The first crisis is The crisis of sex. The first crisis comes when what was one loved in a dream is at last possessed in reality. One is never thirsty at the border of a well. As soon as we get the things we desire, we begin to take them for granted. As in the mechanical order there is a loss of energy by friction, so, in physical love, constant proximity brings a decline in intensity. Indulgence produces satiety, and purely carnal love begins to exhaust itself in dull repetition. The loneliness from which one sought to escape by communion with another is now more intense than ever. The union one expected has not lasted; the goal of mystic incorporation with the other has not been achieved. Union is replaced by disunion, fragmentation, solitariness.
The passion for a crescendo of intimacy until oneness is achieved cannot be completely satisfied in the physical order, because after the act of unity, two separate personalities remain, each with his or her individual mystery. The paradox is clear: the souls of lovers aspire to unity, but their bodies, which are momentary symbols of that unity, cannot attain it. The flesh is inadequate for that kind of unity which alone can satisfy the spirit. No marriage is free from the tension which this produces.
Physical love does not continue with the same ecstasy. If flesh is the only medium of married love, then marriage must suffer the penalties of flesh: transience and death. As life goes on, a greater stimulus is required to produce and equal reaction to sensation. The eye can soon becomes used to beauty, and the fingers to the touch of a friend. The intimacy which at first was so desirable now becomes at time a burden. The " I wasnt to be alone feeling" and the " I think I will go home to mother feeling" come when the eyes are relieved of their rose -coloured glasses. Bills coming into the kitchen make love fly out of the parlour. The very habit of love becomes boring because it is a habit and not an adventure.
The assumption is that life is a perpetual honeymoon, and that the present moment is eternal. The thrill of holding hands, or watching waves roll on a moonlit beach, will never end. This false romantic idea is fostered in part by movies, where a plot is worked up to an arbitrary climax in which the boy and girl are married. This is assumed to be the end, when actually it is only the beginning. There is not the slightest suggestion that there will ever be bad cooking, too much Irish stew, and diapers to wash.
Marriage is thus interpreted in terms of sex. Love is identified with sex adjustment. rhinoceroses are sexually adjusted, but they do not love. Sex is only the frosting on the cake of love; it is the self-starter on the motor of life, but it is neither the highway nor the voyage.
At this point within two years after marriage, many marriages end. Because the biological side of marriage lacks a thrill, it is assumed that love no longer exists. Even a hot water bottle loses its heat after a time, but we do not throw away the bottle. The purpose of a vow is to enable couples to stay together amidst the emotional changes of love. A soldier may not retreat just because he meets opposition. The law now applies: Love can avoid destruction and death only by surmounting itself. There are certain beautiful things in life which cannot be captured permanently. At the Transfiguration, when he face of Our Lord shone as the sun and His garments were as white as snow, Peter wanted to capture the glory thereof by building a tabernacle round Him. But Our Lord reminded Peter that, before that glory could come in a permanent form, he would have to descend the hill of Transfiguration and mount the hill of sacrifice called Calvary. Love is glorified by pain and sacrifice. In the spiritual order, St. Theresa spoke of the various stages of the spiritual life as mansions; one passed from one mansion to another only after considerable purification. As one does not climb a mountain without passing through various stages of peril and hardship, so one does not mount the peak of love without first enduring succeeding crises.
The crises of sex are transformed by the discovery of personality. The body was leading the soul; now the soul leads the body. the mere fact that the biological becomes less automatic, less violent, less imperative and less animal enables each partner to discover that opposite him is, not sex, nor sexuality, but a personality. Interests is concentrated less in the pleasure, but more in the person who gives the pleasure. new attitudes are directed to the person, such as admiration, esteem, good will, confidence, and friendship. The vital forces are revitalized; each begins to live a different way. Sex is replaceable; but love is irreplaceable. No one can take the place of a mother or a brother, neither can anyone take the place of a wife or a husband. The change in the relationship corresponds to the physical crises of youth and is just as real as what happens when a child becomes a man. The will to love replaced the automatism of love: epidermic conflicts give way to a communion of personalities. before, love was like an electric switch; now it is deliberate, like shaking hands; the will is less passive and more active. gestures, acts of tenderness, sympathy not take on a new meaning - they are bearers of something spiritual, messages from a personality, a soul. There is less libido, and less desire; less selfishness and more consent. Instinct now gives way to the will which supplies a new force, higher than the force which comes from the glands. Love becomes less primitive and more educated.
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