes pleasantly surprise you, and you are more willing to forgive their weaknesses.
Sometime back, Charity went home to Meru for a few days. So one evening I was talking to my mum and she was sounding all excited. So I asked,
“What’s up? You are sounding rather excited”
“Guess who came to see me today at work” she replied.
“My future daughter in law. And she came with big (sic) shopping”
Now, Charity hadn’t told me she was going to see my mother. And she didn’t even mention it after, until my mother told me. Of course sensing my mom’s joy, I was proud of her. Those are moments you look to the heavens and tell God,
“This woman you gave me, she is quite something. Thank you”.
But the thing is, when I asked her to date me, I wasn’t looking for a woman to please my mother. I simply loved her, and that was enough. Whether she went to see my mother or not, it wouldn’t matter. I am not saying that all we should consider is our feelings. No. I think there is something else that is equally important. Value system. When they say you take your head, I suspect they mean that you have to look at the value system of the other person and see if it matches yours. Because a person’s character is premised on their value system.
But all I am saying is, perhaps we should loosen up a bit, and learn to genuinely love from the heart. Let us shut out all those lists we are fed on daily. And just love. And love is not just a feeling. You know, those butterflies we feel. Love is something deeper. When you love someone you want the best for them. You will stand by them in whatever situation. Because you care.
Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/lampionblume-illuminated-studio-2183118/