DOCTRINE OF THE WIFE NOTES
by Leon James
Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3
Part 1--Regenerating our Marriage
to the Doctrine of the Wife--The Six Propositions
The DOCTRINE OF THE WIFE
(DOW) is the title for a collection of arguments I extracted from De Hemelsche Leer, a
publication from the 1930s by a Dutch group of inspired scrutators of the Writings of
Swedenborg (please see these three
articles). Interestingly, the name of the "Doctrine of the Wife" is not
mentioned or discussed in that publication or in Swedenborg's Writings. It appears that no
one until now (1985) has received this idea from the Writings of Swedenborg. I
believe it to be of crucial importance to the regeneration of marriages from external to
internal, from legal-moral to spiritual-eternal, from a temporary partnership of
convenience and natural love, to spiritual love, or an eternal unity of mind and
heart. This united
marriage was witnessed by Swedenborg in his celestial travels and described in many of his
works, and especially in Conjugial
Love. I am thankful and feel greatly blessed that this new rational truth of the New
Church was shown me that I may take charge of my own regeneration, and thus, the
regeneration of my marriage with Diane. At the same time I feel a great responsibility to communicate
this new truth that has such amazing power to heal marriages and transform them into the
greatest experience of happiness and power that is given to humankind.
The following six
propositions summarize The Doctrine Of The Wife:
Jehovah was with Sarah; she said to Abraham, Cast out this bond-woman and her son
this being very grieving in the eyes of Abraham,
God admonished him, Grieve
but comply with Sarah in all this matter
" Genesis 21: 1-12c
- In order to regenerate our earthly marriage
into a celestial marriage, it is the wife (represented by Sarah in the Old
Testament) who ought to rule over the husband's
affections (represented by Abraham) so that he may undergo celestial temptations. This is the spiritual
message in the Biblical story of Abraham being told by God to obey Sarah who told him to
banish Hagar with Ishmael from the household and the inheritance. This historical event is
told in order to represent the celestial state of marriage and how it is brought about
spiritually, namely, by the husband's VOLUNTARY submission to the wife's will in matters
of conjugial love. In itself, when considering the Biblical story literally,
Sara's demand seems unjust and motivated only to protect their other son Isaac
whose mother was Sarah.
But in the internal sense, the letter of the history vanishes from sight and
one sees its spiritual message, which is that every husband ought to obey his
wife's inner intuition regarding their relationship, and he can rest assured
that it is God who is giving his wife this inner perception or awareness which
husbands are not given. In this way, mutual interdependence is restored so
that the couple may advance to inner unity.
- All things of a husband's affections belong
to the province of conjugial love. The husband voluntarily appoints the wife to rule over this domain
of their relationship.
No conjugial marriage can develop by the wife assuming this role on her own or through her
will power and dominant personality in competition with that of the husband. The
transformation from outer civic, moral, and religious marriage to inner, spiritual, and
eternal marriage is possible ONLY IF the husband himself voluntarily appoints (or elects)
his wife as ruler of his own affective domain. And even after making this confession,
appointment, it only becomes actual and successful to the extent that the husband
overcomes his many vacillations and second
thoughts (temptations), thus in proportion to his constancy
and steadfast application of the Doctrine of the Wife to every part of his life.
- THE FIRST STEP: The process of
transforming the external marriage into an internal marriage is accomplished like the
growth process of a plant--constantly, but bit by bit, day by day, and minute by minute.
When the husband appoints his wife ruler of his affections, he is motivated by the desire
to reform his character which is natural and opposed to conjugial love.
This must be the
first step: he acknowledges that he is appointing his wife ruler of his affections FOR THE
PURPOSE OF allowing him to reform his character in such a way that from being opposed to
internal unity with his wife, he may be for it. This ACKNOWLEDGING
by the husband is the first step, but it must be re-affirmed and audibly and verbally
declared daily, and even more often than that! By doing this daily, the husband provides
new strength for his motivation, but also, reassures his wife who needs to be reassured by
him over and over again, that he is the one who is appointing her ruler and not she who is
taking on this position out of competition or domination. This is extremely important!
It is essential for success.
