One of the questions I frequently get from young people when it comes to relationships is: “what is love?” Most of the people I know will attempt to answer the question by saying it is when you love someone so much that it hurts to see them unhappy.
Others would say it is when you can’t go a day or minute or second without speaking to that person. Others would say it is the butterflies – that knot in your stomach – you get when you see the one you love.
Well, when I was a young girl, I too thought love was the butterfly feeling you get when you see the person. I thought love was the text messages, the calls, and the dates. I thought love was a feeling and I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say we’ve all been in love once upon a time, or at least thought we were in love at some point in our lives, maybe we still think we are. But what is love really?
When I fell pregnant at the age of 20 everything “felt” right at that time. I was “In love”, and I made a permanent decision based on a feeling, because I remember when I got to university I thought I was a big girl. I hadn’t even gotten my wisdom teeth yet, not even one, but I thought I knew a lot, especially about love.
I was so sure that I knew things, and of course I also knew that I was done with boys my age… it seemed to me all they wanted to do was to experiment and I was not ready to be used like that.
I wanted somebody more mature, who understood things a little bit more. Mind you, I was only 19 years old by then and to me, love was still a feeling. And today, I actually see a lot of young people “feeling” in love, and making their decisions based on this” tinga-linge-ling” feeling of love, but what happens when this feeling goes away? Because, feelings go away!
You wake up one day and the butterflies are gone, you look at this person and you don’t even get knots anymore, instead you now realise that they actually have big ears and that their eyes look a bit funny, or that they walk funny, and then you wonder how you never saw this before?
Then you say love is blind! No, love is not blind, the signs were there from the very beginning, and your feelings helped you not to see the signs.
Here is what true love is: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It does not dishonour other people. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. Love is not happy with evil, but is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up. Love never fails, though prophecy will pass away. Speaking in languages that had not been known before will end and knowledge will pass away.
Are you patient with others’ flaws? True love sees the flaws and makes the choice to accept these flaws. Do you believe that others make mistakes just like you? So your partner will not be perfect; are you willing to accept your partner as they are? Are you willing to wait for them to learn with you?
Are you kind to them? Do you say and do just about anything to them? Do you hurt their feelings intentionally? Do you want what others have? Do you have a big heart? Are you satisfied with your partner, or are you always comparing him/her to other people’s partners? How far are you willing to go to get what belongs to others?
When you enter into a relationship, do you do this to make someone else happy, or do you do it because you are miserable and want someone to make you happy? When your partner does you wrong, do you keep track of it in your mind and use it against them every time?
In a relationship do you protect your partner, or are you actually the one that they need protecting from? Do you trust them or are you always behind their back suspecting them of anything and everything? Now, the only things I see here are the requirements that you need in order to love your partner or others better.
I have not come across the butterflies and the knots and all the other “feelings” in this context. All I see here is love as it should be. Love is an action. It is something that we give and if you are not ready to give consideration to your partner then by all means, please don’t awaken love in them.
There is a saying that no matter how good a woman you are, you will never be good enough for a man who is not ready. This is true in so many ways. I see a lot of young people investing in relationships where they are alone, wasting precious time and giving their body to someone who is not ready to love them, just because the feeling of being with/around them is good.
My advice to you is: “Sweetheart, pack your luggage and relocate before you end up bleaching your skin and changing your hair colour three times a year in order to look like all the other girls he’s looking at. And you know what? By the time you’re done doing all these things, he’s still not going to be ready to love you, so just stop it.
Learn to differentiate between infatuation, lust and real love; because love doesn’t go away, it grows! Once you make the decision to love your partner, you work towards growth and overcoming whatever obstacle comes your way, why? Because you have already accepted his/her flaws.
You have accepted the nastiest details of their past and therefore you cannot get offended when the past comes calling, when her other children come for holiday, or when he can’t work in certain jobs because he has a criminal record.
You can’t get angry when an old “client” recognises her in town, you can’t! You cannot marry a woman who was a prostitute in her past life and then get angry when you see the tattoos on her back… if you won’t accept her fully, don’t waste her time because love does not keep record of wrong doings.
You do not fall in love, you grow to love and you grow in love. The reason why the divorce rate is so high today is because people fall in love and then they fall out of love and back in love with someone else and then fall out again, like a weak internet connection. Let sleeping dogs lie, if you’re not ready, don’t go there!
Sesilia Nekwaya is a young inspirational writer with a passion for young people. With the articles she hopes to inspire fellow young people to make wiser and informed choices.