Saturday, 30 October 2010

Going back to go forward...

In the last post St Augustine called love a 'fortunate accident', I think that's so true. Its amazing how one's life can be changed by the mundane. I don't believe in love at first sight, maybe attraction at first sight because I'm not sure if you can love someone you haven't spoken to before....but hey, just because it didn't happen to me doesn't mean it doesn't exist! If I'd known today where SO and I would be the first day we met, I guess I would have marked it in my diary or made a particular effort with my appearance e.t.c..

Actually, we met at the end of quite a stressful day. I hope I don't have to repeat this story to my daughter if I have one because we both broke fundamental rules that day. Our first meeting was as seat partners on an international flight which lasted about 6 hours. I was tired and stressed from running around all day, just to find out as I was about to board that my friend who was supposed to pick me up from the airport at the other end wasn't going to show. My head was throbbing and I asked for a painkiller before we had even taken off. I can't remember if he was seated before me or if I had to stand up. There were certainly no sparks and I'm not sure I even said hello or anything. If I remember correctly his first words to me were 'What are you going to watch? You can tell about a person's tastes from the movie that they choose' my mind I was like 'wierdo' but I think I went with 'XXX' which he had seen before and said was good. So I was there in my own world, watching the movie till I snoozed. When I woke up, I realised he was chatting with the other person on our row and they included me in the conversation. We were all just chatting about general things. I got to know that he was going to work straight from the airport, we talked about my friend stitching me up. 

He asked if 'we' could hang out while I was around, I smiled but in my head was like 'I don't think so'...I was really old school then 'don't talk to strangers and all that', he gave me his number and I had no intention of calling him. However, it turned out that he was a big help to me that day. Even though he was going to work, he went out of his way to set me on my way. I think I must have sent a text once during my trip just to say thanks and returned home without thinking too much about it. He did reply asking if we could do something but I wasn't really forthcoming so we just left it at that.  I was really grateful that he helped a total stranger but like I said I didn't think too much about it.

When I got home, real life took over, school and all. I can't remember when I received a message from him but we just started chatting back and forth...not everyday, not even every week just once in a while. One day he called to say he was coming to my city and wanted to know if we could have lunch. I said ok, even then it was just chatting about what we were both up to, we said our goodbyes, he left. A few months later, I found myself on a plane back to where he lived this time on a more permanent arrangement. I did tell him I would be coming and he said he would pick me up this! I guess I'm slow eh? Writing this has made me realise! I wouldn't say I fell in love with him that day but I began to realise how kind he really was. It's one of the top 5 words to describe SO that he is a very kind man. My plane was delayed, I don't think I came out till 2 hours after the original arrivals time. And he was still waiting, he had called my mum, (yes I gave my mum his number and vice versa) just to find out if I indeed was on the plane.

Anyhoo, we would go out from time to time. I was looking for a job and I remember him taking I and my sister out as we went round looking. He was really supportive because the first few months of my relocation were quite tough. We began to talk about different things, my plans for the future, my thoughts on relationships e.t.c. I can't remember when things changed just that they did. It was like I was asleep one day and then I woke up! Lol! Later on, he told me that he had just extricated himself from a relationship because he realised that it wasn't because he wanted to be with her but because he wanted everyone else including his parents thought that they would be a good match. I remember his words that day 'Dare to be different, walk the uncommon path'..hmm and then one day everyday changed..

To be continued

There are bits of this story missing but I think I will put them in forthcoming posts..

What do you call it?

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
St Augustine

I came across this quote while I was once again musing about a conversation I had with SO. We were talking about what made couples lose their fire after a while. How do you go from 'I might just die if I don't talk/see him/her' to 'I can't remember the last time I spoke to him/her' its like you just get to this phase where you are just existing. You're not unhappy but it seems the relationship has lost its fire. Although we've been friends for just under a decade, our romantic relationship is relatively new and I do appreciate how the 'busyness' of life can get in the way.

