relocating

A Love that Conquers [Response to ‘Love Does Not Conquer All’]

Afua’s ‘Love Does Not Conquer All’ Post found HERE.

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Let’s revisit the story, shall we?:

Man meets woman.

Man and Woman fall in love.

Man and woman agree to spend 5 yrs in the US and 5 yrs in Ghana after marriage.

Man and Woman Marry.

Woman defects.

Man and Woman divorce.

So was that love?

**shrugs**

In my understanding of love, I know it to be patient.
I know it to be amenable to inconveniences and flexible.
I know it to be sacrificing.

In this version of love, I know that ol’ girl should have packed up at year 5, kissed her peoples farewell and moved to Ghana. Love doesn’t reneg. Love has integrity after all, and it recognizes the importance of covenant. Yes it is very possible that circumstances in their lives changed, as is the nature of people over periods of time. But I am sure she knew that would happen. And they agreed that they loved each other enough that whatever the circumstance, they would leave after 5 years. The love I know, would honor that kind of agreement.

It’s not that simple, Amma.

It never is. But love is about choosing to do what love requires, even when it seems impractical. But Afua says, before she even meets you at the love junction, she wants to make sure that you all are walking the same road. Her argument is that love is not enough in the face of logistics. To this I say: pish posh! Here are our two arguments in a nutshell:

Afua’s Argument

afua

My Argument

amma

Ok… so maybe I have exaggerated  Afua’s decision tree a  teenie- tinie smidgen in order to make my truth the most obvious right answer. I mean, there is nothing wrong with wanting to raise the next crop of talented tenthers. But I mean, it’s just that crazy in my mind. Afua’s tree automatically invalidates most people in a way that mine does not. I am always going on about how people really can change people. I have too many friends who were once diametrically opposed to certain dating principles, but faced with someone who is so closely aligned with their life dreams, these things aren’t as important. I knew a guy who wouldn’t believe that two people could meet and be ready for marriage in 6 months. He was preoccupied with investing a ‘sufficient’ amount of time getting to know the person, and he felt 6 months was way too short. He is now engaged. He bought a ring by month 6 and popped the question by month 8. If you knew him, you would know why this is major. Anything is now possible… including world peace. This shows that certain restrictions we think to be hard-and-fast fall away in the presence of meeting someone you couldn’t possibly see yourself being without. Someone who makes you believe that being in Ghana without them is a worse sentence than being anywhere else in the world with the person you love.

So… what kind of love is this exactly? Agape love. Unconditional love. This should be a precondition to marriage because it certainly overrides logistical factors like proximity in the short term. The truth of the matter is that, even in the marriage covenant these logistical issues can arise. Let’s say Afua were to marry a man and both of them agreed they wanted their whole lives to be in Ghana. Let us then say that she receives the chance of a lifetime, World Bank President mayhaps (look at me claiming it for you girl!), obviously a new discussion will have to happen. If the two of you are as supportive of each other’s dreams as one would hope, I know NO ONE who would stop their spouse from achieving that type of position and influence. If Michelle Obama was all ‘ Hey Barack, I am not about that DC life… Chi-town ‘till I die. Love me or leave me’, how might that shrughave changed their course in history. But again… I am getting ahead of myself, because these are considerations that should follow the marriage covenant. Yet if you preclude yourself from love because of these types of things, who’s to say you are not missing out on an opportunity to be partnered with someone amazing to do something amazing… in an eskimo village in Alaska?

In my final anecdote, I will put one of my best friends on the spot. This is a girl who is a hundred percent accomplished in every right. This is a girl who hates EVERY city that is not Miami, Florida. She generally dreads travel, largely because she needs to know she can access spaghetti and meatballs on a whim. She is not really the risk taking type, and is calculating and meticulous in every possible way. I mean, she uses decision trees in real life. Like. Real. Life. She is also dating a guy in London. Not even another state… a different country. And suddenly, her priorities are shifting and she’s considering all types of things she never would have considered even a year ago.

So here is my point. There is a love that conquers all. It is agape love. It recognizes the importance of the person and your mission with them, and makes accommodations for that. In the initial story that broke the proverbial camels back, something might have brought her to the point of the initial pre-marital agreement about moving in 5 years but it did not bring her to the point of keeping with that agreement. Agape love will do that. It allows you to do crazy things like commit your life to one person forever… and do even crazier things like honor that vow. It is also a really good ‘prioritizer’. We are humans and muddle through this life with imperfect information. Though economists (and other academic crazies) would have us believe in a set of perfect preconditions, the truth is, we don’t actually know much about what we truly want and need. Though we may think we absolutely must be in New York City living lavishly on Park Avenue with a child and nanny in tow by 35, the truth is perhaps that’s not what we need at all. Agape love allows us to know and understand this by causing us to make real sacrifices. By choosing to love unconditionally in spite of differing logistical factors, we might discover there are actually other places and circumstances that can offer us true joy. And if you are truly meant to be in the place you are in, agape love will make it possible for that to become a reality. Really you have nothing to lose: either you fall in love and find happiness elsewhere or your happiness comes to you. Agape love conquers.

ca

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Love Does Not Conquer All

photo (3)First off, I want to give a shout out to all those who listened to Amma and I on Yfm 107.9 last Tuesday. We had an absolute blast with Ms. Agnes and DJ Snoop, and we hope to grace their presence with more ramblings soon!

