By Jeffery Edwards, N.W.A. Contributor

Do you like me?  Circle “yes” or “no” – remember when relationships were that simple?  Well, times have changed and so have the ways we love. 

Sounds peculiar to say it, because there should only be one way to love; but mixed messages, mixed feelings and messed up advice can take us on a love rollercoaster that started way before we even knew what it was all about.

What do you think of this “thing called love?”

Have you loved the same in all your relationships? Can you say that you gave it your all? Maybe one aspect wasn’t needed in the last that is definitely needed in the current.

Who was the first person you fell in love with?  Was it your grade school teacher?  Maybe she gave you your first Valentine’s Day candy or card, courtesy of Cupid who struck you with his bow and arrow—and you were hooked from there. Or maybe it was someone you played with at recess and had no idea that this person would be the love of your life.

Love starts at a very young age and whether we want to admit it or not, our first true love unknowingly is our parents.  Sigmund Freud famously broke down the human psyche with the Oedipus complex, which is essentially love at its first degree. 

Freud defines the Oedipus complex as a child’s unconscious desire for the exclusive love of the parent of the opposite sex. Hence the phrases, “Daddy’s Little Girl” or “Mama’s Boy.”

Freud says this desire includes jealousy toward the parent of the same sex and the unconscious wish for that parent’s death.   In Greek mythology, Oedipus was a hero who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother.  Later, researchers came up with the Electra complex for girls. According to Greek legend, a woman named Electra helped plan the murder of her mother. 

Now, we don’t have to go that far—but do you see exactly how “elementary” love can be in its rarest form before true understanding kicks in? As time goes on, we begin developing what will eventually become “levels of love.”

I bet you can remember your first girlfriend or boyfriend like it was yesterday. What did you learn from that first relationship?

You probably felt you could do nothing wrong and your love would last forever….. Wrong!   One thing we never forget is what made the relationship a RELATIONSHIP!  You probably held hands, said goofy stuff, shared your lunch or even went out on little play dates.

To coin a phrase by the Wu-Tang Clan, “Can it be that it was all so simple then?”

Yes it was! Being in love when you have no cares in the world is the greatest feeling, but is it realistic?


Entering high school just messed our heads up even more!  We were suddenly taken from our sheltered worlds and meshed with a mix of people, with different looks and personalities.

Some excelled in sports, academics, band—you get the picture. It’s not fair. Your eyes get huge and you wonder how can it be, is this all for me?  Yep!

Was the object of your affection the head cheerleader, the captain of the football team, the class president, the valedictorian or the principal’s daughter? Sorry… had to slip that one in. (you know who you are.)

But generally speaking, for most of us, our hearts raced with thoughts of the unknown and what made these certain people exceptional.

Curiosity takes over and you are hooked once again. But the question still remains – have you changed or is that just another level opening up that you have not experienced before?

While elementary school gives you that first crush, high school usually brings about that first “love” because, statistically speaking, it is in high school when most of us cross over into the “physical” side of love – or what we thought was love.  And you know how very delicate those times can be. 

Graduation day and here comes college. Can you say high school multiplied by 1000! 

DeWayne Wayne (A Different World) had to keep flipping the shades to keep up with all the eye candy on college campuses!

There were flavors from all over the world gathered in one place – SWEET!

But was it heaven – NOPE—It was college and the major was Love Test 101.  Class is now in session! 

College has shaped and molded many of us into who we are today. A lot of us experience a different type of love in college.  While high school was all about sampling first fruits, college was more about the connection.  When you are far away from home, you tend to latch on to something or someone for stability.  There is nothing wrong with feeling that way. College can also be a daunting place, because unfortunately, there is a lot of eye-candy floating around and raging hormones mixed with wandering eyes can lead to a lot of heartbreak.

Some of us love the way the environment allows. Meaning if your friends are in and out of relationships, then chances are you will too. But not always, because if you truly love a person, it will stick despite what your friends are doing.

There is huge question that we all have to ask ourselves. Have all the flavors of love run out and you are prepared to try something new? One that’s everlasting, sustaining, remaining, overcoming, withstanding, demanding, willing, achieving, believing and redeeming!

Of all these interactions in relationships, what can you or would like to take into marriage?  It is the single accumulation of every aspect of every relationship you are ever involved with up to that point. At least it should be.

Marriage should be like the first time you fell in love; like sand box love, swing love, park love, grade-school teacher love.

Your eyes should open and light up to this person because this is something new. It’s the declaration that you have decided to take all that you have experienced and trade it in for a new, improved version.  Marriage!

The best thing about marriage is your mate will get the best part of you and vice-versa.

Can it be as simple as a meeting on the playground? Yes!

Can it be as bitter as the taste of the sand in the box?  Yes Indeed!

Is it worth fighting for?  As long as it’s not a losing battle!

Change is inevitable in all that we do. Love should remain the same and we should see it as it should be – as innocent, pure and uncomplicated as that first grade-school crush!

If you live hard, love harder!

Jeff Edwards, JE Yawll!

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