Have you ever asked yourself if it is indeed possible to grow to love someone? Of course I know for sure when many people think of love, what comes to mind is that instant firebomb attraction. But must there always be that spark and excitement at first sight for you to fall in love? Or is it indeed possible to slowly develop feelings for someone because of the good characteristics that they may demonstrate; honesty, care, hardworking or probably a potential good parent.
Doreen Tuhirirwe, a counsellor at Uganda Counselling Centre, says although we cannot quantify love, it is driven by passion, commitment and intimacy. “Love is patient and sacrificial, placing someone ahead of your own needs, wants and desires,” Tuhirirwe says.
She adds that many people today confuse love with lust and infatuation. “Lust is an absolute selfish desire to fulfill either physical or emotional needs, and relationships bound by lust never last. They are usually destructive, hurtful and only aim at satisfying physical desire and urges.”
The counsellor also says real love grows slowly but the roots grow deep, and that those instant ‘sparks’ would properly be called lust.
“Otherwise, why would many people have frequent marital problems yet they initially had those sparks and claimed they were in love with their partners?” she asks.
It is true that lust can overwhelm a relationship and a couple may not wait until marriage to have sex. Infatuation, on the other hand, is a mental obsession when a person constantly thinks about someone. In the past, parents saw good characteristics in a boy or girl from a decent family and booked them for their daughter or son. Even without a link, they would marry off the two and often, these made very good life partners, who stayed in their marriages without much trouble. This probably explains the possibility that love can indeed grow.
Maria Nakibinge, a businesswoman, says when she met her husband, she did not know much about him.
“We were linked by our parents and I had only known him as a chief’s son back in the village, but I later learnt to love him. We have had a very happy marriage and I have never regretted my parents’ choice,” Nakibinge says. The couple, who will be celebrating 40 years, have only argued once, although Nakibinge does not recall the cause of the misunderstanding.
“Even when people are left to choose partners they think they love, they normally break up after a few years or even months. So relationships in the past were even stronger than they are now because there is no true love but only lust,” says Tuhirirwe.
The more time you spend in each other’s company, the more you get attracted to the person. It is only a matter of time before the two can develop chemistry.
Florence Nyangoma says she has been in two relationships that were not successful and all the time she has had that instant spark with someone, things have not worked out. She says she tried her luck with someone who had not been her type before and things seem to be moving on smoothly.
Michael Kato, a teacher, however, thinks for any relationship to work out successfully, there should be that spark.
“You need that spark, otherwise you are just settling for your second best choice and although you can love them dearly, it is never the same as being passionately in love,” he says.
He adds that if someone else who really sets out a spark came by, then you would be in a real mess if you had already accepted this person.
“If you do not love someone, you are never amused by whatever they do so you cannot develop feelings for such a person. If you did not have feelings for the person in the first place, there is a big possibility of this partner leaving you because you were probably not his first choice.”
Sarah Mirembe also believes that you would only learn to love this person as your second choice probably because you have always told him about all your bad experiences in the relationships that turned sour. “It feels like he was having pity on you so the love may not be genuine.”
A married source, who preferred anonymity because of the sensitivity of her comment, says the more time you spend with someone, the more you learn that person’s character and later learn to love them.
“I used to have problems with my ex and I would tell my male friend about everything. He would advise me to be more patient with him and all the time he disappointed me, this friend was by my side. Along the way, he proposed to me after I had broken up with my ex. I did not love him then but now I have learnt to love him,” she says.
So, is it possible that there are things that may be binding two people, without necessarily causing any sparks? “If you share and support each other’s ambitions, have common family values and trust each other, then what other better qualities are you looking for in a partner?” wonders Tuhirirwe.