Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations

A Man of the Field

Forming The New Church Mind In Today’s World



Volume 1: Reformation

The Struggle Against Nonduality


Volume 2: Enlightenment

The Spiritual Sense of the Writings


Volume 3: Regeneration

Spiritual Disciplines For Daily Life


Volume 4: Uses

The New Church Mind In Old Age



By Leon James

November 2002

(draft 17c)


Author information appears at the end. This document is in the process of being revised. Please note the draft version marked on top.


A “field” means doctrine (AC 368)

A "man" signifies faith and truth (AC 427; 4823)


Volume 3


Spiritual Disciplines For Daily Life



Chapter 2

The Doctrine Of The Wife



Table of Contents


Access other Chapters and Volumes here:4


Chapter 2. 7

The Doctrine of the Wife. 7

1. Introduction: Subduing The External Man. 7

1. Discounting Our Wife’s Opinion Relative To Our Own. 10

2. The Doctrine of the Wife. 12

1. A Philosophy Of Action Or Spiritual Discipline. 15

2. Men’s Resistance To Conjugial Love. 16

3. Conjugial Commandments In The Writings. 19

4. Commitment To Conjugial Unity. 22

5. The Four-Step Conjoining Process. 23

6. Leon’s Story. 26

7. The Husband’s Spiritual Dependence On The Wife. 31

3. The Unregenerate Husband. 31

1. The Appearance Of Eve. 34

2. External Reformation Vs. Internal Regeneration. 35

3. Leave Mother and Father And Cleave To The Wife. 37

4. Becoming An Interior Man. 38

5. Proving The Doctrine of the Wife and Rule 1. 40

6. External And Internal Marriage. 45

7. Heresies Regarding The Husband's Wisdom.. 47

8. Feminine Love Within Which Is Masculine Wisdom.. 53

9. The Role Of The Wife In The Husband's Wisdom.. 56

10. Inventory Of Confessions For Husbands. 58

11. Six-Step Process For Removing Our Evils. 63

12. The Marriage Of Good And Truth. 66

13. Shunning Sins, Doing Good, And Performing Uses. 69

14. To Detest Evils And Sins. 72

4. The surrendered wife vs. the surrendered husband. 76

1. The Surrendered Husband is The Ideal Elevated Man. 78

2. The Self-Entrapment of Male Intelligence. 80

3. Who Is Going To Do The Bills?. 84

4. The Spiritual Physiology Of Marriage. 85

5. Her Heaven, Not His. 92

6. Divine Truth Within Which Is Divine Love. 94

7. Is The Surrendered Husband Feminized?. 98

8. The Conjoint Mind Is Both Masculine And Feminine. 98

5. Rule 1: The Regeneration Discipline Of Acting From The Wife. 101

1. Achieving Internal Union. 102

2. I’m Commanded To Not Disagree With Her. 109

6. Giving Up Male Prerogatives As Contrary To Conjugial Unity. 110

7. The Equity Model Versus The Unity Model Of Marriage. 114

8. The Spiritual Discipline Of Sweetheart Rituals. 121

1. Sweethearts Spend All Their Time Together. 125

2. The Commandment Of Conjugial Simulation. 128

9. Conjugial Intimacy Disciplines. 130

10. Overcoming Threats To Sweetheart Rituals. 135

11. How To Avoid Turning Cold Against The Wife. 138

1. The Fallacy That Men Want Sex More Than Women. 140

12. Spiritual Psychobiology Of The Conjoint Self143

1. Conjugial Husbands Are Loyal To The Wife. 146

13. The Regeneration Discipline Of Conjugial Massage. 150

1. Sensorimotor Memory. 151

2. The Sensuous Mind Turns Itself Away From The Rational152

3. Creation Of The Natural-Rational Mind. 155

4. The Weekly Massage Routine. 156

5. The Masculine And Feminine Mind. 160

14. The Regeneration Discipline of Heaven On Wheels. 162

1. Becoming A Reformed Driver. 163

2. Meeting My Master. 166

3. What Is Repentance. 167

4. Driving Like The Lord Is My Passenger. 168

5. The Conjugial Discipline Of Partnership Driving. 171

15. The spiritual discipline of shopping together172

16. Wife takes precedence over the children. 178

1. The Parenting Relationship Is Temporary And External180

2. Moses, Paul, And Swedenborg Phases Of Marriage. 184

3. Blood-Love For Children Is Spiritually Hurtful187

