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)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s