“I love you” or “I want you”?
by Fr. Themistoklis Mourtzanos
In our times, it’s not so easy to say “I love you”. As we have learned that our desires are everything, we advance the expression “I want you” in a relationship.
Previously, love was considered a prerequisite for fulfilling the desire, and that is why marriage was the expected outcome of a relationship, which was considered serious only when it had the perspective of the family.
Even if relations did not last for long, physical contact out of marriage was not socially acceptable or, at least, not without the certainty that marriage would follow.
Today, marriage looks like a distant prospect for people in their 20s or 30s. Many have to become forty to make a desicion. Career, fun and “I want you” come first.
This is why the refusal of the Church to consent to premarital relations is now regarded as an out-of-place mentality, and an unnecessary and unappealing conservatism. Thus, “I want you” is an expression of a desire, often only physical.
It works in the prospect of satisfying the desire for the Other as regards pleasure. Carnality is deified.
The body is viewed as independent of the whole existence, it becomes a fruit for mutual eating, while relationship is treated as a desirable but not necessary prospect.
“I want you” becomes a trademark for all ages. The image of another person generates lust in the mind and, at the same time, the soul is giving way to the ephemeral. Pleasure is the key. I cannot know whether I click with the Other, if our bodies do not match.
It makes no sense to have relationships, if they do not operate under the perspective of “I want you”.
That’s why love quickly turns into a routine, and that’s what happens when “I want you” becomes a duty or a habit.
That happens when we yield it for the sake of our children, our career, our glory; when we substitute it in Social Networks with our image. Love does not exist without “I want you”. Only with “I want you” we fall out of love. Thus, infidelity comes in the relationship when “I want you” is expressed to another the person.
Infidelity comes when the present object of desire cannot attract the movement of the heart and the body, since everything has been saturated, delivered to boredom or replaced by other pleasures, such as glory and money.
“I want you” without “I love you” makes no sense. The first unites bodies, the second unites entities.
Because love for the Other makes him/her a subject, a person of unique value.
It generates respect for his/her feelings, his/her “wills”. But it also helps us to decide to overcome our “ego”, especially in its most difficult area, that of desires. What our culture glorifies as a condition of happiness, true love subordinates it to the society of human beings.
It tells us that we first have to find and decide to have a companion, based on the will to tolerate anything, and at the same time, to struggle in order to become the joy of the Other, by correcting our passions and mistakes, with God’s help.
This is a road that Church could propose in order to later explain why it says NO to any “I want” without “Ι love”!