My married friends tell me that time to reconnect with your partner is a deliberate doesn't just happen especially when you have been together for a long time and you have kids. I've noticed an increase in the divorce rates of 'empty nesters', I used to wonder why after over 2 decades of being together a couple would split up but I guess when you get used to being 'Mummy', 'Daddy' and the children leave the cracks in the relationship begin to show. I know this is true because my parents experienced and to some level are still experiencing this. You don't realise when you're growing apart..

I call it love, just that there are different seasons and phases. I think we all fall in love...we meet someone new and something about them attracts us. For some its looks, how they speak, sadly, money sometimes...but for whatever reason we are attracted to them. We exchange contact details and talk, talk you never knew you could talk for hours, your network provider smiles to the bank but you can't seem to get enough of them. I don't think this is bad. We were created with feelings for a reason I guess. I've heard this described as the honeymoon phase...I think this is the temporary madness St Augustine refers to in the quote above. This is love or is it?

Then you have an argument or disagreement.....I remember our 'amazingly amazing' suddenly became 'one of them'...'they're all the same' as I realised that he was flesh and blood, imperfect and therefore prone to mistakes. As we talked about it, I realised that I was committing to a lifetime of forgiving him, accepting him and loving him. This is love because I believe eventually we fall from that high and have to make a decision...will I love this person or not? I think I actually just got the point of that quote this minute....if we're all really being honest with each other I think that for many of us, yours truly inclusive we have ended some relationships that we should have worked on. We wanted to remain 'being in love' with the person instead of 'loving' them when it was required.

I pray for my roots to always grow underground towards you darling and that we become interconnected so that it is neither you nor me but us. That actually separating our roots causes so much pain we don't even consider it.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

1+1=1 or 2

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

I was just pondering after a conversation with SO in addition with something I'd read somewhere on what it means to be one. I guess what I'm trying to say with the title of this post is that even in unity there is still individuality. We are 2 people who love each other, who want to be together (sorry, not all the time), who want to share life...its ups and downs, the good and bad but we are still 2 people. 2 people, 2 different people. Not better or worse just different.

I like the scripture above because I believe this is what every couple should strive for in marriage..becoming united, becoming one flesh. Not just physically but relationally and emotionally. I've heard that opposites attract but my initial attraction to SO was really based on our similarities. We have similar personalities, we are both introverts who have lots of acquaintances but very few friends. We like being at home as opposed to outside and we keep quiet when we are upset. I'm glad we have different professions. SO says two things make for a happy marriage 'Don't teach your husband/wife how to drive' and 'Keep your money separate if you know you can't handle it being together', I do agree with him. 

I'm tired now and feel I'm not making any sense but I don't like seeing couples where it seems like being in a partnership has made them lose their sense of who they are. Continue this later..

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Q and A: This Loving Kind

Just picked this one out of my inbox. I don't know where SO gets these questions from but suffice to say you never know if you don't ask. His questions are italicised followed by my answers. Part of the answers include private jokes so if anyone ever reads this forgive the bits that make no sense whatsoever!

What is it that makes 'us' love someone differently, specially?

I think like Solomon I have to ask for the wisdom of God on this one..Mmm...I believe there is a fundamental human need to love and be loved. While I think there is a place that only God can fill, I also believe He also created us with a need to relate with other people as well and it is in marital relationships we really learn about oneness. Also, needs are unique, I think there are a number of desires that we have as individuals that we are not even aware of. We want to be understood by someone else, be significant to someone else, be accepted for the totality of who we are by someone else. We talked last week about people being attracted to people who were very different from them and these differences sometimes becoming sources of irritation when the reality of being in a committed relationship dawns upon them. 

I think the answer to this question is different for everyone. I love you differently and specially because to me you are very different and very special. Every individual is unique but your uniqueness makes you stand out to me. What your friend said is true 'I would gladly let my daughter marry you'.......because I would too! : ) I know I keep repeating this but there is a way I believe you understand me that no one else outside my family and best friends do. Maybe this comes from us having similar personalities but I feel wholly accepted, wholly loved, not parts of me, not bits and pieces. There was a message you sent to me a while ago where you told me 'I would rather let you go and let you be happy with someone else than for us to be together and you be unhappy' that spoke volumes to me. Because the truth is love is not a cage with no way out but a room with a door left open. Love says 'the door is open but I want you to stay' and the other person makes the commitment to close the door, lock it and throw the key away because they are in it for the long haul...through changing scenes and seasons.

