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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Choose to really love

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Aya Fubara Eneli

Aya Fubara Eneli

I saw him in the parking lot. He vacillated between furiously kicking the car, cursing at the top of his lungs and crying. Not just regular crying, but the ugly, chest heaving, snot running, can’t get my words out kind of crying. I was intrigued. “Sir, what seems to be the problem?” I asked.

I was not ready for the tidal wave of words that hit me. “It’s this good for nothing, God-forsaken piece of crap I call a car. I spent my hard-earned dollars on this car and what have I gotten in return? NOTHING. NOTHING. ONLY MORE DEMANDS. It just broke down out here when I have places to be. I should never have bought this car. The mechanic said everything is shot on it. The engine, the brakes, the tires, everything. Others can drive cars that last them years and years and years, but not me!”

“How long have you had the car? Was it like this when you purchased it?” I asked. “I bought it 5 years ago.” He responded. “Sir, out of curiosity, did you do any maintenance on the car over these past five years, like oil changes, replacing tires, etc.?” He looked at me incredulously and asked, “Why would I do that?” That was my cue to walk away.

As many gear up to celebrate or mourn Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but think of how that man’s car issues parallel many marriages and relationships. In homes all across this nation and the world are people literally and figuratively cursing at, kicking and belittling their significant other. They want the connection, and passion, and pizazz and all the benefits of a thriving relationship, but they are either oblivious or reluctant to do any of the daily actions that build great relationships.

They don’t court one another. They don’t esteem each other. They don’t celebrate one another’s successes. They don’t anticipate and meet each other’s needs. They don’t plan any fun outings or create opportunities to strengthen their bond. They don’t pray for one another. They don’t take the time to stimulate each other’s minds or build any real intimacy. They give no gifts and share no smiles and then they rail against the deficiencies in the relationship, of course, putting all the blame on the other and none on themselves. They search for greener pastures, forgetting that every pasture with neglect, will wither also.

I believe that the carcasses of broken marriages and broken relationships littering our world are a direct result of our misunderstanding of what love is and how to maintain it.

Louis de Bernières in Corelli’s Mandolin wrote, “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have 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, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”

James Baldwin posited, “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” In I Corinthians 13, we learn the characteristics of love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.

As you contemplate this Valentine’s Day, who are you loving and who is loving you? What can you begin to do today to express love to another in a manner they will receive it? What do you need to continue doing? What must you stop doing? What will you really commit to and hold yourself accountable?

Your changes may be as basic as the words you use towards your spouse. Do you speak life or death in them? Do you build them up or tear them down? Are you nurturing and watering your own pasture? Let’s go beyond the awkward perfunctionary dinner and last minute guilt-driven and meaningless gifts and let’s really do the hard and dirty and constant work it requires to love. The blooms and fruit are definitely worth it.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. To join her next group or  book her for your next event, visit http://www.ayaeneli.com/, or e-mail her at info@ayaeneli.com.

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