Revised May 1999
Husbands Confess Here: Leon James
This document describes the steps I experienced as a husband from the moment I inwardly accepted the idea that marriage is sacred and is the Divine vehicle for creating Angels out of each of us. This idea came to me through the Writings of Swedenborg. Swedenborg himself witnessed heaven and the Angelic inhabitants through a special dispensation from the Lord. Swedenborg was a famous and respected Swedish scientist and theologian--an unusual combination. I consider him to be the first dualist scientist, which is the name I give for the science of the future, possibly the near future, that acknowledges God as one of its premises, and investigates the Laws of Divine Providence as a scientific focus. The Laws of Divine Providence are the methods and mechanisms the Lord uses to manage the world and every single event in it.
In Swedenborg's Work called The Divine Providence, we can find a scientific beginning for investigating and describing, and rationally explaining, the Laws of Divine Providence. This is the true science that leads us into further methodological developments for the establishment of the new dualist science--and this will be a tremendous boom to humankind on earth, and elsewhere. The pragmatic power of dualist science in comparison to the science of today, is like the difference between a horse (science today) and a truck (dualist science).
This hardly seems likely to those imbued with the ideas of materialistic science. I know full well because I was trained as a materialistic scientist and when I was a the height of my career in my thirties, I was a materialistic scientist hardly different from my colleagues. And if you check my dozens of scientific articles and books, you will see no trace of God anywhere. But then, in my early forties, I started searching for still deeper things within, and was led by Divine Providence to the Writings of Swedenborg.
Because I was open, and because I had not cultivated an inner belief in science's materialism, I was able to see the perfect rationality of dualist science as established in the Writings of Swedenborg. I immediately and spontaneously began to modify the concepts of my science which is Psychology. This Swedenborg Glossary is my attempt to pull together my various efforts in developing conceptual tools for incorporating dualism within science without destroying its current premises. I do not wish to create a new science. I think what we have is just fine. I've been a scientist for over thirty years now and I wouldn't choose any other profession for myself. I want to protect science, its future and its glory in the service of humankind. There is a way of bringing God to science without destroying anything already in place in science and its long history of use to humankind. This long history proves to me that it is the right science because it is the Lord's science. Divine Providence is leading and directing the minds of every scientist , all the time in every generation.
Now this article focuses on Conjugial Love--the title of one of Swedenborg's Writings. By regularly studying this Work in my late forties, and throughout my fifties (I am now 60 years old), I have been able to observe, identify, and write down the developmental steps of becoming a reformed husband. This means, a husband who acknowledges that marriage is sacred and that it is the vehicle used by God to create an eternal Angel out of him. An Angel is the highest form of human character and life. At death, within a few hours, husbands who have suffered themselves to undergo the steps of character reformation through the wife, assume their young handsome immortal spiritual body and enter their heavenly mansion where the wife is met or awaited, the two then forming a Unity to eternity, in a life of creative use and fun, in a sumptuous celestial city-garden along with other like minded companions. Read one of Swedenborg's Memorable Relations from his visits with an angel couple.
Swedenborg has described the general process of becoming reformed in one's character, a process that is called "regeneration." After pointing to all the obvious evidence for our "fallen nature," we are told that the Lord wants us to know that a way has been made available to us for reforming our fallen human character. Thus from being born with harmful, selfish, and cruel loves, our character can be healed or transformed into compassionate, altruistic, and rational human beings. The character is your will, and your will is made of your affections or loves. Whatever you love, your will does. Such as your will is at death, such is your character in eternity. There is no change of direction possible--only ways of getting deeper and deeper into what you love. Think about it: if you don't reform your character, you simply end up being it forever. And then think about this: we are all born with an evil character, full of selfish cruelty and stupid compulsions. Unless we reform this fallen character while in this physical body, we remain it.
An Angel of the Lord has a reformed and regenerated character that can live, breathe, and exist in heavenly states of mind or spirit, united as one with a spouse. Swedenborg explains the mechanism of healing. It is not mystical but scientific and rational. This he does from the Lord and not from himself as Swedenborg. But unlike earlier prophets in the Old Testament like Moses or Isaiah, Swedenborg is a modern scientist and therefore he presents what is revealed to him as a rational treatise, exactly in the same academic style as other scientists like Leibniz, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Freud, or VonNeuman. In other words, only rational considerations and factual observations are used to establish a principle or mechanism of operation. Personal charisma and subjectivity is given zero weight or a negative value.
Swedenborg presents only what he actually observed in the spiritual world when the Lord opened his inner mind to perceive consciously in both the physical and spiritual world. Remember that our mind is constructed of spiritual organs that produce and contain the organic substances of which our thoughts and feelings are made of. This is just like the body which is constructed of physical organs that produce and contain the biochemical substances that make up our sensations and move the muscle fibers for our movements. Similarly, our mental movements or operations, including thinking and feeling, occur by means of the organs of the mind we call the Cognitive organ and the Affective organ.
So now we are born with a mind, or character, or spirit, that is twisted and backward and upside down. Imagine what such a sweater or shirt would look like, if its fibers were so twisted--it would not be usable as a sweater or shirt, but would merely be a mass of wool or a ball of cotton. What must you do, having no other choice of sweater or shirt, and the winter coming on? You must undo or untie and untwist, reverse, pull out and rethread. that's why I call it "suffering yourself to be reformed" because it is Ouch! and easy to run away from and refuse and just say stubbornly No! It's easy to refuse to change, like the road that is broad, but hard to change, like the road that is narrow, and the Lord warns that many are those who take the broad highway, and few are those who take the narrow way.
The Bible speaks of sin and repentance, without which there is no heavenly life in eternity. In Swedenborg we find a detailed and scientific explanation of how this Bible truth works in real life. Sin is the state of the inherited fallen character (believe it, buster! Inside you can be a beast sometimes, right? That's the fallen character.) The fact that at times you can act like an angel might act, does not make you good at all. It remains an external and impersonal act so long as you allow the beast to come out at times. Unless you kill off your beast, you become it forever. How scary, yes?!
So repentance is the work you have to do to change yourself from beast to Angel. The Lord gives you the map in your understanding and the power in your will: you must supply the intention to move them. This is called intentionality. The Lord will not do it for you for good reasons that pertain to the Laws of Divine Providence--perhaps you can study that book one day. The point is that without you supplying the effort of your will in some appropriate intention in your life, it would be worse than useless for the Lord to do it for you, despite the lack of your intention. This is because only what you love belongs to you spiritually, hence eternally. Whatever you actually love in your life, is appropriated to you by the Lord to eternity, never to be taken away from you, and thus all your affections or loves remain with you as your very own self or character, forever--bad loves if you are an angel of hell and good loves if you are an angel of heaven.
This equation of Divine Providence is necessary because the Lord creates each human being for the sake of others and not for the sake of self. Every detail of the universe is compelled to follow this law. So you can see that the Lord cannot make you be a good husband when you want to be bad. If this were done to you, you would no longer feel free, but moved by God like an automaton--and that's no heaven...
So when you're going to walk out of this place, you are forced to take the way provided--which is either out and down into hell, or out and up to heaven. If you get curious about this, read some of Swedenborg's eyewitness descriptions of Heaven and Hell. These are two spiritual states of our mind, as we were created. The hell in us is reached by pursuing the selfish road; the heaven in us is reached by pursuing the altruistic road. This is reality. This is science. These are the mechanisms. And so in this article I am describing to you the mechanisms I've observed in my developmental steps of reformation. This description can help you overcome in your own life if you are willing to apply them. That's my purpose in providing it--and I thank the Lord for giving me this labor of love to do and experience.
