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Updated: Sep 3, 2022

A week ago, Adaaba reached out to three women; ‘T’ , ‘N’ and ‘M’ (not real names) to have a conversation about the concept of ‘love’ and what it means to love someone. Here’s a brief introduction;

T is a 26 year-old Nigerian millennial who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. She describes her current romantic status as a ‘sort-of’ relationship, and thus, she has chosen to talk primarily about romantic love.

M is a 32 year old Ghanaian British millennial who grew up both in Ghana and London. She is a civil servant and loves to host her friends over great food. M describes her relationship status as single but has been in love before and has 2 beautiful daughters from that relationship.

N is a 30 year-old Nigerian millennial who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria as well. She is a trained architect, and she describes herself as artsy. N has been married for 8 years and has a 7 year-old daughter.

Have you ever been in love?

  • Yes, only once

  • Yes, more than once

  • Never have I

Adaaba: What do you understand when I say the word ‘love’?

T: I understand that love comes as a deep realization. I also think that love is an action word; it is a choice.

M: Love is accepting and caring about someone as they are with their flaws and all.

N: Love goes beyond a feeling of deep affection. I see love as responsibility.

Adaaba: For this article, we’re discussing love in a platonic sense and a romantic sense. What form of love would you like to talk about today?

T: I’d like to talk about romantic love but I’ll talk about the love I have for my friends as well.

M: I’m talking about romantic love.

N: I’ll talk about romantic love please.

Adaaba:That’s fantastic, thank you. What do those things look like to you? How do you know you are in love with someone or how you know you love someone?

T: So this passage, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, is a guide for this. It says love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, love never fails.

When I feel that I’ve gotten to that level with someone, I usually check this, not with just romantic relationships but with friendships and with family. I feel it’s pretty much the same, regardless of the relationship. It’s not a conscious thing, it comes naturally.

I’ve known this person for over two years now. The moment I realized, I knew that I was home. I find that I display a lot of these love attributes. Even when I want to be mean, I cannot bring myself to, unless I give myself a pep-talk.

M: You’ll know you’re in love when despite their flaws, you can’t picture yourself with anyone else. You don’t have to try so hard to make things work, everything just flows between you two, even when you disagree with them.

N: For me it’s not solely about butterflies and feeling deep affection. These are feelings and feelings are fleeting. For me, the ideology of love in general is one of responsibility. I’m more of a lone ranger, so the moment I knew I wanted to be held accountable for this person, I knew I was in love.

It’s the same way I feel about my child. I didn't fall in love with my child immediately. It wasn’t a moment thing, the same way it was for my partner. I fell in love with both of them gradually. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was responsible for more than myself.

Adaaba:That’s really insightful. How does this reflect in the way you like to be loved?

T: A couple of days ago, I had a conversation with my person. We’re not together, so they’re just ‘my person’ or ‘this person.’ We talked about the church being the bride, and Jesus being the bridegroom. We’re always going to fall short, but he still loves us. God gives and gives, and loves and loves, and we do not deserve it. Love is sacrificial. You can’t be in love and not sacrifice your emotions, your time, or your finances. It comes naturally. So I would like to be loved the way God loves, wholly and unconditionally.

M: Well, I want someone that I can be myself around, be completely open to without any fear of judgment etc, someone who will love me regardless of my flaws and all and vice versa. A love that's reciprocated.

N: When I can say that this person is willing to wholeheartedly be responsible for me too, then I know that they love me. And by responsibility, I mean caring for me like they would care for themselves, caring about my safety, my health, things like that.

Adaaba:Do you have any closing thoughts?

T: The biggest thing is, love is not self seeking. When you love someone, you always think about the other person. “How do I make this person a better version of themselves?” “How do I make myself a better person for them?”

M: It's important to love with an open heart but it's equally important to know when "love" becomes toxic and is detrimental to our physical, emotional and mental health. Love with a genuine open heart but obviously, being able to discern who to give that love to is very paramount.

N: There’s an affection that grows from taking on responsibility. I think the timelessness of something is the responsibility you feel. This is my interpretation of love and falling in love.

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