Afua’s ‘Love Does Not Conquer All’ Post found HERE.
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.
Man and Woman divorce.
So was that love?
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:
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 have 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.