Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Eugene England on Marriage Fidelity and Unity

(Re-read a piece by England today and this is what stood out to me most this time.)

Female-male unity (which God has powerfully imaged in the concept of becoming "one flesh") ideally involves complete sharing—with a separate, co-eternal individual and without loss of our own individuality—of all our singularity, vulnerability, trust, hopes, and potentialities (48).

We can violate that creative union of two opposites in various ways—by immature haste or promiscuity, by self-gratification or lust (either outside marriage or within it, if sex is used selfishly), by lying to each other, by not sharing fully and often our deepest feelings and hopes, by refusing to be vulnerable and, thus, walling off parts of ourselves, by not working constantly to justify and build complete trust (49).
...the full responsibilities of married love, which include loving unconditionally -- but also include being a special, intimate friend, having children, sharing one's deepest self, and being fully vulnerable. In Michael Novak's words, "Seeing myself through the unblinking eyes of an intimate, intelligent other, an honest spouse, is humiliating beyond anticipation." And we are tempted to avoid that humiliation, however redemptive it is. Having comparatively shallow, friendly, intellectual, artistic relations with a group of people... is not as difficult as developing a full relationship of fidelity with one person. And I fear that many Mormon men and women...justify their inclination to...flirt or share their identity with a number of people, or simply to withdraw from the struggle into blessed singularity -- and there, to often, to be satisfied with some version of love of self (52).

Difficult as complete married fidelity and unity is to achieve, there is nothing sweeter on earth than our approximations of it. And we have been given no clear evidence that it will not continue to be the sweetest thing in heaven, the foundation of godhood and a blessing available to all who, freed from this world's limitations, really want it (61). 

-Eugene England 

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