Saturday 11 November 2017

The right approach to marriage is the right approach to Life (Truth, Reality)

Marriage is not passive - however, being in love is a passive experience - it is spontaneous, overwhelms us, sweeps us along. And that is a good thing - an ideal thing - so far as it goes...

Marriage (a thing of mature adults, maker of mature adults) needs to be active, the husband and wife need to make an effort - they need to be conscious of what is happening, what are the options - and they need to make choices. Presumably some choices will be made wrong, need to be identified and repented, and so on.

But it is clear that a loving marriage is not sustainable nor will love grow if the husband and wife do not take an active part, are not motivated.

A marriage is a microcosm of Life; because ultimately Life is about love, and about the relationships between entities - men, women, angels (the premortals and the dead), God the Father, and Jesus Christ - for example.

Truth and Reality are a part-of, embedded-in, derived-from this network of relationships - they are not abstractions. They are more like a 'meeting of minds' (and a meeting of bodies) than anything else.

We need both to be in love, and to be deliberately motivated toward love.

'Life's like that'. 

We can't be passive in married love, nor in Life; but both need elements of being overwhelmed by impinging reality. We can't merely be active in married love, nor in Life - we are not 'given' marriage and we cannot construct a marriage or the world entirely from our own minds.

(This is good, because we are meant to become free - free in our chosen, loving, eternal 'collaboration' with God's creation.)

It's quite simple really! In Love and in Life we are given half what we need, and the other half we must provide: reality, Life, Truth and Reality are the product. They are not present until both halves are brought together - in the activity we call thinking.

Thinking is necessary to (adult, mature, divine) Love and Life, both.


Chiu ChunLing said...

I'm not sure that being in love is passive, except for in the grammatical sense.

To feel "in love", it seems that action is necessary. This action needn't be effective, necessarily. But people who are not moved by feelings of love don't feel them very deeply, and while there is of course the causal relationship between stronger feelings and taking action, it also runs the other way, taking action is essential to those feelings gaining strength.

When you serve (or injure) another person out of feelings of duty or obligation (misplaced or not), the actions eat away at the "balance" they are intended to redress, you eventually say (right or wrong) "it is enough, justice is satisfied".

When you serve out of love, or injure out of hate, the original feeling is reinforced by your motives and experience of the action itself. The feelings may be initially very strong even before we act on them, but if we are actually passive in the face of either they die out soon enough.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - Well, the experience being in love, being hit-by-it; is what I mean by passive - so you would need to accept it 'for the sake of the argument'.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

The grammar pedant in me feels the need to point out that being in love is not passive in the grammatical sense, though being loved is.

Lucinda said...

There is something very asymmetrical about how a man actively loves a woman and how a woman actively loves a man. Generally, both must place the good of the other as a primary goal, but the failure of husbands and wives to correctly identify the particular needs of their spouses often comes down to the problems of men not knowing how women experience love from men and women not knowing how men experience love from women. I think this is a problem that makes institutional religion really necessary for a successful society, insofar as the institution is successful at aiding understanding across the male/female divide.

For instance, my husband often says he trusts me when he wants to express his love for me. I used to feel some pressure to say something symmetrical in return, but I never really did because I couldn't bring myself to believe that it really meant anything coming from me. More recently I've been trying to make a change, from habitual having-it-my-own-way unless there is a particular reason not to, to trying to let him have his way unless there is a particular reason not to. It's made a huge difference and I realized that one of the ways I can show that I trust my husband is by allowing him to dictate decisions unless there is a good reason not to. When I do it right, I don't feel oppressed. It's just a way to show him I love him in a way a man experiences love from a woman, by her willingness to obey him when he makes a decision even if she doesn't necessarily agree.

Women do not want men to obey them. A woman wants a man to agree with her, and finds it irritating when a man 'obeys' when he doesn't agree with her. (That's why so many men have found it more effective to say "You're right" to get past an argument with a wife, rather than grudgingly doing what she wants.) I'm pretty sure that modern men believe women want to be obeyed, but such a belief definitely undermines husbands' efforts to show love to their wives. Women do want to be valued and appreciated, and it is a bit of a puzzle how a husband can accomplish this when women often say one thing while really wanting something else.

It might be helpful for men to remember that, biologically, women mostly care about receiving love from other women and a larger community than they do about receiving love from a lone man. It can help a husband have a clue about how he can help his wife feel more loved, as well as give understanding that her desire to feel loved will often lead to actions that make him feel she doesn't love him enough. If he can remember his own biological temptations that make his wife feel unloved, maybe he can get a more sympathetic perspective.