Its the sum of who the person is...their strengths and their weaknesses, their likes and dislikes..there is an initial attraction that you may be aware of or not...but then there is the growing to love them and this happens as you begin to know them, talk to them, share with them. One day you wake up and realise that the thought of being without them is unbearable, that they have become everything and you are ready to do whatever it takes for them to stay with you, share your life with you and grow old with you. 

It is also the risk, because love of this nature is indeed a risk but you love them specially because for that particular individual it is a risk you are willing to take. Just like I am willing to do for you because I love him truly, deeply, forever and beyond.

So darling..I'm not sure I really answered the question but that's my 2

Why does true love change a person and touch all aspects of their life?

Another hard one..I think it goes back to our basic nature. We were created to love, I find it interesting somehow how people do not get along with their family but idolise a dog/cat to the point of what some would consider insanity. Love changes you because when you truly love someone you find yourself wanting to be better for them, because 'us' becomes more important than 'me'. Its sad that we generally tend not to take the same care of ourselves/spouses after some time because we feel we don't have a need to impress them any more. This should not be the case, everyday we wake up we should try and be that much better just to make them happy. E.g no 'big' smiling on the train/tube any more with random strangers, giving up one coffee a day to have a drink of! In a lot of ways, one is discovering a new world...through the eyes of the one you love and it is unfathomable that the new information you receive doesn't change you in some ways. 

Also truly loving someone and having them love you back is one of the happiest things that can happen to someone. It brings you joy and peace, there is that special someone who is sharing your life with you..that happiness touches all areas of your life. I smile to myself all the time...I wake up expecting to get/send a good morning message (though you seem to always beat me to it..) and can't sleep till you say goodnight..the whispers have taken things to a whole different level..Even with the slight irritations of the day, I just feel that more patient because I am well and truly very happy. Its very new for me..I have not walked this path before with anyone.

Once again, I am unsure if I have answered your questions, but this has been a long!

Loving you every day...deeply, unconditionally, forever and beyond by the grace of God.

Keep living, loving and learning...

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Q and A: Is love enough?

One of the things I love about our relationship is that we make an effort to understand the other persons views on particular matters. Q and A are about the questions asked by either of us and the answer from the other person. This time its SO asking me if love is enough to sustain a relationship? I warn I do tend to ramble on but I hope I tried to answer the question!


That's a deep one, I and a few friends debated about this a while ago and we didn't come to any conclusion but agreed to disagree. Some are of the opinion that love is not need commitment, integrity, fidelity e.t.c. I think differently because I think it depends on the definition of love that you use.

A lot of times we can't differentiate the 'being in love' with what it means to truly love someone. To love is to make a decision to stick with someone through thick and thin, on the days you feel like loving them and on the days you don't, on the days they make you smile and on the days they make you cry. That love is commitment, that love is integrity, that love is fidelity, that love is what Paul calls kind, patient, not self-seeking, always protecting, always trusting, always hoping and always persevering..not envious as pestles allowed, lol! (1 Corinthians 13)

But we are human and thus imperfect and love is not static, but dynamic. I sent this in an email to my friend this morning..

'Love is like a seed that has been planted in both your hearts, it needs conducive conditions to germinate, it must be nurtured until it becomes a oak with roots down so deep, a trunk wide enough and big branches that will enable it to overcome any storm, this is the commitment you must be willing to make'

That takes work, a lot of us prefer to 'be in love' which of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, the attraction must be there, the feeling of love is important but we must all press to what I refer to as the 'higher call of love' which requires a lot, definitely because we must sacrifice at the altar of this love,  I must choose to sacrifice 'me' for 'us'

I still believe that with love one can overcome anything. I have known couples overcome what one would think they couldn't, even infidelity (from both partners)..because both were willing to work it out.  Its just that so many times couples allow the routine of living to erode the love, there is the day to day business of life and no nurturing, no growth and so the slightest breeze topples it over. It's like the story Jesus told about the buildings, one building on sand, one building on the rock. No matter how beautiful a building looks, how big it is, if adequate work has not been done on the will topple eventually. Also love requires 2 people who are available and willing to make it work, this being the main responsibility of 1 person cannot work except the person just elects to stay because they just have to not because they want to..