17. The spiritual discipline of metanoid television watching. 190

1. Teaching The Metanoid Self-Witnessing Technique. 193

18. Summary of anti-absorption techniques. 196

End Notes and References. 201

Access other Chapters and Volumes here. 210



Access other Chapters and Volumes here:


Every spiritual truth in the Writings
is a Divine Commandment







To my wife


It is her internal wisdom that led me to write this book as-of myself. She brought into our marriage the conjugial love she has in her from the Lord, inborn from nativity



An inclination to love one of the opposite sex, and with it a capacity for receiving that love, has been implanted in Christians from birth, for the reason that this love comes from the Lord alone

(CL 466).


Wives are by birth forms of love, so that it is innate in them to wish to be one with their husbands … But it is different with husbands; since they are not by birth forms of love, but designed to receive that love from their wives (CL 216)


The intelligence of women is by nature modest, gracious, peaceable, compliant, soft and gentle, while the intelligence of men is by nature critical, rough, resistant, argumentative, and given to intemperance.  Evidence that this is the nature of women and the nature of men is clearly apparent from the body, face, tone of voice, speech, bearing and behavior of each sex.


From this I could clearly see that a man is born a form of the intellect, and a woman a form of love.  I could also see what the nature of the intellect is and what the nature of love is in their beginnings, and thus what a man's intellect in its development would be like without conjunction with feminine love and eventually conjugial love.

(CL 218)


Chapter 2

The Doctrine of the Wife


The Word is vivified with man, according to his life of love and faith … They whose internal is open, and who thus as to their internal man are capable of being elevated into the light of heaven, are enlightened … Enlightenment is an actual opening of the interiors of the mind, and elevation of them into the light of heaven …. Holiness from the internal, that is, through the internal from the Lord, inflows with those who esteem the Word to be holy … They who are led by the Lord are enlightened, and see truths in the Word, but not they who are led by self (NJHD 256)


Chapter 2, Section 1


1. Introduction: Subduing The External Man


Now as merely natural truths and goods, which in their essence are falsities and evils, are altogether opposite to spiritual truths and goods, which in their essence are truths and goods, therefore the devil, by whom is meant hell, is in unceasing hatred against them. This is why hatreds of various kinds are unceasingly ascending from the hells; while on the other hand, spiritual loves also of various kinds descend from the heavens, and between the hatreds of the hells and the loves of the heavens there is an equilibrium, in which the men in the world are held, in order that they may be able to act from freedom according to reason.


Consequently those who do not live from the Word but from the world, since they continue natural, receive evils and the falsities thence from hell, and conceive from them hatred against spiritual truths and goods. Their hatred does not appear in the world, because it lies concealed inwardly in their spirit; but it becomes manifest after death, when they become spirits. Then they burn against those who are in spiritual truths and goods with a hatred so great that it cannot be described; it is indeed a deadly hatred; for as soon as they see an angel who is in these truths and goods, or if they merely hear the Lord named, from whom these truths and goods are, they instantly come into a fury of hatred, and feel nothing more delightful than to pursue them and to do evil to them. And as they are unable to slay their body they endeavor with a burning heart to slay their soul. (AE 754)


