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Am I Going To Eat Love?

Respect. Then Like. Then Love.

Chidi Afulezi
Chidi Afulezi
3 min read
Am I Going To Eat Love?
Photo by Domo . / Unsplash

3 Months. Na wa o? That's a long time away.

Yeah, the summer's been kinda one kind, you know? Well, we dey here.

What's happening, people!!??

So, this is an interesting fashi today. Had a conversation with a friend of mine who is having some relationship issues. Okay, not a convo. More like a visit to Chidi's Hammer House of Hard Teardowns and Blunt Breakdowns.

She felt that as much as she and her beau loved each other real hard, they were struggling mightily in their relationship. She was befuddled how two people who really loved each other so much could be so far apart in their relationship.

Love? I started chuckling when she kept harping on love. "Ah-ah, Chidi...why are you laughing?" she asked with legit frustration. The chuckles turned into full body shaking laughter.

Love? And this is me o, a full blown disciple of love and its benefits. Well, let me explain my reasoning and you will see why I was deep chuckling, you know that belly jiggling type?

Eh-heh.  

See, many believe that love conquers all, that love is the way, love is the answer. All we need is love, sang Lennon and McCartney, strumming their guitars. Fine...if you need to write a hit song or get folks to tear up at the movie theater, ok fine. However the fact that folks believe love is the end-all be-all has been the bane of many relationships that we have seen crash and burn like Mr and Mrs Smith.

If you don't get that joke, that's on you, walai.

Here's my take: love is the third most important piece to a successful relationship. It is the glue that binds, the life force that ebbs and flows in a relationship, like oxygen and water. It is the cornerstone, but not the most important piece.

I said it. Stutter was not stuttered o.  

The second most important is Friendship. As in you must like your person, really dig them as a person. You want to hang out with them, you enjoy talking to them, you like eating with them, chilling with them, just doing stuff with them. You download on them, unload on them, upload from them. When you think of them, you smile. And yes, they are the one person that gets on your nerves the most, because they know you the most, just like you know them the most. They are your best friend.

If anyone else is the best friend, una own don finish be dat.

Translated in English? C'est finit. Might as well fashi.

However, numero uno, the big kahuna, the Oga number 1 on top...the X in the relationship equation 10X^2 + 4F + 2L = S, (with F = friendship, L = love, S for success) is Respect. If there is no respect in your relationship, your relationship is/was dead on arrival. No heartbeat. Pulse non-existent. Zombie, in Fela's voice.

Respect means you really admire your person. You value their presence, their judgement, their opinions. Respect says you are a team, I got you, you got me. You yin, I yang. Arguments are conducted with respect. Even with tension and anger, harmful words are rarely used, but if used then negated decisively shortly after. Respect allows you to step back and let her/him lead, but also gives you the push to step up when needed. When you take care of, and are taken care of...that is respect. It is the juice behind your capability to say sorry, to apologize, to take responsibility, be held accountable. To forgive. Respect is taking counsel, and giving counsel. It is about space, giving it, respecting their space, but also knowing when to close the gap. To contribute, to share, to give. And receive. Trust is a subset of respect...if I respect you, then I trust you.

If respect no dey, party don end. DJ stop the music. If you want to stay and be dancing, dance...but you're dancing to nothing.

So, of course I apologized to my friend for chuckling. After all, I meant no disrespect. I shared these thoughts with her. And I tell you, they resonated.

Respect. Then Like. Then Love.

As Tina Turner announced during her solo campaign after releasing her demons, "What's love got to do with it?" Or as some more brazen people will say, am I going to eat love?

Don't argue with me o, abeg. Argue with yourself.

<full body chuckling again>