How To Love a Girl

There are two ways not to love a girl. The first is the most obvious, and hardly needs mention, but for totality’s sake, I put before you the Secular Humanist Model. This model, from every angle and direction it’s looked at, sucks. You’ve all heard it before, its maxim – anything goes between two consenting adults – and its one and only commandment – unless otherwise specified, no cheating. This relationship is interesting because it is simultaneously greater and worse than the relationships of baboons. Greater, because no baboon is held to the awesome, unwritten oath of fidelity we humans bind ourselves to. Worse, because baboons are acutely aware of the proper functions of their genitals, and use them accordingly. I’ll leave it at that. Better, because the Secular Humanist Model puts a taboo on rape. Worse, because it denies responsibility. You’ve also heard all the reasons this model is boring – the hook-ups, heartbreak, chemical bonding, contraceptive culture, abortion – it is basically a polite Use. Two individuals use each other for their mutual benefit, and then go on there less-than-merry way. (Do I generalize? Of course.)

My main problem with this model of loving a girl is that it is not loving a girl. It’s a business proposition. The girl usually holds the cards, sure, and the guy is usually the bargainer, which is better than it might be, but is that love? Emotional fulfillment can be happily traded for pleasure, but is that everything? Is that the desire of our hearts? The Secular Model seems to take it’s inspiration from the pop song that cries, “What is love? Baby don’t hurt me…” Not that the artist had this in mind, but is that not an accurate description of the Secular Model? The answer to the question, “What is love?” is nothing more than the cautious desire to avoid pain. I don’t know what love is, but don’t cheat on me. I’m not sure about this whole love thing, but I’ll settle for a give-and-take situation in which I won’t be hurt. Except it always ends in hurt. But I’ve spent too long on the idiocy of secularism. Let’s talk about those disgusting religious.

There is a tendency amongst Christians – and I have to point out that I’ve heard it preached most often by our Evangelical brothers – to practice what we shall call the Jesus-First Model. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, some bright-eyed girl wearing a little, silver cross informs you that “Jesus comes first in my relationship.” Or your friend tells you, “first God, and then my spouse.” It’s not that I disagree with the sentiment – that God should be our primary goal – but I do deny the existence of a ‘love-list’ we are obligated to follow. I remember, as a child, making this list: “First comes God, then my family, then my best friend, then the rest of my friends.” But I am leaving childish things behind. God isn’t calling us to pray to him first and then love our girl, as if the timing of the thing mattered to Him. God isn’t demanding that – for every hour spent on a date – we give him two hours of praise. God certainly isn’t saying we need to somehow work up a greater emotion over him than over our lover. And why not?

Because God is love, its source and destination. The idea that he is frustrated that you’re loving your girl instead of Him is ridiculous. To put it as clearly as I can, to love another is to love God. We tend to only apply that to “the least of our brothers,” but it can be equally applied to “the greatest of our sisters”(if you know what I’m saying). Jesus does not come before your spouse, Jesus is your spouse. God does not come first, God is central. God is where your love comes from in the first place, and he is loved through those you share it with. I find that married people are very aware of this truth, but teenagers are idiots about it. Don’t limit love by trying to order it. It comes from God and goes back to Him, and we – mysteriously, beautifully – are the channels of its flow, channels that can never become too full. So love strong.

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  • Anonymous

    Nice post Marc.As a married person I agree that the point you are making is much more obvious in marriage. Fullfilling as it may be, a family is sometimes hard work, no two persons are the same and it takes Love and sacrifice. It takes to put yourself in the second place and to serve with love in order to have love. In a good marriage everyone is trying to be in that second place, so everyone is effectively in the first place. Nobody is serving but rather everyone is served etc… In marriage the God's order of things is much more clear perhaps becouse things are much more serious than in dating. It is for a lifetime afterall. There is a great ( saintly) priest in a parish not far away from where i live. At Thursdays we have Eucharistic adoration, and i've heard him say:" If you left your family in dissaray just to come here, you did a wrong thing. Do your dishes, put your children to sleep, don't leave anyone at your home frowning. Not becouse God comes second, but becouse God comes first. Your families are from God, and so are your duties in the family."So really, to be a good loving husband, a good father, is to serve God.I think the same applies to dating. To be a good boyfriend (girlfriend); to be chaste, to be faithful, truthful,; to have patience with that one person we believe God has intended for us… Isn't that serving God. We refrain ourself form the wordly urges, we cherish saintly virtues, because we place God in the first place.I don't think God is competitive in a way that He demands the first place for Himself. Not in a literral way, anyway. I believe that by loving my wife the way God intended me to, i am placing Him in the first place.

  • Liesl

    I believe it was Victor Hugo who said, "To love another person is to see the face of God." So right! Great post!

