The issue of how to express your love could be confusing most especially if you are yet to differentiate between love, crush and infatuation. (see Love, crush and infatuation: the difference between the three.)

 To a teenager, expressing love could be buying gifts, even with stolen money (the source is not an issue) and kisses and caresses. 

To an adult, expressing love could be making a commitment to and with a love interest. 

To an aged grandmother, expressing love could be calling loved ones and family always bringing home grandchildren during holidays. 

To the baby crawling, it could be lifting them, carrying them shoulder high etc.

We all express love differently and also desire love to be expressed to us in different ways from another person’s desire for expression.

Love is not a 50-50 thing but a 100%-100% thing. Do you know why?    So that in case there is a day I am unable to give 30%, your extra 20% will make it 100%. But should anything make you give 100% without the other giving anything, run with care!

Emily Parke Chase’s book: “Why say No when my Hormones Say Go?”, caught my attention some time ago and I wondered from the book cover if the pages had anything to teach me on how to express my love. Just as I pondered on this misery, I heard Don Williams over the radio singing a song that had as part of its lyrics “…never gonna kiss the ruby red lips of the prettiest girl in town, never gonna ask her if she needs… I know she’ll turn me down, ‘cos I’m just a country boy, money have I not, but I’ve got silver in the stars, gold in the morning sun…”

If you were him, how would you express your love?

I got attracted to a lady for years and spoiled my chance the day I wanted to try expressing what I called love. I see many pretty girls all around me, but I always fear to fool myself once more. I had lost a precious relationship I was trying to build before I came to the acceptance that I had failed to open my earlobes to hear God’s advice. When God started teaching me how to express my heartfelt love, I realized I had been fooling myself; this was what He taught:

“You do not learn how to express love in a relationship. You learn it from home – from your family. You learn it long before you enter a relationship. Expressing love in a relationship is the same way you express love to your kin, your siblings – this is practically the way you love others outside. The chemistry could make your colours hidden at the onset, but pal, honestly, with time your true colours will show”.

This is the truth – the same way I rang my siblings was the same way I rang her. The same way I abandoned my family when we were separated by distance was the same way I left her. My excuse was that I wanted not to bother her and besides, I trust her. Being the eldest at home, I gave orders and directions and that was the same way I ordered the relationship; my foundation was bad.

Trust can only easily be given when it has never failed you before and when Christ renews your mind and being. If you trust your parents and siblings, it can never be difficult to trust a friend.

A woman’s trust and confidence in her husband can be traced to the men in her early life – her dad and teenage boys who were her classmates/peers. If her dad loved her, between her birth and 10years, and the teenage boys during her adolescence did not abuse or harass her, she will always find comfort, love and security with men.

It will be easy for her to trust other men. Show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are in this context will mean, show me how your friends treat each other and other people, and I will tell you that, that is the same way you would treat me.

God did not stop here, He was not yet through and had really not started teaching me how to express love but led me to where it is written: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws”. -Gal. 5:22 & 23 TLB. This was definitely it. I got it here and I want to share the same with you.

God created me as a being with the ability to love and be loved and no wonder I earnestly desire to be loved and also to love. However, this automobile needs a battery before any other thing can run and that battery is the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus during His ascension said “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.” (John 14:26 AMP.) This includes how to express love.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

“Fine, I have accepted Jesus as Milord and Saviour and I possess the Holy Spirit automatically” you may say, but Pastor Broadman Agboro says that you must let Him – allow the Holy Spirit to take control of you and express Himself freely through you. And this is not possible if you don’t produce the fruit of the Spirit. All you need is the fruit of the Spirit – one (citrus) fruit having love, gentleness, peace, kindness, milkiness, goodness etc as different segments. But what then is love since I am still yet to grasp in full the difference between love, crush and infatuation? You may say. 1Cor. 13 says love is never envious nor boils over with jealousy, it is not rude, does not insist on its own rights or its own way, is ever ready to believe the best of every person… (Amp).