- THE SECOND STEP: The cumulation in the growth of conjugial love and
the establishment of inner unity between husband and wife takes place through the
mechanism of celestial temptations. For an explanation of temptations see
this article. Both husband and wife undergo temptations as a means to their individual
regeneration. Temptations are the means used by our Divine Therapist to reform our
inherited character and our acquired inclinations for selfishness, cruelty, and
In terms of the reformation of the husband into a conjugial character,
he must first undergo natural temptations to make a moral man out of him. After that he
must undergo spiritual temptations to make rational man out of him. After after that, he
must undergo celestial temptations to make a celestial or angelic husband out of him. These celestial
temptations are brought to his attention and conscious awareness when he appoints his wife
as ruler of his affections. God directs the timing of every temptation and
gives the person power to resist. All the person needs to do is to be willing
to use this power as-of self while acknowledging it is the Lord's power. This
as-of self effort takes self-compulsion and the willingness to go through the
mental suffering it takes not to give in to temptation but to resist.
The wife is inspired by the Lord to perceive and see the
husband's inner affections, those of which he is unaware of, or remains blinded to by his
current character. Therefore when she tells him to do this instead of that, he experiences
a rebellion from within himself. He must then witness this inner resistance and become
consciously aware of it, of what it is.
WITNESSING is the
second step of conjugial regeneration of the husband. To the extent that he witnesses his
inner rebellion against the wife's rules, expectations, and urgings, to that extent he puts himself in a
position to change his selfish and self-centered independent character.
- THE THIRD STEP: After acknowledging the Doctrine of the Wife, after
witnessing his rebellion to her urgings, the third and final step is to modify his
reaction. MODIFYING his typical and automatic reaction
of resistance to his wife's urgings, is the husband's third and final step. This requires
self-compulsion with the help of prayer to the Lord who is actually doing all the fighting
against all the hells all the time to save the husband from his automatic down sliding
straight into the hells he has inherited from his family. Every individual
without exception inherits the evil tendencies of parents who inherit them for
their parents up the cumulative chain of biological and spiritual inheritance.
This is why a husband must be willing to suffer himself to be regenerated in
character so that from bad he may become good. The wife plays a crucial or
essential role. He has the power to resist and defeat her or, to cooperate and
achieve success, which is their organic unity in mind and heart.
- But what about the wife? This is the question husbands cherish when they hear
about the Doctrine of the Wife and how it is all worded and addressed only to husbands. It
is the classic dropping of the ball at the crucial play, out of selfishness and ingrained
stupidity that is evil and cruel. This is the very character we are trying to reform and
run away from. We must repeat to ourselves as husbands that the Lord is already taking
care of the wife--it's not our business. Our business is to take care of our own conjugial
Husbands should remember that women are born and structured entirely differently than men, so that they may
enter into a reciprocal unity with their husbands. For diagrams of
gender genes, please see this article. Husbands can rest assured in the revelations we
have been given in the Writings of Swedenborg, namely that the internal structure of the
wife's mind and soul is such as to desire and strive ceaselessly towards union with her
husband. So it is the husband who needs special help in this respect. He is the one who is
covered over with an inherited and cultural personality and character that resists unity
(Note: If you want to see how this Threestep
Method was applied to us in another area of life, see our Web site on Road Rage and Aggressive Driving.)
According to the Doctrine of the Wife (an
expression I coined in 1985), my wife is my neighbor in the highest degree, and therefore
I must love her more than I love anyone or anything else.
Leon's Notes on CL 293-4: (see below)
Doctrine of the Wife is this, that the regenerating husband "Hearkens unto
Sarah" that is, acts according to his moral wisdom. A husband has this wisdom
from the study of the Word. This gives him spiritual rationality to the extent that
he wills himself to apply it to life, that is, in interactions with his wife. In
these conjugial interactions, the wife acts from conjugial love from the Lord, and the
husband receives perception through wisdom, and then reacts with conjugial heat.
Applying the Third Testament trues to receive the wife's loving actions, is his moral
wisdom that delights and satisfies the wife.
When we husbands are in the unregenerate
state of mind, we hate conjugial love, which is the sexual love of the wife alone or only,
because we love "meretricious" sex, which is "crude sex with harlots",
and we turn cold, that is, impotent, in the sphere of conjugial sex.
Therefore, the wife, sensing this about her
husband, hides her conjugial sex love, which are her inward bosom delights, and instead,
fakes or simulates crude sex, that is, lacking in sincerity, to keep him from impotence
with her. She also acts less interested and hard to get for this reason, that is,
angry, quarrelsome, vehement, and insistent.
Evidence that constitutes proof follows in 3
Step 1: The neighbor is all the good in
others by which I am affected.