  • An Unreliable Narrator

    Deist Hugo wrote something to the effect in Les Miserables, but it was the (much more Catholic) musical that so succinctly gave us, "To love another person is to see the face of God." What a beautiful exposition of that idea you have given here.

  • Manny

    That is brilliant Marc. I've been married twenty years and you are right on.

  • Elaine Golden

    Right, Marc! I wanna be God's sunbeam!

  • Matthew

    Nice post Marc. I'm not even sure there is any commandment in the former model for love, fidelity or otherwise – see "Friends with Benefits" and "No Strings Attached" as examples of art imitating young life and love. The demonic inversion of the feminist revolution has been the objectification of women and the wild reign of man's unfettered and unrestricted impulses. Marriage and Mary exalt the woman – we've forsaken both, for man's barbaric rationalism. I myself just got married last year, and can attest to the fact that the man I was at 18 (former model) and the man that I am now (latter model) are worlds apart – and that true empowerment and liberation lies in restraint and boundaries. The most beautiful piece of any artwork, Chesterton quipped, is the frame. No frame, no art. No container, no sustenance.

  • Sonia

    As a young dating Catholic this is both encouraging and enlightening. How to put God first, yet be that patient, loving, virtuous person is very difficult to discover and achieve.Selfishness, pride, lust, and plain stupidity from myself and society in general cloud my perceptions and make it hard to know the right thing to do. But you do a good job of putting into understandable words the abstract concepts floating around in my brain. Great post!

  • Frenchie

    I really like this post, a very clear and kind analysis. A friend turned me on to your blog, I'm enjoying it a lot so far.I would say though that women are led to believe that we hold all the cards in the Secular-Human version of "love" and this is not entirely the truth. That is what extremely liberal feminism has brainwashed women into thinking, and in fact it has enslaved women into thinking that if they are not constantly convincing men to have sex with them that they have no value. The result is widespread anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and elective surgery. "Owning your female sexuality" has absorbed a generation of women into the cycle that the more they claim to be powerful the more they are powerless.

  • eula_w

    Great post you have shared in here Marc! Really like to read in here. Will be back to read more! :) pheromones attract women

  • John

    great post!

  • Kharis

    I understand what you mean by the Jesus -first thing. However I’ve always taken people saying that to mean that one does not worship their significant other over God or place him/her on a pedestal above Him (which is extremely harmful to any relationship). Oftentimes people make the mistake of looking to the loved one for emotional fulfillment, which no one can give but God.

    Also I think many people (including myself and my husband) say “Jesus comes first in our relationship” and mean that His will is what we seek above all else. His kingdom and glory is our first priority individually and corporately. We love each other so well because Jesus is our mural priority and passion. Our cognizance of living for Him and dependence upon Him enables us to receive the strength to love one another in a truly awe-inspiring way.

    I’m saying that truly putting Jesus first is the only way to love one another rightly, and not everyone says “Jesus comes first” out of an overly religious sense of fear and duty (which I believe is what you provided an example of). There is an awesome power in a couple that together “seeks first the kingdom of God.”

  • Paulandrewbaum

    I also enjoyed this post. As usual your analysis of the current culture of romantic love was right on. Love being mutual use and “is nothing more than the cautious desire to avoid pain.”
    I also agree with your analysis of the evangelical idea of love. Your right in saying that in the sacramental nature of marriage, the act of loving one’s spouse becomes loving God directly.
    What I take issue with is this statement: “Don’t limit love by trying to order it.” I think this idea needs a some clarification. To place order on things does not limit their nature but frees it. We can see this in creation, engineering, and yes in relationships. Ultimately we find it in Christ who is the Divine Order: Logos. My backup? Referring to love specifically, I will point to the Summa, Second part of the second part, q 26.
    It seems like you are reacting to a certain scrupulosity that is found in orthodox Catholic culture. People are afraid to “love” a person (i.e. feel more) for a person than for God. Don’t the secular humanists and the scrupulous have the same issue? That of relying solely on feelings. Saying that “ordering love” limits its nature goes a little to far. Let me know what you think.

  • Michael Yost

    A most insightful article. :)

  • Matthew

    Have you read CS Lewis’ The Four Loves? He says something similar in it – that he doesn’t think you can ever really love a person “too much.” He says, and this was a real neat way to put it, “inordinate” is not a quantitative term. “First hating” your mother etc. – that’s about not giving them any concessions when a decision comes where you have to choose which master to serve.

  • Magnificat729

    I must say, every time I read your writing, I am transported with the delight in the joy that must have been in God’s heart when he invested you with this gift. And then I’m transported with delight in all God’s creativity.

    However, from now on, I’m going to deduct a point every time you use the word “suck”. It does not become you.

  • Ciara

    Dude, you are utterly awesome. That is all.
    God Bless you and your writing,
    From Ireland.