Preparing for Real Marriage

Preparing for Real Marriage



“Following His Advent the Lord will revive conjugial love, such as it was among ancient peoples. For conjugial love comes only from the Lord, and it is found in people who are made spiritual by Him through His Word” (CL 81.5).

Marriage. People have been getting married ever since people were human. The propagation of the human race depends on marriage. The eternal happiness of heaven depends on marriage. The problem is – people have progressively become more and more ignorant about marriage.

In the history of the human race there have been five ages: golden, silver, copper, iron, and iron mixed with clay. Although “it cannot be known from historical sources … conjugial love was the greatest of loves among the ancient and most ancient peoples who lived in those first ages referred to” (CL 73) as golden and silver. However, by the copper age wisdom concerning marriage was beginning to wane into mere knowledge. This decline continued during the Iron Age as knowledge of true marriage was replaced with polygamy.

The final age of the human race is the age of iron mixed with clay. For people of this age, “Darkness to them is light, and light to them is darkness” (CL 79.4). They do not know the difference between a wife and a harlot (CL 79.5). They believe marriage to be captivity or imprisonment (CL 79.5). They are devoid of religion (CL 79.6) and so relegate matters of religion to priests instead of entering into them for themselves (CL 79.7). This means that they are in a state of faith without charity (CL 79.7). They see marriage as simply “deeds of the flesh and the night” which are thought to be driven by the flesh acting upon the spirit (CL 79.8). And in summary they are “anything but wise!” (CL 79.11). In fact, “the end has now come, because no truth remains that has not been falsified, and falsification of truth is spiritual licentiousness, which allies itself with natural licentiousness, because they go together” (CL 80.3).

The work Conjugial Love was written to people of the age of iron mixed with clay (CL 79.1, 79.11). Therefore, when it refers to people “at this day” and like appellations it is referring to people who are in this kind of darkness regarding the truths of the church. And so when it mentions the fact that “…so far no one on earth knows what true conjugial love is in its origin or in its essence, and yet it is important for them to know. Therefore it has pleased the Lord to open the heavens…” (CL 42) it is important to focus on the second statement more than the first. For the truth is, the Lord has now opened the heavens to us so that we may enter into a true understanding of the reality in which we live.

In dealing with the particular truths relating to marriage, it is important to maintain an awareness of several basic truths.

The first basic truth is the definition of the New Church:

The doctrines of the church that is meant by the New Jerusalem are as follows:

    1. There is one God, in whom is the Divine Trinity, and that God is the Lord Jesus Christ.
    2. Saving faith is to believe in Him.
    3. Evils must be abstained from because they are of the devil and from the devil.
    4. Good deeds must be done because they are of God and from God.
    5. These good deeds must be done by a person as though he were doing them from himself, but he must believe that they are from the Lord in him and by means of him. (CL 82.1, see also TCR 3,4)

The New Church is the promised reinstatement of the presence of the Lord with all people as it was prophesied in the book of Revelation and statements by the Old Testament prophets such as “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33). It opens the pathway to heaven by demonstrating to the human mind the truths of life, including the truths regarding marriage. Truly happy marriage is only available to those who acknowledge the Lord, shun evils, and do goods as if of themselves, acknowledging that all good and truth are from the Lord and truly are His.

The second basic truth is that people are real spiritual beings clothed in a natural body for the duration of their life in the natural world. This is essential to understanding marriage because “people cannot accept as a matter of faith that marriages exist in heaven if they believe that a person is a soul or spirit after death, and hold to an idea of the soul or spirit as being like thin air or a puff of breath. Nor can they accept it if they believe that a person does not live again as a person until after the day of the Last Judgment” (CL 27, see also CL 28). The implication of being a real spiritual being is that eternal life is not a far off destination, but rather a daily choice. The quality of life forever is decided right now by how a person chooses to use the time and resources provided them.

The third basic truth is that the only way to find out about true marriage is to go to the Lord in His revelation. This is confirmed by the fact that “…no one can see the endless varieties of this love in any light of the understanding, even if elevated, unless he first knows what that love is like in its true essence and perfect state, thus what it was like when, together with life, it was bestowed on mankind by God” (CL 57). Marriage is an essential part of spiritual life. It is as much a part of human existence as life itself. It draws its origin directly from God. This means that only God can give the true answers as to how marriage was intended to work. It is up to every person to look to the Lord in His Word, pray for understanding, and live a life in accordance with what they believe the Lord to be teaching. In this way the Lord will be able to lead the human race back into a knowledge of true marriage and a true wisdom concerning it.

The fourth basic truth is that “conjugial love is unlimited in its variety. It is not the same in one person as it is in another” (CL 57). The infinite variety of Conjugial love arises from the fact that all marriages find their origin in the marriage of good and truth, the presence of the Lord in creation (see below). Therefore “to judge that such a love does not exist, or is not possible, because it is not found in oneself or in this or that individual, does not follow as a valid conclusion” (CL 333). The God of the universe has indicated in His Word that true marriage does exist and is possible. It is important, then, in exploring what He has revealed concerning marriage, to avoid the misconception that our experience disproves His Word.

The aim of this exploration is to compile the doctrine of marriage as it relates to men and women. The reader is encouraged to read the referenced passages in their completeness whenever possible, for the whole Word, from Genesis to True Christian Religion, treats of marriage. There is not one passage that does not bear directly on marriage in some way. This stems from the fact that the marriage of good and truth makes up the Word in its essence and also is the origin of the marriage between one man and one woman. Therefore, the more one understands about spiritual and celestial things, the more one is equipped to enter into true marriage. However, in order to provide a starting point the Lord has given a framework of teaching around which we can build our understanding of marriage in the work Delights of Wisdom Relating to Conjugial Love Followed By Pleasures of Insanity Relating to Licentious Love, commonly called Conjugial Love. Therefore, as this exploration is also intended as an introduction to the doctrine of marriage, it will draw the bulk of its material from the compilation which the Lord has already provided in this work.

An exploration of the truth about marriage will follow in two chapters:

1. The Masculine and the Feminine
2. Preparation for Marriage

Chapters to be included in a later study include:

3. Evils Before Marriage and the Return to Chastity
4. Betrothals and Weddings
5. Conjunction in Marriage
6. Challenges to Marriage

However, in exploring the nature of the masculine, the feminine, and preparation for marriage it will be seen that understanding these three aspects of marriage open the way to an understanding of the full truths concerning this aspect of human life.