The absolute duality of heaven and hell cannot be escaped. While we are in the world, the Lord keeps us in equilibrium between evil affections from the hells and good affections from the angels. Who are these evil spirits, called the devil? Ordinary folks like we are who lived a normal life according to their self-intelligence, exercising their freedom to chose what to think and love. They are the future devils who have an insane hatred for all truth and good they sense in the angels. It is said that “their hatred does not appear in the world, because it lies concealed inwardly in their spirit.” We are them in our unregenerate state regardless of religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. We become those devils in the afterlife unless we compel ourselves to live by the Writings rather than by the world. To live by the Writings means to monitor our daily willing and thinking and subjugate them to conform to the Writings, shunning whatever is not in agreement, and desisting from willing and thinking in that way.


To compel ourselves to live by the Writings is to obey the Divine commandment that we cooperate in our regeneration. This cooperation includes fighting as-of self in our temptations, refusing to give in to them.


Temptations, therefore, have for their end that the externals of man may be subdued and thus be rendered obedient to his internals, as may be evident to everyone from the fact that as soon as man's loves are assaulted and broken (as during misfortunes, sickness, and grief of mind), his cupidities begin to subside, and he at the same time begins to talk piously; but as soon as he returns to his former state, the external man prevails and he scarcely thinks of such things. The like happens at the hour of death, when corporeal things begin to be extinguished; and hence everyone may see what the internal man is, and what the external; and also what remains are, and how cupidities and pleasures, which are of the external man, hinder the Lord's operation through the internal man.


From this it is also plain to everyone what temptations, or the internal pains called the stings of conscience, effect, namely, that the external man is made obedient to the internal. The obedience of the external man is nothing else than this: that the affections of what is good and true are not hindered, resisted, and suffocated by cupidities and their derivative falsities. (AC 857:2)


The “external man” refers to our corporeal-sensuous self. We can also call it the “sensorimotor mind” to distinguish it from the cognitive and affective portions of the mind, which refer to the understanding and the will (see Chapter 8 Section 6). These three portions of the natural mind are arranged in distance from the physical body. The affective functions of the mind are in the will, or the inmost. The sensorimotor functions of the mind are close to the body senses and the brain. The sensory organs of the body and the brain are physical objects. They receive the chemical stimulation but they do not contain any sensations because these are spiritual in substance, not chemical. The sensations are in the natural mind, not the physical brain whose activity is nothing but molecules and electricity moving in patterned motion. So to feel sensations, we need a sensory portion of the natural mind which is made of spiritual fibers. These can contain the sensations we experience when our physical organs are stimulated by the natural environment.


This sensorimotor mind is a receptor of stimuli from the spiritual world, of pleasures and cupidities. The passage above says that this lower mind is a hindrance to regeneration because it resists obedience to the higher portion of the natural mind called the “internal man.” The internal man discussed here is that which is in the depth of the natural mind. When speaking of the spiritual mind, the internal man is the inmost of the spiritual mind called the celestial mind, while the lower portion of the spiritual mind is called the external man. So, both the natural mind and the spiritual mind have an external and an internal portion.


The internal man of the natural mind operates with concepts and reasoning that is called the rational level of thinking. The Lord operates into this level by means of the voice of conscience which is activated by our affections for good and true, as the passage says. This means that our rational mind prefers the good to the evil, and the true to the false. The Lord insures that every human being is equipped with a conscience, for without it, one cannot be saved for life in heaven.


From this you can see that we are divided men, at war with ourselves. The higher wrestles with the lower and the lower resists, hinders, and tries to suffocate the voice of conscience. These battles can be severe and we experience inner pain, or the sting of conscience, when the lower wins over the higher. Temptations play a crucial role in our regeneration because they compel us to face the battle. Without temptations we can continue ignoring our evil affections until death, and so come into the afterlife with the evil loves. These evil loves cannot be removed in the spiritual world and prevent us from choosing life in heaven.


