Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

Category — Male and Female propriums

Conjugial Love (paper by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn)

Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
August, 1965


Concerning the sixth state of the formation of the Church we read:

“The life of Charity, acquired by the conjugial of the true of the natural in the sphere of the Lord’s Divine Human with the affection of the true of the Word and of Doctrine in the human things, and the submission to the good of the natural from the Divine Human, and the conjunction with the rational.”

The second half of the sixth day of creation is described thus.

“And God created man in His own image. Male and female created He them.” (Gen.1:27)

While the sixth day of creation is not identical with the sixth state  of formation, there is a parallelism between them, and both for the first time speak of the Conjugial.

While the Church is far from the sixth state in its fulness, and few come to the sixth state, still there may be a certain image of the sixth state in the Church. Every general state of the Church has in it a week, and in its own series every state of the Church should come to its sixth state.

It is therefore appropriate to speak about the sixth state, although in its fulness we are far removed from it.

The importance of coming to a new natural has been stressed in the Church,, and the danger of skipping over the natural. How the inmost of the natural human, in ultimates, has especially to do with the relation of husband and wife. If there is no longing to come to this conjugial in ultimates, the natural is skipped over; thus the new human, the creation of man in the image of God, as male and female is not looked to. If the marriage of good and truth is alone looked to and not its ultimate in the marriage relation of husband and wife, the natural is skipped over, and man cannot come into a new human from the Lord. It is, I believe, therefore useful at this time to consider the conjugial which should exist between husband and wife.

We read: “That there is love truly Conjugial; which is so rare at the present day that its quality is not known, and scarcely that it exists.”

The above quotation is true in both its spiritual sense, and in its sense of the letter. When it is said, “It is not known at the present day”, do we think this applies only In the world, or do we think it may apply to those in the Church?

Even in the New Church it is commonly felt that if two marry in the Church and are faithful to each other, and do not commit adultery or flirt with others, and get along reasonably well together, that they are in Conjugial love. But, apart from being members of a church, the above statement applies to animals as well as persons; in fact, some animals, particularly some birds, set an example, that few human beings equal. It is evident therefore, if this  is the only idea of Conjugial love, it is not known what conjugial love is, and scarcely that it exists. If a couple has not come to the relation in their marriage where they have shunned the external lusts which destroy Conjugial love, or if they have not striven for an external harmony of life, the most essential thing for them is to strive with all their power to establish such a natural basis for their life.

From the Marriage Service it is known that Conjugial love descends from the marriage of the Divine and the Human in the Lord, from the marriage of the Lord and the Church, and from the marriage of the good and the true; and it might be known that in so far as these are not present in the marriage of a man and woman, they are not in love truly Conjugial. But in this paper we will limit ourselves to considering certain aspects of Conjugial love in relation to its ultimate or natural application, that is, to Conjugial love between a husband and wife.

In so far as the husband and wife remain in the things of their proprium, in which all are before regeneration, love truly Conjugial does not exist.

The male proprium differs from the female proprium. It is only in so far as a man sees the nature of his male proprium, acknowledges it for what it is, and fights against it; and so far as a woman sees the nature of her female proprium, acknowledges it for what it is, and fights against it; that a man and woman can come first to an external order of marriage and, afterwards to love truly Conjugial.

The male proprium consists primarily in the man’s love of his own intelligence, and the female proprium consists primarily in the love of her own natural affections. Unless these propriums with the man and woman are over come, love truly Conjugial is not possible.

