Love is a Figure of Speech You came to me in the robes of Cyclamen But how can I bring you a bouquet of red chrysanthemums? When I have not found any white chrysanthemums in the bouquet of your heart? Do not pluck the petals of my pure daisies with your eyes closed, lest you would be fooled by your wild guesses. Because, you do not need to set your foot on twelve daisies before you can see the dawn of your spring I will give you neither white nor red daisies after the last swallow of summer has flown away from your alcove, lest your dreams of them in autumn leave you heartbroken in winter. In my wanderlust quest for Ivy I did not find you in the bloom of Orange Blossom or in Lemon Blossom But I found you entangled in the paphiopedilum orchids of Phaphos with a garland of Peach Blossom dangling from your ringed neck Like a rose entangled in your own thorns Then I disentangled you before I led you to the lyceum of my Muses They welcomed you with the petals of Apple Blossom cast at your bleeding feet. They wiped your tears away with the golden petals of yellow roses and bathed you in the pool of the Coral Rose. They covered you with the Peach Rose and led you into the bed of my Rose of Persia before I came to you with my bouquet of the white Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. ~ Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima Love is the most common word in relationships, but it is also the most abused and misused by humans in their search for love. A suitor promises the nubile maiden heaven on earth and other fantastic things in his pursuit of winning her hand in marriage. She believes him and they later get married after courtship. Their marriage looks unbreakable, but only time will tell how long they will last. I have seen beautiful and wonderful couples and they are the models of the ideal marriage. They can face the challenges of marriage and still remain faithful to their matrimonial vows, no matter what happens. The marriage will determine the future of the family, because marriage is the foundation of the family. I believe the kind of marriage you have will decide the success or failure of your family in the society. A well planned marriage will have a well planned family and a well planned family will never be a poor family. A well planned marriage starts from courtship and not after the successful wedding. You must know what kind of life partner you want and what kind of partnership you want to establish for a successful life. It would be foolish for a hardworking man to marry a lazy woman or for a hardworking woman to marry a lazy man. Being pretty and sexy is not beneficial if the woman is not productive at home and at work. The richest woman in the world did not make it by having a pretty face. In fact, the not so pretty, but hardworking and smart woman has ended up very successful and sending the pretty, but less productive and dumb blonde on errands. The poor state of the Nigerian government can be traced to the upbringing of the public office holders in the corridors of power. What are their family backgrounds? What kind of families are they from? What kind of marriages produced them? The political problems of Nigeria are sociological. If you are from a disciplined home, you cannot end up in the stagnant pool of corruption. The pastor of the Christ Embassy Church on Bonny Island said, parents are responsible for the character develpment of their children. What kind of parents breed criminals in the public and private sectors? Love is the key to good parenting. True love and not the fake love based on the bargains you make with your partners. In Eastern Nigeria, every bride has a price and men marry only the women they can afford to pay the bride price. The brides from upper class families cost more while the brides from the lower class cost less. The suitors are the bidders and the highest bidder often wins the hand of the most attractive bride. But there are exceptions when love decides who should marry the bride. The brides fall in love with the suitors they have chosen to marry, but their love hardly comes cheap. It has a price-tag. The romantic love celebrated in many Western movies and books hardly become a reality in Eastern Nigeria, even though millions of the singles have the common romantic fantasy of the tall and handsome man winning the heart of the pretty and sexy damsel. They do fall in love or in lust in the higher institutions as long as the male student playing Romeo has bright prospects of graduating and getting a dream job to earn a good salary to afford to marry the Juliet of his dreams, otherwise she would end up in the arms of another suitor who may never look like the hunk on the cover of one of the Barbara Cartland's romantic novels. That is why many of the pretty campus girls from Eastern Nigeria got married to the rich traders in Onitsha, Aba, Lagos and Kano while their campus boyfriends were still composing applications for jobs. But these marriages of convenience have produced dysfunctional families, because the couples are not often the ideal partners. While she is reading the Financial Times or Vogue, he is gazing at the almanac of the new chiefs in his village. She ends up with unfulfilled dreams, because in most cases she would be forced to give up her tall ambition and submit to his dictates and wits. They are intellectually poles apart. Therefore their children are often caught in-between the contrasting values and virtues of their parents. These dysfunctional families have not produced the best in human capital development in Nigeria. They have produced Average Joes and Janes. When the man and woman who are truly in love marry, they produce the best in their family, because they are living and working in the synergy of their love. Couples in love have been found to be the most productive with stable families and stable jobs. TO BE CONTINUED LATER.