After a really deep conversation with one of my girlfriends, I started thinking about the concept of love and my past relationships. What created the blueprint for the way I love and expect to be loved? During the conversation, it dawned on me that while many people say that their father is the man who teaches them about love that wasn’t true for me.
As I reflect on the verses from the bible Corinthians 13:4-7
“ Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
It saddens me to say that my dad didn’t teach me how to be loved. Any potential suitors were judged by their social standing, intellect and actual or potential profession.
I wasn’t taught that being cheated on wasn’t ok, or that my future partner should be patient with me. I saw my father’s pride impact our family negatively so many times, and I watched his infidelity almost destroy my mother. Yet, I still loved him and still do. I worshipped my father and put him on a pedestal. So imagine the most important man n your life doesn’t teach you what it is to be truly loved and valued. What impact does that have?
For me, it led to numerous failed relationships. Often with men who had very similar traits to my father in one way or another.
Also, despite everything he taught me to be a strong person but he didn’t teach me to be a strong woman. Me being a girl was almost a disappointment to him so he taught me and pushed me to be the best person I could be. Unintentionally though he devalued my feminity, leaving me confused about how I would navigate the world as a woman.
I believe that men whether fathers, uncles, cousins or brothers should build up the women around them, teaching them to accept nothing but the best rather than settle for mediocrity.
But, I consistently hear men making excuses for other men to the women in their lives, teaching daughters to forgive without directing sons to do better. It saddens and angers me now that I recognise how damaging it can be for girls and eventually women to be taught to forgive and to accept and to be patient while men aren’t required to give more and be better. If, at the minimum, boys and men were taught to treat others as they expect to be treated relationships would be more equitable.
Mother’s have a role to play but like it or not women become their mother’s in one way or another. We learn from our mothers on a subliminal and subconscious level in many ways, and most girls either choose to be like their mother or try to be nothing like her. Either way, our mothers have a profound impact.
As a parent now I understand the importance that it is actions and words that make a difference. You teach your children by what you say and what you do. How you talk about past and future relationships shapes their consciousness regarding what they expect from relationships.
Now that we know better, let’s do better and teach the next generation to love and be loved. One cannot and should not exist without the other.