To Love a Woman
Well, I am probably not in the best position to share love stories because I deliberately lack playboy exploits. But recently, in what harboured great potential for endless affection, I have skilfully played the role of a jackanapes. I have been guilty. Actually, guilt wrote me a letter and penitence signed it. They said in the letter, “Mr Boy scout, It is a sin to insult fondness; it is iniquity to slight her. Repent!” So, after reading those words, I knelt down and asked for forgiveness and I said to myself, “Insults are verbal assaults that are not directly punishable offences under the law. However, they carry more weight than many legally penalized offences. Insulting a man is stripping him of some measure of dignity. Slighting a woman is removing the confidence she has in you. I have insulted a woman. Whether fairly or unfairly, I have done wrong and it is wrong for me to do wrong. So, henceforth, I must let go of the will to react and instead, become a shock absorber. I may even have to make do with the role of a scapegoat. A scapegoat of fondness. So help me God.”
That was a prayer said heartily and honestly. They were the right words because it was not the time to tell Aladdin stories. Times of repentance call for sincere and deep sobriety. Quietness and humility are what you need when you are in a sorry state. You should even feel like you deserve to listen to songs about going to heaven and flying with angels in the skies. Not stories of how you killed a black-horned vampire who had a diastema-posited set of dentate teeth. So today, I make a detour. I am discussing the lesson learnt from a personal experience. At least, after consuming a book like, “How not to treat an American lady for dummies by Obama Hussein Osama in my dreams, I should qualify to give a life review about a yet-to-be-read text on Love or Non-enmity.”
In the Bible, Brother Paul said, “The things which I do not want to do, the same I do.” Sometimes, when we want to capture a terrorist like Osama, we are prone to “Obamaing” i.e. sniping at them. And, many times, when we want to cook food after work hours in a tired state, we sleep off and make a burnt offering for the whole neighbourhood. In other words, what we want to do, we, many times, do not do.
To love a woman is one of such tasks, at least before marriage. While the things I am about to say are not fixed rules, they seem to be axioms that have deep-rooted bases in the experiences of the diverse guys I have questioned. In the 21st century, loving a woman has deviated from what Pa Adam did; maybe plucking apples and tilling the ground. It is very far from what Bro Peter did; maybe leading her about, praying with her and buying her leavened bread. It is quite different from what my Dad did; buying her flowers, eating what she cooked and having a promising career. Some extremists say that to love a woman today, you must live for her alone. I disagree because I have two grown-up sisters. And while their “friends” don’t live for them, I know they are “their boys”. But I bring you a report of what is common in the talks of many guys. How do you love a woman? How? Read these lines below, noting again that they are not hard and fast rules.
To love a woman is to want the best for her. To not only see the best in her but to be patient with her until she sees it herself. To not take advantage of her ignorance or enforce your will on her. To incubate her dreams even when she does not care and help deliver them when she suddenly cares. To find what is good in her and make great comments about them. To share in her dreams by membering on her dream accomplishment team. To remind her of good memories and encourage her when she wants to stop half way. To be a shield for her, on your knees, in the place of prayer. To run her belittling errands like they are just normal. To be a teddy bear in secret while in public, they call you a man. To swallow the insults you would otherwise instantly rain verbally and instead, seek how best to put your words into her ears without letting go of correction. To buy her a blackberry when a mulberry is all you use. To love pink because she does and keep a low cut because she thinks it’s cool. To carefully peer at both sides of the highway before crossing it, because you don’t want to die and leave her all alone. To sit, eat and listen when she says so and run a gift purchase account because of her. To make her proud of you by getting a good job and living a decent life. To say, “you are perfect” when she tells you, “my friends are saying I am getting fat”. To always support her views in public except if they are VERY wrong and signal her to mute when she is. To never rebuke her in public. And, to do all these because you really love her and not because you just want her to say yes. That’s all. Nothing more.
It is a hard job. I know. It’s probably the hardest job there is. But some folks have a PhD in it. That’s why I keep asking myself, “Man, are you as ready as people always say you are?” I have a special response which is confidential. But I hope your own responses are good. If you have not been loving your woman, repent. And if it’s the other way round, well, think twice. To love a decent man is not as expensive anyway. But to love a woman, you should first sit down and count the cost.

James Lisandro
lives in Lagos Nigeria

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