This month is the month where we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and decided we would give this month to talking about abuse and healthy relationships. Relationships can either mar or make us and the more intimate the relationship, the higher the stakes. But one of the problems of relationships is that we all come with what we want , may know exactly how we want it and then fall into the delusion that our significant other or friends will also know and that usually causes trouble. I will recount an incident that happened sometime ago to illustrate this .
So I usually give a lot of thought when purchasing a gift and part of my satisfaction comes from knowing that the recipient was pleased with my choice.Some years ago, after the Christmas celebrations, I called a very close friend who happens to be the mother of my godchildren (a set of twins) to find out how their Christmas went. Due to the Lock-down restrictions then ’, I was not able to travel down but the last time I was in their city, I had bought and given the children’s presents to another friend. She was to help me deliver the items if I did not get back to their town for Christmas . This other friend(bless her) ended up wrapping the presents and delivering them on my behalf. Painfully, stricter restrictions meant I could not see the delight )or so I though)on the children’s faces when they opened their gifts making it necessary for me to call their mum.
However, the report I received showed that one of the twins (my god-daughter) was not very happy. In short, according to her mother, after all the Christmas presents had been opened, my god-daughter asked her mum if it was all the presents that had been opened. When her mother confirmed in the affirmative, my goddaughter busted into tears and what a wailing it was .
When she calmed down, her mother tried to find out the reason for her upset and the following conversation ensued-
God-daughter-. I wanted a Princess dress
Mother- But you did not say, you did not tell anyone
God-daughter-I told God, I prayed to him to give me a Princess dress for Christmas
O my word! I wonder if you are thinking what I am thinking. I quickly told my friend that we had to organize a princess dress in the post and act like it was a present that arrived late. After all, we have always taught the children to pray and told them that God answers prayers.
Later on, I was ruminating on the matter and the insights I received from my god-daughter’s actions brought fresh materials for my contributions to the theme of this month.
Another December is fast approaching and for a month whose central theme is love displayed , it usually is not bereft of drama and intrigue. While the excitement of the holidays as well as discovering new love will be in the air, there would be the pain of relationships that ended.
Going back to my goddaughter, what made her cry? It was the pain of an unmet expectation. She knew exactly what she wanted and she was in no doubt when it was absent. Avoiding the pain of an unmet expectation has caused many of us sometimes to play it safe and expect nothing, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. We would rather play it safe and refuse to hope or dream again. We refuse to believe that our spouses can change or we will find love again and if truth be told, the rationale of do not expect anything son you will not be disappointed is a self-fulfilling prophecy! Expecting nothing, we will get nothing
Secondly, my goddaughter knew exactly what she wanted but sometimes when it comes to the place of love, we are sometimes plagued with so much ambiguity that we fail to recognize true love even when it is staring at us. To be honest, many years of abuse and battering of self-worth can make recognizing true love an uphill task. Sometimes also, it can be due to the fact that we are holding on to a ridiculous list of haves and haves not. This is not to endorse an approach of anything goes attitude, if you get my meaning. Our being in love or falling in love should be guided by sharing of core values which are non-negotiable. and deal breakers. Knowing what we want makes it very easy to recognize true love and when to take the I’m a celebrity, get me out of here in a relationship.
That brings us to the third lesson. When I walked into the shop and bought a soft brown toy for my godson, I thought a pink version would be the ideal match for my goddaughter. I did not ask their opinion only to be perplexed by her response. And so many times in our relationships, we are expending energy but it is not being appreciated .This sometimes is majorly because we are not speaking the love language of our friends, significant other or spouse . And as simple as it may sound, sometimes we can solve all the misery by just asking. Asking means admitting ignorance and being vulnerable, a position many of us would rather not be in but if our relationships are going to be healthier this year, naked and not ashamed is an attitude to adopt.
Healthy relationships are characterized by hope and it is ok for us to have expectations We must however endeavour to communicate this as clearly and as soon as we possibly can. This will create an environment where our loved ones have the opportunity to dhow their love to us in ways that are meaningful to us .So in this month , let us all endeavour to take our relationships to the next level. This calls for a certain level of vulnerability which allows us to have a degree of expectation, be able to identify what we want as well as to do something about it.