We read: “Every man from birth is inclined to love himself, lest from the love of himself and conceit of his own intelligence man should perish, it was provided that this love of man should be transcribed into the wife, and it is implanted from birth in her, that she shall love the intelligence and wisdom of her man and thus the man, by which means the wife continually attracts the man’s pride of his own intelligence to herself, and extinguishes it with him and vivifies it with herself, and so turns it into Conjugial love (C.L. 353)

In order that the wife may have the ability to take away from man the love of his own intelligence, “which would destroy him”, (C.L.88), a perception of the states of a man is given to the woman, as described by angel wives as follows: “You exult over us on account of your wisdom, but we do not exult over you on account of ours; and yet our wisdom excels yours, in that it enters into your inclinations and affections and perceives and feels them, you know nothing at all about the inclinations and affections of your love, although it is from these and according to them that your understanding thinks, and from these and according to them you are wise. And yet wives know them so well that they see them in their faces, hear them in the tones of the speech of their mouths, yea may feel them in their breasts, arms and cheeks.”(C.L. 206)

It is most important that a husband should not resist the effort of his wife to take away the love of his own intelligence, and her effort to turn this to love of herself; and he does this when he leaves father and mother, that is, the proprium of his will and the proprium of his understanding, and cleaves to the genuine things of his wife.

On the other hand, it is the nature of the proprium of a woman to abuse the gift of the Lord, namely, the perception of the states of her husband, and use it to have her own natural affections rule, – the fruit given by Eve to Adam, which led to the fall.

The true order of coming to Conjugial love is described as follows:

“That the woman is actually formed into a wife, according to the description in the Book of Creation. It is said in this book that the woman was created out of the rib of the man; and when she was brought to him the man said; ‘This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; and she shall be called Ishah (Woman), because she was taken out of Ish (Man)’ (Gen.2:22,23)

“By a rib, in the Word, nothing else is signified than natural truth,  the breast of a man is signified that essential and peculiar thing wherein it is distinguished from the breast of a woman. That this is wisdom may be seen, in n. 187; for truth supports wisdom as a rib supports the breast. These things are signified because it is the breast wherein all things pertaining to man are, as it were, in their center. From these significations it appears that the woman was created out of the man by transcription of his own wisdom, that is wisdom from natural truth; and that the love of this by the man, was transferred to the woman that it might become conjugial love; also, that this was done to the end that in the man there may be, not love of himself, but love of his wife, who, from the disposition innate within her, cannot but convert love of himself with the man into his love to her. And I have heard that this is effected by the love itself of the wife, unconsciously to the man, and unconsciously to the woman. It results from this that no man can ever love his married partner with love truly conjugial, who from the love of himself is in the pride of his own intelligence” (C.L. 193)

“That the formation is effected in secret ways, and that this is meant by the woman’s being created while the man slept.

“We read in the Book of Creation: –

“’Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, that he should fall asleep; and then He took one of his ribs and built it into a woman’.(Gen.2;21s22) That by the man’s deep sleep and by his falling asleep is signified his entire ignorance that his wife is formed and as it were created from him, appears from what is shown in the preceding chapter, and also in this, respecting the innate prudence and circumspection of wives, lest they divulge anything whatever about their love or about their assumption of the affections of the man’s life, and so of the transcription of his wisdom into themselves.

“In order that this may be rightly done it is enjoined upon the man that he shall leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife. By ‘father and mother’ whom the man is to leave are meant in the spiritual sense his proprium of the will and of the understanding. It is the proprium of man’s will to love himself; and the proprium of the understanding is to love his own wisdom. By ‘cleave’ is signified to devote himself to the love of his wife. That these two propria are evils deadly to man, if they remain with him; and that the love of these two is changed into conjugial love in so far as a man cleaves to his wife, that is, receives her love” (C.L.194) When the above takes place, “The intellectual of the man is the inmost of the woman.”(C.L.195)

While the above  coming to conjugial love  is done by the Lord “unknown to the man and unknown to the woman”, still either the man  or the woman or both, can prevent this formation, and usually do so; the man by refusing and resisting the giving up of the love of his own intelligence; and the woman by refusing to give up the love of the rule of her natural affections, so that the intellectual of the man might become her inmost. While the internal formation of conjugial love is done by the Lord unknown to the man and unknown to the woman, if there were no cooperation in the external on the part of the husband and wife, this would be a matter of immediate mercy apart from means.

We are taught, “that there may be conjugial love with one of the married partners (who is spiritual), and not at the same time with the other” (who is merely natural).”

