Clearly, love cannot be ‘lost’ ipso facto. Anything less than eternal has no right to be called love. Love is when two persons unite into one flesh. You can lose infatuation, a feeling which may be a sign of incipient love.
Typically, falling in love is experienced more vibrantly than love itself. In the first months, lovers constantly make new discoveries and experience new emotions. At this stage young couples often think that what they have found is love and that it will continue forever. However, after the romantic appeal of the first kiss subsides, there are not many options for a young couple before marriage except sin. Often the excitement becomes replaced by disappointment and the feeling that love has gone away. But the truth is, it has not yet existed. It is the swirl of the new impressions and infatuation that has ended, not love.
Falling in love happens at different levels. Unlike Russian and English, where the word “love” expresses a whole variety of relationships between a man and a woman, in the Greek language there are three words that describe its different degrees. These words are Agape (sacrificial love), Philia (friendly affection) and Eros (sensual attraction). Just as spirit, soul and body are distinguished in a person, falling in love can be divided into three levels:
- Spiritual (agape)
- Soulful (philia)
- Bodily (eros)
On the “lowest” level, marriage begins with bodily attraction. Everything here is governed by physical attractiveness and is therefore very easy to lose.
It is better when a marriage begins with attraction on the physical and mental levels. It happens when a person has a desire to touch the other person’s soul, to communicate more and to find common interests in order to become closer. This is how a serious friendship is struck between lovers.
Ideally, marriage should begin with attraction at all levels, when the above is accompanied by the desire to become part of the other person and the willingness to sacrifice oneself for him. This threefold combination makes perfect love.
To better understand what the spiritual level is, let us recall such fundamental concepts as “to have” and “to be”, which determine the depth of a person’s attitude to life and other people. In the latter case, we are looking at an egoistic desire to possess something (to have a good wife, family); in the latter, we see the desire to change oneself for others (to be a good husband, father).
This desire to be someone for another person defines the spiritual level of attraction necessary for an ideal marriage. Even if this latter component is not accompanied by the other two, it is enough to build a family. In the recent past young people were often given into marriage without being asked about their opinion. It is because mental and physical attraction is not so important if a man wants to become a real husband, and a woman wants to become a good wife.
After all, if you want to have a good wife, you can spend many years choosing very carefully, and still not find an ideal one. And when you want to become a good husband, you can become one with any wife, no matter who you marry!
I know many examples of families that make me convinced that if there is this “leaven” in young spouses, they will soon have a deep emotional attachment; and the intimate side of their life will also be resolved, despite all the difference in temperament, upbringing, etc.
True love is inconceivable without sacrifice. Sometimes self-sacrifice is a big decisive step, for example, giving up your job or career for the sake of your family. But more often sacrifice is manifested in seemingly insignificant actions, for example, when you easily get up from the TV and go take the garbage out when asked to do so. Family life consists of such daily “little things”. The more desire a person has to serve others, the better family man he will make. Marrying a person who does not have albeit a little of this spiritual “leaven” is almost hopeless. Most likely, such a marriage will not survive.
There are several telltale signs testifying to the absence of sacrifice in a person:
- No desire to preserve the chastity of your chosen one before marriage. This is a litmus test that could help a great number of broken-hearted people. As soon as you set the condition, “First the marriage registry office, then the bed” everything immediately falls into place. If a person agrees with this, there is hope for a strong marriage, if not, you need to run fast.
- The desire to enter into a trial cohabitation, a. k. a. civil marriage. This is not marriage, but an unchaste coexistence in which true love is not born. With true love, there are always children, whereas people in a civil marriage typically choose not to have any. What children can there be, if adults cannot sort out themselves? In such a “marriage” people keep their distance from each other and are ready to split at any moment. They do not want to take responsibility for each other. True love is unthinkable without this.
- When a person says, “First I have to graduate from college, then we need to earn enough money to buy an apartment, and then let’s have children”. It is clear to a sensible person that these words are spoken by a madman, not a sage. You cannot marry such a person, because for him comfort is more important than children. He does not like children, he is afraid of them. Someone who doesn’t love children can hardly love his wife or a husband.
- Abortion. Families committing this grave sin fall apart much more often. An abortion is a sign of a person’s preoccupation with comfort and well-being. People sacrifice their child who may deprive them of that and make excuses, speaking in beautiful words about their sense of responsibility and not being able to provide for their child a future worth living. A liveable future is secured by a parent’s loving heart. It can replace everything, whereas no money or connections can replace it. People should be united by participation in a good deed: running a common household and raising children together. Contrariwise, complicity in sin, such as abortion, can only destroy a family.
It is almost impossible to cultivate this “leaven” in oneself by one’s own efforts. It is far less possible to change something in another person. To change yourself and your heart’s content, one needs a sincere desire and repentance. It is through our repentance and will that everything impossible for mortals becomes possible for God.
Prepared by Anastasia Parkhomchik
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Adapted from: https://www.litmir.me/br/?b=240649&p=1