Y’all. This book!
My husband, Mike, and I are reading Edward Sri’s “Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love” for a couple’s group study. Based on St. Pope John Paul II’s “Love and Responsibility,” it’s a beautiful reminder of who we are, and how we can relate to each other most authentically, most fully, and most in line with how we were made to love. It applies to any relationship we have – friendship, dating, marriage, even parenting! We’re only a few chapters in and each week I find a treasure.
I want to share a couple of those treasures with you.
In case you didn’t know, C.S. Lewis is absolutely amazing. If you need something said in a way that just makes you wonder how you were ever confused or unclear about it, go to him. In just a few short sentences, he puts it all together and makes you want to live your life differently than you were living it before. Seriously!
The first quote comes from a chapter that explores how we can think we are loving someone, even in marriage, but we can easily fall into using them for what they give us. The second quote makes it pretty clear how wonderful truly loving someone can be.
I hope these inspire you as they have inspired me.
We use a most unfortunate idiom when we say of a lustful man prowling the streets, that he “wants a woman.” Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want. He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus…. Now [love] makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give. - C.S. Lewis
Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling…. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? … But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense – love as distinct from “being in love” – is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both parents ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity; this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run; being in love was the explosion that started. - C.S. Lewis