It was not so at the beginning of our race on this earth, but it has become so for many many generations now. As a husband you have a double responsibility: you and your wife. She is your dependence. You honor this dependence by becoming her obedience. In this way both of you consider the other as more important than self. This is the very state that transforms you into an Angel. As witnessed by Swedenborg, a conjugial couple in heaven walking towards him appeared to him as one Angel. But as the Angel came nearer, Swedenborg suddenly saw two Angels, a husband and his wife. They talked to him.
This spiritual appearance of a married couple in heavenly state appearing as one magnificent Angel of the Lord, is an appearance due to the fact that a conjugial couple is one in mind or spirit. This absolute unity is symbolized in the spiritual appearance as one Angel. In the heavenly states of your mind, which are infinite in number and variety, you are being altruistic, and thus you are aligned in harmony with the the Lord's Divine order. But in the hell states of your mind, you are selfish, and so in dis-harmony with the Lord's order. This disharmony is experienced subjectively in yourself as hellish thoughts and emotions, which also vary to an endless and horrendous degree. Swedenborg has described these anti-human states of selfishness as he witnessed them in the hells he was given to visit for the sake of his Writings. Hey, friend, stay away from those places!!!!!
So you see, what I have witnessed in myself as a scientist corroborates the evidence presented in Conjugial Love and other Works by Swedenborg. As I speak to you through these lines, or ideas in them, I will use the warning "do this or else you're going to hell" and similar threats. Don't let your first reaction turn you away from these ideas. You may rightly have rejected dogmas of your religion because they are false or irrational, and cruel or harsh. Your mind protected you from imbibing those harmful ideas that lead to intolerance and rejection--the very opposite of altruism, which is heavenly. But now do not throw out the baby with the bath water. The Lord has an existence or presence that is not dependent on people's dogmatic beliefs. And so, get with that, friend. The Lord has made you, and has provided for your healing and reformation, so that you may become an Angel person who can spend eternity in the high places of your mind or spirit. These high places of the human mind are gathering places, or dwelling places, for individuals from all the planets who suffered themselves to be reformed while still in the material body.
Similarly, the low places of the human mind are gathering places, or dwelling places, for individuals from all the planets who did not suffer themselves to be reformed while still in the material body. Don't get with them, buddy. Stay on your good side--Oh what a pleasure and delight and pleasantness and joy it is!! Why? Because that is how your mind is constructed by the Lord. Why oppose it? Why resist it? Do not give in to your willfulness that takes you to your hell, but suffer yourself to tame and contain your inherited inclinations that favor your own self over your wife.
You will also the see the expression Conjugial Love. "Conjugial" is like "conjugal" but has an extra letter "i" in it. This is a distinction Swedenborg made in the original Neo Latin in which he wrote, like so many of his scientific contemporaries in the 17th and 18th centuries. He explained that "conjugal" means married in the ordinary natural sense that includes its social and legal definitions. He then described the marriages he had witnessed in a certain heaven of the Most Ancient Church on this planet where the people dwelled together from the Golden Age before the Fall. Swedenborg thus had to make a distinction between their "inner" marriage--calling it "conjugial"--and the "external" marriages, that he called "conjugal" which characterized the marriages of the Fall, such our own today. So the expression "Conjugial Love"--which is the title of one of Swedenborg's Works--refers to your state as a husband with your wife after you become reformed. More on conjugial love can be found here and here.
And now, let me start with a summary of my states as a husband, and will then continue with details and explanations that ought to help you wrestle your willfulness down, that is your dragon.
The first decade: foul, foul
My wife did all the accommodating. She says she had no choice. It was an inner dictate. She 'inhaled' my personality, my knowledge, my lifestyle. Everything I did, she did. Everything I justified, she did. Everything I enjoyed, she did. I remained a god unto myself, enshrined in macho righteousness (self-righteousness). I just accepted her becoming 'me' as natural and spiritual, and as inevitable. After all, I was born male and she was merely female. She did all that she could to please me. She took care of my wants and cared about what I cared about. I ignored her cares. I assumed she owed it to me on account of her being a woman and I a man. I insisted on not giving up my male prerogatives which she had no choice but to honor--or disappear from my life.
On the surface and from outside, I paid lip service to her rights as my wife and honey, but this was more to maintain my good reputation with her and others, than something real that I took to heart and altered in myself. I did not do this. I remained a coward, basking in the status quo, exploiting her, and enjoying the exploitation. How disgusting!! And yet so normal, so universal.
The second decade:
I discovered the New Testament (through my wife's gentle urgings) and was converted instantly to Christianity. Now I viewed my marriage as sacred in the Lord. Shortly thereafter the Lord led me to the Writings (in our university library one day, as if by chance...). I was instantly converted to the New Church mentality and so was my wife (we read the Writings together). Now I realized I must change or else I'm going straight to hell! I was scared. My wife tripled her efforts and her zeal became irresistible. She met me in my hell and extirpated me from there. I knew she was my only chance to straighten myself for I could not do it by myself. I struggled and we struggled. One day she said she cannot go on much longer. I have not shown any real evidence that I was really going to change, she said.
She warned me that she was my only chance and not to blow it. I was scared. I begged the Lord. The Lord opened my eyes one day and I came to formulate THE DOCTRINE OF THE WIFE, which is symbolized by God's words to Abraham, "Hearken unto Sarah." It means that the Lord gives the wife perception of the good and truth in her husband, that is, the evil and the false in her husband, and he ought therefore to take heed because she has this special perception directly from the Lord. In other words, the husband does not receive inner wisdom about himself and about conjugial love directly from the Lord but only indirectly, THROUGH the wife. Friend, don't give yourself a pain about this idea. Live with it and it will make life easy and blessed for you. You yourself will advocate this for your sons and friends because it will be easy for you to see how it is true and how it works as a mechanism of Divine Providence. The wife receives this special perception from the Lord so she can see what affections and strivings lie buried in his mind or spirit. She then tells the husband what she sees in him, and he then ought to obey her perceptions. Thus he stays under the blessed protection of the Secret Stream of the Divine Providence that almost imperceptibly carries him to his place in heaven, with her, like the fish and plants in the Gulf Stream are borne south in the balmy river of ocean.
So this became my bottom line:
The third decade:
My wife says she is happy with my progress. She has no major complaints. The main thing is that I now see her happiness as my responsibility. Repeat: I now see her happiness as my job! In fact I now see that it is my main and only job here on earth, and all my other jobs are secondary. She is my neighbor in the first place. There used to be "job division" and "equality" between us, but not any more. Now I just try to do WHATEVER she needs done. That is my intention, my ideal, my effort. I certainly do not succeed all the way. At least in theory, I try to take care of her moment to moment needs. I watch my words so as not to give her a headache (that is, I try this as my goal -- I am devoted to it). I watch my tone of voice so as not to scare her inside. I do not succeed all the time. In the course of a single day there are 'incidents' which reveal my beastly, uncivilized he-man nature. But I try to watch my facial expression so as not to bring a cloud in her sphere. I stop doing something that bothers her and I start doing something she might desire. There is no limit. That's what I'm aiming for!
I delight in her sphere because it puts an end to my sphere which is rough and coarse. This is completely true: I understood nothing real in spiritual terms until I accepted the notion that my way to inner truth is EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH MY WIFE. Why? Because it is a psycho-spiritual law. It is the result of our mental structure.