For people who look to the Lord and desire a chaste conjugial relationship the Lord provides a partner either in this life or the next.  The challenge for people looking to marriage is knowing how to recognize a partner.  Men and women approach this recognition from their innate natures, from the understanding and from the will.  Recognition,

When used in reference solely to the power of understanding means understanding; when used in reference to the understanding and at the same time the will means believing; and when used in reference solely to the will it means perceiving … For inwardly within themselves those in whom good or love is predominant perceive that something is so, whereas within themselves those in whom truth or faith is predominant see that it is such. (AC 10155)

Therefore it may be seen that men see and understand that a woman would be a good partner and women perceive their commonality and the two together believe that they are a good match.  When this happens, it is evidence that the Lord is providing the partners for each other.

One feature of the difference in men’s and women’s approach to recognition is that upon arriving in the spiritual world “husbands rarely recognize their wives, but … wives readily recognize their husbands.  The reason is that women have an interior perception of love, while men have only a more superficial perception” (CL 47r).  Recognition by means of the sight of the understanding is a more superficial perception of love than recognition by means of the perception of love.  This is seen clearly in the fact that women more readily recognize when men are attracted to them than vice versa, although in a general way men may feel more attractive to the opposite sex from a sense of self-worth (real or imagined!).

Recognition of a life partner requires not only the reception of insight from the Lord, but also the shunning of dissembling behaviors.  It is incumbent on the partners to bring their externals into harmony with their internals so as to avoid being deceitful, or becoming “hypocrites, flatterers, fakes and liars” (CL 48r). In other words, don’t mislead or be misled, for:

The reason separations occur after death is that unions formed on earth are seldom formed on the basis of any internal perception of love, but as the result of an external perception which conceals the internal one. An external perception of love takes its cause and origin from such things as have to do with love of the world and love of one’s own person … There are various attractions that entice into marriage, such as good looks and a pretended elegance of manners.  Sometimes even unchasteness attracts. (CL 49)

Therefore, in looking toward marriage it is essential that people realize that only internal marriages last for eternity, and only internal marriages improve with age.  And so it is necessary that a couple look to the Lord as they come closer to each other and seek to discover their internal similarity, recognizing the qualities that will join them together and sustain them in faith and life.


“The consent is the essential element in marriage, and the rest of the things that follow are its formalities” (CL 21.3, see also TCR 748).  It is often regarded as sexist that “the woman ought to consult her parents or guardians and then deliberate in herself before giving consent.  A woman should consult her parents, because their deliberations and counsels are guided by judgment, knowledge and love” (CL 298). However, the fact is, men are not the ones consenting, they are the ones proposing.  The challenge is to understand why consenting requires more counsel than proposing.  A woman is to seek consultation with her parents, or those standing in their place:

For she cannot weigh in the balance such a matter that affects her future welfare and be guided by judgment, knowledge and love.  Not by judgment, because her judgment is still in ignorance in regard to married life and in no position to balance considerations for and against or to perceive the ways of men from their native character.  Not by knowledge or observation, because she observes little beyond the domestic relations in her parents’ home and in the homes of some companions, and she is not equipped to investigate such matters as are private and personal to her suitor.  Neither by love, because when daughters first reach a marriageable age, and also the age that follows, their love is governed by infatuations of the senses and not as yet by the desires of a mature mind.  Nevertheless, a daughter ought to deliberate on such a matter in herself before giving consent, and this in order not to be swept against her will into wedlock with a man she does not love.  For in such a case, consent on her part is lacking, and yet it is consent which makes a marriage and which initiates her spirit into conjugial love.  Consent that is unwillingly given or coerced does not initiate her spirit, though it may the body, and in that case it turns any chastity residing in the spirit into lust, by which conjugial love is corrupted at its first warmth. (CL 299)

Therefore it is important that women are the ones choosing whom they marry.  However, if they are to make the best decision possible it is necessary for them to do some information gathering from those who are close to them, love them, and are looking to their best interests.  Consent is the essential of marriage.  Consent must be shared between the partners for true marriage to come into being (AC 3090).  Therefore, women should make use of all possible judgment, knowledge, and love of those they trust and love when choosing to accept a man’s proposal.


There is a basic truth, “it is one thing to be masculine and another to be feminine” (CL 32).  At present, people often use external arguments to form conclusions about internal realities.  However, no matter how convincing external appearances may be, the fact is that they cannot be used to disavow revealed truths.  In reflecting on the truths of marriage it is important to hold in mind that “conjugial love is unlimited in its variety.  It is not the same in one person as it is in another” (CL 57). The infinite variety of conjugial love arises from the fact that all marriages find their origin in the marriage of good and truth, the presence of the Lord in creation.  Therefore it is clear that “to judge that such a love does not exist, or is not possible, because it is not found in oneself or in this or that individual, does not follow as a valid conclusion” (CL 333).  Put simply, experience cannot be used to disprove the Lord’s Word.

The God of the universe has indicated in His Word that true marriage does exist and is possible.  For in the beginning God did create “man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it’” (Genesis 1:27-28).  It follows from this that “therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  This was plainly established by the Lord when He quoted these passages and concluded “so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:8-9).  In this statement the Lord is clearly motivating men and women to realize the opportunity of true marriage and look to Him for leadership in its development and for its sustenance.

It is the hope for all people that “following His Advent the Lord will revive conjugial love, such as it was among ancient peoples.  For conjugial love comes only from the Lord, and it is found in people who are made spiritual by Him through His Word” (CL 81.5).  As the New Church grows and prospers on earth as it descends from the Lord out of heaven, truly spiritual marriage will be renewed for an ever-growing number of people.  In this development, “the Lord regards primarily the objective, purpose or intention of the will, and therefore to the extent that a person has the objective, purpose or intention and perseveres in them, to that extent he is introduced into purity and progressively draws nearer to it” (CL 146).  And so it stands to reason that conjugial love “is in accordance with the religion in a person, spiritual in the spiritual, natural in the natural, and merely carnal in adulterers” (CL 534).  From this it may be concluded that “truly conjugial love with its delights comes solely from the Lord and is given to those who are received into the Lord’s New Church … the church that is meant in the book of Revelation by the New Jerusalem” (CL 534).

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’  And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.  But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’ (Revelation 21:1-8)

Who is wise?  Let him understand these things.  Who is prudent?  Let him know them.  For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.  ( Hosea 14:9)

Determination To One Of The Opposite Sex

Determination To One Of The Opposite Sex

The purpose of courtship is to discover a love for one of the opposite sex.  The state of life outside of marriage is one of varying degrees of love for the opposite sex in its general form.  This “love for the opposite sex is love for several of the opposite sex and experienced with several, whereas conjugial love is love solely for one of the opposite sex and experienced with one….  The more spiritual a person becomes, therefore, the more he divests himself of a love for the opposite sex and clothes himself in conjugial love” (CL 48).  The point is that even when a person has not yet found their eternal or life partner their intent and behavior should be focusing on moving toward love with a single partner.  Marriage is only possible between two of the opposite sex.  Therefore, life leading to marriage is a process of exploration and discovery of that one partner.