Through temptations in the natural mind, our external man is beaten into subservience to the internal man. Gradually there is a realignment of the external man through obedience to conscience and to the commandments contained in our Doctrine from the Writings. Our life is thereby regenerated and the delights we then experience are far more intense and blissful than former cupidities of our unregenerate state. Sensorimotor pleasures are still retained as proven by the immeasurably stronger sensations good spirits and angels experience in comparison to life with a physical body (CL 44[8]). ). But spirits and angels do not value sensuous pleasures highly in comparison to the rational delights of the internal man. Yet the pleasure and happiness experienced by angels from sexual love is immeasurable finer and superior than the strongest pleasures we can have in the physical body. So we are not losing anything or giving up anything when our external man is subservient to the internal man. On the contrary, we are losing most of what we can have by continuing in a state of disobedience to conscience and Doctrine.


Conjugial disciplines are techniques we can use to fight our battles on behalf of conscience and Doctrine.


One might at first think: Why do I need conjugial disciplines? Do I not love my wife dearly? Do I not pray to the Lord to unite me with her in conjugial love? Do I not feel it strongly enough? But I think these are vain thoughts, even meritorious. Conjugial love is not a feeling or a status obtained by declarations and reputation. Conjugial love is a doing. It is an activity of willing and thinking not as oneself but as the conjoint self. To the extent that we will and think as the conjoint self, to that extent we are progressing towards conjugial love. It stand to reason therefore we have to take charge and make sure that we are performing conjugial love daily, hourly, and minute by minute. Doing this vigilantly and effectively is called a conjugial discipline.


1. Discounting Our Wife’s Opinion Relative To Our Own


For many years I hear my wife saying to me that I don’t listen to her, that I don’t value her ideas, that I have an automatic prejudice against her because she is a woman and women have no credibility with men. I did not appreciate this wisdom and insight she was trying to pass on to me. I did not listen to this idea, automatically assuming she was talking in hyperboles and exaggerating, since she is a woman. This proved her point, of course, but I was too much into my obscurities from ego to want to really figure out what she was saying and whether it was correct. I was able to make progress in my regeneration to the extent that I was willing to listen to my wife. The more I listened, the more I got to find out that she was correct and insightful in her observations, philosophy, and principles. This dawning realization continued to the extent that I was willing to admit to myself that my ideas are frequently mistaken and inaccurate. This was a totally new experience as I always implicitly had full confidence in my own ideas.


There arrived a stage where I was eager to listen to her wisdom, insights, and opinions. I valued them as I saw their intelligence and depth of comprehension. I discovered a new aspect to feminine intelligence and can clearly see how superior it is to male intelligence. The Writings reveal that feminine intelligence and wisdom is in their interior mind, thus of celestial origin, while male intelligence is in the external mind, thus of natural origin (xx). This gender-typed difference in intelligence enters into every single thing of the threefold self—every feeling, every aspect of thinking, and every acting. Women are very capable in enacting male styles of reasoning, acting, and speaking in various social situations and roles. But these are surface appearances enacted for natural reasons (power sharing and equal access), not spiritual. In the interior mind, in which every thing is spiritual, women retain feminine structures of feeling and thinking, by necessity of permanent creation and eternal being.


The intelligence of women is in essence modest, refined, peaceful, yielding, gentle and tender; but that of men is in essence serious, harsh, hard, spirited and disposed to license.

(…) Men's gestures are bolder and stronger, women's weaker and feebler. Men's behavior is less restrained, women's more elegant.


[2] I was able clearly to see the innate difference of character between men and women by observing how boys and girls behaved when they got together, a sight I have several times seen from a window in a large city overlooking a street, where twenty or more children gathered every day. The boys, in keeping with their innate character, played together making a noise, shouting, fighting, beating and throwing stones at one another.


But the girls sat quietly by the doors of their houses, some playing with babies, some dressing up dolls, some embroidering on small pieces of linen, some kissing one another. I was surprised to see that the girls still looked favorably on the boys, for all their behavior.