Step 2: In daily life, one is most affected
by one's spouse; therefore, my wife is neighbor to me in greater degree than anyone else.
Step 3: Loving the neighbor is the
principal thing in religion and life; therefore, I must love my wife more than anyone else
as she is my neighbor in the greatest degree.
Now the details:
See the list of
abbreviations for Swedenborg's writings
Step 1: The neighbor is all the good in
others by which one is affected
Quoting from AC 2417:6 "the neighbor is
all the good in others by which one is affected."
This means that we should use a measuring
stick, or criterion, for charity in terms of how much good we can perceive in someone,
good by which we are affected. Strangers by whom we are hardly affected are not to be
loved to the same degree as people close by whose good affect us.
This agrees with common sense. We give to
the poor, yes, but we give to our children more, much more. We are sad when we hear the
news of the 125th traffic death in our town so far this year; but we grieve and despair
when a daughter, son, or parent meets with an accidental death. There is almost no
comparison! We love our own more than strangers. The commandment "Love thy
neighbor" does not mean love all individuals equally.
"Love thy neighbor" is related to
"Love thy enemy"? Some military educators say that soldiers in battle who don't
hate their enemy won't feel like killing them. But expecting soldiers to kill out of hate
is to treat them like savage beasts rather than civilized persons. As soldiers, we should
be fighting out of love of country, respect for the law, and reliance on Divine Providence
to sort it all out. We pick up arms in defense of country; we kill legitimate targets when
ordered; we ask the Divine for comfort and speedy resolution of the conflict.
In this way we are called to kill from love
of good, to protect it from harm. Soldiers ought not to kill out of hatred for the enemy.
Hatred is degrading. When bullets hit their mark, tearing up the enemy's flesh and
crushing their bones, the good soldier doesn't need to look on with glee. He might even
wish he could come to the rescue, and he could hope for a speedy end to the suffering,
seeing God weeping, and himself feeling like crying. Yet, he raises his gun again,
clearing his weepy eyes, aims, and kills again. If the good is left unprotected under
attack, evil takes over and destroys all that we cherish or need for our happiness.
Killing the enemy cannot be avoided when his motive is to destroy your country and home.
A soldier ought to love the good in the
enemy because only the Divine is good. The Divine ought to be loved above all in order to
be able to receive all that is good. Soldiers who love the good in their enemies, love
their enemies, thus fulfilling the Divine Commandment "Love thy enemy". Yet the
soldiers continue to kill the enemy because there is no other way to protect the good
under attack. But when the conflict is over and peace is made, the former enemy is now the
neighbor to whom a helping economic hand is extended and with whom cultural exchanges are
made. This happened with Western Europe and Germany in two world wars, with the U.S. and
Russia, with Israel and the Palestinians, etc. Love your neighbor means love the good in
your neighbor. Love your enemy means love the good in your enemy. In both cases it is the
Divine that you love since only the Divine is good.
Step 2: In daily life, one is most affected
by one's spouse; therefore, one's spouse is neighbor in greater degree than anyone else.
Our legal system recognizes that it's unfair
to force a spouse to testify against the other. This makes sense since married couples
affect each other more than others, for example, in such areas as their income, their
health, their moods, their philosophy, and their moral standing.
Should spouses love each other more than the
children? Yes. There are two reasons. One is that a spouse is neighbor in the first place,
as explained. In other words, when there is a conflict between one's children and one's
spouse, the spouse always has priority for loyalty or devotion. The children must come
The other reason for the spouse's precedence
over children is that a spouse in a conjugial relationship is for eternity, while children
are only for this life. In fact, as Swedenborg's eyewitness reports show, parents and
children do not know each other in the other world UNLESS they develop an inner
relationship with each other in this world. We know how rare this is nowadays!! The result
is that spouses and children and friends that one has known in this world in an external
way without also in an internal way, are typically not recognized in the other world.
Step 3: The most important Divine
Commandment for any man is: Love thy wife more than anyone or anything.
In other words, I love the Divine by loving
my wife. When I put her off because of some other pressing thing, I injure and kill my
neighbor. When I fail to do what I led her to expect, I bear false witness against my
neighbor. When she pleads with me, and I ultimately do not listen, I sin against the
Divine. If anything in my life becomes more important than my wife, I am guilty of idol
worship. If I try to worship the Divine in a way that puts my wife to the side, I am
crucifying the Divine. Why this way? Does it seem unfair, extreme, subjective? All these
objections fall to the side in the face of this one overarching fact: Unless I worship the
Divine in my wife I remain unsaved!