This process of discovery, is actually an exploration in search of a partner who is close to you in the spiritual world.  For in the spiritual world “… two people cannot live together in the same house unless they are likenesses of each other.  And they cannot live together at all as married partners unless their feelings for each other are mutual” (CL 50).  This poses a real challenge to focus on internal reality when it comes to finding a life partner.  It is challenging because “people know that there are similarities between married partners and dissimilarities; also that the outward ones are discernible, whereas the inner ones do not appear except to the partners themselves after they have lived together for some time, and to others through certain indications” (CL 227). Therefore, in the process of determining the love of the opposite sex in general to a love for an individual of the opposite sex, it is essential that people explore each other, to the degree possible, from an internal perspective.  As people strive to pursue an internally similar partner they will discover that “for people who desire truly conjugial love, the Lord provides similar partners, and if they are not found on earth, He provides them in heaven.  This results from the fact that all marriages of truly conjugial love are provided by the Lord” (CL 229).

The Lord has created a system in which “similarities and dissimilarities arise in general from people’s native inclinations, varied by their upbringing, associations, and acquired persuasions” (CL 227).  In the spiritual world this means that “similarity or harmony in character causes association and presence, while dissimilarity or disharmony causes dissociation and absence” (CL 171).  However, in the natural world this spiritual reality is veiled and sometimes obstructed by the space and time separation innate to the material world.  The fact remains, though, that individuals are to trust that for people approaching marriage looking to the Lord, He “unveils their inner similarities so that they notice each other” (CL 229).  This has reference not only to the process of betrothal, but also to the initial recognition and later determination to a marriage partner.

The key to understanding how it is that the Lord works with human understanding and perception in the finding a life partner is found in the following teaching:

Some similarities and dissimilarities are internal, and some are external.  Internal ones trace their origin solely from religion; for religion is implanted in souls, and it is transmitted through souls from parents to offspring as a supreme predisposition.  The reason is that every person’s soul draws its life from a marriage of good and truth, and from this marriage comes the church.  Now because the church varies and differs throughout the regions of the entire globe, therefore the souls of all human beings also vary and differ.  This is consequently the origin of people’s internal similarities and dissimilarities, and in accordance with them the conjugial conjunctions of which we have spoken.  In contrast, external similarities and dissimilarities are qualities not of souls but of dispositions.  By dispositions we mean people’s outward affections and consequent inclinations which are implanted after birth chiefly through their upbringings, associations, and resulting habits.  Indeed, people say, “I have a disposition to do this,” or “a disposition to do that,” and we comprehend by this an affection or inclination for it.  Acquired persuasions respecting one kind of life or another usually shape these dispositions as well.  They are what induce inclinations in some even to enter marriages with partners not their equals and also to refuse marriages with ones who are.  Nevertheless, after the partners have lived together for a time, these marriages vary according to the similarities and dissimilarities which the partners have acquired both by heredity and their accompanying upbringing.  Any dissimilarities then induce coldness. (CL 246)

Therefore the more a couple knows about each other before they are married the better, for “separations come about only as a result of cold states progressively developed after marriage, or as a result of factors discovered after marriage which in turn lead to coldness” (CL 234).

From this it may be seen that in looking toward marriage it is important to note that dissimilarities may not be apparent unless a person’s habits of behavior are examined.  It is important to explore a potential partner for dissimilarities internally and externally because, in marriage, coldness will arise when these different habits become apparent (CL 246).

It is true that “nearly all people in the natural world can be associated together in respect to their outward affections, but not in respect to their inner affections if these differ and become apparent” (CL 272).  However, “in the spiritual world, all are associated together in accord with their inner affections, and not in accord with their outward affections unless these are in harmony with their inner ones” (CL 273).  This is not often the case in the natural world because “inward affections that belong to the mind do not appear, and in many cases scarcely a trace of them is visible.  For either the body swallows them up and immerses them in its dregs, or from a habit of dissembling learned from early childhood, it hides them deep within and conceals them from the sight of others” (CL 272). Therefore:

Marriages in the world are generally contracted on the basis of outward affections … because inward affections are rarely considered; and even if they are, still a reflection of them is not seen in the woman, for by native instinct she withdraws her inner affections into the secret chambers of her mind.  There are many outward affections which induce men into marrying … Added to these are various enticements and lusts.  These, too, do not allow opportunity for exploring congruences of inward affections. (CL 274)

The danger to marriage, here, lies in the fact that “if inward affections that join the partners’ minds are not present … the marriages come apart in the home” (CL 275) because “the outward affections which once induced and enticed them into marrying are then cast aside, so as to no longer join the two” (CL 275).  The overall warning here is that “cold states arise for a variety of internal, external and incidental reasons – all of which draw their origins from a dissimilarity in inward inclinations” (CL 275).

Although it presents a real challenge (CL 320), people looking toward marriage should focus on discovering inward affections in their partners – inward affections, which are “mutual inclinations that exist in the mind of each from heaven” (CL 277). These are distinct from external affection in the fact that external affections “exist in the mind of each from the world” (CL 277).  In this way individuals will facilitate the Lord’s providence in showing them a partner.  They will discover an ability to determine their love for the opposite sex to a love for an individual of the opposite sex.

Principles Of Courtship

Principles Of Courtship

The process of courtship is analogous to the discovery of spiritual life.  In the case of spiritual life:

Abstract goods and truths have no real existence, because they are not grounded in anything, having no underlying foundation … Consequently, as abstractions they are merely figments, which reason supposes it can think about abstractly, but which it really cannot except as attributes of concrete subjects.  For every idea a person has, however refined, is concrete, that is to say, it is attached to concrete things. (CL 66)

Therefore, in spiritual development it is essential that a person not leave goods and truths as abstractions, but instead puts them into action, living a life of goodness informed and accomplished by truth.

It is the same with courtship.  There is real danger in entertaining romantic fantasy in anything but a playful manner, for “those are caught up in the fantasy of their lust who think withdrawn into themselves and indulge their imagination excessively, talking to themselves; for they almost separate their spirit from its connection with the body, overwhelming their understanding with delusion and stupidly entertaining themselves with nonsense as though everything in the universe were theirs” (CL 267).  Instead of remaining in the fantasy of romance, it serves people well to create friendships with members of the opposite sex, getting to know something more than their exterior appearance and disposition, so that internal attractions will surface and partnerships be formed.  It should be the continual effort of every individual to seek, to the degree possible, to use the judgment of the spirit and not the judgment of the body.  For the judgment of the body, being based on the external senses, is easily misled.  However, the judgment of the spirit can see distinctions from a higher light (CL 57, see also AC 4526).  Therefore, in the dating process better ends will result when individuals allow their minds to dwell on interior aspects of their potential partners, rather than resting on merely external and bodily characteristics (see AC 4145).

