on marriage

by Andrea Elizabeth

In the chapter on Lust in Therapy of Spiritual Illnesses by Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet, it is nice that he does not say the sole purpose of sexual union is procreation, which would be the equivalent of his saying that the only purpose of food is to nourish the body and not enjoyment.

“However, this end goal, as essential as it may be, is neither the only one nor the most important. In the human race, procreation can seem more like a natural result of sexual union rather than its very purpose. Sexual union is first of all one of the modes of union between man and woman; it is one of the manifestations of their mutual love and translates this love to  certain level of their being – that of the body…. However, we must make clear that conjugal love is seen from the Christian perspective as the union of two persons – that is, two beings thought of in their wholeness, on the one hand, and in their spiritual nature on the other – in Christ and with the Kingdom in mind; a union sealed as to its nature and purpose by the grace of the Spirit conferred in the sacrament of marriage…. Sexual union must thus be preceded ontologically by the spiritual union that confers meaning and value on the physical one. Only on these grounds can the end goal of sexual union be respected as well as that of the nature of the beings brought into relation by it.” (p 161, 162)

I think this is a little like Kierkegaard in its insistence on the perfect circumstances. I’m sure that the above union is most blessed and most symbolic of Christ and the Church, or at least His Saints, but I don’t like that he says no other situation can be respected. So we cannot respect a non-Christian marriage? That’s harsh. Are arranged marriages not respected if the two don’t “love” each other?