What if my wife is imbalanced, uneducated,
volatile, unintelligent, spoiled, greedy, silly, incompetent, cold, lazy??? My wife calls
these objections "wimpy excuses"! Yes, I had them all. Anyway, once we (men) get
passed this obstructionist tactic (it took me two decades!!), the Divine gives us
illustration. At the point we know what is right and we then continue the long struggle of
overcoming one's resistance to the good and true.
This takes place through hundreds of little
exchanges between wife and husband on a daily basis for decades. The wife must remain
steadfast and overt in her stances: NO COMPROMISES!. The husband must be totally obedient
("subservient" in his own exaggerated eyes). Lapses must be made up. The husband
must always support the wife against himself. This is the only way it will work.
Bottom Line for Regenerating Husbands:
If I am to regenerate and enter into eternal
life and conjugial bliss, I must regard my wife as higher and more important than anyone
or anything FOR THE SAKE OF THE DIVINE. And I must love that it is so.
Warning! It is necessary to add FOR THE SAKE
OF THE DIVINE (or God, or Lord, or religion, or conscience, or ... -- please use the
phrase that offends you least). Otherwise, a man can love his wife for his own sake, which
is not regenerating. In that case, he will alternate between loving her and hating her --
as it's so typical today. This is hell, not heaven. Therefore it's mandatory that we add
the words and thought: FOR THE SAKE OF THE DIVINE I must love her and if I don't love her
in this way I do not love the Divine.
Quoting from Swedenborg:
But they who are in the good of charity, and
from this in the affection of truth, do all things with discrimination, for they are in
light; since the light of truth is from no other source than good, because the Divine
flows in by means of good. These persons do not do good to the poor, to orphans, to
widows, and to strangers, for the mere reason that they are so termed; for they know that
those who are good, whether poor or rich, are neighbors more than all others; since by the
good, good is done to others even still more (...) But they who set the Divine before all
these-who adore the Divine alone and love the divine above all things-derive the neighbor
in all these degrees from the Divine; for the Divine alone is the neighbor in the highest
sense, thus all good is the neighbor in so far as it is from the Divine.
Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia (AC)
 The presence of the Divine is first
possible with people when an individual loves the neighbor. God is inside love; and so far
as a person is loving, so far the Divine is present; and so far as the Divine is present,
so far God speaks with the individual. We know no otherwise than that we think from
ourselves, whereas we have not a single idea, nor even the least bit of an idea, from
ourselves; but we have what is evil and false through evil spirits from hell, and what is
good and true through angels from the Divine.
Quoting from Swedenborg's Conjugial Love
CL 293. I shall
here add two accounts of experiences, of which this is the first.
I once looked out of a window towards the
east, and saw seven women sitting in a rose-garden by a spring, drinking its water. I
gazed very hard to see what they were doing, and the intensity of my gaze made itself felt
by them. So one of them nodded to me as an invitation. I left home and hurried to join
them, and on my arrival politely asked them where they came from.
'We are wives,' they said, 'engaged in a
conversation about the delights of conjugial love. Many proofs have led us to conclude
that these delights are those of wisdom.' This reply so pleased my mind that I seemed to
myself to be in the spirit, and capable of more inward and clearer perception than ever
before. So I said to them, 'Will you allow me to ask you some questions about these
pleasures?' They agreed to this, so I asked, 'How do you wives know that the delights of
conjugial love are the same as those of wisdom?'
 'We know this,' they answered, 'from the
way our husbands' wisdom matches the delights we feel in conjugial love. For we feel the
delights of this love enhanced or diminished, taking on the nature which matches the
wisdom our husbands have.' On hearing this I asked, 'I know that flattery on the part of
husbands and their cheerfulness of mind affect you, so that you feel delight with all your
hearts in them. But I am surprised you say that this is the result of their wisdom. Tell
me what wisdom this is, and of what sort.'