By the time we got here, I was quick to remind God that these things are not-so-easy to practice. When I tried explaining, He took me back to Gal 5: 22 and 23 that it is His Spirit in me that is supposed to produce this fruit in me. All I needed to do is welcome Him (the Holy Spirit) and quench /subdue not His voice or activities (1Thes 5:9). The Book of John 1:12 says “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (KJV). It is clear here. All I need to do is accept Him – Jesus Christ and I would automatically receive power to become a son of God and a son of God is a Holy Spirit controlled person. A person who bears the fruit of the Spirit.

Gal 5:22 & 23 adds Joy and not everyone has joy, it was common in the year 2009 for you to hear on campus (A.A.U Ekpoma) “I no (just) get joy/ I don loose (my) joy”.  It was terrible one morning when one of my neighbours in 2006 woke up and said “I no get joy.” I have a sticker on my wardrobe which tells me day after day that “Joy is contagious, spread it.”  I wonder what kind of relationship we want to have with anybody without joy.

The Amplified Bible puts the word gladness in brackets immediately after joy. I dislike those who do not know how to be happy or people who make themselves allergic to happiness. They just keep on spoiling your mood and countenance if not with the face they are wearing or with their cold attitude – haters and killers of joy. A person who is unhappy and not joyful says to others that “I am miserable, and if you get close, you would possibly get contaminated.” Nobody would want to get close to such a person and that definitely includes me.

Friend, believe it or not, joy is contagious. Do not just have it for the sake of your relationship, but also spread it.

The next thing is Peace. Remember that it is only God that can give peace – peace that surpasses all human understanding (Phil 4:7). Some persons do not have peace and have no desire to court it: Always troublesome, restless and picking quarrels. Such a person cannot change in a relationship. Only God can help. However, do not forget that people only expose their beauty – good side during dating. This is what makes people give an angel a ring but ask a demon for it.

 The next is Long suffering which the Amplified Bible calls “patience, an even temper, forbearance”. Long-suffering according to a preacher means suffering long. Remember that we are still on Gal 5:22 & 23.

 Know that you need forbearance with some persons. You can’t do without it. Don’t attempt to do without it in your daily relationship with your colleagues in the office or course mates and roommates at school and also your neighbours at home. To rate your level of patience, look at how you would react when you are stuck in traffic and you’re already late. Or pay attention to what step you would rather take when the lights show red but no other car is coming from the other sides of the junction – the other roads are free. Looks simple right? How about you try babysitting a baby that is not your relative? You could also try teaching a slow learning kid. As a student, you could try your forbearance by not choosing your roommates.

Patience is a virtue that we all must endeavour to possess. If you do not know how to be patient with a customer who is wasting your time, it may be difficult for you to be patient when she does not just seem to be through with making up stuff. 

You may find it difficult to wait for your man or date when he finally shows up late at the restaurant. But you know what? The trick is, anytime your time seems to be wasted or you are not being treated properly, just C.D.S (Calm Down and Smile). Try it. I remember being in a queue with a friend. He wanted to get a certificate and it was not funny. I got tired and annoyed with the services but, when I remembered that happiness is a choice, I decided to be happy. I started filling my mind with beautiful thoughts and paced some metres while still smiling about the weather and other beautiful things. I calmed down and smiled all the way. Before I knew it, I was alive and happy again.

Kindness and Goodness follow each other. Kindness is being fair and helpful to people. The aged and little ones will be best able to access or grade who is kind – showing love even when it is not convenient. Benevolence is what follows goodness in the Amplified Bible. How much do you give gifts, money and time? Most guys complain that all girls want is –  buy me this, buy me that as if they did not exist before the guy met them. I once shared that view and selfish opinion until my counsellor explained that I am supposed to give – that I was the man.

She explained more that giving is a way of life that I should learn and it is not based on whether I have enough or sufficient enough before I could decide whether to give or not. Gen 3:16 says “he will rule over you” (Amp). The ruled always, must receive food and protection from the ruler. That is how it works. This does not however prevent or forbid the girl from being benevolent. Benigna said during one of our shows that one of the ways to know if a girl loves you is that she will buy you gifts and this does not necessarily have to be during anniversaries. Matt 5:42; Luke 6:38; Rom 12:20 and several other scriptures show to us that one of the secrets of prospering is giving. And this gift to be given includes your money, time, expertise and every other thing that a person could enjoy from you. If it does not cost you something, then you are yet to start learning how to give. Do know that a time would come after you have cultivated the culture of giving that nothing you give would prick you again?

