The Secret Life Of Love – By Kingsley St John Enninful
I love LOVE. I love being in love. There is something delicious, luxurious, and glorious in eating a bowl of fufu with goat soup, screaming your lungs out with children or just simply reading a great book. I love being in love with these things. Anyway, you didn’t come to read about my proclivities. Even though it matters- to me.
I was once advised to write a novel on love. I scouted the suggestion at the time, I scout it still. Problem is, if you write a novel on love, you run a great risk. Especially for a single young man coming to terms with such a grand theme coupled with the numerous man-made fallacies. Therein lies the risk.
One of these days somebody may read it…you never know what queer things people may do nowadays. And if somebody should read it, your secret is out and the paucity of your imagination stands grimly exposed. No, I shall not write a novel on love, although this is something in the nature of a novel. For I have found love in strange places. I have even found a hero, and many a full-blown novelist, having found a hero, would consider that he had come upon a novel readymade.
But hold on for a second, let me state the facts for which I am prepared to vouch…and then it will be time enough to see if I can share the 7 secrets as taught me by Mr. Albert Adjetey.
I have been thinking. Is there a case on record of a really unsuccessful search? No, I doubt it. I believe it to be positively and literally true that he that seeketh, findeth. I do not mean that a man will always find what he seeks. I do not know that the promise implies that. I fancy it covers a far wider range, and embraces a much ampler truth. Yes, I doubt if any man ever yet sought without finding.
When I was a boy I lost my pen-top (alikoto in Akan). It was a somewhat expensive one, owing partly to the fact that it would really spin. I noticed this peculiarity about it whilst it was still the property of its previous possessor. I had several tops; indeed, my pockets bulged out with my ample store, but none of them would spin. After pointing out to the owner of the coveted top the frightful unsightliness of his treasure, and in other ways seeking to lower the price likely to be demanded as soon as negotiations opened, I at length secured the top in return for six agartha toffees, a gum, and a pencil with a broken eraser.
My subsequent alarm, on missing so costly a possession, can be readily imagined. I could not be expected to endure so serious a deprivation without making a desperate effort to retrieve my fallen fortunes. I therefore proclaimed to all and sundry my inflexible determination to ransack the house from the top block of the ceiling to the darkest recesses of the kitchen in quest of my vanished treasure. I began with a queer old triangular cupboard that occupied one corner of the kitchen. And in the deepest and dustiest corner of the top shelf of that cavernous old cupboard, what should I find but the colourful book of bible stories that I had lost the previous year?
Hence I still contend that he that seeketh, findeth. With that in mind let us proceed to Seven (7) things we need to find the secret life of LOVE.
SECRET #1 BEING EMOTIONAL AND PASSIONATE
Most of us say bold things, yet our actions don’t suggest that we are passionate about what we are saying. Love is not a noun but a verb, an action word. I have heard it said that the longest journey in life is from the head to the heart. Another way to say the same thing is that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Yet another aphorism of our time is that beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing. All of these point to one reality – our knowledge and our response are not always in keeping with each other. Love is as much a question of the will as it is of the emotion. And if you will to love somebody, you can. Herein lies the secret don’t just say it, show it.
SECRET #2 WORSHIP
“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, nourishment of mind by His truth, purifying of imagination by His beauty, opening of the heart to His love, and submission of will to his purpose. And all this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of human expressions of which we are capable” says Bishop Temple.
Worship entails the conscience, the mind, our imaginations our heart, our adoration and submission. Certainly not a term for modern man, but LOVE can only grow when we adore the person in an act of worship.
SECRET #3 BEING IN YOUR LOVERS PRESENCE
In the hustle and bustle of the 21st century, time has become the most expensive commodity, but the amount of time we give to someone is a measure of how important we think they are. Making time is an investment in LOVE, even if it means sacrificing other things. Chivalry in love has nothing to do with the sweetness of the appearance. It has everything to do with the tenderness of a heart determined to serve. Serving with your time. It is a hard lesson to learn. It is the companionship that brings joy, and service is the natural outworking of the joy of commitment. Failure to spend time kills LOVE.
SECRET #4 KNOWING HIM
G. K. Chesterton said these powerful words: “They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words-‘free love’-as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word.”
This brings into focus an element of the will. The will is that faculty which can only be tested when pain is as much a part of its choice as pleasure is. Let me state it another way. The will is that disposition of the mind that will choose a path and bind itself with love, even if pain is mixed with the choice. You must therefore BE WILLING TO KNOW HIM WHOM YOU CLAIM TO LOVE.
SECRET #5 HAVING COMMON INTERESTS
Friendship is the key to a successful Love – you need to enjoy being together. Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation. Until you share noble interests which are people centered you have not really discovered the secret of Love.
SECRET #6 COMMUNICATING
Telling your Lover honestly and openly how you feel about things and listening in return is key in love. It is the only way to really get to know one another. Don’t assume you know the mind of someone – ask. Love is a command, not just a feeling. Somehow, in the romantic world of music and theater we have made love to be what it is not. We have so mixed it with beauty and charm and sensuality and contact that we have robbed it of its higher call of cherishing and simply talking and listening.
SECRET #7 RESPECTING EACH OTHER
Love – and being in love (the feeling) – may come and go, but if you really respect the other person then you’ve got a sound basis for a relationship. The reason we have a crisis in our gender relationships is not that we are culturally indoctrinated but that we would rather be served than serve. We would rather be the head than the feet. The Christian faith stands unique in pointing out that the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. The Son of Man came to serve. This means that the service He gave to humanity was given even when we least merited that sacrifice. There is a joy in service that transcends emotional temporariness.
A few days ago, I saw two workmen who were dismantling a cement block wall, taking great care to keep the blocks intact for another structure they were building. Then it struck me. When two lives meet, they are like two distinct walls. Each has to start by dismantling his or her wall one brick at a time, and then those bricks are taken intact and with other materials used to build a structure with a roof that brings them together at the top. That is the new home. Two wills are as two walls. Rightly dismantled and rebuilt they provide the strength for a new union of two lives.
The playwright Thornton Wilder said it well: “I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them – IT WAS THAT PROMISE.”
Love and ultimately marriage means handing over yourself, your body, your future, your keeping to the one whom you dearly love. Although this person in many ways, may still remain a stranger. This tremendous act of faith is something that can unlock in each lover, powers of compassion, generosity, joy, passion, fidelity and hope that no one guessed was even there. That is why the confidence of young lovers is not foolish or arrogant but is an expression of a basic fact in human experience that the greatest of all human gifts are said to work only when people are prepared to RISK EVERYTHING.
But first I suggest you RISK it before GOD.
Get emotional and passionate about the things of God. Spend time in Worship and in His Presence. Know Him through His WORD and share His interests (serve the needy and poor). Talk to Him and show Him respect when you want to choose the LOVE of your life.
It is good to love…it is better to be loved…it is best to love and be loved.
Yet herein is the greatest SECRET of all….GOD LOVES YOU…that I can promise you.