In Graham Greene’s Classic, Heart of the Matter, he struck gold with his philosophy on life, love and marriage. Probably one of the facets that makes the book revered. His description of what Henry felt for others is like a hot knife passing through the fiber of complicated human emotions: cutting to the very truth. It is a pleasant thing to feel electric sparks or fireworks when you come in contact with someone you profess to love. But above all the weakness in the knees when you see their steamy bodies or the acrobatics executed by your heart when you hear their voices, understanding goes a long way in cementing love.

Because a time comes when their bodies do not do it again, a time when their voices no longer sound like tiny birds but their essence remains the same, their spirits do not fade.

Although understanding is first and foremost from knowledge about them, their actions, reasons behind them and many more, it goes as forward as judgment. It reflects in the way one weighs the actions of others. Comprehending another human is like watching videos of them behind the scenes, behind their actions. It is seeing the mechanisms that make them do or not do.

Loving a person has more to do with grasping the WHY of them than any other thing. It is this powerful aspect that gives humans the ability to forgive. Like the Christian God in all his omnipotence will be incapable of extending complete forgiveness if he did not have the knowledge that he had made humans out of dust and they are imperfect, limited.

Without understanding why, there is no possibility of love, only a fleeting feeling of pseudo-love that cannot withstand mistakes.

This is why it is close to impossible to forgive a criminal of morality. It is understandable that a person needs food and shelter and money and such one goes out to acquire them via illegitimate means. Not that this is enough to exempt them from punishment by law. But what excuse do those who are married and/or with the means to get willing sexual partners have when they force themselves on reluctant others? Or how else do you understand a person who willfully keeps hurting another person but that they enjoy the pain. Which should not be understandable unless it is self-hurt. This is not an encouragement for self-hurt.

It is not totally fictional to get racing heartbeats when you sight your loved one, and it is believable that each time your bodies touch, you explode like fallen stars. However, when you understand a lover, your need to show another person love becomes as basic as oxygen. You need no reason. It transcends every other thing. It is like you are a God of love that can forgive anything. You need no impressing. Their existence is enough. Beauty becomes less about physical appearance and it is not uncommon to find yourself in a fix when trying to explain why you find them more attractive than other people. Even Rihanna.

Even without explanation, you give yourself all the reasons to overlook errors.

You understand that a lie you have uncovered was told to protect you from the truth. You know that a secret that someone finally betrays to you does not do you any good.

When you possess the ability to understand people, it is like they are books. Every of their actions and reactions have a chapter to which you can quickly go back to for reference.

What are WhatsApp chats that you will make issues over who is this and who was that? Facebook love reactions mean little as well when you understand that your partner did not automatically become less attractive to others just because they said yes to you. Insecurity will only ruin beautiful things but knowledge (read that as in-depth knowledge) of the kind of love you share will eliminate such burden.

Ultimately, understanding gives people the power to decide when love should die. It is only when you understand your loved one that you can see that the tie has become a bondage to either you or them or you both. When you have weighed their actions and seen that it is not an error but rather a conscious effort to hurt you, then it is time to snuff out the light of love. When you have peered into the microscopic intent of your acts, you can rightly decide if you have become a disease to the one you love and it is time to exclude yourself from their space to allow them find something better.

It is this facet that led Henry Scobie to graciously exit life by suicide while trying, even in those dire times, to ensure that it does not turn back to scald someone else. (Referencing the book I mentioned in the opening sentences).

If you love someone, first understand them, then you can beat your chest that what you feel will not easily fleece away after one error or two or even a thousand. 

Omotayo Jones
obinnajones5@gmail.com
An addict with the pen. A student of mathematics and physics, Twitter troll, Facebook comedian and all-round human.

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