The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 21, 2023 - 5:29:16

A few personalist insights about conjugal love

Katie van Schaijik, Mar 27, 2013

My introduction to philosophy came through a Nature of Love course featuring texts by von Hildebrand and Wojtyla.  The insights I gained in it changed everything for me. Lacking the leisure to write a more substantive article, I at least want to share a few of them, as a way of offering some relief from the moral darkness and confusion presently overwhelming our society.

1) Conjugal love is a unique form of love, a form perfectly embodied in the life-giving conjugal act. 

2) Conjugal love is not reducible to a commitment of the will; it's not reducible to "feelings"; it's not reducible to the sexual urge; it's not to be confused with "friendship plus sex." It is not the same as eros. It is, primarily, a gift, and a great spiritual good.

3) Conjugal love is rooted in a free, affective response to the value of the unique individual selfhood of the beloved.  It is eminently personal.  

4) Conjugal love has everything to do with the sexual complementarity of men and women.  While sexual desire is possible between two men or two women, conjugal love is only possible between a man and woman.

5) In and through it we come to recognize the "nuptial meaning" of the human body.  Each of us, while fully an individual self, is plainly made-for-union with another—an "other" of the opposite sex.  

6) Conjugal love, in its inner essence, aspires to totality and to exclusivity. It can only reach fulfilledment in the sacred, life-long commitment of marriage.

7) No act that offends the dignity of the human person or that objectifies and misuses ourselves or another or that damages the body and spreads disease is compatible with conjugal love, which always aims at the good of the beloved.

8) The self-oblating, other-receiving, life-giving union and communion of love that is marriage is the adequate earthly icon of the Holy Trinity.