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Although I planned to write this blog some time in the near future (like many a blogs I have in my mental pipeline), Amma and I had a peculiar encounter on Saturday, which has hastened the writing of this. On Saturday, the two of us and another friend were approached by a gentleman in an eating establishment in Accra. Strangely, the way this man approached us wasn’t creepy, so we obliged his request to join us and 4hours later we all walked away with a new friend and stories and laughs for days. Everyone pause for a moment though: this is not a normal occurrence… we usually don’t talk to strangers 🙂 In any case, at some point during our discussion we got on the subject of relocating for your significant other and our new friend had a lot to say about this: his marriage had fallen apart due to this very issue. In a nutshell, what had happened was that he had been married to an African-American woman in the US, and had an agreement prior to their marriage that the two of them would spend five years in the US and then move to Ghana for at least the next five years after that. However, the lady reneged on her part of the deal and just couldn’t bring herself to move to Ghana. What, you may ask, changed her mind? It’s quite ironic actually, because the lady ended up becoming closer to her family throughout the beginning of their marriage BECAUSE of her husband, and after doing so couldn’t bring herself to move to a strange land far away from them. Throughout the beginning of their marriage she saw how her husband had a strong connection to his family back in Ghana and would do a lot for them, and once he encouraged her to become closer to her family in the US… it kind of backfired on him.

I’m not sure how this topic keeps creeping up on me, but I’ve had at least 5 conversations around spousal relocation in the last couple of weeks (hence the mental note to write about it). Although these conversations will be sprinkled throughout this piece, I had to lead off with this one, because it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The way our new friend described how much he loved his wife, but that there was just no way to get around the relocation issue, was really telling. I mean we pressed grilled him on all the possible ways he could have made it work, but he assured us that all options were explored. **Side note: location is not a deal breaker for everyone**, but for him it was. This man is also an Ashanti man, and if you know anything about Ghanaian culture, the Ashanti’s are the most ride or die, family-oriented people of all Ghanaians. I totally understand where he was coming from, because for me, this is one of the factors into my move back to Ghana ‘so early’ into my career.  Because I am now at the age where the man I marry will most likely be already established wherever he lives, I didn’t want a situation where I fell in love outside, and I had to deal with choosing between being with my man abroad vs living longterm in Ghana. A family member of mine is going through something similar to this right now, and it’s sad to watch because I know her heart is in Ghana. Her situation is more of a bait n switch setup (if you ask me) so it’s even worse. Her fiance resides in the US, and during the course of their dating expressed his openness to moving to Ghana within a few years after their marriage. Now that they are engaged, the moving back rhetoric is changing and to be frank, last time I talked to her, she didn’t sound like he was willing to budge. One thing she pointed out to me was that, once she gets married, she has no leverage to say, ‘I don’t want to move to the US’ … and expect to keep a happy home. I feel her too, because her desire to stay in Ghana is just like mine, and I don’t know how I would feel about leaving Ghana for an unforeseeable amount of time for my man right now.Yes, my love for this country is a little disgusting.

keep-calm-because-all-you-need-is-love-18So to the title of the blog, I don’t think love conquers all. Don’t get me wrong, love is a beautiful thing, but when it comes to spending YOUR LIFE with someone, you need more than love. In this case, you need to get your logistics in order, because down the line you don’t want any kind of resentment over this or for your spouse to be miserable in a foreign land. #nobodysgottimeforthat

A family friend of mine recently got engaged to an American lady. And as exciting as the news was, one of the first things I thought when I heard was, ‘this girl is going to move to Ghana without ever having lived or visited the place, I pray she loves it here when she comes’. We are a global society, yes, and home is literally a 6hr hop over a ‘small’ pond, sure, and Ghana’s the most amazing country in the world, obviously, but living here longterm (and in Africa in general) is not the easiest thing in the world, and it is not everyone’s cup of tea (even those OF African descent), so this isn’t just a small change in physical surroundings.

I dunno… perhaps this could also be the African woman in me talking (remember our guest post on Foreign White women)…cause there are some folks doing it successfully I guess *shrug*. What do you think? Does love conquer all? Would you marry someone who wasn’t about relocating for you?

Before I turn this over to Amma, I also want to know when should this conversation come up? Cause I feel like this conversation needs to be had from jump, NOT when yall are just about to have the marriage talk. A few months ago I was considering a Ghanaian guy who, like me, has been dubbed by society as an ‘Afropolitan‘, however when he confessed in passing that he wasn’t married to living in Ghana necessarily, I already knew this was not gonna work. Your “I’ll go wherever the wind takes me wherever is right for me at the time; and if that’s Ghana, great, and if it’s not, great” was not common ground for us, and that’s cool… so I didn’t follow through with it, because I knew hey, we’re not compatible on this… and being in Ghana is actually THAT important to me. But this happened in the very beginning stages of us getting to know each other, and I think rightfully so, because what I was not about to do was get into a relationship with him, possibly fall in love, and then now get to the marriage stage before realizing, ‘hey, you’re not tryna be about that life in Ghana… and that might be a problem’. This would make the decision harder for me, because I’ve gone and fallen in love already. I think some relationship decisions need to be head decisions, NOT heart decisions… particularly in this day and age. Perhaps one of the reasons divorce rates are so high these days is because folks delude themselves into thinking love conquers all, when maybe sometimes it doesn’t…

From time to time, I get told that I’m heartless… so Amma, am I being too pragmatic? Should you allow your heart to fall in love and figure out the rest later? Ie. What if Mr. Afropolitan could have been ‘the one’? Or are people being too naive these days? Everything just doesn’t fall into place because you love someone, does it? Should there be these parameters around love? Sadly, I have a feeling I know what Amma is about to say, but for you the reader watch this space this week for her full response, you might be surprised!

Amma’s response can be found HERE!