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Spiritual Causes of Divorce

Related Article:  Doctrine of the Wife

Malachi Chapter 2
13 Another thing you do: You flood the LORD's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15 Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. 16 "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

Quoting from Swedenborg:

Conjugial Love

CL 235

The causes of cold in marriage are closely related to the causes of separation and divorce. When a couple decides to separate, the married partners are in a state of cold toward one another, and may have been for some time. This enmity between them was the result of conflicts that came up between the partners, creating problems they could not resolve, and cumulating eventually in a state of cold for each other. If the conflict was about unfaithfulness on the part of one of the partners, and it did not get resolved, then it engenders a state of cold for one another that eventually leads to divorce. For this reason we should consider the causes of cold, separation and divorce in one discussion. The close connection between them may be shown by the following propositions which are arranged in a developmental order. Each principle will be separately discussed.

1.Relationships can be in a state of warmth or cold

This is a spiritual idea since it refers to mental states such as love and liking. Love is spiritual heat while the absence of love is spiritual cold. When married partners are in a state of cold, there is absence of spiritual warmth from an absence of love.

Spiritual warmth originates in the sun of the spiritual world. For there is a sun in that world, issuing from God, who is in the midst of it. This sun is not made of physical fire or chemical reactions like the sun of the natural world. Since the sun of the spiritual world proceeds directly from God, it is made of pure love. Those who have passed on and live in the spiritual world can see this sun, and to their eyes it appears fiery, just as the sun of this world appears bright and blazing to our eyes.

The spiritual sun appears fiery because love is spiritual fire. Heat and light both proceed from this sun, but since it is nothing but pure love, the warmth that flows out from is received by our souls as love, and the light from it is received as wisdom. It is clear from this that spiritual warmth issuing from God through the sun of the spiritual world, flows into our soul and mind, and there is felt as love.

The source of spiritual cold, on the other hand, is the absence of warmth flowing in from the sun of the spiritual world. When spiritual warmth is not received by our soul, the warmth flowing into our bodies from the natural sun cannot provide spiritual warmth. God creates natural suns and planets from which our body is constructed and acts as a physical shell (or organ) within which a mind grows and develops and can receive spiritual warmth and light. God's divine purposes are carried through the interaction between the spiritual sun and the natural, or between spiritual things and natural. The purpose of all physical matter is to express outwardly some inward spiritual purpose. This goal is accomplished when spiritual heat is added within the natural.

However, when spiritual heat is separated from the natural, the opposite of love is the outcome. When we love natural things and see the spiritual as opposed to the natural, or as non-existent, then we are blocking the inflow of spiritual heat and we are left with nothing but physical heat from the chemical sun. Where there ought to be spiritual warmth, there is now only spiritual cold. We then become aware of a malaise within our mind, which reflects the opposition between the spiritual and the natural. The two types of warmth created and provided by God to be reciprocally harmonious, are now enemies within us. Love, or the master warmth, now becomes the servant, and vice versa. To escape servitude, spiritual warmth, which was created to rule, retreats and turns cold. Spiritual cold is thus the absence of spiritual warmth. Since spiritual warmth is felt by humans as love, spiritual cold is the absence of love in a person.

CL 236

2. Spiritual cold in marriage is the disunion of souls and disjunction of minds

Spiritual cold is felt as indifference, discord, contempt, disgust and aversion, which are negative feelings that ultimately lead to separation from bed, chamber and house. It is well known that this unfortunate state of antipathy between married partners, once it develops and grows, destroys the former love they had for each other and leaves them in a state of cold toward one another. The coldness begins in the soul, attacking the marriage instinct which resides there from inheritance. From there it sinks down and infects the mind, turning the former joy and gladness of the early love into sadness and joylessness.

CL 237

3. There are numerous causes if spiritual cold in marriage.

The causes of marital antipathy fall into three categories: internal opposition, external incompatibility, and fortuitous circumstances. The last two are more visible to the external eyes, and yet it is the internal cause of mutual opposition that leads to the other, more external factors. It shall be examined first.

CL 238-9

Internal Opposition

The internal mind of everyone is constructed organically of two spiritual substances streaming out from the spiritual sun and into our souls, which is an organ of reception like the eye or nose, created and evolved into this special function of spiritual reception. The influx of spiritual substances into the soul takes place in accordance with each soul's unique character, yet there is one universal communality that transcends all souls. This is the fact that the two substances are received from the soul into the mind as raw material to be shaped by the person's experiences into personal or unique feelings and thoughts. In other words, the thoughts and feelings we experience moment by moment, are shaped spiritual substances, objects that our experience create, and are unique.