 The wives were indignant at this. 'Do
you think,' they replied, 'we do not know what wisdom this is and of what sort, when we
constantly reflect on our husbands' wisdom, and hear about it daily from their lips? We
wives think about our husbands' condition from morning to evening; there is hardly a
minute's respite during the day, in which the concentration of our thoughts really leaves
them or is absent. On the other hand, our husbands spend very little time during the day
thinking about our condition. This is how we know what wisdom of theirs takes delight in
us. Our husbands call this spiritual rational wisdom and spiritual moral wisdom. Spiritual
rational wisdom according to what they say belongs to the intellect and knowledge;
spiritual moral wisdom to the will and the way we live. But they combine both of these
into one, and hold that the pleasures of this wisdom are copied from their minds into the
delights felt in our hearts, and then from our hearts into theirs, so that they return to
the wisdom that was their source.'
 Then I asked whether they knew anything
more about the way their husbands' wisdom took delight in them. 'Yes,' they said. 'There
is spiritual wisdom, and rational and moral wisdom from this. Spiritual wisdom is to
acknowledge the Lord the Savior as the God of heaven and earth, and from Him to gather for
oneself the truths of the church, which is done through the Word and preaching based on
it. This leads to spiritual rationality. It is also to be led by the Lord to live in
accordance with those truths; this leads to spiritual morality. Our husbands call these
two the wisdom which in general brings about truly conjugial love.
'We have also heard from them the reason for
this: that this wisdom opens up the inner levels of their minds, and so of their bodies,
thus creating a free passage for the current of love from its first beginnings to its last
realizations. It is on the quantity, adequacy and strength of this current that conjugial
love depends and lives. The spiritual rational and moral wisdom of our husbands has as its
particular purpose and aim in marriage the love of one wife alone, setting aside all lust
after others. To the extent that this is achieved, that love is enhanced in degree and
perfected in nature; and we also feel more clearly and exquisitely in ourselves the
delights which match the joys of our husbands' affections and the pleasures of their
 Later I asked whether they knew how
these were shared. 'Every act of linking by means of love' they said, 'involves acting,
receiving and reacting. The delightful state of our love is the acting or that which acts.
The state of our husbands' wisdom is the receiving or what receives, and this too is the
reacting or that which reacts in proportion to what is felt. This reaction is felt by us
with delights in our heart in keeping with the state constantly deployed and made ready to
receive the influences, which in some way hang together with and proceed from the strength
in our husbands and also with the ultimate state of love. Take care,' they went on to say,
'you do not understand the delights we have spoken of to mean the lowest delights of that
love. We never say anything on that subject, but we do speak of the delights of our
hearts, which perpetually match the state of our husbands' wisdom.'
 After this what looked like a dove was
seen in the distance, flying with a tree-leaf in its mouth. But as it approached, instead
of a dove, it looked like a small boy with a document in his hand. He came up to us and
held it out to me, saying, 'Read this in the presence of the spring-maidens.' What I read
was this: 'Tell the inhabitants of earth among whom you are that there is truly conjugial
love, and it has tens of thousands of delights, though the world is so far only aware of a
few. But it will get to know them, when the church betroths itself to the Lord and marries
Him.' Then I asked, 'Why did that boy call you spring-maidens?' 'We are called maidens,'
they replied, 'when we sit by this spring, since we are affections for the truths of our
husbands' wisdom; and an affection for truth is called a maiden. The spring too stands for
the truth of wisdom, and the rose-garden in which we sit stands for its delights.'
 Then one of the seven wove a garland of
roses, sprinkled it with spring water, and placed it on the boy's hat around the crown,
saying, 'Receive the delights of intelligence. You should know that a hat stands for
intelligence, and a garland from this garden for its delights.' The boy went off with this
adornment, and was seen again at a distance looking like a dove in flight, but this time
with a crest on his head.
CL 294. The second
Some days later I again saw the seven wives
in a rose-garden, but not the same one as before. It was a magnificent rose-garden, the
like of which I had never seen before. It was circular, and the roses were arranged to
make a kind of rainbow. The outermost ring was made of roses with purple flowers, the next
inner ring of flowers of a golden yellow, the one within this of blue, the inmost of light
or shining green. Inside this rainbow of roses was a small pool of limpid water. The seven
wives, who had earlier been called the spring-maidens, were sitting there when they spied
me at the window, and called me to visit them again. When I arrived they said, 'Have you
ever seen anything more beautiful on earth?' 'Never,' I said. 'Such things,' they told me,
'are created by the Lord in a moment, and they represent something new on earth, since
everything created by the Lord represents something. But see if you can guess what this
represents. Our guess is that it is the delights of conjugial love.'
