Chaste love for the Opposite Sex

Every few months we like to post a quote from the Word or Heavenly Doctrines and ask our readers how would they apply these words to their lives?

This week we are quoting from Married Love 55.6-7:

[6] Having heard these things, the angels crossly asked the spirits who were standing to the right, towards the south, to speak, and these spirits said, “There is a love between men, also a love between women, and there is the love of a man for a woman and the love of a woman for a man. And these three pairs of loves are completely different from each other.

“Love between two men is like the love between one intellect and another, for men were created and so are born to become forms of understanding.

“Love between two women is like the love between one affection and another for the understanding of men, for women were created and are born to become forms of love for the understanding of men.

“These loves, namely, the love between two men and the love between two women, do not enter deeply into their hearts, but remain outside and only touch. Thus these loves do not unite the two of them interiorly.

“That is why two men together also spar with each other with endless arguments, like two athletes boxing, and two women sometimes as well, with endless insistence on their own wishes, like two marionettes battling with their fists.

[7] “On the other hand, the love between a man and a woman is a love between intellect and its affection, and this enters deeply and unites them. The union also is the love. But a union of the minds and not at the same time of the bodies, or an effort to a union of minds only, is a spiritual love and therefore a chaste love. This love is possible only in those who are in a state of truly conjugial love and who consequently possess an elevated sexuality, because men like this, 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. And because they possess a highly elevated sexuality, they cannot help but love the opposite sex and at the same time turn their backs on anything unchaste.

“Thus they have a chaste love for the opposite sex, which regarded in itself is interior spiritual friendship. This friendship takes its sweetness from an elevated sexuality, but one that is chaste. These men have an elevated sexuality owing to their total renunciation of licentiousness. And it is chaste, because they are only in love with their wives.

“Now, then, because that love in them does not partake of the flesh but only of the spirit, it is chaste. And because the beauty of a woman, owing to the inherent attraction, enters at the same time into their mind, it is sweet.”

5 thoughts on “Chaste love for the Opposite Sex

  1. I’ve wondered if we get glimpses of chaste love relationships in the love between brothers and sisters. Since there is no sexual component, does that leave the siblings free to develop a “superior spiritual friendship”?

    1. I wonder about friendships between men and women. I began dating a man and we soon realized that our different strong religious convictions would make marriage impossible. We give each other hope that other single people with similar values exist, and we offer each other support and perspective in the mental workings of the opposite sex. People say there is no such thing as mutual friendship without sexual feelings between men and women, but I wonder if our desire to find one partner (i.e. conjugial love) allows us to have a spiritual friendship (like brother and sister). Interesting thought, Eden.

  2. My husband and I have been apart, due to his new job, since November last year. He is working abroad until August this year. Although we saw him for 2 weeks over Christmas and will see him for 10 days at Easter, it is a difficult, yet reflective, time for both of us.

    I have come to realise, and the quote above highlights it for me, a few things about our marriage and relationship that I probably didn’t understand or appreciate as much as now:
    1. I realise just how wonderful the love we have for each other is. We are best friends as well as husband and wife who just enjoy being in each others space.

    2. We are a joining of two bodies and intellects and that issues in our marriage have sometimes appeared in my search for the ‘intimate’ and what that means (selfishly) for me.

    3. I realise, in being apart, that it is not always about being physically intimate but that love for only one person (each other), our adoration for one another, yet our understanding and respect of each other’s independence is what matters most to me. I miss hugging my husband and the closeness of just being in the same place as him.

    Thank you for this beautiful and thought provoking thought. It has really enlightened my day…

  3. …It’s funny what mindset can do: I first read this, the other night, when I was apparently not at my best, and what caught my attention and irritated me was that ‘women were created and are born to become forms of love for the understanding of men’ — here it is, again, that subjugation of women!! Grr. Fortunately, I’m in a better place, now… 😀

    That apparent hierarchy thing notwithstanding, I appreciate a number of parts of this passage:

    – “[Love between two men not entering deeply into their hearts] is why two men together also spar with each other with endless arguments, like two athletes boxing” – ha! I’ve totally seen that; that’s so weird, for me, to see it echoed & explained in the Heavenly Doctrines! Pretty cool.

    – “This love is possible only in those who are in a state of truly conjugial love and who consequently possess an elevated sexuality, because men like this, 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.” Dude, that’s gotta be a long road. –But good for them, I’m totally cheering for them!! I guess if they can keep conjugial love at the forefronts of their minds, spurning wandering lusts hopefully gets easier and easier.

    Anne, thank you for sharing the observations you’ve made since your husband has been away. Those are invaluable lessons! I’m sorry that he has to be away, and I’m glad for you to have had this opportunity to make these observations! 🙂 (Absence makes the heart grow fonder…)

    I appreciate your perspective on siblings, Eden – that’s a good point, I hadn’t thought of this in the context of anything but friendships.

    Meanwhile, anyone who’s watched ‘When Harry Met Sally’ knows that it’s impossible for men & women to be friends, that sex always gets in the way… 😉 I do wonder about it, though: it sounds like the beautiful scenario of healthy opposite friendships as described above only really happens when the man has a wife to whom he is totally committed and with whom he has conjugial love, which is really rare on earth today, and certainly pretty well unheard of in anyone under about 60, I’d guess?! -I’m just speculating… What do you think?

  4. Shame and modesty are chastity s cadet sisters, as someone once aptly observed. In other words, they protect and provide the necessary climate for the practice of chastity.

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