Sense of Life. Articles in English. It Wasn’t Love.
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It Wasn’t Love

This touching letter describes a common modern-day occurrence. Because they are “in love”, young women say yes to sex without a second thought. The tragic thing is that even though they use the word so freely, most teenage girls do not understand what love is.

For Anne, love was a passionate emotion. For her boyfriend it was an urge that needed to be satisfied. Once he had satisfied his urge, he promptly left. These days the word “love” is often applied to the sexual act alone, thus lifting it out of its spiritual and moral context. Since this is causing great confusion, it might be worthwhile to reflect upon what true erotic love is.

What conditions should it satisfy? Philosophy distinguishes between three forms or components of love. These are: 1) desire 2) admiration, and 3) love of good will i.e. love based on a decision to act in accordance with reason, moral law, and free will. Desire and admiration are variable emotions, rising and falling according to circumstance. Love of good will, on the other hand, is independent of emotion – it can, but need not, be accompanied by the two other forms of love.

Life presents us with various experiences of love: love of God, love of country, parental love, and erotic love. Each of these manifestations of love serves an important aim, and each includes the the basic components of love (desire, admiration and good will) essential to the realization of that aim. Emotions, and the pleasure deriving from them, constitute an incentive, a reward, a source of energy in the pursuit of love, although the important element here is upright formation and doing the right thing – or love of good will.

The aim of erotic love is marriage, bringing children into the world, and the proper raising of a family. Biology demonstrates and reason affirms that all the structural elements of the sexes, as well as the physical and psychological differences between a man and a woman, serve the aim of giving birth to and raising children, which must take place in the right circumstances: in a loving marriage and a family setting. The obvious conclusion is that “true” erotic love is achieved only in marriage, in the couple’s openness to the possibility of life and the well-being of a child.

This is not only the voice of the Church speaking. Biology and reason are in complete agreement with God’s law. It is obvious that only love springing out of marriage and the family can fulfill the happiness that erotic love promises. Certainly, physical attraction and emotional rapture (falling in love) are necessary and important factors in initiating the process of bringing another human being into the world. However, sexual urges and infatuation are not love, because the third and most important element is missing: good will grounded in reason and moral law – God’s law.

This element is realizable only in marriage, through a wedding, which is a pledge of lifelong love of good will. A person cannot base an enduring promise on premarital emotions and passion, but he can, and needs to, make such a promise by directing his will towards the good of his spouse and their relationship. Keeping this promise leads to maturer emotions and increased happiness. It is also clear that a wedding is the clincher of total reciprocal devotion. One might compare it to a seal and signature on a document containing beautiful vows made valid only by those signatures. Premarital feelings and promises are merely “material” for love. It is in marriage that love becomes genuine and complete.

That is why only marriage gives the couple the moral right to have sex, which is ordered by nature to the bringing of human beings into the world. This is the purpose of the sexual reflex (orgasm), and its accompanying pleasure. The well-being of the mother and child requires that a child be conceived, born and raised in the love and care of married parents. Extramarital sex is therefore a contradiction of love of good will. It is also a mockery of true love and blasphemes against the dignity of human beings – the dignity that God tells us we possess.

Let us come back to poor Anne and her despairing letter. Her tragedy consists in the fact that she did not understand these things. She took her passionate emotions for true love. No one deceived her, but no one informed her either. She ought to have known that emotions are strong in a female’s erotic make-up, while urges are strong in the male’s. However, both sexes share the same overriding law of their spiritual and physical human nature: namely that the spiritual dimension (reason, will) rules over that of the body (desire, emotion).

A man asking for sex by the third date proves that

1) he is not religious, and cares little about God’s commandments or moral principles,
2) he does not want to control his urges, and may not know how to,
3) he does not understand erotic love and is unaware of the difference between the sexes in this area,
4) he does not love his girlfriend at all. Mere friendly regard should have prevented him from running the risk of getting her pregnant in this situation.

Contraception also has its margin of risk.

The state of “falling in love” exhibits an incomplete, immature “good will”. Only marriage vows will confirm and ennoble it; but falling in love with a boy who desires sex so quickly is unwise. He is ruled by lust. Of course, a girl might chose to withold her sexual intimacy and undertake the delicate task of “educating” such a boy, teaching him, explaining the problems, passing on her values, and setting conditions.

Still, in Anne’s situation, there really is no cause for despair. One might even congratulate Anne for not considering marriage with a man who would have treated her as a sexual toy. I hope and pray that no girl will ever make this kind of mistake. ?

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!"

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