I have loved, I have been loved and I will love again.
This gives me the permission to call myself an expert in matters of the heart. To be honest we all are, so long as you have used this organ called the heart to love, your opinion counts. So I hope you will humble yourself today to take this kind advice from me. And please share it with others who may need it.
Just before I go on, I know that the title I picked is rather harsh, but don’t despair, I am simply using a fairy tale as the foundation of my article. I am not picking out past relationships to scrutinise them, I am not naming and shaming nor am I passing the blame for failed relationships. It takes two to tango after all right? The most fundamental thing about growing up is being able to sit down, reflect on the past, getting over it the best way you can and then moving on with your life. So in all honesty, for me this is an opportunity to break down for you where I see myself on this scope of love, and finding a soul mate, the lessons I have learned from past relationships and to perhaps help me and you to figure out what is going wrong in our ‘love’ lives.
There is a proliferation of marriage proposal videos going wild on the internet, which prove to me that love is not a myth. A lot of us are probably hanging on to the wrong man, for the fear of being alone. Like a friend said to me in French yesterday, ‘Il vaut mieux être seul que mal accompagné’ or in English, ‘It is better to be alone than in bad company‘. So honey, I urge you to sit down and look at your relationship and honestly tell me that this man is worth the tears. You need a man who will ruin your lipstick, not your mascara!
I love a love story. I love to see people fall in love, get married and start a family. It is truly what I live for and wish for all the women in my network, including you reading this article today.
But I am not here to talk about whether I am envious of those women with amazing partners who will go to lengths to organise the most wonderful marriage proposals or not. Let’s be serious who wouldn’t be? I am here to talk about this whole idea that ‘you have to kiss many frogs before you find your prince.’ I have come to the realization that this statement is so far away from the truth.
Why you may ask?
Well first of all fairy tales are often blown out of proportion – only a handful of people can claim to be living a fairy tale. However, they can teach us many lessons. Secondly, if any of you actually read The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm you would know that there was only one frog and one princess, and that there was no ‘kissing’ involved, well not until Disney introduced Tiana and Prince Naveen to complicate the story.
So what can we learn from The Frog Prince?
1. The frog chose the princess.
She didn’t choose him. He saw her crying and he spoke to her, knowing fully well that she might scream and run away because it was weird for a frog to be talking. I may be old fashioned (and perhaps offend the egalitarians among us) but I am still with the view that a man must be the person to make the first move.
2. The princess was disgusted by the frog, but she listened to him because he was in a position to give her something that she wanted: her ball.
She could have up and left, but she was intrigued by his offer, so she stayed and listened. And isn’t that what a man wants, to see if a woman is interested in what he has to say before he lays his cards on the table? I can think of many times I have been stopped by guys on the street who did not tick any boxes mentioned in my now defunct ‘ideal man list’ but I listened to them because they had an air of prestige and certainty about them. None of that fidgeting and timid business I often see guys displaying. Sometimes you listen and gently turn down, because otherwise you would have to deal with too many men.
3. He reassured her by saying, ‘I do not want your pearls, and jewels, and fine clothes; but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eat from off your golden plate, and sleep on your bed, I will bring you your ball again.’
He was an ugly frog, she was a rich and beautiful princess – that did not scare him off. Yes he had been rich while he was a prince, but the fairies that cast a spell on him did not give him a time when he would become prince again. For all we know he had been this ugly frog for years. This is a frog that was determined and convinced that he would find his glory again. Despite all of this he reassured her that all he wanted was her love and companionship. So when people are telling me and my fellow sisters that the more education and money we make the more the men around us will be scared off. To that I always respond that my pride and womanhood will clear the floor for the real deal. Let’s be frank, a man who has seen potential in a woman will not be put off by a six-figure salary or PhDs. You will not ask for the price if you can afford it, right? If you can’t handle the heat, exit the kitchen – or tear a leaf from The Frog Prince’s book!
4. When she got what she want, she forgot the frog.
It often happens. When a woman does not like or is not convinced about the man who stands before her eyes, she puts it at the back of her mind and pretends it never happened. Yes the princess only made the deal with the frog to get her ball back – she had nothing to go by but empty words. He could have been calling her bluff. What the frog would do next would determine how serious he was about his declaration.
5. The frog had chosen her, and despite her negative attitude towards him he still pursued her. He kept knocking on her door.
She never imagined he would be able to leave the spring, but he did. The frog followed her home, and he knocked on her door tirelessly. This is one determined frog, do you agree? This frog knew she would doubt him, but he did all he could do in his power to make it to the palace, he followed her to remind her about the promise she had made to him. How many times has a guy who could not stop singing your praises on date 1 stop calling your phone the one time you did not pick up his calls all day? The truth is, if a man likes you and wants to be with you, he will not be intimidated by a little fronting. There is guarding your emotions and then there is shakara as beautifully described by Fela Kuti in his song ‘Shakara’. Click here to listen to the audio. Skip to 6:31 for the words. Avoid shakara by all means because no man must have to deal with a bad attitude 24/7.
6. Upon hearing about the promises she had made to the frog, even her father the king, told her that she had to keep her promises.