This experience allowed me to see plainly that a man is by birth an intellect, a woman a love, and what kind of intellect and what kind of love they are in their beginnings. So I could see what a man's intellect would be like, if it developed without being linked with feminine love, and later with conjugial love. (CL 218)


Consider the last sentence: “So I could see what a man's intellect would be like, if it developed without being linked with feminine love, and later with conjugial love.” Remember this is the Word of the Lord in His Second Coming to the New Church mind. When it says “I could see what a man's intellect would be like” it means that this is how a man’s intellect is like, for it is the Lord speaking to us through this sentence. Let’s apply this to husbands: this is what a husband is like prior to his reformation. Also, this is how a husband is after reformation in proportion to his progress in regeneration. Let’s look at this character we men have by birth, and how it holds sway over every husband prior to his reformation. To do this, we can reread the passage with the goal substituting “husbands” for “boys”:


Husbands, in keeping with their innate character, played together making a noise, shouting, fighting, beating and throwing stones at one another.


“Making noise” means that they accuse each other, but in this case, the wife (AC 375). Also: that husbands are subjected to the greatest temptations on account of their inherited nature (AC 756). “Noise” also means that husbands are kept in the emotion of fear “in order that they may be deterred from evils” (AC 4942). The evils here refer to the husband’s abusive treatment of his wife. “Shouting” refers to the “spirit of war” (AC 1664), which is alternately applied to protect “the Lord’s truth” or to rob a neighbor’s goods, in this case, the conjugial happiness of his wife. “The Lord’s truth” here refers to the Writings. “Shouting” also refers to declaring one’s faith to others (AC 5323). Here this means preaching to the wife about how to interpret what the Writings say, by which husbands intimidate their wife. “Fighting” refers to “fierce conflict … and laboring … in thoughts and developments of truth” (AC 263). Here this refers to the husband’s struggle for reformation. “Beating” is a sign of rebellion against authority or legitimate officials (AC 4324).


In other words, husbands reinterpret the literal text of the Writings to support their dominion over the wife. “Throwing” in a bad sense means attacking truth and “drowning in falsity” (AC 6693), and in a good sense it refers to “initiation of truth into good” (AC 4266). “Stones” refers to “the truth of faith” (AC 114, 4672). “At one another” designates the husband and the wife. In other words, husbands alternate between periods of conjugial cooperation with their wife and periods of enmity against the wife. When cooperating, husbands are initiated in the interior truths of the Writings, and thus they are regenerated.


To summarize what the passage says about how husbands treat their wives: A husband makes accusations or is verbally abusive to his wife . This evil behavior is inherited and in order to get rid of it the husband must be willing to undergo the greatest temptations. In order to deter the husband from injuring his wife physically, the Lord keeps him in fear of the consequences. During regeneration, the husband alternates between periods of warring against his wife and periods of cooperating. When he is aversive to his wife, he is also rebellious against the Writings, reinterpreting passages therein to justify his dominion over the wife. When he cooperates with his wife, he is initiated into the interior truths of the Writings, by which he is enlightened and prepared for life in heaven.


Another passage tells us about wives:


The nerves are softer in women; the veins somewhat wider, and the arteries stronger [than] in men: the hips broader, because the hips signify conjugial love, see Arcana Coelestia (SE 6110)


We can apply this passage to our wife by substituting “wives” for “women.” “Nerves” refer to truth (AC 4303). The truth in the wife’s understanding is “softer” than the truth in the husband. Truth that is softer is more compatible to love (AC 185). In other words, the wife’s understanding is higher than the husband’s because it accords better with love. That the wife’s understanding is celestial while the husband’s is more outward and less perfect is revealed in many places in the Writings (see Sections 1and 2 below). “Veins” is used to discuss purification of the blood, that is, rendering suitable for celestial life (AC 5174). “Wider” means greater in scope (AC 8121). “Wider veins” therefore means that the wife is regenerated from the inmost and sits waiting for the husband that he may catch up to her and conjoin with her in conjugial love, which celestial from the inmost.