The importance of using the judgment from the spirit rather than the body arises from the fact that:

conjugial love begins through the agency of a love for the opposite sex because before a married partner is found, a person loves the opposite sex in general and regards it with loving eyes.  In their company he also treats the opposite sex with courteous morality.  For the adolescent is in a period of choosing, and at that time his external nature grows pleasantly warm from a deep-seated inclination to marriage with one, which lies hidden in the inner sanctum of his mind. (CL 98.2)

It is important to see that conjugial love:

is not a love for the opposite sex, but love for one of the sex, which arises only when a young man sees a young woman provided by the Lord, and the young woman the young man, both feeling an inclination to marry kindled in their hearts, and perceiving, the young man that she is for him, and the young woman that he is for her.  For love then presents itself to love and causes them to recognize each other, at once joining their souls, and afterward their minds.  From there it enters their hearts, and after the wedding goes on beyond.  And so it becomes a full love, which daily grows into union, even to the point that they no longer are two, but virtually one person. (CL 44)

The discovery of an eternal partner is something that descends from the soul, to the mind, and into the body.  Therefore, the more internally focused a couple is, the more they will be able to discern a good match.  This is not to say that a couple should be introverted, self-contained, or otherwise separated from the world around.  Those sorts of behavior would not allow for actual internal discernment, for, as was seen previously, love left in the abstract is not love at all.  The internal focus necessary for successful courtship is the internal reflection on the similarities between the partners – the man seeing if he could live on the love from this woman alone, the woman seeing if this man would give a good form to her life.  If a couple looks to see if the Lord has provided them for each other, there is a far greater likelihood of discovering the kind of internal, eternal relationship which goes to “the point that they no longer are two, but virtually one person” (CL 44, see also CL 112, 156r, 196, 321).

The goal of two becoming one, is a spiritual goal.  People, therefore, are encouraged not to settle for a merely natural marriage.  For “all those married partners who are merely natural separate after death … [Or] when one partner is spiritual and the other natural, they, too, separate after death” (CL 54).  On the other hand, people who pursue spiritual life and spiritual marriage will feel the “pleasant, agreeable and delightful sensations” (CL 148) of the internal inclination to be married.  The external inclination to marriage remains, “but it is continually chastened and cleansed of its impurities by the internal inclination, and this even until the external inclination becomes, as it were, the visible expression of the internal one – drawing its pleasure, and at the same time its life and the delights of its vitality, from the bliss that exists in the internal one” (CL 148).

Enough emphasis cannot be placed on the fact that life descends as “natural loves draw their life from spiritual loves, and spiritual loves form celestial ones, and all of them, in this order, from the Lord, from whom they come” (CL 67).  The implication of this teaching for marriage is that in order for true marriage to happen partners must share in the same religion.  Otherwise “good cannot be joined together with its corresponding truth – for a wife in form is the good of her husband’s truth, and he the truth of his wife’s goodness … Consequently, it is impossible in their case for their two souls to become one soul” (CL 242).  This also means that once a person has accepted genuine truths of the church it is not acceptable for them to reject them for the sake of their marriage because conjugial love “is not possible in people who have falsified genuine truths of the church in themselves” (CL 243).   However, if a person has not yet accepted the truth, and in its place has falsities of religion “elements of good may exist with which their falsities can be joined by the Lord through adaptations of them; for these falsities are like various discordant tones which through skillful interpolations and insertions are drawn into a harmony, from which comes also the pleasantness of the harmony.  In people like this some conjugial love is possible” (CL 243).  However, the overriding principle remains that in order for true marriage to occur, people need to be matched with another of their same religion – which is to say their same beliefs and way of life.

Another way of thinking about partners sharing the same religion is to see that if at all possible, people who are inclined to pursue spiritual life should seek out a partner who is similarly inclined (CL 280).  This is the case because:

it is impossible for an interior love to exist between two married partners, one of whom is spiritual, the other natural.  By spiritual we mean one who loves spiritual things and who thus has his wisdom from the Lord; and by natural we mean one who loves only natural things and who thus has his wisdom from himself.  When two people like this are joined in marriage, conjugial love in the spiritual partner is warm and in the natural partner cold. (CL 281)

In essence, looking for another of the same beliefs and lifestyle is looking for someone in close proximity in the spiritual world for “appearances of distance and nearness in the spiritual world depend on congruences, similarities, and affinities of love” (CL 158.1).  It is a key to spiritual marriage that the partners share in a spiritual location, even if they do not come from the same geographical location.  People sometimes end up in natural marriages when they are “contracted in the area, city or town of one’s birth or residence, where the only choice possible is confined and limited” (CL 49).  This is not to say that one is more likely to find a partner by traveling the world over.  Rather, it is simply an admonition to think outside of natural circumstances so that spiritual circumstances become the focus.  However, it should be noted that there are challenges to marriages between people of different natural backgrounds.  Therefore, in courting and marrying a person of dissimilar background, it is essential that one partner not be brought into submission to the other.  Whether this is caused by financial inequity, social position, or cultural differences:

in none of these circumstances does meek submission in deference to the superior station or condition of the other serve to unite the partners, except in the manner of a servant with its master.  Yet a union like that is a cold one; for the conjugial bond in such cases is not a matter of the spirit and heart, but only of the mouth and name, of which the inferior boasts and which causes the superior to blush with shame. (CL 250)

In fact, no matter what the circumstances, it is important for a couple to look out for “the pleasure of variety…the deference of submission…[and] the bliss of ruling” (CL 78.4).  These three are the earmarks of natural thinking and willing and so should be shunned if a couple wishes to pursue actual marriage.

It is essential to spiritual marriage that people be matched with a partner of similar internal character.  Because of this, it is up to men to choose whom they wish to court.

