Extracts

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Conjugial (marriage) love

swedenborg

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[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Love, conjugial (marriage)" (search under Inner Life/Love, Positive Emotion, Virtue, Will)": source "Conjugial Love": detail "Section 155*"
I replied, "Tell me, I pray, something respecting the delights of conjugial love."
 The husbands assented, saying, "If you are so disposed, give them some information in regard to those delights: their ears are chaste."
 They asked me, “Who taught you to question us respecting the delights of that love? Why did you not question our husbands?"
 I replied, “This angel, who accompanies me, informed me that wives are the recipients and sensories of those delights, because they are born loves; and all delights are of love."
 To this they replied with a smile, "Be prudent, and declare nothing of this sort except ambiguously; because it is a wisdom deeply seated in the hearts of our sex, and is not discovered to any husband, unless he be principled in love truly conjugial. There are several reasons for this, which we keep entirely to ourselves."
 Then the husbands said, “Our wives know all the states of our minds, none of which are hid from them: they see, perceive, and are sensible of whatever proceeds from our will. We, on the other hand, know nothing of what passes with our wives. This faculty is given to wives, because they are most tender loves, and as it were burning zeals for the preservation of friendship and conjugial confidence, and thereby of all the happiness of life, which they carefully attend to, both in regard to their husbands and themselves, by virtue of a wisdom implanted in their love, which is so full of prudence, that they are unwilling to say, and consequently cannot say, that they love, but that they are loved."
 I asked the wives, "Why are you unwilling, and consequently cannot say so?"
 They replied, "If the least hint of the kind were to escape from the mouth of a wife, the husband would be seized with coolness, which would entirely separate him from all communication with his wife, so that he could not even bear to look upon her; but this is the case only with those husbands who do not hold marriages to be holy, and therefore do not love their wives from spiritual love: it is otherwise with those who do. In the minds of the latter this love is spiritual, and by derivation thence in the body is natural. We in this hall are principled in the latter love by derivation from the former; therefore we trust our husbands with our secrets respecting our delights of conjugial love."
 Then I courteously asked them to disclose to me some of those secrets: they then looked towards a window on the southern quarter, and lo! there appeared a white dove, whose wings shone as if they were of silver, and its head was crested with a crown as of gold: it stood upon a bough, from which there went forth an olive; and while it was in the attempt to spread out its wings, the wives said, "We will communicate something: the appearing of that dove is a token that we may. Every man," they continued, "has five senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, taste, and touch; but we have likewise a sixth, which is the sense of all the delights of the conjugial love of the husband; and this sense we have in the palms of our hands, while we touch the breasts, arms, hands, or cheeks, of our husbands, especially their breasts; and also while we are touched by them. All the gladness and pleasantness of the thoughts of their minds, all the joys and delights of their minds, and all the festive and cheerful principles of their bosoms, pass from them to us, and become perceptible, sensible, and tangible: we discern them as exquisitely and distinctly as the ear does the tune of a song, and the tongue the taste of dainties; in a word, the spiritual delights of our husbands put on with us a kind of natural embodiment; therefore they call us the sensory organs of chaste conjugial love, and thence its delights. But this sixth sense of ours exists, subsists, persists, and is exalted in the degree in which our husbands love us from wisdom and judgement, and in which we in our turn love them from the same principles in them. This sense in our sex is called in the heavens the sport of wisdom with its love, and of love with its wisdom."
 From this information I became desirous of asking further questions concerning the variety of their delights. They said, "It is infinite; but we are unwilling and therefore unable to say more; for the dove at our window, with the olive branch under his feet, is flown away."
 I waited for its return, but in vain. In the meantime I asked the husbands, "Have you a like sense of conjugial love?"
 They replied, "We have a like sense in general, but not in particular. We enjoy a general blessedness, delight, and pleasantness, arising from the particulars of our wives; and this general principle, which we derive from them, is serenely peaceful."
 As they said this, lo! through the window there appeared a swan standing on a branch of a fig-tree, which spread out his wings and flew away. On seeing this, the husbands said, "This is a sign for us to be silent respecting conjugial love: come again some other time, and perhaps you may hear more.”


[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Love, conjugial (marriage)" (search under Inner Life/Love, Positive Emotion, Virtue, Will)": source "Conjugial Love": detail "Section 167"
Wives conceal this perception [of their husband’s affections] with themselves and hide it from their husbands, for reasons of necessity, in order that conjugial love, friendship, and confidence, and thereby the blessedness of dwelling together and the happiness of life may be secured. The concealing and hiding of the perception of the affections of the husband by the wives, are said to be of necessity; because if they should reveal them, they would cause a complete alienation of their husbands, both in mind and body. The reason of this is, because there resides deep in the minds of many men a conjugial coldness, originating in several causes. This coldness, in case the wives should discover the affections and inclinations of their husbands, would burst forth from its hiding places, and communicate its cold, first to the interiors of the mind, afterwards to the breast, and thence to the ultimates of love which are appropriated to generation; and these being affected with cold, conjugial love would be banished to such a degree, that there would not remain any hope of friendship, of confidence, of the blessedness of dwelling together, and thence of the happiness of life; when nevertheless wives are continually feeding on this hope. To make this open declaration, that they know their husbands' affections and inclinations of love, carries with it a declaration and publication of their own love: and it is well known, that so far as wives make such a declaration, so far the men grow cold and desire a separation. From these considerations the truth of this proposition is manifest, that the reasons why wives conceal their perception with themselves, and hide it from their husbands, are reasons of necessity.