A man I know wasn't speaking to his wife..I asked him why and he responded that 'until she makes peace with my mother and gives her due respect' I was so pained that day..I don't deny that his mother must be respected but that is so conditional in my opinion, the vows you took were not based on her respecting your mother but for you to love her unconditionally...but I am not him or her so I can't really comment on why people do what they do. But I see it often, people holding on to their 'ground' for so long they don't realise the other person packed up and left a long time ago..

Mmm, before this becomes like a dissertation (lol) I will conclude by saying 'being in love' with someone is not enough but loving them should be...this requires both partners though..

Hope you are having a great day..

I pray not only to be in love with you but to love you as well..deeply, unconditionally, forever and beyond..



I was just musing yesterday night before turning in on expectations. We all have them but where do they come from? Do we spend time thinking about their validity? An expectation is an anticipation but what is the basis for what we anticipate. It isn't bad to have an expectation, I expect that after I have put my time on a job and fulfilled my targets, the terms of the contract of my job that I will be paid a salary. What are my expectations of marriage? What are my expectations of SO?

I used to have this long list of expectations, I expect him to be like this and that. Things like 'I expect him to be faithful to his vows to love, honour and cherish me above all else, I expect him to be committed to our relationship....not bad but a wise friend told me to start with the expectation that he would be himself..actually I and SO were not in a relationship at the time and I didn't pay her much heed but somewhere down the line I actually realised the supreme wisdom in her words. It doesn't matter how much I expect from an individual, water can never come out of a stone. You need to know your partner, really know them. There's no point expecting faithfulness from the unfaithful when you know they are unfaithful and not willing to work with you. You can't expect patience from the impatient.

When discussing with SO recently, I shared about how I felt about some expectations I thought he had of me. Trying to live up to someone else's expectations can be stressful but as always I was blessed by his wisdom. He said 'No one is perfect, be yourself and make decisions as you see fit, to have expectations is natural but one does learn to adapt their expectations to situations'..this is not to say we should be complacent and get into a 'this is how I am and I can't change mode'. I have noticed some changes in the way I do some things since I and SO got together. For us to be happy together, we both are learning new habits, doing things differently just for peace to reign. What I'm saying is that we shouldn't burden people with expectations that they are not designed at that moment to fulfill. Also an important part of communication is expressing what your expectations of your partner are. I asked SO at the beginning..'what do you want?' If your partner has no idea what you want, how can you be angry with them when your anticipations are cut short? Expressing what you need to your partner can nip a lot of issues in the bud in my humble opinion.

We usually underestimate the importance of expectations, what do we expect of our partner emotionally, spiritually, financially? Some women expect that their husbands will sort out the finances, but what if he isn't gifted in that particular area. Some men expect that their wives will cook all the meals and do all the household chores but what about if she grew up in a home where her dad cooked most of the meals and she expects that its normal that you a grown man will do most of the cooking?...or am I stretching that too far! Lol! I had a recent similar experience with SO, I just naturally assumed he would do something because my dad usually handled it. I'm not perfect and I'm still learning. Relationships are about give and take. There are some foundational rules but people are too unique to fall into some particular boxes and couples must find what works for them. But I prefer to base the expectations on the man and always remember he isn't perfect just like I'm not.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Communication; Talk to me darling

Foremost leadership expert John Maxwell says that 'Everything rises and falls on leadership'...I'll say in marriage 'everything rises and falls on COMMUNICATION'. I love to read relationship focused blogs and they always say the same thing in terms of stressing the importance of communicating with your partner. I like the way my best friend said it, its not about talking more but sharing more. I have been in a relationship where we talked a lot  but we didn't necessarily share anything. The Bible talks in Genesis about Adam and Eve being 'naked and not ashamed' I think this is more than a physical thing but about having nothing hidden from your partner, being open and transparent. When one is naked, nothing can be hidden..