This is because the man was born to be a form of the intellect, whereas the woman was born to be a form of love.  Moreover, it is inherent in men commonly to love the opposite sex in general, whereas it is inherent in women to love one of the opposite sex.  And further, it is not unbecoming for men to speak of love and to declare it, while it is unbecoming for women to do so.  Nevertheless, women still have the option of choosing one of a number of suitors.(CL 296)

Because men are forms of understanding, it is their nature to see similarities and differences in potential partners, rather than following the inclinations of love (CL 296).  This means that a man potentially has a better chance to see, from among his acquaintances, a woman who may be similar to him not only in outward appearances but also in internal reality (CL 296).  The ability to distinguish a single partner is further supported by the fact that men are attracted to the opposite sex in general and not to one in particular, as women are.  This aids in the selection process because it encourages a man to look inwardly for distinctions between partners – seeing as any one of a multitude of women externally arouse him (CL 296).  And finally, it is left to a man to select a woman to court because while he is still in the natural state, alternating between the internal and external inclination to marriage, it is not attractive for a woman to declare her love to him.  This is because the man must first come into a more chaste wisdom that is receptive of the truth that women are lovers, before his partner will be able to declare her love (CL 296).  However, although men are given the first choice, “women have the option of choosing one of a number of suitors, which is something everyone knows.  But this kind of choice is a restricted and limited one, while that of men is broad and not limited” (CL 296).   From this it also follows that:

The man ought to court the woman and ask her to marry him, and not the other way around.  This is a consequence following his choosing whom to court.  Moreover, it is also honorable and seemly for men to court women and ask them to marry them, whereas it would not be seemly for women to do so in reverse.  If women were to do the courting and asking, they would not only be censured, but after several times of asking they would also be regarded as contemptible, or after marriage as slaves to lust, with whom it would be impossible to have any domestic relations other than cold and disgusting ones.  Marriages would be thus changed into tragic scenes.  Wives on that account even turn it to their credit that they yielded to their men’s pressing the question, as though in surrender to them.  Who does not envision that if women were to court men, they would rarely be accepted, but would be either shamefully rejected or seduced into wanton acts, in addition to prostituting their modesty?    Furthermore, men do not have any innate love for the opposite sex, as evidenced earlier, and without that love, they lack an inner enjoyment of life.  Consequently, to enhance their life by that love, it is incumbent on men to make appeals to women, by politely, respectfully and humbly courting them and asking them to grant that sweet addition to their lives.  The beauty of that sex in face, form and manners, surpassing that of men, also adds itself as an obligation of the vow. (CL 297)

Notice that there is a protection for women if they maintain this passive appearance.  For in this way they remove opportunities for the natural inclinations of men to persuade them into activities contrary to chastity.

Successful courtship is based on the development and support of chastity in men and women.  Therefore, it is incumbent on men and women to shun licentious love, which is a love for many, because “licentious love is diametrically opposed to conjugial love” (CL 247).  Courtship is the process of narrowing an unchaste love for the opposite sex into a chaste love for one of the opposite sex.  In order to do this people need to focus on shunning polygamy (CL 141) and the kinds of behaviors that forward a polygamous view of the opposite sex.  This means that men should not be dating more than one woman at one time.  It means that women should not support the polygamous tendency in men.  One of the many traps, in this respect, is that of jealousy.  People need to be wary of mistaking jealousy for love (CL 77).  Whereas jealousy is the desire to possess another person, “it is the essence of love to love others outside of oneself, to desire to be one with them, and to render them blessed from oneself” (TCR 43).  Jealousy has its place in marriage if it is rooted in the desire to protect a chaste love.  However, jealousy can also be the polygamous urge to possess another individual without a desire for a chaste reciprocal relationship between two of the opposite sex.  Therefore, in courting, individuals need to be basing their decisions on what will best support the development of chaste love, regarding the tendency to love more than one of the opposite sex as an inclination to be shunned.

Committing to the love of one woman is the key to success in courtship because:

There is a conjugial love of such a superior nature … that it exists when only one of the opposite sex is loved.  What intellect, if it regards correlations in connected series with a cultivated eye, cannot deduce from them that if a lover from his soul or from his inmost being steadfastly persists in a love for the same woman, he would attain those eternal blessings which he promised himself before her consent and continues to promise himself upon receiving it?  He does attain them, too, if he goes to the Lord and lives from Him a life of true religion, as we have shown previously.  Who else enters from above into a person’s life, to bestow on him the inner joys of heaven and impart these in turn to all that follows?  And this still more when He also imparts at the same time a constant virility? (CL 333, see also CL 194)

Another aspect of successful courtship is education in the external trappings of a good relationship.  This comes in the form of learning good communication skills, conflict resolution, and so on.  This is important for it is often the case that “after a married couple has passed through the initial stages of marriage, contests arise between them over who has what right and who has what power” (CL 291). Therefore, it is important to learn how to resolve conflicts because there will be times when “between partners who for various reasons are discordant in mind, intermittent states occur of disagreement and trust, of estrangement and union, indeed of quarreling and making up, thus of reconciliation” (CL 289) and this reconciliation is “effected by shows of apparent friendship” (CL 289) which are enabled by good conflict resolution and communication skills.

Courtship is looking toward marriage.  Therefore, if a man or woman is impotent prior to marriage, it is their duty to inform their potential partner of this lest it become a “reason for separation, because the goal of marriage is the procreation of offspring, which the already impotent cannot provide.  Moreover, because they know this beforehand, they deliberately deprive their partners of any hope of children, a hope which nevertheless nourishes and sustains the conjugial love of women” (CL 254).  This should not be taken as a prohibition of marriage in the case of impotence.  Rather, this passage is emphasizing the importance of communication between partners, especially on matters as central to a marriage as the ability to have children.

The final principle governing good courtship is that people should not hasten the development of conjugial love (CL 312).  It is key to realize that, in heaven, little children “do not grow beyond the first age of maturity.  They stop at that age and remain in it to eternity.  Moreover, when they reach that age, they marry.  Their marriage is provided by the Lord and celebrated in the heaven where the young man resides; and he shortly then follows his wife into her heaven, or to her house if they are in the same society” (CL 411).  This teaching is encouraging a move in the direction of marriage early in adult life.  However, the right time for marriage is always when two people are entering into a covenant with each other from a well-considered acknowledgment of internal states as they are perceived by the couple.  This means that young marriage is not preferable to marriage later in life on principle.  Rather, it is preferable that people enter into marriage when they discover a partner who is internally similar and with whom they wish to become more and more one to eternity.  This can happen at any point from early adulthood, around the age of 20, on.

Chaste Love Looking To Marriage

Chaste Love Looking To Marriage

The Lord created human beings such that “when conjugial love has been implanted, love for the opposite sex turns around and becomes a chaste love for the opposite sex” (CL 99).  The quality of this chaste love for the opposite sex is such that it “is the love of a man for a maiden or married woman beautiful in form and lovely in manners, which is free of any idea of lasciviousness, and vice versa [that is, the same sort of love of a woman for a single or married man]” (CL 55.2).  This kind of love is predominantly Christian because it depends on acknowledgement of the Lord.  However, there is an interesting statement made about the possibility of chastity with all people in that “a chaste conjugial relationship does not exist except in the Christian world, and if it does not exist … still it is possible” (CL 142).  It is a bit of a challenge to discover what is meant here.  However, upon reflection it may be seen that conjugial love is available to all people, so long as they are looking to the Lord as they know Him and shunning evils as sins.  The reason that conjugial chastity may not currently exist in the world at large is because of the lack of knowledge of who God is and how He is to be followed.  It may be hoped that as the Lord has now revealed Himself in fullness more and more of the world will come into a knowledge of Him and life according to His commandments.  As this happens more and more people will discover the reality of chaste conjugial love.