 On hearing this I said, 'Do you mean the
delights of conjugial love about which you had so much to say before, with such wisdom and
also eloquence? After I left you, I reported what you had said to some wives who live in
our district. 'Now I have been taught,' I told them, 'I know that you have delights in
your hearts arising from your conjugial love, and you are able to share these with your
husbands in proportion to their wisdom. Consequently you gaze at your husbands continually
from morning to evening with the eyes of your spirits, trying to deflect and guide their
minds towards being wise, so that you can snap up these delights. I also related what you
mean by wisdom, spiritual rational and spiritual moral wisdom. I said your view of
marriage was that it was restricted to loving one's wife only and putting away all lust
after other women. But the wives of our district responded to this by laughing. "What
is this you say?" they said, "this is all nonsense. We do not know what
conjugial love is. Even if our husbands have some, we certainly don't have any. So how
could we enjoy its delights? In fact, we sometimes violently refuse what you call the
ultimate delights, for we find them displeasing, hardly different from suffering rape. In
fact, if you look closely, you will not see any sign of such a love in our faces. So you
must be talking nonsense or joking, if you told those seven wives that we think about our
husbands from morning to evening, continually paying attention to their whims and
pleasures, in order to gain such delights from them." I remember this from what they
said, so that I could report it to you, seeing that they find repugnant and in fact
totally contradict what you told me by the spring, which I so eagerly drank it in and
 The wives sitting in the rose-garden
replied to this, 'Friend, you are unaware of the wisdom and prudence wives possess,
because they keep it completely hidden from men; and they do so for no other purpose but
to be loved. For each man, who is not spiritually but only naturally rational and moral,
is cold to his wife, a feeling hidden at his innermost level. A wise and prudent wife has
a keen and exact perception of this, and so to this extent she conceals and retracts into
her heart her conjugial love, keeping it so deeply hidden as not to show the slightest
trace of it in her face, her tone of voice or her gestures. The reason is that the more
she shows this, the more her husband's coldness to marriage floods out from where it is
lodged in the inmost levels of his mind into the outermost levels, inducing a total chill
in the body, and so an impulse to seek a separate bed and bedroom.'
 Then I asked, 'Where does the coldness
that you call coldness to marriage come from?' 'It comes,' they replied, 'from their folly
about spiritual matters. Everyone who is foolish about spiritual matters feels at the
inmost level coldness towards his wife, and warmth towards prostitutes. Since conjugial
love and scortatory love are opposites, it follows that, when scortatory love is hot,
conjugial love is cold. When a man has coldness dominant in him, he cannot put up with any
feeling of love, not even a breath of it, coming from his wife. So his wife wisely and
prudently conceals it, and to the extent that she conceals it by her denials and refusals,
to that extent her husband is warmed and restored by the sphere of prostitution
influencing him. That is why the wife of such a man has no delights in his heart, as we
have, but only pleasures. These are called the pleasures of folly as applied to the man,
since they are the pleasures of scortatory love.
 'Every chaste wife loves her husband,
even if he is unchaste. But since wisdom is the only means by which her love can be
received, she devotes all her energies to turning his folly into wisdom, that is,
preventing him lusting after other women. She has a thousand ways of doing this, but she
takes the greatest care to see that none of them are tracked down by her husband. For she
is well aware that love can never be forced, but slips in where there is freedom. Women
therefore have been given the ability to recognize by sight, hearing and touch any state
of mind their husbands have. Men, on the other hand, are not given the ability to
recognize any state of mind their wives have.
 'A chaste wife can look sternly at her
husband, speak harshly to him, get angry and quarrel with him, while still in her heart
she cherishes a mild and tender love for him. These fits of anger and pretense are aimed
at making the husband wise and receptive of her love, as is obvious from the fact that
they can be instantly reconciled. Moreover, wives have these methods of concealing their
love implanted in their heart and marrow, in order to prevent an explosion of coldness to
marriage in the husband. It is also to prevent this coldness quenching the fire of his
scortatory warmth, thus turning him from green wood into a dry stick.'
 After this and many similar lectures
from the seven wives, their husbands came with bunches of grapes in their hands, some of
which had a delightful taste, but others a sharp one. 'Why,' said the wives, 'have you
brought us nasty or uncultivated grapes?' 'Because,' the husbands replied, 'we could tell
in our souls, which are united with yours, that you have been talking to that man about
truly conjugial love, saying its delights are those of wisdom, and about scortatory love,
saying its delights are the pleasures of folly. These last are the grapes with the nasty
taste, the former ones are the ones that taste delightful.'