I urge all of you men to adopt the Doctrine of the Wife. If you feel anger and outrage at my suggestion, it is just more evidence that it is the truth. The unregenerate male proprium hates the sphere of femininity (even if this is subconscious or unconscious). Men want to dominate women. Men want to use women to destroy themselves: by destroying the wife, the man destroys himself -- and that's what he is after. Or rather, that's what the evil spirits are after, who are with the man, who are part of the man's vertical community. According to Swedenborg this is a symptom of spiritual insanity that characterizes the "Fallen humanity" or the unregenerating individual.
It is now two years later, this Christmas of 1998. A very great thing has happened in my life, friends! I have crossed the ennead of weeks of being good! This means that 9 weeks have gone by and I have not made my wife cry, not once! This is not merely a long record...but a PARADIGM SHIFT, a spiritual paradigm shift in my ability to remain receptive to the influx of conjugial love. When do I make her cry? When I harden my heart, focus on the topic or task in a rational or logical or natural way, and hold on to it no matter what, ignoring her increasing discomfort, stress, unhappiness, and frustration. And panic. Where can she turn for a hearing if I am the supreme ruler of my decisions?? Not to me--for my heart is hardened and I see not her softness, her tenderness, her goodness, and her wisdom.
This shocks me as I review it. My position is so callous. Egotistical. From hell alone. And yet, all I'm doing is being a normal male in our society, unconsciously or consciously insisting on my male prerogatives. Too bad for women. After all, we men did not create this world. We did not make God into a male Person. So our male supremacy is god-willed, isn't it, etc.--so much drivel from hell, you know.
One clearly new aspect of this New Paradigm I've been basking in is how easy it is to give up the male logic of the task or situation and to junk it for the sake of Peace and conjugial love. She says something that contradicts my understanding and advocates the direction I consider a mistake? Well then I shall junk my logic. Why not? Before I was afraid to, or rather, Satan was afraid to (and I only thought it was me). I was afraid to abandon my logic and adopt her logic. What if I'm right and she is wrong? Shouldn't she submit to my view, as it is superior? etc. etc., which is so much bunk. I can see that clearly now. It's a matter of trust in her. We men learn NOT to trust women, their judgment, their intellect, their wisdom, their intelligence. We naturally trust ourselves more than we trust women, thus our wife. We rationalize away their insight and we discount their perceptiveness in any situation. The zeal they show for protecting the union is twisted in our eyes and estimation, and we attribute it to women's hysteria and feminine hormones. How degraded!! I disgust myself.
She had been telling me this: You don't trust me, Leon. You don't trust your own doctrine of the wife. Because I'm a woman. I laughed. I denied. I ridiculed. I got angry and mean. These were the thrashings of hell, the resistance to heaven right in my mental sphere, my spiritual life. But now I trust her because Divine doctrine tells me to. The Lord said to Abraham, Hearken unto Sarah. Remember that it is the wife's Divinely appointed job to lead in the marriage through her reception of conjugial love from the Lord. She does not lead directly like a general or president; she leads only in the sense that her husband voluntarily elevates her role and maintains it by submitting to it, consciously, as a commandment freely obeyed from the spirit. In this way, the wife's leading is from the husband, for which righteousness is imputed to the husband by the Lord. He wins, she wins. Thus they are conjoined into one personality--the necessary pre-requisite for married life in heaven.
In our exchanges, my focus is on pleasing her. This is called Peace. I have at last accepted the responsibility that I am responsible for her happiness. I can't leave that responsibility up to her. It's mine. And so Peace takes precedence over rationality or understanding, when these two appear to contradict Peace. Soon thereafter, it becomes clear that it was only the appearance of rationality that contradicted Peace, while true rationality never contradicts Peace. The true rational husband never, repeat never, gets mad at his wife, and never takes a disagreeing stance, but always an agreeing one. To disagree with my wife is to disagree with the Lord who directs me through her in matters of conjugial love, therefore, in all matters of feeling, motive, and intention.
Before this New Paradigm state of 9 weeks, it seemed to myself that I had to work super-hard not to get annoyed or angry with her every day or any day. Whenever she refused to buckle down to male prerogatives, I would automatically punish her, or else, feel good about myself for not punishing her when she deserved it. Can you believe it? And punishing her meant something small and subtle (gone were the days when I could yell or walk off...). Still, I would show her my displeasure in a small way: by frowning; by not talking for awhile; by not laughing at her jokes; by freezing when she touched me; by staying away; by talking loud in public places to embarrass her; and a thousand other disgusting things like that.
But now the Lord has tricked me. It's easy to care. It's easy to give up one's own. It's easy not to get angry or annoyed. It's easy to remain loving and overlook things that aren't harmonious and are temporary. And it's so great to have Peace. Truly, friends, you must try it. Do so.
This is what I discovered: there is a moment,
just a brief moment, when we husbands are given freedom of choice. At that
moment I can decide to feel annoyed and to retaliate in some way; or, I can
decide to feel accepting. If I choose NOT to accept her behavior or attitude, I
condemn myself to feeling annoyed or disapproving. If I choose to accept her
behavior or attitude, I am saved by the Lord from annoyance, and I am given
Peace instead. Then I can be loving to her. But if I condemn myself to
annoyance, I also render myself impotent to care for her and her
This supreme moment of freedom of choice
lasts but for a moment. As I recall now, I used to squander these moments of
Grace, ignore them, and plunge right into my proprial affections as vested in
male prerogatives. I could choose to pout, or to be in a bad mood, or psyche
her, or spook her, or brighten her, or torture her in so many little ways until
she screams that I'm driving her crazy! How horrible, how insane. But I'm saved
from this hell as long as I remain true to the Doctrine
of the Wife--which is, that my access to the Lord and heaven is most purely
given through the wife as conjugial
love from Him through her to me. And this alone is my salvation. There is no
other door through which I can climb up or in.
Husbands, monitor and study
your annoyances in the presence of your wife or in the sphere of her domain
and household, such as the order she keeps or insists on, or doesn't, or the
schedule, and the budgeting and planning. There are a thousand little ways we
can feel annoyed in these matters and in relation to our wife. Monitor and study
these annoyances because they are the clues to your
Ask yourself why you are ignoring the freedom
of choice the Lord gives you NOT to get annoyed?
Observe your squandering away these moments
of Grace and rendering you impotent, sexless. For how can being annoyed be
Witness the voices in your mind who hate her
or despise her because she is a woman, because she is your wife, because of her
bird-sized brain, because of her hormones or menstrual cycle or hysterical
nature. These are the voices of your inherited friends, the vertical community
in your closet, the women-haters, the anti-Christ spirits. Get rid of them, for
Christ sake!! Beg Jesus to help you. And this is His
That He has already overcome the world and
the hells, and He is eagerly offering you the weapons of deliverance--that
moment of supreme freedom
of choice that comes in every act of the day, minute by minute, hour by
hour. O What Divine Plenitude and Magnificence! Amen. Read
selections from the Writings on freedom of choice.
And so from our initial state of damnation the Lord brings us into the second stage of reformation. Hearken unto your Sarah. Cling to her dress and willingly serve her. She will be your guide. The Lord will instruct her and she will relay the message to you. The Lord gives her perception and heat; you have only darkness and cold. So reformation for a husband is the state of thankfulness and excitement in which he is while striving to submit to his wife's perceptions and wisdom, and succeeding. When a husband becomes of a celestial character the Lord opens up new, fresh, and exciting discoveries he makes about his wife, and through his wife, about the female race. A husband becomes celestial to the extent that he is an obedience to the Lord through his wife.
At last the Lord brings us into the third and final state called regeneration. This state continues into heaven and eternity.