Thus, when we consider the presence of internal opposition between married partners, it is not just a matter of not being similar, or having some disagreements, or having different backgrounds. Internal opposition refers to the way each partner shapes the influx from the soul into the mind. Ordinarily this shaping process, though different for the two partners, is not such as to be in oppostion to each other. Spousal love shapes these differences and moulds them over time into a single frame that both partners share. But there are circumstances which prevent the fruition of spousal love and internal opposition between the two will eventually destroy that love and all the external amiability and friendship that the two partners may hav enjoyed at the beginning of their relationship.

The mind is so created as to have the capacity to grow more and more interiorly. The internal growth of the mind is relative to the individual's willingness to change character from selfish and self-centered to caring and noble. This lifelong internal struggle is called the individual's church and doctrine because it is based on one's convictions about the meaning and value of life. It is often what people associate with religion and the afterlife. However, everyone has a church or doctrine irrespective of any religious denomination. In this internal sense, the atheist and agnostic also have a religion, church, and doctrine, namely what they believe about life, death, heaven, hell, conscience, soul, and so on. What one believes and how one lives accordingly, determine how the mind shapes the influx from the soul.

What happens when two married partners possess a church and doctrine that clash with each other? This is not the same problem as when they have a different denominational religion. Many happy marriages exist between a man and a woman who love each other despite their cultural or ethnic differences. External religion is something a person can shed merely by withdrawing from the requisite rituals and associations. But internal religion, that is, the church and docrine with everyone, cannot be shed because they do not depend on culture or ethnicity. The internal church and doctrine are one's beliefs and life accordingly. One's internal religion is one's character or life according to one's conscience. Here is where two married partners can be in deep opposition that lead to marital cold.

CL 240. V. THAT OF THE INTERNAL CAUSES OF COLD, THE FIRST IS REJECTION OF RELIGION BY BOTH PARTNERS. With those who cast the holy things of the Church, from the face to the occiput or from the breast to the back, there is no good love. If any comes to view from the body, there is still none in the spirit. With such men, goods place themselves outside evils and veil them over like a garment resplendent with gold covering a corrupt body. The evils which reside within and are veiled over are, in general, hatreds and thence intestine combats against everything spiritual--all the things of the Church which they reject being in themselves spiritual. And because love truly conjugial is the fundamental of all spiritual loves, as shown above [no. 65] it is evident that their intrinsic hatred is against this love, and that with them the intrinsic or proprial love is for the opposite which is the love of adultery. Wherefore they, more than others, will deride the truth that with every one, conjugial love is according to the state of the Church with him. Indeed, they will perhaps laugh aloud at the very mention of love truly conjugial. Be that as it may, they are yet to be excused because, for them, it is just as impossible to think differently of embraces in marriage than of embraces in whoredom, as it is for a camel to push through the eye of a needle. Those who are such, are cold in respect to conjugial love with more extreme cold than others. If they cleave to their partners, it is only for external reasons such as are recounted above [no. 153], which restrain and bind them. With them, the interiors which pertain to the soul and thence to the mind are more and more closed, and in the body they are stopped up; and then, in the interiors of their body and thence in the lowest things of their thoughts, love of the sex also grows vile or becomes insanely lascivious. These also are they who are meant in the Memorable Relation no. 79, which they may read if they please.


CL 310. XIV. THAT AFTER THE WEDDING, THE MARRIAGE OF THE SPIRIT BECOMES ALSO A MARRIAGE OF THE BODY AND THUS COMPLETE. All that is done by man in the body flows in from his spirit. As is well known, the mouth does not speak of itself but the thought of the mind by the mouth, and the hands do not act, nor the feet walk, of themselves, but the will of the mind by them; consequently, it is the mind that speaks by its organ the mouth, and the mind that acts by its organs in the body. It is evident, therefore, that as the mind is, such are the words of the mouth and such the deeds of the body. From this the conclusion follows, that by continual influx, the mind instigates the body to activities conformable and synchronous with itself. Therefore, inwardly regarded, the bodies of men are nothing else than forms of their minds organized outwardly to effect the behests of the soul. The above is premised that it may be perceived whence it is that minds or spirits must first be united with each other as in a marriage before there is unition as to the body also; and this, in order that marriages may be marriages of the spirit when they become marriages of the body; consequently, that married partners may love each other from the spirit and thence in the body.

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