No, one doesn't start being open and honest on day one. However, a commitment to deeper communication must be made. Its easy to talk about the weather, random strangers on our commute to work, our friends but we must press higher and talk about the inconvenient and the awkward. This is an area I have had to grow in. I'm not one to really open myself up to anyone. Apart from being a very private individual, I am not really comfortable talking about things that pertain to me. Usually its because I have this perfectionist complex, I hate admitting I need help or that I've made a mistake. That's a bad and dangerous attitude to have because none of us are perfect and we all need each other. SO has really worked with me to help us communicate more. I am getting better..he knows now that when he gets a message with the tag 'sharing' he needs to take some time out. SO says sharing 'increases understanding, provides context and reduces misinterpretation....its a good thing for us to learn to share everything'. I say Amen to that.

This morning I shared some of my fears and insecurities with SO and his words just made me feel so much better and encouraged. So if anyone ever gets to read this. Never get to a place where you cannot share with your partner, you should be able to talk about the mundane and the really important. Never stop talking to each other, never stop being friends. I think its time to tell 'our story' its an interesting one..

Monday, 18 October 2010

Love is..

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Selected verses from 1st Corinthians 13

I've come across this passage of the Scripture so many times in my Christian walk. I've been taught about how love is not an emotion but a decision. I agree. The emotion is a part of it but the decision is so important. The verses above give an indication on what love is. Sometimes I wish it read..'Love is butterflies in my tummy, walking on air, being breathless when you open the door'! But it isn't. I love you means 'I am making a commitment to be here for you no matter what. I will be patient with you, I will be kind to you, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and not be jealous when I hear a female voice at the other end of the line (even if it is Halle B, sorry private joke!!), I will try and express myself without being rude or patronizing. I will be honest and I will trust you with everything I have and own. If I can't say something without breaking a confidence, I will let you know. I will ask God for grace to not be easily angered, to tell you how I feel about actions you have taken without going crazy and shouting. 

I will protect you by keeping private things private and honouring you in your presence and absence. I will always hope for the best for you and for us and discuss my fears, doubts and insecurities with you as they come up. I love you means growing up and seeing everything with mature eyes, putting away childish ways and drama queen behaviour. Its a tall order and I'm not perfect. I have made mental promises like this before and failed at the critical moment. I can't go back and change that but I can pray daily for the grace of God to say 'I love you' everyday and mean it with regard to the statements made above. I still ask God as a side order (cheeky minx, I know) that the sound of your voice always give me that warm feeling inside...even when we grow all croaky and old. That seeing you walk in a room will always bring a smile to my face. To always love you, against all odds.

Love is so many things, a decision, an emotion, a journey, a garden, a force. 

Keep on loving. Keep on growing.

I Love, You Love

I love this song, I can't say how much. Its by John Legend...hmm hmm. There is a way in which the words summarise our journey. This is our second chance at love and I'm happy we're working to make the most of it. I'm loving the anonymity here, no pressure to post anything...Lazy cow! I'll edit this post with the video later, for some reason I can't do this now..

 Hush my baby, Don't you cry.
I'll dry your eyes. Fulfill your heart's desire.
Let's go in. Try again.
Careful this time. Broken promises linger in our mind.

I'll give in completely. Hearts break so easy.
I know. Believe me. Oh, I've tried.
But my arms can hold you. My kiss console you.
I'll come and love you tonight.

And I...
I love, I love, I love
Love hurts sometimes
But this feels right.

You love, you love, you love
Though you've been burned
You still return.

Come and share my house, my home, and all I own.
I'd love to give to you.
Aren't you tired of going along this lonely road?
It takes its toll on you.

Give me your emotion, your heart's devotion.
Give anything you like.
And I'll give understanding. Life's so demanding.
I'm all you need to get by.

And I...
I love, I love, I love
Love hurts sometimes
But this feels right.

And You...
You love, you love, you love
Though you've been burned
You still return.

I love, I love, I love
Love hurts sometimes
But this feels right.

And You...
You love you love you love
Though you've been burned
You still return.

Still return
Still return to love