We live in a culture which is antagonistic to the true realization of love. Its vision of happiness lies in staying young and beautiful, sex and romantic love is seen as the ultimate goal, fulfillment of one's own desires has become an idol and we think of marriage as living happily ever after. This American cultural vision paves the way for countless broken marriages.
This love the Greek called "Eros", the god of love and sexual desire which in the ancient world became the god of fertility. To put it another way, "Difficulties and disappointments follow when the other doesn't reflect back the expected sense of specialness or idealness. We often hold ideals of relationship which we have never seen and could not exist in real life. In an attempt to actualize our fantasy life, we unconsciously compel or manipulate the other person to fulfill it. There is a simultaneous attachment or identification of the ego with the vast potential of the Self, which no partner can maintain." (Blog; Mindful-heartful Eros & Psyche) Father Cormac Burke makes the following observation about this kind of love: "That the sexual attraction can also present itself in an egocentric and grasping way, at times even violently, is undeniable; a fact which gives the impression that some original plan for man seems to have gone wrong, especially with regard to sexuality, since this now appears as a mysteriously problematic area of life where truly human appreciation and admiration too often run the danger of being submerged in mere physical desire." The original relationship between man and woman is described in Genesis, "The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame." (Gn 2:25) There love was truly human, an integral expression of body and soul. With Original Sin this integrity was lost, thus the emphasis on sex-love.
The experience of Eros speaks of the eternal because through love we seek unending happiness. "True, eros tends to rise in ecstasy towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing." (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, #5) Love in all its forms is not a illusion but if we try to find complete fulfillment in human love alone we are doomed to failure because, in God's design, human love is meant to lead us toward divine love.
In the marriage vows the couples promise each other and God to love till death because God is present in their hearts with his faithful love as revealed in Christ. This is the beginning of a love relationship but love, at this stage, is a mixture of uncontrolled passions, selfish desires and possessive love which hopefully will, in time, be transfigured by reason and will inspired by God's grace. Bishop Sheen has well written, "Marriage is a vocation to put God in every detail of love. In this way, the dream of the bride and groom for eternal happiness really comes true, not in themselves alone, but through themselves. Now they love each other not as they dreamed they would, but as God dreamed they would. Such a reconciliation of the tension is possible only to those who know that it takes three to make love." .(Futon J. Sheen, Three to Get Married, Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 1951, Ch. 6)
DIVINE ALL LOVE EXCELLING
divine, all loves excelling
divine, all loves excelling.
then, Thy new creation;