Such a relation is described in the story of Judah and Tamar, and also in the story of Moses and Zipporah, the wife of Moses, where she says of Moses, “a bridegroom of bloods art thou to me,” (Ex.4:25) Moses in these verses represents the Israelitish nation and Zipporah represents the representative church. Much that is very similar is said in the Arcana Coelestia about these two stories of Moses and Zipporah, and Judah and Tamar, Judah and Moses, in these two stories represent the Jewish and Israelitish Churches which were in the externals of the church, without an internal, and whose internals were evil; while Zipporah and Tamar represent the true representative church.

Concerning Tamar we are told that she represents “the internal truths of the representative Church.” (A.C.4859)

And of the relation of Judah and Tamar we read that: “The conjunction of the internal truth with the external, or with the religiosity of the Jewish nation, is represented by the conjunction of Tamar with Judah as a daughter-in-law with a father-in-law under the pretext of the duty of a husband’s brother; and the conjunction of the religiosity of the Jewish nation with the internal of the church is represented by the conjunction of Judah with Tamar as with a harlot.”

While these stories of Moses and his wife Zipporah, and Judah and Tamar, in their internal sense treat of things which take place in the internal of every man and woman, the Word contains many series, and in one of these series it treats of the relationship of a man who is merely natural, with a wife who is in internal things. In such a relationship the wife looks to interior truths, while the husband is only in the external of the church, the Word, and of worship without an internal; although sometimes through the Lord’s working, while the wife cooperates, the man may later come to an internal. A man before regeneration is always in the external of the Word., of the church and of worship, without an internal. If the wife has come to an internal, and not as yet the husband, she with great patience, waits and longs for her husband to come to an internal; but yet she does not permit herself to be drawn down into the plane of the external without an internal in which her husband is, nor does she permit the man1s love of his own intelligence, which he is not willing to leave, rule over her.

On the other hand the man may be in internals and the wife only in externals,  a state which in one of many series, is represented by the story of Joseph and the wife of Potiphar, Every woman, as to her proprium or before regeneration, has more or less in her of that which is represented by Potiphar’s wife; and if her husband should be in something of the internal (which in the fullest sense is represented by Joseph), while she is in a natural not spiritual, the enticements she uses are directed especially towards her husband.

By Joseph in this chapter is represented spiritual good, while by the wife of Potiphar is represented the truth natural not spiritual, adjoined to natural good.

We read: “Good in man is from a twofold source – from what is hereditary and hence adventitious, and also from the Doctrine of faith and charity… Good from the former origin is natural not   spiritual, while good from the latter origin is good spiritual natural. From  a like origin is truth, because all good has its own truth adjoined to it. Good natural from the former origin has much that is akin to good from the second origin, that is from the Doctrine of faith and charity, but only in the external form, being entirely different in the internal form. Good natural from the former origin may be compared to the good which exists with gentle animals; but good natural from the second origin is proper to the man who acts from reason, and knows how to dispense what is good in various ways according to vises. This dispensing of what is good is taught by the Doctrine of what is just and fair, and in a higher degree by the Doctrine of faith and charity. Every one who has not been re­generated, sees good from its external form, and this for the reason that he does not know what charity is, or what the neighbor is. (A.C.4988)

“To be conjoined with ones wife from lust alone, this is natural not spiritual, but to be conjoined with ones wife from conjugial love, this is spiritual natural, and when the husband is afterwards conjoined from lust alone he believes he has transgressed, and therefore no longer desires that this should be appropriated to him.” When it is said in the above, “conjoined with ones wife from lust alone”, the conjunction of minds should be seen as the primary thing; and “lust” should be regarded primarily as the lust for the conjunction of minds, apart from the conjugial of the good and the true.

