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Recently, while burning garbage in my
compound, I found myself thinking about love; the fire of love to be precise.

From starting it, to ensuring that all the accompanying garbage burns, without touching anything else in the compound
that can start an uncontrollable inferno.

From that mundane experience, I learned lessons that I thought would be valuable to our relationships.

•Starting the fire:

I gathered some dry twigs and
some papers, created a small space under them and struck a match.

There was some smoke at first, a small
fire and then huge flames begin to lick at the garbage.

LESSON ONE LEARNT: Lighting a fire is easy if the conditions are good and you do everything right.

The weather conditions were just right—hot and calm with a gentle wind blowing.

If you have been struggling to start a love fire, chances are that something isn’t quite in place.

Mind you, I am not saying that what you feel for your partner should be perfect, or that you should not have self-doubts about your partner.

However, the nature of love is such that once the conditions are conducive; it
quickly ignites and burns away.

•Burning deep:

I had a long pole with which I kept poking at the fire, forcing up to the surface stuff that is buried under layers of garbage.

That is where the fire is, and the idea is to ensure that every bit of garbage in that pit is burned, not just what is on the surface.

LESSON TWO LEARNT: Though starting a fire might be easy, for a relationship to be fulfilling, love must burn deep.

For this to happen, you need to engage the mental gear of love, the one that
over-rides the temptation to bask perpetually in the glory of shallow passion.

Instead, it demands effort in the form of
commitment, responsibility and self-disclosure, as well as exposure.

In this way, love grows to the extent that even when the fire is not visible to
others, we know it is there, burning deep.

•Fire control:

“Fire is a good servant but a bad master”, goes a well-known saying.

That is true because in fact, my energies at the garbage pit were divided almost equally between ensuring the fire burns deep on the one hand and on the other, ensuring it did not burn beyond a certain limit that would set other things in my compound on fire.

LESSON THREE LEARNT: Love is a fire that if left unchecked, can do more harm than good.

You might say that is ridiculous because our responsibility should be to keep love burning, not controlling it.

That might be the case for many, especially after being together for a while and have formed stable relationships.

But think, for example, about the young college students who give up everything: family, friends and studies
once they fall in love.

They are totally consumed with each other for a semester, sometimes a year.

But by the time they come around to reality of life, they discover that in the heat of passion, everything else went up in smoke; their dreams, their health and very, very often, and unfortunately so, their sanity,reputation and life.

I have been there, so I am drawing from facts.

THE ULTIMATE LESSON LEARNT

Be there!

To light a fire, to ensure it burns deep and to control it demands this one thing: your total presence, physically, emotionally and mentally.

Where physical presence is not possible, couples should have a constant,
deliberately planned communication schedule.

Love is not a hit and run affair and cannot be remote controlled.

It is only by being continually present that lovers will know whether there is a fire in their relationship, how deep it is burning, and whether it is burning out of control.

And sometimes,when the fire has burnt itself out to ashes,you just leave it! You can’t start a fire from dead ashes of a broken heart…

At other times,when it threatens to burn out of control,you have to douse the flames with water!

Love is fire that should be warm enough to keep away the cold,not too hot to threaten your very existence.

And if the fire of love ever burns out of control,threatening to burn your car,your house,your designer suits,your very important documents,or your body by dousing it with petrol in the evil crimes of passion, jealousy and revenge from jilted lovers,run for your dear life,my friend!

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