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Olufemi Richard Akanni, legal Practitioner, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

I have often wondered what wasn’t done right when I hear of couples who courted for some time, got engaged and eventually brought friends and family together to witness and celebrate their solemnization in ‘Holy Matrimony’ either in their places of spiritual worship or at the marriage registry put an end to their solemnization due to irreconcilable differences, ironically this time not in the presence of all those who witnessed the solemnization.
Without being authoritative, I’ll like to submit that as far as I know, for two people to decide that they want to spend the rest of their lives together, it means (or meant) that they ‘loved’ each other dearly. This is not to say that all there is to love is marriage or as between married couple.

At this juncture, I consider it expedient to paint a clear picture of what love is. The greatest and only complete book has this to say about Love. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love NEVER fails.
The question that rightly comes to mind is why then has ‘love’ failed (or so we think)? Let me first state categorically that I do not restrict the love I am talking about here as between couples because that will be entirely misleading. There should be love between couples, parents and children, siblings, friends, colleagues, etc. To each category of persons listed above, different category of love. Consequently it would be safe to say that there are different categories of love and each person in our lives belongs to one or two categories. It is therefore very important that we place every person in our live rightly.

As briefly as I can, I’ll like to touch on the different types love. I have been able to identify four universally acceptable types of love and they are;
1. AGAPE: This is an unconditional love that sees beyond the outer surface and accepts the recipient for whom he/she is regardless of their flaws, shortcomings or faults. You may not like someone yet you decide to love them just because you both are humans.

2. PHILEO: This refers to an affectionate, warm, and tender platonic love. It makes you desire friendship with someone. It’s the kind of love which livens up the Agape love. Although you may have an agape love for your enemies, you may not have phileo love for the same people.

3. STORGE: It is a kind of family and friend love. This is the love that parents naturally feel for their children; the love that member of the family have for each other. In some cases, this friendship love may turn into a romantic relationship, and the couple in such a relationship becomes best friends. Storge love is unconditional, accepts flaws, or faults and ultimately drives you to forgive. It is committed, sacrificial and makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe.

4. EROS: It is a passionate and intense love that arouses romantic feelings; it is the kind that often triggers “high” feelings in a new relationship and makes you say, “I love him/her”. It is simply an emotional and sexual love. Although this romantic love is important in the beginning of a new relationship, it may not last unless it moves a notch higher because it focuses more on self instead of the other person. If the person “in love” does not feel good about their relationship anymore, they will stop loving their partner.

From the above it is clear that when we say we love, the love we feel should fall within the ambit of the categories of love discussed above, otherwise, it will be safe to say what you feel may not love. Love is a special and complicated emotion which is quite difficult to understand. Although most people believe that love revolves around the heart, it actually occurs in the brain. It is the brain that generates chemical signals to make people understand love. Therefore it may also be safe to say that when love isn’t revolving around your brain but your heart, then what you feel may not be love.

Naturally, the question that comes to mind given the above analysis is so if what you feel may not be described as love, what then is it? Therefore, it will be very necessary to consider what the opposite of love is as this may offer us some answers to our question. Many people have argued that the opposite of love cannot be hatred because to use the word hatred is extreme-and I contend in reply, isn’t the use of the word love extreme in itself also? However, not to sound as an extremist and for the purpose of this write up, I will submit that the opposite of love is indifference. Simply put indifference is the lack of interest, concern or sympathy.

Enough of the teaching on love, I will like to bring my point home. Many have failed to understand that each person in their life is there for a reason and for a purpose. Some are to be there for a season and some for a life time. Some are there to help out with something at that material time and move on while others are to stick with you till your dying days. When you make someone who should have been in your life for a season stay beyond that season, then you can be sure that things will go bad.

Let me give a pictorial example. A tree which produces fruits is expected to have these fruits matured and ripe after sometime, and when they are eventually ripe, they should be taken off the tree either naturally by falling off or by human effort of plucking them off.. However, ripe fruits which remain on trees have after staying too long ripe on the tree time gotten rotten, bad and eventually useless. That is same the case with trying to keep people for the season, for a life time. Therefore when a person who should have been in your life but for a while stays longer than they should have either as a result of their misconceptions or yours, the feeling of “love” you felt towards them turns to indifference such that you really don’t care on want to be bothered with what is going on or not going with them anymore because you being to feel choked or bounded.

I will like to say that the only reason why today’s love seem to be tomorrow’s indifference is because people have not been careful enough to know where each person belongs in their live or even when they do, they place them wrongly. It’s like putting a round peg in a square hole; all it will amount to eventually is a waste of precious time and emotions. I will therefore like to advice, whenever you feel something for someone, first be sure if it is love or lust. If you are sure it is love, then be thorough enough to identify the kind of love it is you have towards the person, when you have successfully identified that, make sure you keep it within the bounds of that love, if not eventually it will only be a matter of time before it turns into indifference tomorrow.

In conclusion, talking about why couples put an end to their solemnization, the obvious reason may be that one or both of the parties didn’t recognize the part the other person was to play in their life, got carried away by what they though they felt at that time and allowed it becloud their sense of judgment which has consequently resulted in making a wrong choice they no longer can cope with. Is there a cure to this, I doubt. Therefore it is expedient to look before you leap.

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