I recently read a letter to the editor of a magazine that got my attention. It was written by a woman who was at the breaking point in her marriage. She described how she had spent many years working long hours at her job to the point of exhaustion, until one day when she came home to find her husband with her best friend. The quote that keeps running through my head went something like this: “While I worked myself to death, he was off having romantic flings. It just isn’t fair. Suddenly I realize what I am missing in life. I want to have the secret romantic get-away too. I want that thrill of hidden romance for myself.”

Reading her letter got me thinking about desire. Before we were born there were certain desires poured into us. One of the strongest of these is the desire to love and to be loved. Think back to when you were a young child, what did you long for? What were your dreams and desires? Most likely they had a theme of true love running through them. As a girl I dreamed of seeing my husband look at me the way I had seen my Dad look at my Mom, a look of pure love and admiration. Perhaps your dreams looked slightly different. As I watch my two sons play I get hints on their dreams and desires. When they play they like to act the part of the hero. Whether or not they have realized it yet, they dream of the day when someone will look on them with love and respect, and see them as the hero. Regardless of the specifics, I suspect that as young kids, we all desire love.

So if desire in itself is not bad, what has gone wrong? Why does the word ‘desire’ seem to draw up mental images of torrid affairs? Why did the woman who wrote the letter to the magazine instantly jump to the conclusion that what she desired was an affair? I doubt that as a young girl she laid awake at night dreaming of the day that she would betray her husband. I suspect that somewhere deep inside her, she knew that she really didn’t want the affair. What she really wanted was for her husband to open up his eyes and see her beauty. She wanted him to pursue her the way he had when they had first met. She desired the romance that they had once felt to rekindle, then burn brightly for the rest of their lives. So why was she settling for something else? Did she think that her true desires were too good to come true? Had her childhood dreams begun to sound like fairytales that she had outgrown? Did the world’s lies begin to sound like truth - that there is no such thing as true love, so she may as well settle for the next best thing- a fling?

Wounded heart, true love is not a fairytale that we outgrow when we become adults. What our hearts told us when we were small children is true: we were made to love and be loved. Could it be that when we try to ignore the deep call in our hearts to find and then hold onto love we actually leave ourselves vulnerable to counterfeits, which eventually leave us feeling empty and even more alone? The problem isn’t that we desire too much, it is that we have chosen to settle for far too little, and it has left us feeling very dissatisfied. Whether you are the betrayer or the betrayed, dare to desire what your heart truly longs for. Don’t settle for the cleverly disguised counterfeit. Choose what is real. Choose your heart’s desire: Love.

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pursuing desire

Pursuing as we once did when we were first dating is daunting if not impossible. Life as defined by family, kids, work, and just plain living gets in the way. Having already been physically intimate with your spouse before, disappointment/ discouragement may abound if it's not discussed.

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