One of the greatest challenges to chastity before marriage arises from the fact that “the special sense of conjugial love is the sense of touch.  Every love has its own special sense.  The love of seeing, arising from a love of understanding, has the sense of sight; and the things that give it pleasure are symmetries and qualities of beauty” (CL 210, see also AC 7038).  The Lord has indeed provided that “the first love – meaning the love before the wedding and just after the wedding – draws some of its character from a love for the opposite sex, thus from a heat belonging to the body not yet tempered by a love of the spirit” (CL 145).  The opportunities for delights arising from the sense of touch in marriage are infinite and varied.  However, this teaching may also serve as a warning to those as yet unmarried, for “the beginnings and progressions of conjugial love develop in sequence in order for them to flow into the fruitful love which begins with the wedding, therefore betrothals take place in heaven as well” (CL 301).  This means that:

by the order engraved on it truly conjugial love ascends and descends.  It ascends from its first warmth progressively upward towards people’s souls in an effort to form conjunctions there, and this by continually more interior openings of their minds.  There is, moreover, no love which strives for these openings more intensely, or which opens the interior recesses of minds more forcefully and adeptly, than conjugial love; for it is the soul in each which impels it.  On the other hand, in the very same moments that this love ascends toward the soul, it also descends toward the body and invests itself in it.  People should know, however, that conjugial love is of the same character in its descent as it is in the height to which it ascends.  If it soars aloft, it descends chaste; but if it does not soar aloft, it descends unchaste.  That is because the lower elements of the mind are unchaste, while its higher elements are chaste; for the lower elements of the mind cling to the body, whereas the higher elements divorce themselves from such things. (CL 302)

It is particularly a truth with men that:

everyone is in a state of lust inwardly from birth, and in a state of intelligence outwardly from training; but that no one is in a state of intelligence inwardly, thus in spirit – still less in a state of wisdom – except from the Lord.  For everyone … is withheld from the lust of evil and kept in a state of intelligence according as he looks to the Lord and is at the same time conjoined with Him.  Apart from this a person is nothing but lust.  Yet he is still in a state of intelligence in outward aspects, or as regards the body, from training. (CL 267, see also CL 351)

This poses an extreme challenge to young people as they come into the first awareness of love for the opposite sex.  It is important to realize:

what happens if a man and woman rush a marriage prematurely without an orderly development, not looking to the Lord, not taking the counsel of reason, spurning betrothal, and hearkening only to the flesh.  If the heat of that is the ardor from which love commences, it becomes an external love and not an internal one, thus not conjugial love; and this may be termed the shell of love without its kernel, or a fleshly one that is wasted and dry, because it is devoid of its genuine essence. (CL 312)

The need for a pursuit of a chaste relationship with one of the opposite sex is the key to lifelong happiness.  This is clear from the fact that:

spiritual people proceed in a proper and orderly progression, and natural people in an improper and disorderly one.  For spiritual people look to the Lord, and the Lord oversees and guides an orderly progression.  But natural people look to themselves, and so proceed in an inverted progression.  Consequently their married state is inwardly full of elements that are unchaste; and the more numerous the unchaste elements, the more numerous their states of coldness, and the more numerous their states of coldness, the more numerous the obstructions to their intimacy of life, which block up its passage and dry up its source. (CL 313)

In order to minimize the colds in marriage it is important to focus on chastity before marriage.

One of the most striking teachings concerning preparation for marriage is that the quality of a marriage is largely determined by the quality of the states leading up to it.  This is seen in the statement that in “the sequential progression leading to marriage, and the concurrent set of elements in marriage … the latter results from the former and in accordance with it” (CL 314, see also CL 311, 313).  Young people, therefore, need to be particularly careful in making life decisions which will support the development of marriage for themselves and others.  The Lord has designed a system in which some of life’s trials may be circumvented by good preparation.  Young people need to be made aware of this so that they will realize the importance of shunning evils detrimental to marriage, even before they have entered into specific preparation for marriage with a partner.

Returning to the consideration of the pursuit of chastity before marriage, it is interesting to see the distinction that in heaven there are “young women of such beauty that they may be called the very pictures of beauty, and young men of such morality that they may be called the very pictures of morality” (CL 44).  The beauty and the morality are described as interacting in a manner similar to the love for the opposite sex known on earth, with the distinction that “an angelic love for the opposite sex is…chaste, free of any temptation arising from lust” (CL 44).  Even for people on earth chaste love between the sexes is “a true delight of the mind and so of the heart, and not at the same time of the flesh below the heart” (CL 44).  However:

Angelic chastity which is found equally in both sexes, prevents that love from passing beyond the confines of the heart.  But within those confines, and above them, the morality of the young man and the beauty of the young woman find delight in the delights of a chaste love for the opposite sex – delights which are deeper and richer for their pleasantness than can be described in words. (CL 44)

This presents the goal:  conjugial love that “is with one and only one of the opposite sex, with all others set aside, for it is a love of the spirit and consequently of the body, and not a love of the body and consequently of the spirit, that is, it is not a love that infests the spirit” (CL 44).  In practical terms, this means that in looking for a marriage partner people are to renounce licentious relationships and thereby receive chastity for “chastity is simply the removal of unchasteness from that which is chaste” (CL 138, see also CL 147).

In human beings from creation there is an internal inclination to marry and an external one.  The internal inclination to marry “is free of all lasciviousness, because the internal inclination is incapable of lascivious pleasures but can feel delights only in a chaste manner” (CL 148).  Therefore, the natural or external inclination to marry should be made subservient to the internal or spiritual inclination so that it is not lascivious, but chaste in its character and expression, even in its delights (CL 148).  For men this means that they, “out of chastity, do not permit themselves to feel an influx of love on account of the body of any other woman than their wife” (CL 55.7).  Before marriage this means that men should focus on finding a woman who will provide them with this influx of love which will be their whole life.  In other words, allowing oneself to dwell in the arousal felt from the attraction to women’s bodies is not acceptable.  Men need to focus on using their rational reception of truth to raise their mind from the pressing allurements of their body, to a moral appreciation for the true beauty of women.  On the other hand, women need to focus their awareness on encouraging men in this elevation rather than falling into enticing them by means of external attractions such as immodesty in speech or dress, active flirtation, toying with men’s attraction, and other such appeals to their state of arousal that pose real challenges to men’s all too willing external drive toward conjunction.

