Love. Thank God for love. Just give a thought to the idea of a loveless world – a world where raw, animal instincts of survival and cannibalism are the principles by which the universe is governed. No hard feelings, just everyone trying to eliminate the other, take advantage of, out-manoeuvre the other just to get by. You kill, you maim, you destroy everyone and everything that stands on your way, believing like the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre that “Hell is my neighbour” – and so the faster you get rid of your neighbour, the faster you live in nirvana, or heaven on earth, so to speak.
But love reigns and for that reason, “a man shall leave behind his father and mother and be with his wife.” Because of love, a man and woman are able to weave a life-long relationship around them, fighting off anything that would set them apart, cuddling in bad times and going out to conquer the world when everyone else thinks the weather is bad for adventure.
And love brought us Valentine’s Day! The day humanity kisses more than on any other day, when chocolate bars fly off the supermarket shelves like never before and when roses paint the world red. There’s lots of romance and lovemaking, reconciliation, proposals and gifts. Valentine’s Day could be the preamble of how life will be in the hereafter.
A chama I attend every second Sunday of the month has been pushed forward to March because members excused themselves, saying they won’t be available. Everyone wanted the meeting postponed for the only reason that this month’s second Sunday is Valentine’s Day. I believe many other people around the world have put every other plan on hold to observe this solemn day of love and romance. Wasn’t it a surprise that an all-men chama would opt not to meet because of Valentine’s?
I hope we all make it memorable for our wives and girlfriends. Nothing is as difficult for me as carrying flowers for my wife; I always feel like the whole world has its 14 billion eyes of all the seven billion people looking at me and all the seven billion mouths whispering, “Look at him,” – flowers are not a man’s thing, but for Valentine’s we carry them. Yes, you too brother. Buy her a chocolate, a bottle of wine or whatever people buy their loves on Valentine’s day. Let’s take them to a fancy restaurant too or if it please her, make her a special dinner at home. Just do everything to make her happy.
But what happens after valentine’s? Do we go back to the local with the boys? Do we look for excuses to stay away from our wives and girlfriends until the next Valentine’s Day? Hope not.
Let us commit this year to make each and every day a mini Valentine’s Day. Tell her “I love you” every morning before you part ways for the day, and another “I missed you” coloured with a kiss the first thing you meet after a busy day apart from each other. Train your child to sleep in their cot so that you hold each other the first 20 or so minutes after you get to bed and let your legs lock. Kiss and say goodnight and let her use your chest as her pillow for some time. That coming together of your bodies will strengthen your relationship in ways you cannot understand.
And once in a while, leave the children behind and go out for dinner at a good restaurant: not at a noisy and smoke-filled nyama choma joint. And offer to cook from time to time. And yes, re-learn to open the car door for her, to pull a chair for her, and to hold her hand while taking a walk.
Finally, invest in her; the hair, the nails, the clothing – you name it. Give her the best you can on these and see her love for you grow before your very eyes. For Valentine’s, love is fleeting unless it has been cultivated overtime. Don’t just give your better half love just once in a year like a rite of passage. Love her today, tomorrow and the day after; and she will make you feel and live like a king.
Published in February 2015