They confirmed what their wives had said,
adding that the pleasures of folly look on the outside like the delights of wisdom, but
not on the inside. 'They are,' they said, 'just like the good and the nasty grapes we
brought. Both the chaste and the unchaste have outwardly the same kind of wisdom, but
inwardly it is quite different.'
 After this the little boy came back
again with a parchment in his hand; he held it out to me and said, 'Read it.' This is what
I read: 'You must know that the delights of conjugial love rise to the highest heaven,
being joined on the way and there by the delights of all the heavenly loves. So they enter
upon their happiness which lasts for ever. This is because the delights of that love are
the delights of wisdom. You must also know that the pleasures of scortatory love sink down
to the lowest hell, being joined on the way and there by the pleasures of all hellish
loves, and thus they enter upon unhappiness, which consists in distress affecting all the
heart's joys. This is because the pleasures of that love are also the pleasures of folly.'
After this the husbands went away with their
wives, escorting the little boy until his path took him up to heaven. They were able to
recognize the community which had sent him as being one of the new heaven, with which the
new church on earth will be linked.
CL 291. (20)
Various types of apparent love and friendship are possible between partners in cases where
one has been subjugated and is thus subservient to the other. After a married couple has
passed through the initial stages of marriage, contests arise between them over who has
what right and who has what power. The dispute over who has what right turns about the
fact that according to the terms of their compact and covenant they have equality, and yet
each has his own standing in duties connected with his role. The dispute over who has what
power then arises from the fact that men insist on having superiority in all matters
affecting the household just because they are men, leaving women in a position of
inferiority just because they are women. That this is what happens is something people are
aware of in today's world. Such familiar contests at the present day spring from no other
circumstance than people's ignorance of true conjugial love and their lack of any
perception or sensation of the blessings of that love. In the absence of an awareness and
perception or sensation of these things, instead of true conjugial love comes a desire to
possess which masquerades as that love. With genuine love removed, from this desire wells
a striving for power, an endeavor which in some cases is a matter of delight arising from
a love of ruling, which in some cases is a tactic instilled by shrewd women before the
wedding, and which in some cases is provoked.
 When men have this as their endeavor and
after a succession of struggles obtain the mastery, they then reduce their wives to the
condition of being either a possession at their disposal, or toadies obedient to their
will, or indentured servants, depending on the degree of their will to prevail and the
capability they have inherent or latent in them. On the other hand, if wives have this as
their endeavor and after a succession of struggles obtain the mastery, they then reduce
their husbands to the condition of being either equal to them in privilege, or toadies
obedient to their will, or indentured servants. However, in the case of wives, after they
have obtained the scepter of command, their desire to possess that masquerades as
conjugial love remains, being held in check by law and the fear of legitimate separation
if they extend their power beyond just limits; and since it remains, they therefore lead a
companionable life with their husbands.
 But what sort of love and friendship
exists between a domineering wife and a subservient husband, or between a domineering
husband and a subservient wife, cannot be described in a few words. Even if their
different types were condensed into classes and these classes were listed, several pages
would not suffice; for they vary in character and kind. They vary in character in the case
of men according to the nature of their will to prevail; so likewise in the case of wives.
And their diversities in men differ in kind from those which are identifiable with women.
They differ in kind, because men of this sort feel no friendship of love other than a
foolish one, whereas wives feel the friendship of an illusory love stemming from their
desire to possess. By what art wives acquire for themselves power over men shall now be
told under the following heading.
4. The Spiritual Psychobiology of Marriage
The diagram immediately above shows the two
phases or stages of marriage. Initially, the man's consciousness of externalizing truth,
which is the truth he knows, conjoins itself with the wife's externalizing good. That is
the wife's externalizing affections conjoin with the husband's externalizing cognitions.
Thus they form an externalizing marriage or bond. It is externalizing because the man's
truth and the wife's affections are both in the externalizing or lower degrees of their
consciousness. However, if the two partners continue to grow together and conjoin more
deeply within, then they enter phase 2 which is an internal union or conjunction. Now
their internalizing parts are conjoined or united--the man's internalizing good and the
woman's internalizing truth. Now for the first time the man becomes truly a husband and
the woman truly a wife.
