Desiring to be Desired

photo by Paula Leme //

What is love? 

It's a hard word to define, isn't it? French philosopher Yann Dall'Aglio has defined it as "desiring to be desired." (Or in the words of Cheap Trick: "I Want You to Want Me").

Playing with this brief definition for a minute can help us understand ourselves in our world, an aim which Dall'Aglio makes his own. He says that in the modern world our need for love, "desiring to be desired," has created a seduction economy, in which we frantically collect things that we think will make us desirable. In his TEDxParis talk he says: 

It is said in this consumption that our age is materialistic. But it’s not true! We only accumulate objects to communicate with other minds. We do it to make them love us, to seduce them. Nothing could be less materialistic or more sentimental than a teenage boy buying a pair of new jeans and tearing them at the knees –for Jennifer.
— Yann Dall'Aglio

Dall'Aglio is not offering a religious definition of love and the one he offers isn't robust enough to serve that lofty purpose. Still, his brief definition of love is certainly part of what the fullest definition would include, so take one moment to consider it––

God loves you.
He desires that you would desire Him.
When He thinks about you (all the time), He hopes that you would think of Him, that you would turn toward Him, that you might say His name, might say thank you, might tell Him what's on your mind, might smile when you consider His gifts, might yearn for Him, might be with Him. 
He desires that you would desire Him. 

Our Redeemer thirsts for recognition. He hungers for the sympathy and love of those whom He has purchased with His own blood. He longs with inexpressible desire that they should come to Him and have life. As the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her little child, which tells of the dawning of intelligence, so does Christ watch for the expression of grateful love, which shows that spiritual life is begun in the soul.
— Ellen G White, Desire of Ages (191)

Never More Loved

I never feel more loved than when it is very late and I open the door and walk lightly over the floor and lift the cool, white blanket and put myself into bed and find his leg there––on my side, where it should be––

and at the touch of my four fingers on his back, he envelopes me: an arm, a leg cast over me, pulls me into him, his forehead against my hair, his breath against my neck, arms enfolding.

I never feel more loved than when he loves me sleeping, still sleeping, because it tells me that he loves me deep. Down where the muscle meets memory he loves me.

the best marriage advice

The best marriage advice I ever got was long before I was ever married. 

An elder from my church could see that I really, really, really liked this Joshua Bennett kid. So he said, 

"Make a list of all his faults. 

I mean, every single one."

Really? Does that sound like a good idea for building a strong relationship?

"Then go down that list, one item at a time.

Choose to accept each of those faults. If you come to one that you can't accept, then don't marry him. But if you make it through the list, then marry him and enjoy it. ... Later, when you're married and he has the same faults and they're driving you up a wall, you can preserve your sanity by knowing that you've already accepted that about him and it's okay." 

This sounded really strange to me, but it was immensely helpful. 

The same things that bugged me about Joshua before we got married are the same flaws that he still has to this day; apparently saying your vows does not instantly perfect a person. But I've chosen to accept and love and support him---so I can get on to really enjoying him :)

Eight years into this marriage and I'm happier than ever---not because I married a perfect man (he's really great! but he's not perfect), but because I chose to accept the man I married. 

Good advice, Stan. Thanks. 

I Love To Hear My Husband Sing

I love to hear my husband sing,
   because he sings like he lives:
   straightforwardly, honestly,
   without pretense, without effort to impress.

I used to be bothered when we stood in the congregation
and he didn't sing along or even mouth the words.
He would stand, sometimes shift uncomfortably,
sometimes close his eyes.

And I was beside him, singing with extra volume
to make up for his very rude silence,
and to protest his apparent protest.
But now I realize that he will sing
only when he means it
and he always means it when he sings.

I love to hear my husband's honest songs to God.