Self-Control is one of the ways of expressing love that I like. It is the control over your chemistry – hormones, the control over anger, stress and your schedule. You need a lot of self-control in your relationship. It is the same amount you need in a relationship that is about the same amount that you need not take that extra mug of beer or champagne flute of red wine or use more sessions of your academic/business/family time on internet forums or in front of the t.v.

Lack of self-control to keep your room in order or hang your clothes or eat all the fries and snacks that you see or have an appetite for could cost you your relationship. Self-control will tell you that business comes before pleasure and that some things should be left undone like pre-marital sex. Discipline can only develop from self-control. So ask yourself? How much self-control do I have? Remember, having the Holy Spirit can give all to you.

I told someone, one of the ways of accessing patience and self-control is to take a stick-sweet and watch if you could lick it to the stick without chewing it or give a hungry friend draw-soup with eba and see his speed. Self-control will make you not only that public figure act modestly at all times but will also make you the most virtuous person back home.

How do you react when you know your boyfriend’s wallet size and yet he buys you only a doughnut in an eatery? Would you react when you see him hug another girl you don’t know anything about? Self-control will teach you to be patient and to just CDS. Self-control is also what helps you manage your independence well most especially as a 100 level student in a school like A.A.U Ekpoma or as a young graduate or boss.

Faithfulness is next. Don’t forget that we’re still on Gal. 5:22 & 23. This is to be true and trustworthy even out of sight. There can never be trust when there is no faithfulness. Trust emanates when one is found and proven faithful. It is better not to make a promise than to make a promise and not fulfil it. For it is only a fool that makes a promise he cannot fulfil.

Men are naturally promiscuous but my dad and grand-dads are still yet to be suspected of immorality. It invariably means I can still destroy the statistic of men who are naturally promiscuous and adulterous. So you’ve got no excuse to be financially, sexually or otherwise unfaithful. Remember that when a person gets first-hand, a right or privilege that your spouse or partner is supposed to get, that is infidelity.

Gentleness is the last attribute of Gal 5:22 and 23 which I am yet to discuss as one of the virtues needed to express your love. II Tim 2:24 says “God’s people must not be quarrelsome; they must be gentle, patient, teachers of those who are wrong” (TLB). The Amplified Bible says somewhere in the aforementioned scripture that he must be mildtempered. A gentle person is not rough, but kind and mild.

“I advise you to obey the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do: and the good things we want to do when the Holy Spirit has His way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us and our wishes are never free from their pressures… when you follow your wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, ….Envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing.” (see Gal 5:16-21 TLB)

Let me tell you again that anyone living that kind of life cannot express love. You cannot love God when you hate your brother. That is why expressing your love must start from home. Do not forget love has in it: patience, goodness, faithfulness, self-control as segments in the citrus fruit like the fruit of the Holy Spirit. 

Do not also be quick to forget that, “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love is never envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vain glorious, does not behave itself haughtily. It is not conceited : arrogant and inflated with pride,  it is not rude : unmannerly and does not act unbecomingly, love does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking : it is not tough or fretful or resentful it takes no account of the evil done to it, it pays no attention to a suffered wrong… it rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything….” 1Cor 13:4-7 (AMP).

Nemo dat quad non abet. You cannot give what you don’t have. God is love and love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Without God, you can’t express love. Since God is love, you must have God and receive his son Jesus to be able to express love. 

So say this prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you’re the son of God sent from him and that you died for my sins. I accept the wrongs and sins I have committed and promise to live better by your principles. Come into my life and make me a new creature. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the forgiveness and adoption answer which I get in Jesus’ name. amen.

Always remember, that the Alright’s Passion is geared towards reducing the divorce rate in Nigeria by tackling the issues that lead to a divorce from pre-marriage relationships and that it is your relationship with Jesus that makes every (other) relationship of yours sweet for without God, man is nothing and without His help, our relationship is nothing but miserably hell.

I refuse to be another black statistic: a black man who doesn’t give a damn about divorce. I refuse to allow my children to witness divorce or make mature decisions in court. I choose to marry for life or not marry at all. So help me God.

Earl Alright