The wife is more willing than the husband to suffer herself to undergo rigorous regeneration by the Lord since she is motivated by conjugial love and the desire to conjoin with her husband from within. The husband is less willing to do this. His love for conjunction is not as deep. He must struggle in regeneration to attain to the same celestial depth. “Arteries” refers to “genuine good” which is compared to the blood in the arteries (AC 3470). This good “leads and applies truths into form” which means that the wife’s higher love acquires to itself a greater wisdom. The wife’s wisdom, therefore, is to “lead” and the husband’s wisdom is to cooperate with her leading. Thus he is obedient to a higher good, whereby he can be regenerated still further.



Chapter 9, Section 2


2. The Doctrine of the Wife


In heaven a married pair is spoken of, not as two, but as one angel (HH 367)

Each love knows its own love, and they unite reciprocally, or mutually and alternately. (TCR Additions 4)


One of the truly remarkable revelations given in the Writings is that the chief power and dynamic spiritual force that animates the universe is conjugial love, the love that internally binds and unites the minds of a husband and wife. Conjugial love is the chief love that rules all other loves in the universe.


The chief love is sexual love; and in the case of those who reach heaven, that is, those who become spiritual on earth, it is conjugial love.


The reason why a person's sexual love remains after death is that a male remains a male and a female remains a female, and the male's masculinity pervades the whole and every part of him, and likewise a female's femininity; and the impulse to be joined is present in every detail down to the smallest. Since that impulse to be joined was implanted from creation and is therefore continually present, it follows that the one desires the other and longs to be joined to the other.


Love taken by itself is nothing but a desire and hence an impulse to be joined; conjugial love is an impulse to be joined into one. For the male and the female of the human species are so created as to be able to become like a single individual, that is, one flesh; and when united, then they are, taken together, the full expression of humanity. If not so joined, they are two, each being as it were a divided person or half a person. Since that impulse to be joined lies deeply hidden in every part of both male and female, and every part has the ability and desire to be joined into one, it follows that people retain mutual and reciprocal sexual love after death. (CL 37)


The extending power and influence of this love can be seen in all living species whose survival depends on male-female bonding for propagation. The supremacy of conjugial love expresses God’s chief purpose in creating and maintaining the universe. This purpose is to create an ever growing heaven populated by angel couples who were born on some earth, developed a spiritual mind by living rightly, then went on living to eternity in one of the many heavenly societies Swedenborg has witnessed. The afterlife consists of a heavenly life for soul mates bonded in marriage love between a husband and a wife. This life constitutes the highest human spiritual state and is called heaven. The inhabitants of heaven are all human beings born on one of the many earths in the universe and are called angels in the Writings. We can truly say that this revelation is good news.


The bad news is that conjugial life does not come to us automatically and that most people on this earth reject it and act against it, especially men. This is so because we inherit our parents’ traits, both physical and spiritual or mental (CL 202). Scientists today are unaware of these revelations in the Writings. It is believed that psychological traits are not inherited, and it is not known that psychological traits are spiritual organs constructed out of spiritual substances from the spiritual world. These spiritual substances are carriers of the mental or spiritual traits of parents. We thus inherit tendencies that oppose conjugial love. One example is people’s desire to know more than one partner sexually. Individuals who exhibit this interest on Earth, continue to experience the desire for or interest in other partners. But conjugial love does not allow this interest to remain in one’s organic constitution, even when it is expressed merely hypothetically or in fantasy.


