WHEN THE PERSON you love also loves you, then you are assured of happiness. That is what I am experiencing. It is the greatest feeling in the world. It’s as if I’m living my dream.
Sometimes it is so hard to believe how good my life is that I pinch myself to ensure I am not dreaming. I know that sounds like a joke, especially after six years together, but I am serious.
Each day I pray that my partner’s love for me will grow, as I know mine for him will.
Believe me, when you and your partner genuinely love each other, it makes you look forward to each moment of every day. Most of all, it strengthens you against all the hate, anger and stupidity that consume people and is unleashed on others through lies, manipulation and bullying.
True love also gives you the ability to forgive those who wronged you and made you suffer unnecessarily, as it allows you to appreciate even more how fortunate you are to be blessed with such a relationship.
These are not just words; this is my life.
I am no giddy-headed young girl either. I am a full woman with two children and a list of failed relationships before meeting my present partner.
That is why I can say what I said.
Having gone through mostly negative experiences, I would advise people, particularly women, that you should never give up hope of finding a partner with the qualities you desire by compromising your standards. Had I done that I would not be living in an earthly heaven right now.
To give you an idea of my journey, I was sexually active from 14 when I had my first boyfriend. At 19 I had my first child with that same man, but within a year of that he left me for someone else and never looked back. So I had to struggle to raise my son on the few cents I earned and with help from my family.
From then on I was more cautious because being a mother with a child without a father, I wanted to ensure whoever wanted me would also care for my son. The second guy did, so much so that we eventually started living together.
Unfortunately for me, he demonstrated just what the old people mean by “come see muh and come live wid muh” are two different experiences altogether. That man was untidy, jealous and used to like to hit me.
For instance, if he saw me talking to any man he did not know, he accused me of having him; and if I talked back to him, he would try to beat me. Since I don’t take kindly to that, we always ended up fighting. To make a messy story short, we only lasted about eight months. By then I was 22 years old and decided I was finished with men my age. I wanted older, more mature and hopefully, more caring men.
I jumped from the frying pan into the fire. All the men who said they wanted a relationship just wanted sex, and if I didn’t give them by the third time they took me out, they used to get ignorant and accuse me of trying to eat them out.
I went through at least five of those in about a year and a half.
It was then that I decided I was going to make another change in my life. I would go to evening classes and get more certificates so I could get a better job to take care of me and my son. It was while pursuing that goal I met and fell in love with someone who seemed to truly care for me. Like me, he had a child from a former relationship and said he was looking for Ms Right.
We took it slowly, only becoming intimate about three months after we met. Within a month, he and I decided to rent a house and move in together. For the first year things were really good until his older brother was released from prison and came to live with us, as he had nowhere else to go. Though I hated the arrangement, I understood why he agreed to it.
From the time his brother came he would make passes at me. I ignored him but told my boyfriend. He spoke to his brother about that behaviour and he stopped it, but from the way he looked at me I knew he would try something if he got a chance. That opportunity came one evening when my boyfriend was out. The brother actually kicked opened the bathroom door when I was in the shower and came in. Since I never trusted him I had started keeping a knife with me whenever I was alone at home, when he burst in I had it in my hand ready, so he backed off.
I left that boyfriend only to realise weeks later that I was pregnant. To this day he has never acknowledged his son though the boy is his spitting image.
For nearly nine years after that I had a few other boyfriends, but none of the relationships ever developed as I was more cautious than ever. To impress me, men had to meet my criteria: someone who listened, was patient and willing to discuss any issue; someone who was honest, responsible and trustworthy; someone who was respectful and would care for my sons as if they were his; someone who loved me with all my imperfections and was not just about sex.
That I eventually found this person when I finally decided to give my life to Christ and return to the fellowship of my church tells me God always had a plan for me. All the tribulations I went through were just his way of preparing me to appreciate a soft-spoken, caring man for whom a good time is singing praises to the Father, rather than prancing up in a fete. I thank God for his gift.