In the diagram below, the same process is
portrayed. The externalizing union in stage 1 is shown to bond the man's externalizing
truth to the wife's externalizing good. This is not so much a true union as a partnership
since it resides in externalizing (or lower) parts of the consciousness. Husband and wife
as partners are adjoined to each other by externalizing natural life and family, but they
are not yet conjoined from within by inner or spiritual life. But in stage 2, the
husband's internalizing good is conjoined to the wife's internalizing truth. Now the
marriage consists of his affections covered over with her truths. This is a true
conjunction or union because it resides in the higher or internalizing regions of their
consciousness and life. Only when this stage of internal conjunction is achieved can they
be regenerated into a heavenly marriage and live together in eternity.
Note: see a variation of this diagram in
another article on Gender
|From Swedenborg's Arcana
1468. He said
to Sarai his wife. That this signifies that He so thought concerning the truths to which
celestial things were adjoined, is evident from the signification of Sarai when she is
called a wife. A "wife," in the internal sense of the Word, signifies nothing
else than truth conjoined with good; for the conjunction of truth with good is
circumstanced precisely as is a marriage. In the Word, when a "husband" is
mentioned, the husband signifies good, and the wife signifies truth; but when he is not
called the husband, but the "man," then he signifies truth, and the wife
signifies good: this is the constant usage in the Word, as before said (n. 915). In the
passage before us, as Abram is named, Sarai his wife signifies truth. To say thus to Sarai
his wife is, in the internal sense, to think so concerning the truths with which celestial
things were conjoined. It is historically true that Abram so said to his wife, when
journeying into Egypt; but as before said, all the historicals of the Word are
representative, and all the words are significative. No other historicals are recorded in
the Word, and in no other order, and no other words are used to express them, than such as
in the internal sense may express these arcana.
Couples who do not progress to an internal
union of minds or spirits remain separated in their internals, and when they meet again in
the other life, they live with one another again for a brief period. They then can become
aware of each other's internal character and disposition, and these separate them. Each is
then given another partner with whom they can enter into an internal marriage in heaven.
But this happens only when both have been regenerated while still in the physical body. If
they are unsuitable to each other by internal disposition or genius and separate, the one
who is regenerate goes to heaven with the newly given conjugial partner or soul mate,
while the other who is not regenerated goes to hell where they enter into an infernal
concubinage with a partner. These infernal marriages are purely externalizing and both
partners are "devils" who hate each other's guts yet are forced to endure each
other in a marriage made in hell.
Leon James (Notes from1987)
Glossary based on Chart
- Highest content is spiritual.
- Deepest feelings are male.
- Highest truths are female.
- Female will is less deep than male will.
- Female intellect is higher than male
- Spiritual content is the product of male good
will conjoined to female true intellect.
- Deepest good is male
- Male love is deeper then female love.
- The growth of good truth is inward &
occurs by adding layers inwardly or by ascending.
- The growth of truth is male to female.
- The growth of good is female to male.
- Truth develops inwards from an external made
of natural content to an internal made of rational content to an inmost mode of spiritual
"rational wisdom...is peculiar to the
understanding of men, and ascends into a light in which women are not, which is the reason
why we do not speak from this wisdom, but in the company of men when such matters are
discussed, are silent and only listen." CL 165
= affections are unconscious (silent) yet
"It is male to perceive from the
understanding and female to perceive from love." CL 168
"love does not go beyond what it feels;
...it derives [sight] from conjunction with the understanding of the man" CL
= affections perceive spiritual heat;
understanding perceives spiritual light
"things that are of light are plainly
seen, and things of love are felt" CL 168
MASCULINE PRINCIPLE TRUTH FROM GOOD
(the truth of good)
FEMININE PRINCIPLE GOOD FROM THAT
TRUTH (the good of truth)
Good = substance Truth =
form Mind = Good and Truth
Love and wisdom are substance and form
Love is substance/Taste buds are substance
Wisdom is form/Skin sense = substance and form (cells and their reactivity)
USE ----- TOUCH = FUNCTION
GOOD ----- VIBRATION/CHEMICALS = SUBSTANCE
TRUTH ----- CELL = FORM
Substance and Form originate from GOD-MAN
DIVINE SUBSTANCE = DIVINE LOVE
DIVINE FORM = DIVINE TRUTH
All created things have relation to Man (DLW
(in relation to the above relation of Female
<====> Son see this article on the Divine.)
Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3