Her boyfriend had cheated on her. Twice. She sent in a question during a Snapchat takeover asking what she should do. I had mixed feelings towards this question. On a scale of “Is this really a question?” to “Sis deserves better and she doesn’t know,” I was somewhere in the middle. A part of me wanted to be dismissive of her plight because I believed that the answer was crystal clear. Yet, another part of me felt for her because I have never known what that’s like…to be so in love with someone that you don’t know how to walk away when you need to. Fast forward to a couple of weeks later and I am having a conversation with an older Nigerian man. He was of the opinion that a woman who left her husband should have stayed with him despite the fact that she had found out his mistress was pregnant. I kept reiterating the words “a whole child,” trying to ignore echoes of “is it better for her to leave?” and “what would people ‘outside’ say?” Then he said something that made me stutter, think and go quiet. He asked me if the woman did not know the kind of man her husband is, at the time she was getting married to him. She did. The signs were glaring. Although her husband’s actions are forever inexcusable, on that particular topic of signals, I could not defend her. It later dawned on me that there’s an unfortunate connection between these two stories. I realised that the practice of either ignoring signs or not looking out for them at all is not only rampant, but it starts from a young age. “I can change him,” “That’s how women behave,” “He’s just being a man” are examples of the lies we tell ourselves as we let sense elude us. Although it is easier said than done, we need to be kinder to ourselves and guard our hearts.
Today’s post is not a Faith piece but it was inspired by a Bible verse(Proverbs 4:23) : “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” This verse reminds me of multiple stories I’ve heard of people’s lives being markedly affected by bad romantic relationships they’ve been in. If you have seen the 2018 Tyler Perry film, Acrimony, my former statement will ring true to you. The main character, Melinda, put so much on the line for the sake of her partner. She paid for his final two semesters of College, she bought him a car and she mortgaged her mother’s house which she shared with her siblings for him. The pleas of disapproving family members not to marry him, which were loudest when they refused to attend her wedding, fell on deaf ears. The storyline of her life became acutely defined by one relationship and the plot ended tragically. Upon reflecting on the movie, I discovered that the end was not the most tragic part but it was simply a culmination of events. She let herself go in a relationship and this caused her entire life to spiral out of control; that was the greatest tragedy.
Your time, your energy, your emotions, your heart; these are things that must be protected at all costs. Don’t let anyone waste your time and don’t let anyone rid you of your positive energy. Don’t let anyone play with your emotions or your heart. I would never advise anyone to live in fear of failing at anything including relationships so this is not to scare you out of seeking and enjoying something worth it. Having said that, applying wisdom in every aspect of our lives would pay us. Don’t ignore signs, don’t compromise yourself or your values whatever they may be and don’t make important decisions based on something that is potentially temporary. If you have questions, ask them; if you have doubts, honour them and if it’s “complicated”, ask yourself why. Know that you deserve good and if that’s not what you are getting, then move on. Never settle. You will get the good you deserve and I really hope you believe that. Guard your time, your energy, your emotions and above everything else, guard your heart.
“Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime”- Mineko Iwasaki
“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option”-Mark Twain
“Was it hard? I ask.
Not as hard as holding on to something that wasn’t real”- Lisa Schroeder
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