KAMPALA-I have always heard these statements emerge from supposedly good relationships;
My boyfriend has chucked me yet we have been in love since Primary Five, I love my girlfriend so much, John is a cool guy, I fell in love, I love him with all my heart etc.
Those who are lucky to be together for long, their relationship is punctuated by statements like; I love Cathy so much that I don’t feel well without her. In fact, they add she has captivated my innermost feelings.
If you are the type that is easily taken up by statements like; I love you, you are the only one, in fact when you die, I will be buried on your behalf, better stop reading here, because I am about to disappoint you.
You and I out there don’t ever question why partners who profess much love; usually have their relationship ending up on the rocks in a short time.
The greatest thing is to discover whether there is love or not, rethink further and find out whether such confessions/ statements really reflect love.
Many young people would say their feelings are true love but are they? Does anybody truly understand what true love means? Has anybody ever experienced it?
Today when a lady and a gentleman meet and talk about love, each of them sees sex as their measure. Is this the right measure of love?
In thinking about true love, my memory goes to statements that we used to write in so called “love” but childish letters in primary to our “fearing friends”; I love you like a dog loves a bone, You are like milk in a glass, I will love you until lake Victoria dries up e.t.c. Did we mean what we said? Have we lived up to those statements? And was there love at that age? Also, ask yourself, are the people who say those word today serious about them?
Most times people, who have convinced themselves that they are in love, only learn later or never learn at all that they were but just in lust or infatuation.
It is a common practice for lovers to be together without ever falling in love. Unfortunately, it goes unnoticed especially for those that are taken up by mere praises like; you are the most beautiful thing on earth.
Love can seem to be a complicated and sometimes iffy pursuit and many of the young people today ignore marriage altogether in favour of living together – at least until somebody better comes along.
The Bible in1 Corinthians 13:4 says Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, does anybody experience this in his/her relationship?
It adds that “It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Corinthians 13:7 respectively.
Dr. Laura Vaz a well-known psychologist says relationships that fail or sour manifest the idea that there was no love at all and adds that in relationships most people talk about love without understanding it.
She adds that love is a modeled behaviour i.e. we behaviourally and emotionally follow the examples of significant others early in our lives and that love simply seems to be an accepted symbol of adulthood.
“And when you decide to date or fall into a relationship at an early stage, you should not deceive each other that there is love but rather there is an overly strong physical basis which lacks adequate emotional and psychological anchoring,” said Dr Vaz
This means that there is a high level of emotional dependence on each other, which hardly augurs well for a long relationship.
Dr Vaz explains that to get love and begin speaking about it, any relationship should be able to go through a number of stages.
She said that note must be made that most of the behaviours we exhibit as well as feelings we experience are learned by observing others going through a similar process.
“And stop thinking that when you exactly behave the way other couples behave, you are then in love. No. Until you go through the stages that manifest love,” adds Dr Vaz.
Psychologists argue that relationships that experience love should have gone through the famous Wheel theory.
According to this theory, falling in love is a process of a number of connected stages i.e. falling in love is conceived here as a circular process which can wind anyway-one can fall in love or out of love in each case going through the same developmental stages but in different directions.
At first when a girl and a boy meet because of the physical appearance of the other, they experience a rapport, a feeling of ease of being able to speak freely to each other and of empathic understanding. If the rapport is not there, they feel awkward and uncomfortable with each other.
At this stage, the relationship has an overly physical basis and lacks adequate emotional anchoring; there is no love here but lust for each other.
However, the rapport in the first stage gives way to the second stage of self-evaluation. At this stage, the couple is more open to each other.
They tell each other intimate details of their lives, private feelings and more honestly how they feel about one another and what they expect from the relationship. At this stage, there are feelings of trust and intimacy; this is not love but the earliest signs of love.
Dr. Vaz says as they stay together for some time, they enter the third stage where couples now depend on each other more; for support, companionship, even for verification of their perceptions of others and themselves. This mutual dependence upon one another creates an atmosphere in which they learn to fulfill each other’s needs both similar and divergent.
“At this stage, the feelings of rapport begin to blossom into love,” says Dr Vaz.
Dr Vaz adds that at this level, there is much public and private information that each learns about the other in this period and that information is gleaned about religious beliefs, attitude towards people, parents, friends, and interests.
She explains that at this level the values expressed by each partner become important in understanding and relating to the other partner.
“In short, the couple begins to perceive each other as real people; to the degree that they learn each other’s values, they begin to understand each other better,” adds Dr Vaz.
Dr Vaz says that this stage gives way to the final stage so called role stage and that during this stage each partner tests out the expectations of the other’s ability to function within a given role.
“It is during this stage that the individual realizes he/she is heading towards marriage and faced with this awareness, he/she is apt to re-appraise the qualities of his possible spouse and as a means of real love, couples in this stage as part of this reappraisal, measure the stimulus qualities and value comparison qualities against the more permanent quality of the other playing the role of a spouse,” Dr Vaz adds.
She says most relationships that have fallen apart do so in the first stage where the relationship has an overly physical basis and has no LOVE and that couples here don’t respond to the inner person but rather to the initial impressions; perceptions that are stimulated inside us by external factors.
Ms Agatha Nafuna, a retired midwife and marriage counsellor says that if the first overly physical attraction was beauty, then when the beauty wares away, the relationship is likely to collapse to manifest that you had lust but not love.
She revealed that other relationships collapse in the second stage where religious beliefs, interests, attitudes revelation of each other’s past become a bone of contention, many drops out here; “I don’t understand my boyfriend at all, most of the time he is busy,”
She explains that the collapse of relationships here is merely a clash of interests, attitudes etc.
Dr Vaz says the first and second stages just give way to love but there is no love at all until in the third and fourth stages and people should find out which stage you are in with your friend before talking about love.
She added that love should be treated as an outcome of the relationship stages from the first date up through value comparison, role stage and then the point of permanent commitment.
If you are the type that has been saying that couples who stay in a relationship for long usually fail to get married, know that those who stay for long and separate did not have love but lust.
If you have not gone through those stages, then do not talk about love and do not ask me whether I have ever been in love or not, because that does not save you either.