Celestial husbands are called obediences. Before a husband opens the celestial mind in himself, or rather, before he allows the Lord to open it, it his impression that he is to obey the Lord. The idea of obeying the wife instead of the Lord is abhorrent to him. And this is right, of course. But it's not the issue. The issue is to obey the Lord through his wife vs. to obey the Lord directly, and independently of his wife. The latter is not possible. That is, for a husband to go to the Lord directly for receiving conjugial love is as illegitimate and as impossible as it is for a Christian to go to Jehovah God the Father directly, and independently of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord warns that no one can climb up to heaven by any other way but through Him, since no one knows, hears, or sees the Father, and since all power has been given to Him. And so it is clear that we must go to the Lord Jesus Christ directly as the God of Creation. All this is well understood by those who study the Writings seriously.
But now these very same scholars and students (well I know it from my own biography having been one of those), balk at the idea that there is an exact parallel of this process with regards to conjugial love. It is clearly taught in the Writings that conjugial love from the Lord does not enter the husband because he does not have the proper receptors from creation. The Lord created the male and the female in such a way that they may reciprocally conjoin endlessly, or with endless variety and novelty, hour by hour, to eternity. Is that not awesome!!!! So there is not one iota or molecule or vibration produced by the wife that is like any produced by the husband, ever, by Divine Law. This absolute, immortal, and eternal distinction to every part or fiber of their being, insures that husband and wife can conjoin endlessly to eternity. And this endless and perfect union, or acting as one, would not be possible if even one part in a billion would overlap and be the same for husband and wife somewhere in their mind or spirit, that is, their thoughts and feelings.
So it makes rational and scientific sense why the husband does not have the receptors for receiving conjugial love directly from the Lord, but only the wife does.
Now even those who come along this far, and grant the idea that husbands get their conjugial love from the Lord through the wife, even they hesitate and stumble to go to the next step, without which the mere realization is as nothing in effectiveness. This next step is to confess that they reject conjugial love when they reject their wife, that is, when they disagree with her, contradict her, or minimize her in any way whatsoever. This is a big step for a husband to make--perhaps the biggest so far. New Church husbands will say here that they accept the affectionate nature of their wife and that the Lord gives wives a perception over their husbands' character that they themselves are not given. In other words, a husband might confess that he ought to consult his wife because his wife is given special perception. Nevertheless he will insist that this is consulting not obeying. He retains the truth and wisdom of how he ought to act, even if he acts with the benefit of his wife's opinions.
All this will not do, friends. This is just another roundabout way to helldom.
Nothing short of this will do: confess that acting from any disagreement of mind between conjugial partners, is acting against the Lord, hence it is a sin.
And the only way to insure that this does not happen is to become an obedience, that is a celestial husband, in other words, a husband who never, repeat never, acts from a disagreement with his wife. If a husband acts from a disagreement with his wife, for any reason under any circumstance, he is acting from disagreement with her.
Wow! Can you believe this???? No. Husbands will raise an endless series of objections to these ideas, while the truth of these ideas will be instantly obvious to women, but especially married women who have experienced their husband's endless and seemingly hopeless state of fixation with themselves and their prerogatives, rather than with their wife, her mind, her cares, her concerns, her happiness, her preferences and options and conveniences. The world of woman is revealed to a man when he becomes an obedience to her for the sake of the Lord. Note well: those who object to this will say that it's wrong for a man to become a woman's slave. Of course it is. But this is not the issue here, and you can't substitute that for this. The issue here is the idea that a husband voluntarily becomes an obedience to his wife for the sake of becoming celestial, which is another way of saying, for the sake of the Lord, or for the sake of our love to the Lord.
And what am I when I'm not an obedience? I am then a rebellion. When Diane and I first found the Writings in our university library in Hawaii (see story here) we each started reading furiously several hours a day. After a few weeks, Diane asked me if I'd like to read Conjugial Love, which she had just finished reading for the first time. I said, No, I'm not ready. I'm still studying the doctrinal books about faith and science. The had titles like Divine Love and Wisdom, or The Four Doctrines, or Apocalypse Explained, or The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine. I even started studying the "earlier" works, the so called "pre-theological" writings of Swedenborg. They had titles like Rational Psychology, and The Five Senses, and Hieroglyphic Key to Correspondences, and so on. But I had no time for Conjugial Love. Can you believe it!
Even after I read it, finally, it did not strike me as important a work as the others. It seemed more folksy, less professional, less scientific, more ethnic somehow. Can you believe it? So I left it again. Then one day the Lord struck me with a thunderbolt. After we met Bishop Philip Odhner and his wife Beryl, on a vacation visit they made to Hawaii, they were kind enough to send us a copy of the three-volume De Hemelsche Leer. (De Hemelsche Leer. (1930-38). The Hague, Holland: Swedenborg Genootschap. (Reprinted by the Lord's New Church, Bryn Athyn, PA). This work was a bolt of lightening that led me to formulating the Doctrine of the Wife.
This was the lightening bolt: wherever the Writings talk about "the Word" substitute in your mind "the Writings." This practice will help you acquire new meaning from the Writings. As long as you insist on thinking about the Old Testament or the New Testament when the Writings discuss "the Word" your mind is closed to the lightening bolt. But as soon as you allow yourself to treat the Writings as the Word PRIMARILY, you begin to loose the delusions that come from the literal of the Writings. A number of such delusions permeate the New Church, the worst of these being that men are truths while women are affections. This delusional doctrine hides conjugial love. For example, even though the Writings plainly teach that conjugial love is the highest of all loves from the Lord, and that all other loves come from it, the New Church mentality has not assigned a primary role to the book called Conjugial Love. Instead, it has assigned primacy to Arcana Coelestia. And yet, these also teach the supremacy of conjugial love, but they are looking away from this, thus do not see it. Just like me, I did not see it until De Hemelsche Leer exploded it into my ears and eyes and nostrils. Praise be to the Lord!
And so when you allow yourself to be humbled and accept the secrets revealed in De Hemelsche Leer, the chief of which being, that you need to read "the Writings" wherever it says "the Word," then you can enthrone and enshrine the book called Conjugial Love and you feel yourself freed and liberated from the delusion that we men are truths while our wives are affections, from which we conclude that we decide after they give us their opinion. In other words, we remain rebellions. But when we begin to see what the Writings say about themselves wherever it discusses the Word, then we see that we must be obediences to our wife. Then we are impressed by the fact, so many times mentioned in the Writings that at the celestial plane, that is in heaven, wives represent wisdom and husbands represent love. Until then, all a man can get from the Writings is the opposite, and he pays no attention to the wisdom/wife connection, but only to the truth/man connection. By being voluntary obediences to our wife, we are able to read the Writings and apply to the Writings what they say about the Word. We are then able to claim the Writings as the Word primarily, while resting in the idea that the Old Testament and the New Testament are more distantly the Word to us than the Writings are. Until then, New Church men have a fear of admitting this.
The more I am a voluntary obedience to my wife, the more I love the Lord, hence, the more I am conjoined to the Lord and the more the Lord reveals to me the endless discoveries of woman. These discoveries are inside my relationship to her. By thinking and feeling as an obedience to her, I am transformed by the Lord from the inside where I cannot reach on my own. From this operation by the Lord, there comes a further opening of the upper regions of the mind. This opening shows itself as the discoveries I am discussing. With each new depth of opening, there is a new perception with its new affection or wonderment. Perhaps it will be given to me some day to be able to enumerate some of them. Maybe in the next decade, the fourth decade of my marriage? But Lord let it according to your idea, not mine. Amen.
