Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Love and responsibility 9

Married love.
Married love is very different from all the other forms of love, such as friendship and the relationships of family or work. In these relationships, love exists inside the person. Actions of goodwill and service to others deepen my relationships. But in marriage love exists between two people. Love which is given and received in marriage creates something new – the union of two persons – a new way of living.
The question arises: how can I make my inalienable and non-transferable ‘I’ someone else’s property? This can’t be done in a physical way but it is done in a spiritual way. Self-surrender as a form of love is the result of a process. Marriage is the culmination of a process of love which is blessed by God and in which spouses are called to live love in a decisive way. In the Gospel Christ speaks about love in these terms: "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matt 10: 39)
In marriage spouses cannot live love according to feelings or values, or what they might think about such and such a situation. No, spouses are called to affirm each other as persons. They must decide to love. Love is a virtue which is produced by the will. It is the authentic commitment of my will towards my spouse. Married love is expressed in the orientation of all my actions and attitudes towards my spouse.
This is done first of all by choosing this person to be the companion of my whole life such that my life’s vocation will now have a particular direction. And then, in betrothed love, I no longer wish to be my own exclusive property.
Love, which has friendship at its heart, proceeds by way of renunciation, guided by the conviction that love doesn’t diminish or impoverish me, but enriches and enlarges me. I am aware of the magnitude of the gift which I have received – the self-gift of another person to me. In love I go out of myself to find a fuller existence with that person. Betrothed love commits my will in a particularly profound way. The consequence of this commitment is communion of life.

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