A young woman, who grew up in a violent home, reached out for help. She never saw mum and dad sharing any gestures or words of love. And, when she sees young men, she is drawn to the possibility that she could experience the love her heart craves from ‘him’. She is worried these thoughts are sinful. 

I will respond to her directly, but it may speak to you also.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge the pain you have experienced from growing up in this kind of home. That pain is not God’s plan for marriage and family life. Secondly,  I am proud of you. Your strong yearning for love and intimacy is a sign that you have remained open to God and His plan for your love life. You have not allowed one example of a less than desirable marriage to squash your hunger for, or belief in real love.

No matter what kind of marriage someone was raised to witness, I always recommend analysing the good things your parents did which you want to repeat, and the not-so-good that you want to improve on. This does not make you ungrateful. To never assess your parents’ marriage and see how you could improve is like burying your talents, without investing them for interest. The investment will bless your future spouse and children. 

Desires for affection are not just normal, but good and holy! God intended it this way. However, you must guard yourself against using these men emotionally to give you the love you’re missing. Don’t imagine these young men saying to you and doing with you all the things you want to receive one day from your husband. You aren’t married to them, so don’t put them in a false reality. Imaginations of this kind always lead to frustration. You will feel emptier and angrier after your time of imagination because it wasn’t real. 

When you experience these desires, remind yourself that they ultimately point to God. Pursue Him with all you have. Only secondly can it be a calling to human love. Love these young men as your brothers, do not turn them into idols you worship in your imagination. Always send these desires and the person that may accompany them to Jesus. Trust that in His time, the Lord will make a way for your desires to be filled to the full!