The king was impressed by this act of bravery, that he convinced his daughter to stand by her word. I know most of us like to convince ourselves that our relationship is only between ourselves and our partner, but the truth is that your relationship will be an extension to your direct family. It is important to involve your family in your relationship, not to ask them to decide whether the man/woman is right for you but to guide you into the right direction, no relationship can survive on its own, at some point someone was there to give a helping hand, to remind you of the vows you had made to your partner, to show you the way, to help you celebrate the love you have for one another.
7. With time the princess began to appreciate the frog, and I think she even began to love him.
With every day that passed, loving him, living with him and eating from her golden plate, and sleeping on her bed became easier. No relationship is perfect from the beginning, but with each day you get to know someone better and you learn to love them abundantly.
8. The love she had for the frog, turned him into a prince.
The evil spell was broken and he became his true, respectable, and royal prince. When a man/woman can feel the love, he/she is encouraged to flourish. Love makes people feel invincible, it gives you that feeling that failure is nothing, that failure can be overcome – if only you have someone there to say, ‘I will be here to hold your hand through it all’. Regardless of whether you are rich or poor the key is too be a good person who is ready to accept the changes that love will bring.
9. He was overwhelmed by her love for him that he insisted they go to his father’s kingdom and get married.
He did not wait long before he asked her to marry him. When he saw her, he knew she was the princess he had been waiting for but he waited to see if she would come through. It did not take him long to make the choice to marry her. Most men will tell you that they knew either on the first day or after the first week that the woman they married was the one. No dilly dallying, waiting 10 years to be sure – what can 10 years possibly make clearer to you? To be honest I cannot even blame men for the dilly dallying, if after four-five years you are a woman who believes in marriage and your man is still saying he is not ready then girl I don’t know what you are doing? If you meet a man who at the beginning of your relationship says he does not believe in a marital institution then don’t five years down the line start to be casually leaving tiffanys.com open on the computer by mistake. A man is ready when he is. Until then don’t expect miracles.
10. Everyone was happy about this marital union
They got a blessing from everyone who knew them. Going back on the family thing … you know a relationship/marriage that will last, is one that received more blessings and joy than negativity/criticism from people around you. Never underestimate the judgments of people who are close to you, because they know you well and understand your choices even better than you can sometimes. The late Christophe Matata sang in Kirundi, ‘amaso akunda ntabona neza’ – eyes that are in love do not see well. If everyone is rejoicing for genuine reasons, not because this man is going to allow your father to get a contract in the government (although marriages of convenience works for many) then it is a good sign that you have made a good choice.
Most of us want to ultimately find a partner and settle down, regardless of every other thing happening around us namely education, careers, and so forth. So why is it that finding that special someone is for some so much harder than becoming a billionaire? Why is it that in a world where everyone is looking out for love, we can’t find each other and stay together?
Well in my opinion, as a woman I think that the reason why the journey is only traveled by few is because we spend so much time kissing a lot of frogs hoping that just one of them will be transformed into a prince. To be honest ladies, when you have kissed 4 or 5 frogs and you still have not yielded any tangible results then you need a new strategy.
I recently realised that most of us look for relationships because of internal/external pressures to be coupled with someone.
- We feel that the time has come to take it seriously, for it to fit somewhere in our lifestyles;
- Your culture has an ideal age for a man/woman to marry
- You need some good home cooked food after a long day at work
- You can’t be paying for your Peruvian and rent and still have enough left over for a weekend in Monaco.
- You need to have a baby – with or without the man
The pressure is endless, but we need to be conscious about the fact that when we are hungry, to the point of starvation for something (in this case companionship) , we will never take real time to assess the food that is before us (the partner). Like Michelle Mckinney Hammond beautifully sums it up, ‘stop nibbling at appetizers you do not even like because you do not know when the main course is coming.’ When you are full, even a tub of your favourite ice cream is not appetizing. In addition to that by the time he/she comes before you, you may be too focused on dealing with the outcomes of multiple failed relationships; divorce, children, debt, a broken family, low self-esteem etc. Sit down and think about the person you have been convincing yourself to believe has potential, if you were not desperate for a relationship, would he/she be worth the tears or the effort?
No one is perfect that is a fact, but like I always say, love is blind but marriage is an eye-opener, if you married a bee, it is in the marriage that it will sting you. Do not assume that he will stop calling you a bitch every time you have a little disagreement once you have jumped the broom! Or think that her constant nagging and obsessive daily search for lipstick stains on your shirts will disappear once you bring out the Tiffany’s ring. Do not chase love, trust it to come to you.
We are human beings with emotions and every time a relationship doesn’t work it takes something away from us (amidst all the learning we gain from the experience) – if you keep kissing frogs, just imagine what you will be left with by the time you have your prince? Not much! Instead of chasing leaping frogs why not concentrate on building yourself for wholesomeness. Be your own lover, and love you unconditionally! Learn how to love yourself, when you have mastered the art of loving you, you will know when a man is loving you wrong. It is not by finding someone that you will be complete, but by being complete that you will find it easier to appreciate, give and receive love.
And ladies remember, don’t wait around for a man to be your oxygen, just let him be your hero!