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  • Writer's pictureHoward Thompson

The Marriage of Love and Wisdom Manifest

As noted in last week’s blog, I will be looking at the subject of Marriage during November (the most common month for marriages in Australia). The blog doesn’t always following my sermon topics but this month it will. In last week’s sermon, while explaining the importance in our spiritual growth of the marriage of love and wisdom I shared the following quote from the teachings for the New Church:

“Every part of us, no matter how small, has something equivalent to a marriage in it. Whatever exists in our intellect, therefore, is coupled with something in our will. Without this mating, or marriage, we produce nothing at all.” (Secrets of Heaven #672)

The quote reminded me of my time in business before entering ministry. On one of my very first days on the job the Office Manager was describing the dynamic between the two owners of the company. She said “If it hadn't been for Sandy, we never would have grown; and if it hadn't been for Mickey, we would have filed for bankruptcy.”

I often think of that conversation when reflecting on the role Love and Wisdom play in our lives. Once seen, this pairing can’t be unseen, it shows itself in so many aspects of life. Of course, the most common and obvious example in a marriage context is that of the pairing of a man and woman. In every relationship the partners take on different, supportive roles, but the pairing of one man and one woman most specifically embodies this marriage of Love and Wisdom.

In the symbolic language of the Bible, a woman being formed from a man's rib (Genesis 2:22-24) describes a spiritual transformation where a woman embodies natural truth that supports man's wisdom with her own unique wisdom, akin to how a rib supports the breast. This creation symbolises the transference of wisdom and love from man to woman, fostering the creation of true married love that transcends self-love. It signifies a divine orchestration where a wife, through marital union, assimilates her husband's affections, aligning their inner wills and interweaving the essence of their souls, leading to a harmonious blend of their spiritual beings.

It is an unfortunate aspect of human nature that we are often intellectually lazy, preferring simple binary explanations of the world around us to a nuanced and dynamic explanation that requires careful consideration, critical thinking and compassion. As such, when reflecting on the different attributes of male and female the human tendency is to think along the lines of “men are this…women are that” and “men do this…women do that.”

In contrast, New Church teachings offer a profound alternative to this simplistic binary. These teachings offer a vision of marriage where the complexities and nuances of the human spirit are celebrated. The traditional roles ascribed to men and women are seen as correspondences that mirror higher spiritual truths, not as rigid templates that dictate or limit an individual's ability to express the full range of spiritual gifts.

Men and women both possess love and wisdom, but they manifest these divine attributes in distinct ways that are designed to complement each other. A man's love, for instance, is often expressed through his wisdom, through an understanding and provision that is inherently loving. A woman's wisdom, on the other hand, is deeply connected to her capacity for love; it is a wisdom that prioritises relationships and intuitive understanding over abstract reasoning.

This distinction does not limit what each can express or experience. Rather, it suggests that in the spiritual marriage of two individuals, there exists a reciprocal enhancement where each partner's strengths elevate the other. A man's wisdom can guide and give form to the love within a marriage, while a woman's love can warm and give life to the wisdom within it.

“The Lord's divine love is infinite, and his divine wisdom is infinite, and infinite forms of love and infinite forms of wisdom radiate from the Lord and flow into everyone in heaven and everyone in hell. From heaven and hell they flow into everyone in the world. This means that none of us can lack the ability to think and intend, since infinite forms are everything infinitely.” (Divine Providence 294.6)

The interplay of love and wisdom in the context of marriage, then, becomes a reflection of a divine pattern, where love is not merely an emotion but a life-giving force, and wisdom is not just intellect but a meaningful direction. The complexity of this interplay is evident in the way partners learn from each other, grow together, and sometimes switch traditional roles, adapting to life's challenges and opportunities.

Swedenborg emphasises that love without wisdom can be misguided, and wisdom without love can be cold and ineffective. It is in their unity that we find the truest expression of what it means to be human. When love is guided by wisdom, and wisdom is warmed by love, they produce what is truly good and useful in life — much like a well-run business where growth and stability are balanced.

Understanding this spiritual correspondence encourages us to move beyond stereotypes and appreciate the deeper spiritual essence of our partners and ourselves. It challenges us to see marriage not just as a social contract, but as a spiritual journey where two souls are intertwined to help each other fulfil their heavenly potential.

As we explore the topic of marriage this month, let us consider the beautiful complexity that comes with the interplay of male and female attributes, and how this can enhance our relationships. Let us strive to see the image of the Divine not just in the other but in the sacred space between us where love and wisdom dance in eternal union.

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