THE WOMEN'S COMPANION TO 'CONJUGIAL LOVE' Numbers 57-69
Word Cloud for Conjugial Love Numbers 57-69:
Summary of the Numbers:
Swedenborg begins this section by writing "there are countless varieties of conjugial love; no one has exactly the same conjugial love as another." He then lays out the characteristics that he believes define the concept of "conjugial love," including:
1. It’s so rare many don’t know it exists,
2. It arises from a marriage of good and truth,
3. It corresponds to the marriage of God and the Church,
4. It’s at the top of the hierarchy of loves (the most holy, pure, clean, celestial, etc.)
5. It’s the foundation of all other loves,
6. All joys have been conferred (by God) on this type of love,
7. The only people who can experience this love are those who follow God, love the truth the church teaches and doing the good deeds it prescribes, and
8. That this love was experienced in the Golden Age, but as the ages progressed (through Silver, Copper, Iron, and Iron Mixed with Clay) it gradually came to an end.
Swedenborg then goes on to elaborate further on each of these points and give examples. He writes that the earliest stage of courtship and newlywed love gives us a picture of what conjugial love is like. He gives the quick fading of the wonderful feelings newlyweds experience as an example of why conjugial love is hardly recognized in his day, but says for spiritual people, their love grows rather than fades. He then introduces his concept of masculinity and femininity: that masculinity is truth which comes from good, and femininity good that comes from truth. He believes marriage is created from the linkage of these reciprocal forces (good and truth, love and wisdom), and also that this image corresponds to the image of God and the church. The reason this love is the highest and most joyful, Swedenborg writes, is that it facilitates the propagation of the human race, through which God’s purpose for creation, a heaven from the human race, is realized—a purpose which "embraces all other purposes." Summary of the Responses: This week there were three contributors. Swedenborg made so many different points in this section that the responses were somewhat less focused on common themes than in some previous sections. However, two contributors referred to Swedenborg’s statement in the beginning of the section, about the great variety in conjugial love, and how no two couples have the same conjugial love. Conjugial love and marriage relationships are perhaps an area where some Swedenborgians have developed strong gender-based stereotypes about heterosexual married peoples’ roles, and/or which occupations or fields of study are “masculine” and “feminine.” So the contributors felt the notion of variety in conjugial love was important, especially in regards to relationships where a couples’ occupations don’t appear stereotypically “masculine” and “feminine,” or where individuals or married partners don’t identify strongly with those “poles.” The third contributor added that things have changed since Swedenborg’s day, and perhaps conjugial love is not nearly as “almost extinct” now as when Swedenborg originally portrayed it. Direct Quotes from Contributors: "I think the point in this passage, that there are countless varieties of conjugial love, is one that is overlooked in this whole discussion of women’s intellectual/professional capabilities… A couple where the man’s wisdom involves counseling people on making practical changes in their lives may be with a wife who is driven by love of helping with the emotional dimensions of making changes. When a wife who comes from a marriage with a style involving analysis and detail is compared with a man in a marriage that involves a love of helping life changes, it can look like the analytical wife is being unfeminine or somehow not following the dictate to be a “love of a man’s wisdom”. But she can be in a perfectly fine situation when you look at what her husband’s love and wisdom are like -- because there are countless varieties of conjugial love, some of which have very different styles." * "The Divine/church union feels actively affectionate, personal, and filled with longing for reciprocal love. The archetypal marriage seems remote, theoretical almost, and more like an impersonal magnetic bond than a longing. I'd rather claim the Divine/Church marriage as the template for my human marriage from that perspective. What gives me pause is if my husband becomes equated with the perfection of the Divine, and I become equated with all the limitations of the church, or the way humans receive love and wisdom from the Divine." * "Earlier, for example in #32, husbands (and by extension, males which probably includes those who identify as male) were characterized by "the love of growing wise." Wives (and by extension women including those who identify as female) were characterized by embodying the love of wisdom. In her heterosexual marriage, a woman is specifically characterized by aligning herself with the wisdom she recognizes and loves in her husband. I would say that these characteristics apply to people who feel solidly identified with either end of the gender spectrum. For people who don't identify that way, my guess is that there is a unique, personalized mix of loving wisdom and loving to grow wise, with probably one more weighted than the other." * "The fact that 250+ years ago it [conjugial love] was almost extinct does not mean that is still true. I believe if the Writings are the Second Coming then things must be getting better with some good, sincere people. I am an optimist."
Word Cloud of the Responses:
Please Comment! What was your experience reading these numbers from Conjugial Love? Your thoughts and responses are valuable and welcomed. Just sign up in the comment section to be a Deborah’s Tree site member, and then add your comments. Site membership is free, but you are welcome to give a donation if you like what you find in this blog! https://www.deborahstree.org/donate-and-volunteer Today’s Blog by: Liz Kufs