There are two anti-conjugial mechanisms we all must witness ourselves performing, and then rejecting its premises, and avoiding doing them. These anti-conjugial operations have the purpose or goal of neutralizing the power of the wife as an inner influence in your thinking and orientation. Thus, to render her ineffective in your reformation. Defeating her. Defeating the marriage. Defeating yourself. that's what the satans and devils want, who are associated with our mind from birth, sticking us with the anti-conjugial tendencies and lusts. The first evil operation under their influence is to DISCOUNT what she says on account of something that is wrong with her, momentarily, like PMS, or hormones, or bad mood, or being upset about something else, etc. In that case she is just a nag, immature, prejudiced, lacking understanding and empathy (we insist that she does not understand us). The second evil anti-conjugial operation these satans and devils inflict upon us, is to DISAGREE with what she says on account of her lack of knowledge, expertise, familiarity with the disputed situation or topic. In that case she just doesn't know what she is talking about, being out of her league, etc.
These two ways of neutralizing our wife, discounting what she says and disagreeing with her logic, are the two principal methods we use to defeat our marriage. First, by defeating her; then by defeating the marriage; finally, by defeating ourselves--ending up with the societies of satans and devils that were with us at birth and whom we failed to get rid of on account of our self-love and egotism and lust to dominate others, to enslave them, to make ourselves gods over all. Meanwhile, our wife, or former wife, once freed from the painful liaison in a corrupted marriage, is now free to pursue her own destiny, in heaven or hell. Our self-defeat need not be her defeat.
I wasn't doing much headway in my reformation and intention to become an obedience to the Lord through the conjugial love He provides through my wife. I was repeatedly defeating her efforts. I was too clever for her. It was seemingly hopeless. A standstill. And then I discovered a tool that I was able to use to get myself off this useless and evil resistance. One day she accused me of thinking something that I had confessed to her at another time that I thought that way at times. I felt betrayed. How can she use against me what I gave her in friendship and confidence. Oh what malarkey (is that the word?). Anyway, it's nonsense. She doesn't accuse me of anything. Her zeal makes her use whatever she possesses about her husband, so she may knock him off his perch, so she can save him from hell. So this is the thing for us husbands to do:
There. I wrote it out for you in big blue script so you can engrave your memory engram with it. Give her all the stuff you're thinking and ruminating about. Tell her all the stuff you feel soft about, stuff you want to protect because it's about you, you, you. Give her that so she can use it against you in all the lousy and cruel fights you put up against your poor loyal wife who is desperately working to save your neck from hell.
Listen, you ingrate husband (that is, all husbands, including me). You must act like you are her lawyer assistant in the case against you. You are the investigator who gathers all the observations needed for her evidence to convict you. That's your only chance to go to heaven--through this woman the Lord has appointed for the daunting task, bless her soul. And so observe and witness yourself abuse her, disagree with her opinions, discount her perceptions. Make a list and give it to her saying, Here Honey, the list of dastardly behaviors I perform against you: This page is about my overt acts, this one is about my thoughts, and this one about my emotions. There. I stand convicted. Now this list will help us both keep tab on me:
Remember this, and keep it in the forefront of your intentions all day long:
The Lord said Hearken unto your wife and Cleave to your wife. What more do you need? Hurry and be her Velcro patch, clinging to her mentality, her sensibility, her directionality. In other words, cling to her mind. My wife said to me not too long ago: Leon, when are you going to laugh at my jokes? I had to learn your sense of humor when we met, and I had to learn to laugh at your jokes. How come you don't know my sense of humor yet? What are you waiting for?
See what I mean? I have to cling to her like Velcro, matching her strivings like one horse does with the other when the two are hitched together. If one of them decides to pull in another direction than the other is pulling, the carriage cannot arrive at its destination. Why should your career, your job, your reputation, and your honor be placed ahead of your wife? Your relationship with your conjugial wife is forever; your career and reputation is temporary. There is not even a competition here. Obviously we want to choose the forever over the temporary. If we are sane that is. But husbands are not ordinarily in a sane state of mind. We are sane when we cleave like Velcro to her mind and strivings; we are insane when we cleave to our own, that is, not our own but those of the satans and devils that are with us from birth.
Use this list
of male prerogatives to help you keep track. The gross things we do as
husbands are the easiest to witness first, like hitting her, yelling at her,
walking out on her, refusing to talk to her, ridiculing her in public,
criticizing her, threatening her, forbidding her to do something, forcing her to
do something, punishing her, leaving her alone, and the like. These are gross in
the sense that they hurt her terribly and in the sense that they are easy to see
and observe when they're happening. Harder to see are the more subtle, less
obvious, things we do to deny her, torture her, and deprive her of what she
needs to be happy.
You must consider the fact that your wife has
had to accommodate to your personality when she fell in love and made that
fateful decision of taking you on as a husband. Her love was conjugial love from
the Lord, that is, the intense desire to conjoin herself to you, and the intense
desire to conjoin you to her. In these two desires she places her entire
strivings and urgings as your wife. And you were the beneficiary of her valiant
efforts. Her accommodating to your mind made life easier for you and made you
feel secure and manly. And so you built a life together.
You stop insisting on the prerogatives she had to accept until now.
Here's a discovery I made that I can share
with you: talk to her sometimes like you talk to your favorite and beloved pet
or pet object (if you talk to objects, if not, stick to the live ones). Notice
two things: her reaction, and the effect it has on her. These two are different.
Her reaction might be anything--it's unpredictable. Or, it's predictable. But
the effect your tone of voice has on her is unmistakable. You can see it with
your own eyes. It mollifies her. Your tone of voice has very strong effects on
your wife. Repeat: your tone is more powerful on her than you at first imagine,
or even wish to believe, or accept. Just try it, and you will see.
and so on--these are the ones I observed in
myself. How about you? Decide to keep a
cumulative list as you notice them one by one.... Think of all
these things, like your harsh voice and threatening looks, as so many ways you
have used to torture her since the beginning you joined up together despite the
fact that you promised her, in front of witnesses and God, that you will
not do these things on account of the promise that you will cherish her. So now, own up to it, man! That's what I
realized: I owe her big, BIG! Can you imagine how big? Without her and on my
own--hellish life forever in some prison cavern in the spiritual world, or,
heavenly life in eternity in the Lord's celestial mansions and cities. There is
no ratio of comparison, is there. So I repeat: I owe her big.
I'm sure you can continue this list, if you want to. We all have the knowledge we need to reform. Remember this: your wife needs endless reassurances. Repeat: endless reassurances from you, her man. You must supply her with a continuous stream of reassurances about her beauty, her body parts, her intelligence, her decision-making, her ability to turn you on just by being herself. Be sure you keep a cumulative list so you can chart your progress, day by day. You must continuously express your endless devotion and loyalty to her. This, and this alone, will make her feel like your Queen. She needs to feel like a Queen to you. So you can see: she depends on you for her every happiness, every breath of life and security. If she has you, she has everything else. If she has you not, she has nothing for everything else hardly counts for anything in comparison. This is what it means that she is a dependence on you.
Why is your wife so zealously after you: what you do, what you don't do, keeping at you all the time? Why does she insist you call her as soon as you get somewhere? Why does she get insanely enraged when you show interest in another woman? Why does she nag you about some chore you agreed to do but haven't yet? Why does she insist on cleanliness and orderliness in the house? Why does she hold you to your promises? Why does she get hysterical when you break your promises or betray her? Because she is doing the work the Lord has given her to do: to save you from hell.
