“She asked for forgiveness, and I gave it but the truth is I’ve forgiven everything she’d done and everything she could do long before that day, for me that was no choice, that was falling in love”

These were the words of Jamie Fraser to his wife Claire in the TV drama series “Outlander”.
Regardless of the fact that they are fictitious characters that comes from an era where love was expressed in a poetic way and chivalry still existed. Love is still very much the same as it was in the 18th century; it just has a few different meaning to different people nowadays. Most times we confuse other emotions like attraction, lust, jealousy, and possessiveness with love.

Love as I have come to know it, is freedom. It is the absence of fear; it is not needing but wanting someone. There’s a clear difference between the two. Needing someone is a feeling based on fear. You are afraid of what your life will be without them while wanting someone, on the other hand, gives them the freedom to leave but still shows them you love them.

I know a love like Jamie and Claire’s though not perfect, is rare in today’s world but not impossible. The kind of love that stands the test of time, I am talking about true love that is not inspired by material gifts, sex, fear or lust. But that which comes from getting to know and connecting with another person on a deeper level. Real love in my experience takes time and focus with many mistakes, forgiveness and learning curves along the way.

Jamie once said this to Claire, “I can bear pain myself but I couldn’t bear yours”
Love has deep compassion; people who truly love one another can’t stand their beloved being hurt. If possible, they want them to be safe and happy at all times. They feel their pain when they hurt, they will rather punch a wall than being the cause of someone’s pain.
Staying in an abusive relationship whether verbal, emotional or physical isn’t because of love but rather fear, the truth is you do not love someone who beats and abuses you repeatedly. We are not to confuse being in a relationship with love. Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean there is true love present.

It is absolutely possible without a shadow of a doubt to perform all sorts of obligations for someone and still feel little or nothing for them. Love is not about being a hired help. It is not an obligation or a reward you give to someone.
I do not believe in unrequited love. You can love things that do not love you back like the game of Soccer, aren’t we all enjoying the world cup at the moment. But the love of other people is directed towards another. There is always a lover and a beloved. The recipient of your affection should be able to give you something in return; a one-sided kind of love is most often filled with frustrations and disappointments. No one wants to be at the receiving end of unreciprocated love.

There is no perfect love anywhere, let’s face it we are all flawed individuals, who sometimes do wrong thereby hurting the people we care most about whether unintentionally or not. We lie, cheat and break promises that we thought couldn’t be broken. Yes, love isn’t perfect but it can be real without guile. Real love means that it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows, it won’t always be easy, there will be problems and obstacles but that’s what makes it incredible. When two imperfect people are willing to build a messy and beautiful love, knowing quite well that there is someone who understands their past pain and is willing to do their best to never bring the hurt again.

Saying I love you, isn’t just three simple words, it carries a weightier meaning more than what meets the eye. So when you say, ‘I love you’, mean it. Don’t say it just to make someone happy. Don’t say it to be romantic. Don’t say it because you feel like you have to, or because you feel like there’s a deadline you have to reach. Say it because you truly mean it.

Let the light of love be our guide always.

ONYI UKORAH

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