To continue the number: “To benefit a friend, no matter what his quality, provided he is a friend, is not spiritual; but to benefit a friend for the sake of the good that is in him, and still more to hold good itself as a friend which is to be benefitted, is spiritual natural; and when any one is in this, he knows that he transgresses if he benefits a friend who is evil. When he is in this state he holds in aversion the appropriation of good natural not spiritual, and so with every thing else.” (A.C.4992)

We read further: “Those within the Church who are in truths natural not spiritual also say that every one is the neighbor, but they do not admit of degrees and distinctions; and. therefore if they are in natural good they do good without’ distinctions, to every one who excites their pity, and oftener to the evil than to the good, because in their knavery the evil know how to excite their pity.” (A.С. 5008)

In relation to the above we should think primarily of the relation to those in the Church, and of the “doing good without distinction.” We should  think primarily of doing spiritual good.

Also in this series of numbers where it speaks of those who make no distinction in giving to the poor, to widows, to the fatherless, etc. The meaning in relation to our duty applies in the first place to “the spiritually poor, the widows and the fatherless, etc.” in the Church, And where it speaks of a judge doing charity in punishing the evil, and thereby protecting society, and, if possible, leading to amendment, we should regard the word judge as having a primary application to those in the Church who have judgment, and of punishment, in relation to those who are in the Church.

Particularly women in the Church in so far as they have not been well instructed and regenerated, tend to resist the practical application of these laws.

A woman in her non-regenerate state can find many apparent truths to support her natural good affections, which are not spiritual, including many things from the literal sense of the Word, represented by the garment of Joseph, which the wife of Potiphar took away; and, with her siren song, can entice her husband who cannot resist the appeal of her natural good affections, not spiritual natural unless like Ulysses, he ties himself fast to the mast of Doctrine.

We read in Conjugial Love: “The Church is formed  by the Lord with man and through the man with the wife.” (C.L. 63)

“The church with them is first implanted in the man, and through the man in the wife; because the man receives its truth in his understanding; and the wife from the man. If the contrary it is not according to order. This however does occur; but with men who are either not lovers of wisdom, and are therefore not of the church; as also with those who depend as slaves on the beck of their wives.” (C.L. 125)

Especially in recent times, a sickness prevails in which men instead of being in love of their own intelligence, as is normal for a man before regeneration, merely love their natural affections above everything and thus become effeminate; while women who are ambitious to become intellectual and vie with men, become masculine imitations; but these are abnormalities, which indeed are becoming rather common.

But returning to the normal state of those before regeneration; it is evident that the proprium of the man will strive mightily against his giving up the love of his own intelligence; and the proprium of the woman will fight even harder against giving up the rule of her merely natural good affections; and that regeneration in relation to these loves is a life-long struggle.

In this struggle a man must discipline himself to cleave to his wife and thus permit his wife to take away from him the love of his own intelligence;, and must not resent it; but must permit her to manifest to him the presence of love of his ото intelligence in himself. The husband must especially love his wife in so far as she has become a form of truth and her womanly affections are out of this; but he must resist her with all his power in so fax as she tries to bring him under the persuasion of the apparent truths of her merely natural good affections.

And on her part, the woman, must permit the rational of her husband, if he has one, to elevate her above her natural good, which is not spiritual natural; but she must resist him in so far as he tries to lead her by a merely natural scientific rational. The road to conjugial love is therefore long and difficult, for both the husband and wife,, and can never be arrived at if both axe not in humility. A husband cannot help his wife, nor a wife her husband, unless they are both struggling; the man to overcome his male proprium and the woman her female proprium.

Here the words of the Lord apply: “Cast out first the beam that is in thine own eye, …then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42)

Instead of leading men out of the love of their own intelligence, many women flatter the intelligence of their husbands, to gain power and at the same time, dominate their husband’s will by their will. Men then try to defend themselves by their scientific rational faculty, but usually without much success. The woman in such a case, will oppose the man’s ideas and at the same time flatter Ms love of his own intelligence.

In the world, and in the New Church, there are some who are in what is considered happy marriages; yet love truly Conjugial, which comes only by regeneration, is arrived at by such a narrow path, that the quotation with which we commenced this paper still applies:

“That there is a love truly conjugial; which is so rare at the present, that its quality is not known and scarcely that it exists.” (C.L.58)

For its quality can only be known by those who are in it.