“Love is a beautiful thing” goes the line of a popular song, and I totally agree.
True love (not lust or infatuation) is truly a beautiful thing and for me, nothing paints the picture of true love more than seeing an old couple holding hands and looking lovingly into each others eyes.
When I think of true love, I think about my folks -now my parents (of blessed memory) were never the type given to open displays of affection but you could feel the love in the air when they were together. Whenever they were apart for long stretches my Dadda was always irritable and vice versa. They were truly devoted to one another for the 30 years they were together. For their 31st anniversary, my sister and I decided to present them an album chronicling all their years together; pictures from when they first met, their wedding day, the birth of children, graduations and the births of their grandchildren. It made them so happy to be reminded of all the love they had shared over those years.
Nowadays, the word ‘love’ has been bastardised; you hear a Hollywood couple tell the whole world how much they are in love and a year later they are divorced.
Did I just say Hollywood?
The phenomenon of divorce has become rampant even here in Nigeria among celebrities and everyday folk where you see a wedding on TV today and hear the couple are divorced a couple of years later.
I think one mistake a lot of people make is that they equate love to material things. Yes, I agree no one can love without giving, but people can give without loving. Just because some moneybag buys me a new car doesn’t mean he is more in love with me than the working class guy who buys me a box of pizza. Another mistake is that people equate lust to love, while physical attraction is very important it will not guarantee a lasting relationship. I dare say that “liking ” your partner and what he or she represents is even more important.
Another couple who inspire me are my parents-in-law. I know a lot of Nigerian parents have been together for years but these two are truly in love. They recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary and they paint a picture of true marital devotion. I particularly remember their 39th year anniversary where we all had dinner to celebrate; while they were remembering all their past years, my Mother in Law made a comment about how she was so slim in those days and her husband smiled at her and said “don’t worry honey, you’re still slim in all the right places” !
Later on that night he announced to everyone that he had a gift to present to his wife. We all waited expecting to see him present her with some jewelry or some other expensive gift (he had given her a nice SUV for her 60th), instead he gave her a single red rose. Very sweet!
Well, this is wishing all of you a love filled Valentines day and I hope you find true love and it stands the test of time.
*This was first published on this blog on February 14th 2008