The reason I love my wife is entirely selfish. And I’ve told her this, many times. Despite being told so often that only selfless love is valid, it’s what my wife does for me that causes me to love her (as, I’m reliably informed, is the reason she loves me back). The way she looks, acts, talks; these things evoke love from me because I enjoy them – not for any philanthropic reason whatsoever. I’m not loving her because I feel any moral virtue in treating someone the way I treat her; I’m loving her because of what she does for me. If she didn’t please me to my standards, I wouldn’t love her. And – believe me – I want her love for me to be as selfish as mine is for her: the idea of her loving me out of compassion or any other selfless reason is repellent to me. Who wants love out of sacrifice alone? I want her to want me for her own selfish reasons, or not at all. That dynamic makes me feel good.

Although I’ve always thought this way about my relationship with my wife, I’d never heard anyone else say it… until tonight. Dr. Gary Hull (Ayn Rand Institute, The Ayn Reader) has written a wonderful little article for Valentine’s Day which says exactly that, and constitutes an Objectivist (or egoist) approach to love:

“You would be indignant to learn that you are being ‘loved,’ not for anything positive you offer your lover, but–like any recipient of alms–for what you lack. Yet that is the perverse view of love entailed in the belief that it is self-sacrificial. Genuine love is the exact opposite. It is the most selfish experience possible, in the true sense of the term: it benefits your life in a way that involves no sacrifice of others to yourself or of yourself to others.”

Read the rest of this great article here, and have a happy and self-centred Valentine’s Day.