In summary, “chastity and unchasteness are terms that apply only to states of marriage and things which have to do with marriage” (CL 150).  Therefore, chastity or its lack first enter a person “when the first impulse toward marriage is felt, which is a love for the opposite sex” (CL 150).  Before a person feels the inclination to love members of the opposite sex, chastity cannot be ascribed to them because they are not yet in a state to renounce licentiousness from religion.  Rather they are simply in ignorance with relation to matters having to do with marriage.  This also explains why people who for one reason or another are indifferent to marriage (as is the case with eunuchs) cannot be said to be chaste, even if they do not engage in licentiousness (CL 151).  From this it is that celibacy is not chastity (CL 155.1) as can be seen from the fact that “a love for the truly conjugial life is the love to which chastity applies” (CL 155.2).  Therefore, so long as a person remains single it is essential that they turn their mind towards the opportunity for conjunction with one of the opposite sex, allowing the Lord to guide them in their pursuit of this chaste love, and shunning the superiority of the external drive to marriage by focusing their attention on discovering the internal inclination to marriage and subjugating the body to its authority.

How To Be Ready For Marriage

How To Be Ready For Marriage

It was mentioned above that the mindset for marriage is one that is affirmative to truths of the church.  This is the mindset for marriage because the origin of conjugial love is the marriage between good and truth, which corresponds to the marriage of the Lord and the church.

These two marriages, from which conjugial love descends as an offshoot, are the essence of holiness.  Consequently, if conjugial love is received from its Author, who is the Lord, it is accompanied by holiness from Him, which continually purges and purifies the love.  If, then, a person has a desire and striving for it in his will, that love daily becomes more clean and pure to eternity. (CL 64)

Therefore, in getting ready for marriage it is essential to acknowledge the Lord as the Author of all marriages and look to Him to provide a suitable partner.  This is obvious from the fact that “unions formed with partners of a similar and compatible nature … happen in the case of people who from their youth had loved, desired and sought from the Lord a lawful and lovely partnership with one, and who spurn and reject roving lusts as an offense to the nostrils” (CL 49).  From this it is clear that looking to the Lord to provide a partner means that one must shun lusts which draw the mind away from marriage with one wife for the conjugial inclination “is a wish to live with only one wife, and a Christian person has this wish to the extent that he has religion” (CL 80.2).

In preparing for marriage, the case is simple – “everybody is born flesh-oriented and becomes more and more inwardly natural, and to the extent that he loves intelligence he becomes rational, and afterward, if he loves wisdom, he becomes spiritual” (CL 94, see also CL 59.1, 101, 102, and that they must be instructed by others see CL 133, 134.3).  If this is taken together with the fact that “truly conjugial love comes from the Lord and is found in people who go to Him directly…” (CL 70) it may be seen that “a person becomes spiritual as his rationality – which stands between heaven and the world – begins to draw its life or soul from what flows in from heaven.  This occurs as he becomes affected by and is delighted with wisdom” (CL 145.2).  Therefore “as a person advances from knowledge to intelligence, and from this to wisdom, his mind also changes its form accordingly, for it opens up more and more and becomes more closely connected with heaven and through heaven with the Lord.  Consequently the person becomes a greater lover of truth and more devoted to goodness of life” (CL 94).  As this occurs within a person, the opportunity for true marriage increases within a person.  This is plainly seen in that “no others come into that love and no others can be in it but those who go to the Lord and love the truths of the church and do the good things it teaches” (CL 70, see also CL 72, 129) and this from the fact that “conjugial love in a person depends on the state of the church in him” (CL 70).  And so it may be seen that in preparing for conjugial love it is necessary to approach the Lord  “directly and live a life of the church from Him – for the reason that this love, viewed in terms of its origin and correspondence, is celestial, spiritual, holy, pure and clean, more than any other love … and these attributes of it cannot exist except in people who are joined to the Lord and brought by Him into association with angels in heaven” (CL 71, see also CL 72).

An extension of the need to pursue spiritual life is that in preparation for marriage it is not acceptable to settle for merely natural life, assuming that the truths concerning spiritual life are available to a person.  The case is this, “if a person stops … at the first stage in his progress toward wisdom, the form of his mind remains natural, and it receives the flowing in of the universal atmosphere … in just the same way as it is received by the lower members of the animal kingdom called beasts and birds.  And … the person becomes like them …”  (CL 94).  It is distinctly human to subjugate the external inclinations of the body to the internal inclinations of the spirit.  In fact:

Conjugial love is a love of the internal or spiritual man, and is peculiar to mankind … because the more intelligent and wise a person become, the more internal or spiritual he becomes.  The more, too, is the form of his mind perfected, and the perfected form receives conjugial love, for it perceives and feels in that love a spiritual delight that is inwardly blessed, and a natural delight arising from that love which takes its soul, life and essence from the spiritual delight. (CL 95; see also CL 130

In other words, “conjugial love is peculiar to mankind because only a human being can become spiritual” (CL 96).

The practical implication of this teaching for men is clear – men must learn to reject their instinctive lust.  Men may find themselves asking, “who can turn the instinctive lust that every man feels into chasteness like that, thus into something against his own nature, and still feel love?  When love for the opposite sex enters from the eyes into the thoughts, can it stop at a woman’s face?  Does it not instantly descend to her breast and beyond?” (CL 55.4).  Some have answered this by attempting to deny themselves an attraction to the beauty of women.  However, lack of attraction is not the answer, for it is clear in the statement, “you were then in a state of antipathy toward the opposite sex owing to impotence, and that is not a chaste love for the opposite sex but the final result of an unchaste love” (CL 55.5, see also LIFE 111; TCR 316) that impotence, or lack of attraction, is not chastity.  Rather, the answer to the male dilemma is to reject fallacies of the body and temptations of the flesh, for as “rationality is purified and decanted … from fallacious appearances that flow in from the physical senses and from urges that flow in from temptations of the flesh” (CL 102) the opportunity for chaste love becomes a reality.  Therefore, although it is challenging, it is important for men to look towards a chaste love.  This is seen clearly from the fact that “as wisdom and its accompanying love increase in married partners, so conjugial love is purified in them.  Because this occurs gradually, it follows that this love becomes more and more chaste” (CL 145).  More will be seen regarding the pursuit of chastity before marriage below.

