Conjugial (marriage) love


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Love, conjugial (marriage)" (search under Inner Life/Love, Positive Emotion, Virtue, Will)": source "Conjugial Love": detail "Section 160 - 161"
The inclination to unite the man to herself is constant and perpetual with the wife, but inconstant and alternate with the man. The reason of this is, because love cannot do otherwise than love and unite itself, in order that it may be loved in return, this being its very essence and life; and women are born loves; whereas men, with whom they unite themselves in order that they may be loved in return, are receptions. Moreover love is continually efficient; being like heat, flame, and fire, which perish if their efficiency is checked. Hence the inclination to unite the man to herself is constant and perpetual with the wife: but a similar inclination does not operate with the man towards the wife, because the man is not love, but only a recipient of love; and as a state of reception is absent or present according to intruding cares, and to the varying presence or absence of heat in the mind, as derived from various causes, and also according to the increase and decrease of the bodily powers, which do not return regularly and at stated periods, it follows, that the inclination to conjunction is inconstant and alternate with men.
 Conjunction is inspired into the man from the wife according to her love, and is received by the man according to his wisdom. That love and consequent conjunction is inspired into the man by the wife, is at this day concealed from the men; yea, it is universally denied by them; because wives insinuate that the men alone love, and that they themselves receive; or that the men are loves, and themselves obediences: they rejoice also in heart when the men believe it to be so. There are several reasons why they endeavour to persuade the men of this, which are all grounded in their prudence and circumspection.
 The reason why men receive from their wives the inspiration or insinuation of love, is because nothing of conjugial love, or even of the love of sex, is with the men, but only with wives and females. That this is the case, has been clearly shown me in the spiritual world. I was once engaged in conversation there on this subject; and the men, in consequence of a persuasion infused from their wives, insisted that they loved and not the wives; but that the wives received love from them. In order to settle the dispute respecting this arcanum, all the females, married and unmarried, were withdrawn from the men, and at the same time the sphere of the love of sex was removed with them. On the removal of this sphere, the men were reduced to a very unusual state, such as they had never before perceived, at which they greatly complained. Then, while they were in this state, the females were brought to them, and the wives to the husbands; and both the wives and the other females addressed them in the tenderest and most engaging manner; but they were cold to their tenderness, and turned away, and said one to another, "What is all this? what is a female?" And when some of the women said that they were their wives, they replied, "What is a wife? we do not know you." But when the wives began to be grieved at this absolutely cold indifference of the men, and some of them to shed tears, the sphere of the love of the female sex, and the conjugial sphere, which had for a time been withdrawn from the men, was restored; and then the men instantly returned into their former state, the lovers of marriage into their state, and the lovers of sex into theirs. Thus the men were convinced, that nothing of conjugial love, or even of the love of sex, resides with them, but only with the wives and females. Nevertheless, the wives afterwards from their prudence induced the men to believe, that love resides with the men, and that some small spark of it may pass from them into the wives.
 This experimental evidence is here adduced, in order that it may be known, that wives are loves and men recipients. That men are recipients according to their wisdom, especially according to this wisdom grounded in religion, that the wife only is to be loved, is evident from this consideration, that so long as the wife only is loved, the love is concentrated; and because it is also ennobled, it remains in its strength, and is fixed and permanent; and that in any other case it would be as when wheat from the granary is cast to the dogs, whereby there is scarcity at home.