So when you refuse her and fail to cooperate with her, do you see how deeply it wounds her? How deeply she feels despair and hopelessness? Her lifeline choked up. By what? By whom? By yourself, chum! You, her protector and knight who promised to cherish her, then ravished her, and abandoned her.
Is it OK for a husband to show greater loyalty to someone than to his wife? Is it OK to show greater loyalty towards one's own children? One's own parents? One's high school lifelong army buddy? The answer is No, No, No. It's not OK because the Lord said we must love our neighbor and God as being the essence of all other commandments, and our wife is the neighbor in the first place. That's how it actually is said in the Writings, using the expression "in the first place." So none of those other categories of people can come ahead of your wife: not your parents, not your children, not your best friend or hero. And certainly not any of your projects or activities or involvements. So you can't retain your old relationships in the same way as before. Once you get yourself a wife--that's it, gone are all other priorities. Repeat: gone are all other priorities--according the Lord's Word. His commandment.
If your wife is upset about your activities or relationships, she comes first. You cannot continue to give your loyalty to this other person or activity. If you do, you're going to hell. Because it's against what the Lord wants. And the Lord wants only that which can take you to heaven. By giving up all other loyalties for the sake of your loyalty to your wife, you are placing yourself in the Secret Current of Divine Providence, pulling you irresistibly to heaven.
Merry Christmas 1998 to you all. Christmas marks the historical date of God's Incarnation on this planet. This Divine intervention was known to the ancients for millennia and they were expecting it, hoping for it, pining for it. They called that Divine event, the Advent or Birth of Christ. When it happened two thousand years ago, few individuals were spiritually ready to see and witness the momentous event. Most were skeptical and blind, which means they were holding on to their evils, refusing to have their eyes opened by the Christ who had been long expected and foretold in their Holy Scriptures. Yet their acceptance, or lack of it, was no factor in stopping the irrevocable evolutionary change that the Incarnation created.
Henceforth a new psycho-biological person became possible. Though we are born fully loaded with evil tendencies in our character, yet now a new method was given us by which to lift ourselves from our spiritual bootstraps, and thus be delivered from our inevitable fate in hell. Now we can reform our character and be regenerated by the Lord through His new psycho-biological Presence within our mind, a Presence not possible before the Incarnation. By going through the required rituals prescribed by the Lord when He was on this planet, and recorded in His Word, He can be Present and acting in our mind. Without this immediate or direct Presence, His influence is more distant, less effective. Hence we fall back into hell--O what a horrible possibility! But with his direct Presence, which only comes when we consciously acknowledge Him, He can be effective, fully effective all the way to saving us and bringing us to heaven and eternal conjugial happiness.
The reformation of the world will occur through two sources: religion and science. The New Church that was established by the Lord through His Second Advent in the Writings of Swedenborg, has already proven its enormous energy and continuity for two centuries. Thousands of families and hundreds of ministers have built up the rituals and intellectual doctrines of this new religion which the Lord calls the Crown of Churches, being the last and lasting forever. On the science side, dualism in science has already begun. Swedenborg was the first to develop the concepts science needs to be rational and dualist. By this I mean, that science acknowledges the reality about nature revealed in Swedenborg's Writings. This reality is that we are born dual citizens: our physical body is in the natural world, in time and space, but our mental body, or mind, is in the spiritual world, not in time and space. Thus, thoughts and feelings are behaviors in the mind, that is, not in time and space, but in the spiritual world. The Lord's laws see to it that the spiritual entities in the mind (thoughts and feelings) correspond and act together with the physical processes of the brain in time and space.
This is the foundation of dualist science and Swedenborg had it all worked out. I may possibly be only the second scientist who is a dualist in a modern science like psychology, in which I have been active as a scientist for 40 years. Today I continue this activity unabated, as you can see from my many articles. While the New Church may increase only slowly over the centuries, dualist science will come upon us with an explosion. It will be the Mother of All Paradigm Shifts in the history of science. For the first time scientists will be able to be logical and rational all the way: Since God intervenes in all phenomena, we need to study the mechanisms of Divine Providence by which events in the natural world, and in the spiritual world, are managed and executed by the Lord. That is dualist science, and all school children will soon learn these new ideas from their science teachers.
If I said to men, Husbands, you must be a
servant to your wife, most would laugh at this as a joke, perhaps even a bad
joke. Certainly that used to apply to me as a husband. But I've got news for
you, fellow husbands, Good News.
Every husband has his own list. All the ones
you see here are mine. Lists overlap to some extent, but no two husbands can
have the same list on account of the uniqueness of their mind and developmental
etc. -- you make your own
I used to have an equity model for our
relationship. When we got married, she did whatever I wasn't doing, and I kept
doing the things I was already doing. How easy for me. Much harder for her. So I
used my male prerogatives not to have to share really, but only by reputation.
Like many husbands, I got rewards for doing what I was supposed to do. You know
the pattern. Help her, but don't get involved enough to care about the outcome.
Let her worry about that and let her slave to put it all together and hold it
functional and working.
I used to practice humbling myself so I can be a servant to her in an appropriate way, in a celestial way. She used to complain that I don't "make up" after I made her cry or frustrated or demeaned by the way I was behaving toward her, such as raising my voice threateningly or accusing her of enjoying to torture me by not going along with my way, which is either the superior way, or it's the default mode. Poor Diane--she has had to suffer so many years in my various "default mode" which is always some male prerogative that puts her down or out or back. And all she wants and needs is for me to be sweet to her. Beauty and the beast. The wife is always the beauty, and the husband is always the beast. People think that the story Beauty and the Beast is a rare thing to happen in real life. But nothing can be more common because every husband (possibly with a few exceptions, I don’t know) is a beast to start with.
After the first flush of spring passion at the nuptials (or before the wedding, as is true nowadays for many people), after the delight of the honeymoon and its afterglow, there follows the first disagreement, the first fight, the first scary desperate interaction that shakes you to the core and begin to wonder if it's possible that you might have made a mistake in your choice of a partner. Then follow more disagreements, and fights, and deep seated doubts, until they become routine and part of the marriage environment. Conjugial love is then shut up, its doors frozen tight, and the husband is on his way to hell where he already spends so much of his time. He thus turns his back to the Lord and throws himself angrily into hell-city, his mind filled with suspicion, anger, jealousy, self-flagellation, masturbation, self-annihilation. That's it for this husband, all husbands. But wait: No that's too horrible. It's not Christian. There you said it!!
The Christian way is shared with the Noble Way: to love your neighbor at least as much as yourself, and your wife is your closest neighbor, hence you ought to benefit her first--she comes first, before all the others, then all the others like the children, your parents, pets, all neighbors and friends and acquaintances, coworkers, representatives of the clergy, famous people, heroes, strangers, projects, tasks, objects, reputation, and status. She is ahead of all these. That means none of the things mentioned in the previous sentence can come ahead of her. If pitted against her, they each must fall so she can come up ahead of them. Simple concept. And that's because conjugial love is ahead of every other love, and her conjugial love is the Lord's direct influx which you are to receive in obedience to her conjugial love. That is why your wife is your neighbor, or use, in the first place, and no other neighbor or use can be placed by you ahead of her.
Don't resist this, friend. They are your salvation. Study the Word of God and the Lord will open your eyes and instruct you as to these truths. I have many passages you can start studying in this file.