In general, being ready for marriage involves a willingness to learn lessons from others, from their understanding of the Lord and His operation, and from their experience of following what He teaches.  Learning from others is a key to successful preparation because “a person of himself knows nothing but must learn from others and through others, in order that he may know and acknowledge that all his knowledge, understanding and wisdom are from God” (CL 134.5).  However, this is just one part of the broader reality, that preparedness for marriage is closely related to a person’s love of wisdom, which is the life of religion.  The fact is clear:

Truly conjugial love … exists solely in people who are eager for wisdom and who accordingly advance further and further into it.  In such people conjugial love indeed begins with a love for the opposite sex, or rather, through the agency of that love, but still it does not originate from it.  For it springs up as wisdom advances and emerges into light in the person, wisdom and conjugial love being inseparable companions. (CL 98.1)

The Importance Of Being Employed

The Importance Of Being Employed

True marriage, with its attendant blessings, is available to all “who are motivated by a love of being useful” (CL 13.3).  It was seen above that “useful service is to carry out the duties of one’s occupation faithfully, honestly and diligently” (CL 16.3).  Therefore, because “when human beings were first created, they were imbued with wisdom and a love of wisdom, not for their own sake, but for the sake of their having it to share with others” (CL 18.1) it is essential to spiritual life and therefore marriage to be employed.  It is important to see that:

by pursuit or business we mean any effort to be useful.  When as a result a person is engaged in some pursuit or business or other useful activity, his mind is fenced around and circumscribed as though with a circle, within whose bounds it is progressively ordered into truly human form.  Then, from this vantage point, as though looking out from its house, it sees various impure passions lurking outside, and from the sanity of its reason within, banishes them, thus banishing as well the wild insanities of licentious lust.  Because of this, conjugial warmth lasts better and longer in such people than it does in others. (CL 249, see also CL 18; FAITH 25)

It is evident from this that “employment” should not be restricted to mean “wage-earning.”  Earning an income is certainly important to a marriage because it provides for the basic necessities of the partners and their ability to be useful in society.  However, the employment that facilitates a healthy marriage is any activity that provides a useful service to others – whether or not a person is collecting a pay check.

The importance of being employed stems from the underlying reality that:

love and wisdom … do not occur by themselves except in imagination, because by themselves they exist only in the affection and thought of the mind.  In useful service, on the other hand, they exist in actuality, because they exist at the same time in the action and activity of the body.  And where they exist actually, there they also remain. (CL 16.3)

Marriage is the conjunction of love and wisdom in partners individually and together.  This conjunction requires that there be actual, not just imaginary, love and wisdom.  Therefore, marriage requires that both partners are seeking to be useful – for each other’s sake and for the sake of society in general.

The main effect of employment is that “application of the mind in useful service holds … truths and anchors them, and orders the mind into a form receptive of wisdom as a consequence of them.  Moreover, the mind then thrusts aside the shams and pretenses of both falsities and illusions” (CL 16.3).  Therefore, employment not only provides the opportunity for spiritual life in each partner, but also protects them from attacks by the hells.  This is seen by contrast with:

people who surrender themselves to laziness and sloth.  Their mind is not fenced around or set within bounds; a person like that consequently throws open the whole of it and lets in every sort of nonsense and foolishness which flows in from the world and the body and draws him into a love of them.  It is apparent that conjugial love is also then cast out and banished.  For laziness and sloth dull the mind and numb the body, and the whole person becomes unresponsive to any vitalizing love – especially conjugial love, from which, as from a fountain, spring active and energetic states of life. (CL 249)

It is clear, therefore, that successful marriages are built around the framework of useful services.

One final thought regarding employments – useful services can be spiritual, moral, civil, natural, or merely bodily.

Useful services are spiritual when they have to do with love toward God and love for the neighbor.  They are moral and civic services when they have to do with love for the society or civil state in which a person resides, and with love of the companions and fellow citizens with whom he is associated.  Useful services are natural when they have to do with love of the world and its necessities.  And they are corporal when they have to do with the love of self-preservation for the sake of higher uses … When they are combined, one exists within another. (CL 18.1-2)

All of these services are useful in their proper place.  However, in those who wish to receive life from the Lord, these degrees of useful service must be subjugated in their proper order: corporeal subject to natural, subject to civil, subject to moral, subject to spiritual, subject to God.

The Importance Of Education

Spiritual life is dependent on education for the reason that “a person without education is not human, and not an animal either, but … he is a form of life which can receive into himself that which makes a person human.  And thus we conclude that he is not born human, but becomes human” (CL 152r, see also DLW 270).  People “are human to the extent that they attribute every good of charity and truth of faith to the Lord and not to themselves; and that in the same measure they become angels of heaven” (CL 154r).  Therefore, it is key to development as a human being, and so to preparation for marriage, that people be educated in such a way that they come to acknowledge the Lord God Jesus Christ and the fact that all good things, including marriage, and all truth, including how to succeed in marriage, come from Him alone.

Consideration Of The Delights Of Marriage

Its is an elementary fact of creation that “every love has its own delight, for love lives through delight” (CL 18.2, see also CL 68).  The delights are on all levels from the soul to the body.

But what are delights of the physical senses apart from delights of the soul? It is the soul that makes them delightful.  Delights of the soul in themselves are imperceptible states of bliss, but they become more and more perceptible as they descend into the thoughts of the mind and from these into the sensations of the body.  In the thoughts of the mind they are perceived as states of happiness, in the sensations of the body as delights, and in the body itself as pleasures. ( CL 16.2; see also HH 386; AC 2744)

In the case of marriage “only those people know the blissful delights of conjugial love who reject the horrible delights of adultery.  And no one can reject these except one who is wise from the Lord, and no one is wise from the Lord unless he performs useful services from a love of doing them” (CL 137.7).

The delights of marriage are the result of an internal conjunction of the souls and minds of a husband and his wife.  These delights “descend from their souls into their minds and from their minds into their hearts … These varieties are infinite, and also eternal….These delights rise and deepen according to the wisdom in the husbands” (CL 69.2).  This beautiful promise of infinitely varied delights in marriage is given by the Lord because conjugial love is the fundamental of all loves. From the basis that conjugial love “is engraved on even the smallest aspects of a person, it follows that its delights surpass the delights of all other loves, and also that it gives delight to these other loves according as it is present and at the same time united with them” (CL 68, see also CL 140).  The Lord promises full delights, resplendent joys, and eternal happiness to people who seek to follow Him in their marriages because in marriage is found the origin of all good loves, the conjugial union of love with wisdom flowing from the Lord.

One example of the difference in quality between delights of other loves and delights of conjugial love is found in the observation that Swedenborg made: “when I beheld one kind of beauty in the maidens and another altogether in the wives, seeing in the maidens only its sparkle, but in the wives its effulgence” (CL 384).  This observation of the difference in beauty between a maiden and a wife illustrates something of the fullness of delights in a life of true marriage, for, as was seen previously, beauty in women finds its origin in the marriage of love and wisdom that exists in the conjugial relationship of a husband and wife.

The origin of delight in marriage is from the Lord alone.  The delight which a husband and wife enjoy occur because:

there is a never-ending influx of spring like warmth from the Lord.  Consequently they can experience the delights of marriage in any season, even in the middle of winter.  For men were created to be receivers of light from the Lord, meaning the light of wisdom, and women were created to be receivers of warmth from the Lord, meaning the warmth of love for the wisdom in a man. (CL 137.6)

Therefore, when love and wisdom bring about a marriage of souls and minds which descends into the body, the whole of both partners experience the delights of this gift from the Lord.