How Do You Not Want?

Friends keep telling me, "You will meet someone when you least expect it" or, "You want this too badly; you've got to not want it so much and then it will happen." But how am I supposed to not want what I want more than anything? Why do some people seem to find someone seemingly so easily while others cannot find anyone? What I've learned from life thus far is that wanting to love and be loved, wanting someone and longing to be wanted, is a basic need of humanity. We need family; we need friends; we need people in culture; and we need love -- to love and to be loved; to want and to be wanted.

If you will allot me some exegetical room: the fact that God insists that, having created Adam, him being alone is not good should grant us a clue about the need of us all for human relationships and community. (Gen. 2:18) God does not state nor even insinuate: "Well, if Adam is to procreate, I will have to create his counterpart and that is My main purpose in creating them as a functional couple." God couches the language of Adam's metaphysical or emotional well-being in terms of his need for companionship: "I will make him a helper as his partner." (Gen. 2:18b, emphases added)

This helper and partner is to be his equal -- not his slave, not his "submissive wife" -- his helper (someone who, as an equal, comes alongside to assist) and his partner. At Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 5:2, consequently, the narrative insists that the two are created at the same time. But I digress. The point of God is that being alone is not good. May we infer that same sentiment for each one of us? To the person longing to fall in love, to spend one's life with another, are we willing to insist that, though God confesses that Adam being alone is not good, being alone is good for many others? Upon what basis shall we make such a declaration? Are you yourself willing to accept such a lonely scenario?



What is "not good" concerning someone being alone? Adam has the animals to enjoy. But they are not suitable companions. (Gen. 2:19, 20) They cannot communicate with him. What about God? Adam maintains conversations with God. (Gen. 3:8) Is God trying to tell us something? I think so: God is not enough to fix our loneliness. We need another human being with whom to be intimate, emotionally and psychologically and physically present, in order to feel fulfilled. You straight married men, Christian or not, know this to be true. Otherwise you would not seek out a female partner with whom to share life, love, and happiness. Could you not want what you most want in life? No? Neither can I.

Ever since my epiphany, of wanting a life-long relationship with a guy back in December, I have watched other couples operate. I've been taking mental notes. I've listened to some couples hurt each other with unintended words, or attitudes, and I've witnessed forgiveness, compassion, and understanding. I've listened to silly bickering over nonsense; I've heard legitimate complaints; and I think I've learned more of what not to do than what to do in a relationship. What I've learned most, however, was from reading these words from Jesus: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matt. 7:12)

We've heard that lesson since we were kids. But how many among us live this out? I often forget this tidbit of a command -- among family members in quarrels, with my friends, at my job and interacting with the public. I want to implement this command in all aspects of my life, including my future with another human being, and I look forward to practicing this command daily. Because when I say "I love you," that means not only will I die for you, if need be, but I will also live for and with you as I desire to be treated. I long to be respected so I shall respect. I need to be loved immensely and so I shall love immensely. I want to be wanted and so I will, with integrity, want; I long to be someone's one and only and so I will never jeopardize the relationship by flirting with another. I want a pure love and so I will love purely. How do I not want that? I doubt that I will ever be able to not want that for my life.


ABOUT WILLIAM BIRCH

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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.