One of the wonderful discoveries I made is that the kitchen belongs to husbands more than to the wife. I see both natural and spiritual reasons for this. Spiritually, feeding means instructing and so the husband in his external state represents truth and knowledge, while the wife represents this in her internal state. This spiritual psychobiological relationship is diagrammed here. The kitchen and all its activities such as cooking and gathering groceries, represent the cognitive activities of the husband's spirit as well as the affective activities that motivate the choices for these activities. Affectively, the husband in the kitchen provides food and sustenance to the wife and her dependents. Together with this, health and cleanliness, timeliness and prudence for the sake of the family.
I have discovered things about women since I took over as the one responsible for the kitchen. They of course appreciate a husband who cooks and cleans up and shops and plans the meals for the whole family as his own responsibility. But they also find it sweet. I didn't know that. Well, I can understand the appreciation part--the husband lifts a tremendous burden off the wife's shoulder by doing this. So they appreciate it. But why do they also find it sweet? You tell me, Mr. Husband, if you're so smart! Well, let's face it: we don't know why. We may have some hypotheses maybe…Well, I think I know why, friends: Women find a man sweet who takes over the kitchen because husbands do such a tremendous job of it!! I know women are good too, but husbands can be good in a different way, and this to women is sweet. Well, if you don't like my explanation now, you'll like it better later. Keep the faith!
A few more things need to be brought out about why a wife appreciates husbands taking over the kitchen, and why it is really a husband's job not woman's. The fact is that women are not as well suited for the kitchen duties as her husband. Women are more sensitive than their husbands and they suffer a great deal from the neglect and abuse of the people for whom they are forced to cook. Cooking and collecting and storing groceries are labor intensive activities, better suited for husbands than the wife, relatively speaking. So if we had to choose from the point of view of evolution, psychology, and spirituality, men should have the role of taking care of the kitchen, not women. Men can be objective and professional in their kitchen duties, which is why almost all professional chefs have been men, and still are today throughout the world. It is only fear and cowardice that keeps us men out of recognizing this, and owning up to it.
So friend, when you see your wife next, surprise her, and say to her:
Or whatever words best fit you, friend. But do it. Do it and you're saved, because on your way to be saved. But do it for the reasons outlined here: namely, because that's what the Lord wants from you so He can save you. Do it for this reason alone, or else it wont' be for real.
See what she says and does.
Husbands in general are afraid to take over the kitchen. My dear departed step father and his friends of old never stepped into the kitchen. The result of this male prerogative was that the wife in each case had to become a vile servant to her husband. Well, vile may be an exaggeration, but think of it man! The women had no choice, they got no wages, and they got punished if something went wrong. That's slavery in anyone's book, don't you think? So admit it, be brave, be noble, be sexy, yes that's something you'll understand later. Women admire their man when he fesses up to his male prerogatives. It turns them on to their husband because it is a manly thing to do, to confess for the sake of self-amendment. That's what noble is. Yes, I discovered that. It is from the Lord. The Lord describes Himself as Meek and Gentle, and in His Word He teaches men to be like Him, like a Lamb, not like a wolf, or bear, or dog, or rat, or weasel, or bull, or viper, or scorpion--I'm choosing animals that represent the history of my own perfidy and betrayal and cruelty as a husband.
But the Lord gives us the power to exit from our beastiality and to enter into humanity. The wife is the Lord's instrument of transformation for every husband. Study the Writings of Swedenborg and you will see this for yourself.
When men get married social norms tend to reinforce the concept of "men friends" as an activity husbands can carry out apart from their wife. Cultural and ethnic and lifestyle variations pick various things through which husbands can express this, according to their male prerogatives: poker night with the boys; bachelor's party; high school or army buddy; sports and coaching; hobbies; and the like. Through these activities the husband is taking rights to be separate from his wife. Husbands are operating on the model that says, My wife comes first, true, but these other things are also important and real. What a laugh, men! What this means, in actuality, is that the wife is shoved aside, kicked in the teeth, and told to behave herself. These activities where the husband excludes the wife are nothing else than evil rebellion against being an obedience to the wife. I'm not discussing the parallel case for the wife: given the brutal treatment of women by their husbands (or, brothers, fathers, boy friends, bosses), women have no other relief but each other.
So a wife might need the support of her old girl friend from high school, and granting her that friendship is just an act of kindness by the husband and by society. But it's different with the husband: his friends will stand in the way of his transformation into a conjugial husband. The wife already has the strong motivation of becoming a conjugial wife to her husband; her girl friends are there as a temporary solace and comfort while her cruel husband gets it and changes. But his men friends are there to distract him from his task as husband. They will try to weaken his wife's hold over him. They will try to put distance between the husband and the wife. They are like Pinocchio's gang of newfound friends who plot to destroy the boy and turn him into a donkey. The only way a husband can have activities with friends and hobbies is he integrates them into his marriage life so that his wife is never excluded. Remember this: anything at all that excludes your wife is bad and takes you to hell.
Not just activities, hobbies, people. But also ideas and talk. If you have ideas you're ashamed or afraid to share with her, you've got to get rid of those ideas. You cannot hold on to the ideas and cleave to her at the same time. The Lord said we cannot have two masters, for if we serve one, we reject the other. To be an obedience to your wife, she must be your only master. That is because by voluntarily choosing to be an obedience to your wife you are voluntarily choosing to obey the Lord's Word. He it is Who has arranged this matter for you, and keeps it going, always faithfully, lovingly, ceaselessly, and ever so gently, bending your thoughts and feelings toward Him, through obedience to her. Get it? It's not complicated, but it goes against the grain of our mind, until we're reformed by the Lord who changes the orientation of those grains, away from hell, and towards Himself. In this way He gives you immortality, and eternity with your wife as one. Oh, how beautiful. Amen.
How Husbands Misuse the Mechanism of Closeness
Feeling close is as important to the health and happiness of your wife as air and water is to you. Naturally, and perversely, we husbands pick this most essential mechanism to torture and destroy our wife's happiness and basic security. Why? Because we are born willful to the extreme, and willfulness is the state of being turned toward self. You can see this in children, before we grow up to be adults. There is nothing more cute and engaging and attractive than a young person or animal. We find them irresistible in our warm affections. So children are a source of animated engagement and enthusiasm, warming our spirit and delighting our mind. And yet, a moment or two later, that same child that is so innocent and attractive and good, suddenly becomes willful. That's the end of innocence, its opposite. And while the child is being willful we are not filled with delight but with frustration, stress, aversion, dislike, anger, rage.
So as children we alternate between states of cute innocence and receptivity to adults, and states of rebellion and contrariness. One is heaven; the other is hell. As we grow older we will continue to alternate between these two states. When we meet our wife-to-be the Lord takes us through several states of marriage innocence. We experience these states as romance and its intense involvements with each other. But they are advanced gifts soon to be withdrawn by the Lord. That first quarrel at last arrives, the first fight, the first willful separation, the first expression of hatred and betrayal and cruelty. The post-honeymoon states are such because the honeymoon and pre-honeymoon states are not merited or real, but superadded and temporary. The Lord gives us a taste for what to strive for. Husbands then begin a long, long period of willfulness and self-involvement during which they torture and destroy their wife using all sorts of tricks and ugly weapons. The wife now fights for her very life, the peace and comfort and security she expects and is entitled to, totally gone, taken away by the willful husband.
One of the chief ugly weapons is the misuse of the mechanism of closeness that is so fundamentally the life and existence of the wife. The wife has already overcome her willfulness in the major areas of the relationship. She has succeeded in placing herself second, and her husband first, in her entire inner emotional apparatus and mentality. But the husband has not yet responded in kind. He takes years and decades what she accomplishes in days, weeks, or months. She re-organizes her life and her ideology to suit him. She honors his male prerogatives, willingly becoming a slave, if only she can have him for real later, but when? Oh, Lord, how long? That's what my poor tortured wife used to cry out with in the face of my recalcitrance and willfulness.
