The Desire to Be Loved
Long ago in a city located in what is today the land of Turkey, there lived a girl named Leah. Leah was plain in appearance, but her younger sister, Rachel, was beautiful.
RACHEL met a man who loved her so much that he agreed to work for her father for seven years to gain her hand in marriage. On the wedding night, however, the father of the girls substituted Leah for her sister. We do not know how Leah felt about her father’s scheme, but she must have known that this was hardly an ideal entry into marriage.
Upon discovering what had happened, the new husband protested. The father explained that it was customary to give the older daughter first in marriage. Hence, Leah now found herself married by deceit to a man whose first love was for her younger sister, whom he also married. How sad Leah must have felt when she saw her sister receive most of the affection! Leah had no romantic tales to tell of her courtship and few, if any, happy memories of her wedding day. How she must have yearned to be loved as Rachel was! Thus, partly because of circumstances over which she had little control, Leah may have often felt unloved and unwanted.*
To some extent, many today can relate to Leah. We all have a deep-rooted need to love and to be loved. Perhaps we yearn for a mate who will love us. We also want the affection of our parents, our children, our siblings, and our friends. Like Leah, we may see others who find love, whereas we do not.
From infancy we hear romantic tales of beautiful people who fall in love and live happily ever after. Singers croon about love; poets extol it. However, a researcher on the subject wrote: “There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.” Indeed, it is often our closest relationships that are the most troubling—bringing us anguish instead of lasting joy. In a number of countries, about 40 percent of all marriages now end in divorce, and many couples who do not divorce are far from happy.
Many lands have also seen an increase in both single-parent and dysfunctional families, in which children have also become victims. Yet, children especially need the emotional security of a warm, loving family environment. So, what has happened to love? Where can we turn in order to learn about this precious quality? The following articles will examine these questions.
This account is found in chapters 29 and 30 of the Bible book of Genesis.