By betraying the wife in the area of closeness, the unregenerate and willful (egotistical) husband is attempting to destroy her, so that their marriage would be destroyed, so that the husband could declare failure. What?? Yes, that's what my wife revealed to me that the Lord gave her perception to see. I could hardly believe it or even assign it any weight in my mind. I thought that that's just the way she speaks--thus DISCOUNTING her and her opinion and her perceptions. She was deeply hurt. What recourse does she have? Is it hopeless, Lord?
I could not believe the idea that I am bent on self-destruction. Why don't I know this? What kind of Freudian theory is this? But to her, it was so obvious! And now I too see how obvious it is--in myself, and in other husbands I know and can observe. Here are some examples of self-destructive behaviors of which the husband is unaware or unwilling to admit:
OK, do you get the picture? You need to extend this list on your own, chum! Follow a Threestep Program, below.
Husband's Threestep Program for Character Reformation
Step 1: Acknowledge
Step 1: To acknowledge means to confess from a feeling of obedience to the Lord in the conjugial love of your wife. You obey her because you obey the conjugial love she receives from the Lord and in which is the Lord. Thus if you rebel against her, you rebel against the Lord. And if you obey her, you obey the Lord. Note this very important point: you must obey your wife for the right reason or motive or else it doesn't count. And the right motive for obeying your wife is that thereby you are obeying the Lord. No other motivation will do it for you. So keep this in the forefront of everything you do, think, or speak. To acknowledge and to confess what?
That you are unreformed and unregenerate, which means that you are bent on hell, headed for hell, and will end up in hell--unless you suffer yourself to let your wife be the Lord's instrument of your reformation as a husband who is being prepared for heaven. In other words, your only way to salvation and eternal life in heaven, is by becoming an obedience to your wife.
Step 2: To witness yourself being bad to your wife. Without the self-examination the Lord commands us to do, there can be no reformation of the fallen character of every individual. Some people say that the Word says that you need not do this except from time to time, recognize your evils, hold them as sins against the Lord, repent from them, withholding yourself from doing them, and finally holding them in aversion. Indeed this is what the Word says.
But that's not enough, I found, and I so advise you to do as well, though you ought to see this from your own understanding and reasoning, so that you may be convinced in freedom--or else it doesn't count. I don't think you can witness your harmful acts and thoughts against your wife simply by self-examination a few times a year, or, a few times a month. I found that you have to carry on self-witnessing all the time that you're awake, and even in sleep. In other words, there is never a time when you can afford not to witness your interactions with your wife. Never. Not one minute.
This is because our unregenerate character has countless ties and connections and associations and involvements with the hells. We are all born that way. No one, not one, is unfettered by numberless evils in our feelings, motives, thoughts, assumptions, habits, pleasures, etc. We are like a baseball--wound and wound around with poisonous thread; or like a diseased onion from which you can peel away the skins with black stuff until there is nothing left but the little onion knob at the center that can hardly continue to survive if not soon rescued.
The Lord has provided an orderly method for reforming our dead or totally evil character which is diseased from parental inheritance and culture, and gets worse with time from one's own willfully acquired habits. There is no other method provided for you to reform and be saved. "Saved" means that your wife comes before you in all things for the sake of the Lord, that is, that He may unthread your evil threads and may give you new clothes, His clothes, His Proprium or Character--that you may be Perfect like your Father in Heaven--so spoke the Lord.
By taking on the attitude of witnessing your interactions and your thoughts and your emotions with your wife, you are empowering yourself to observe your evils. Without this observing, you are lost, gone. Because you will never, repeat never, believe what you are like when someone else tells you. Therefore to see your evils, you yourself and by yourself must want and desire to see them, and this obviously means to observe them that you might get rid of them. The Lord flows into that effort of getting rid of them and gets rid of them--not you by your own power, but the Lord by His Own Power. Such is the intimate relationship we have with Him.
So you see: you can hardly get away from lists. I had to write things down as Diane pointed them out. I could not, would not, remember them, so she had to constantly repeat and point, repeat and point in the face of my seeming incomprehension or blindness. How convenient for me. So by writing things down, by making lists, by studying them and how they are against the Lord, by listening to her--above all--that's what you will do to save yourself.
Step 3: To modify means to compel yourself to act contrary to your inclinations for the sake of good. Self-witnessing reveals your evils one by one, and thus you must modify each one, one by one. The self-witnessing lists will help you identify what you must modify, and your wife is the origin of those lists--it doesn't go on the list till she says it does, and it doesn't get off the list till she says. It was hard for me to submit myself to this, to her supreme authority in matters dealing with my evils of character. Thank God I did, and do, and will, with the Lord's help.
The Husband's Diary or Confessional
The title of my own confessional is I'm an Ass: Autobiographical Observations of a Husband and starts like this:
I'm an ass. Because of this, I need to confess my sins. This is Book 3. The other two I started were attempts to confess without revealing that I was an ass. Dedicated to my one and only love, my wife.
And it continues: (12-7-1992 entry)
This is to confirm that what she has been saying about me (to me), is all true, all of it, notwithstanding my denials. And this truth is that I won't be making it to heaven unless I change. And she, my dear wife, is undergoing the passion of living with me for the sake of showing me the direction I need to change. She is my beacon and guide, and the Lord will let me know how to change through her, and not by any other means, not by myself.
Today I had the perception that I was a pretty evil man, mean spirited and utterly without respect for anyone. I place no limits to my own authority in all matters of morality or wisdom.
Lord, I hate me. Help to get rid of me and become her man and husband. Amen.
It's so amazing how we can vacillate from days of no perception and days of clarity. Writing down your perceptions on clear days will be like a light in the besetting darkness of your mind that you can use to return into sanity.
Entry on 12-8-1992:
How could I be such an ass and give her so much grief over all these years? How could I? She has not left me, though she has had enough reasons to do so. I terrorize her in so many ways--with my extremism, judgments, loud voice, threatening face and and a willful choleric silence that shatters the quietude of her mind.
Yes that's me, folks. I injure the bird that loves me, the swan of beauty that graces my conjugial bed and chamber. I shall stop Lord, I promise to be to her what You command me to be.
Entry on 1-27-1993:
It has taken a long time to get back here. In the meantime I've been torturing her! that is, being good for weeks so that she could say as much, deeply grateful for my change of heart and behavior. then I go and upset her cart, undercut her confidence, to the point where she says to me in desperation: "I'm scared of you now, Leon."
O how devilish can I get? The worst part: I don't even see it. What a spiritual perversion!
I'm enjoying the views she arranges around my chair and desk: colored glass shot through sunlight--blue, crystal white, brown smoky red. I feel elevated by her aesthetic loves. I see flowers she arranged in the corner: pink ginger. I see birds of colored porcelain twitting at one another. I see colored pillows arranged in Gestalt orders: green, violet, rose, brown. Pussy willows on tall thin brown stalks.
I love to look at her chair, where she reads and pays the bills, right underneath the skylight in our living room. Her place represents her presence in the house, like hallowed grounds. I get to sit in it whenever I want. The perspective from her chair is entirely different from my chair. The two together give me feeling of wholeness and completeness.
I've got to be good. Regain her confidence in me. Give her peace. Praise the Lord of Conjugial Love!
Wake up, Leon!! This is your last chance.
Lord, You want me to stop, and I will. Amen.