This tendency and proneness to evils just mentioned, which is transmitted from parents to their children and descendants, can only be broken down by a person being born anew by the Lord's help, a process called regeneration. Without this not only does the tendency remain unbroken, but it is reinforced by a succession of parents, becoming more prone to evils, and eventually to every kind of evil. (TCR 521)


Another example of how conjugial love is opposed by inherited traits is the desire for independence based on the false idea that the individual is the unit of life and self-fulfillment. When people marry there is often a sense of loss of freedom due to the marriage bond. But this idea is false because the bonds of marriage and union create a state of heavenly freedom, while what is opposed to this bond is rooted in infernal freedom, which is actually slavery to inherited evil traits. Conjugial love establishes the married couple as the unit of human life giving the partners a wholeness and completeness they do not have outside the union. Independence is incompatible with wholeness, and this reality is resisted by many inherited and acquired traits (CL 202).


For conjugial love to develop with a couple it is necessary for both husband and wife to overcome the inborn resistance husbands have for it. Marriage starts in the external mind of the partners through commitment and natural love for one another. This love is not yet conjugial love, which is a spiritual love, and the relationship is not yet a spiritual one, not yet an inner union of minds. In order for conjugial love to develop and grow the husband and wife must change their inner character by defeating all the inherited forces that are opposed to their conjugial union. The Writings teach that only couples that go beyond the external bond of marriage into an internal union of minds can be together as an angel couple in heaven. It is therefore of the utmost importance to gain the knowledge of how to accomplish this since it doesn’t happen automatically even with married individuals who sincerely love each other from a natural love and are devoted to each other from loyalty and friendship.


The Writings show how the natural love between partners joined together through an external bond is not spiritually deep enough and as soon as external conditions change and become a challenge, the love seems to evaporate and instead there is anger, rage, resentment, and disdain. Due to the spiritual constitution of men and women, there is more resistance to conjugial love on the part of husbands. Wives are born with an inclination towards marriage and a desire to move on to an internal or spiritual union, as long as the husband also desires it. Husbands on the other hand are born with an inclination for having multiple sexual partners and feel restricted by the marriage bond to one wife. As a result, husbands need special help in order to be able to overcome their inborn resistance to conjugial love, which is “the love of one of the sex,” in contrast to the “love of the sex,” which is natural, not spiritual, and roving.


1. A Philosophy Of Action Or Spiritual Discipline


The “Doctrine of the Wife” designates a philosophy of action, or spiritual discipline, for husbands that is based on the Writings and is intended to help them overcome their resistance to conjugial love.


In summary, this doctrine says that the husband's regeneration or self-change efforts, to be successful, must be focused on his wife and through his wife. She is to be accepted as the seeing eye in the marriage relationship and he needs to agree to voluntarily subjugate all of his resistances to her wisdom and inner perception in everything pertaining to their relationship. Swedenborg explains the mechanism whereby the Lord gives a special perception to each wife about her husband's affections and inclinations, knowledge which is not given to the husband so that he is only dimly aware of his own inner tendencies. The spiritual purpose for this difference in perceptual powers is to make the husband's regeneration dependent on his wife. This is called "cleaving to the wife" in the Old Testament, and is a Divine commandment enjoined on every husband. Without following this commandment the husband cannot be regenerated, hence cannot have an eternal marriage in heaven with this or any other wife.


People who are in a state of truly conjugial love look to eternity in their marriage because eternity is inherent in this love. Its eternity is owing to the fact that this love in the wife and wisdom in the husband grow to eternity, and as these grow or progress, the partners enter more and more deeply into the blessings of heaven -- blessings which their wisdom and love of wisdom at the same time carry concealed within them. If one were to snatch away an idea of eternity, therefore, or if by some chance it should slip from their minds, it would be as though they were cast down from heaven. (CL. 216)


In people who did not have conjugial love there is no spiritual or inner bond, but only a natural or outer one; and if an inner bond does not hold the outer one in its order and course, it does not last. (CL 320)


Conjugial union depends therefore on the willingness of the two partners to modify their inner character into a form that makes them fit together spiritually. Since husbands put up more resistance to this union than wives, it is necessary to give them spiritual tools that can overcome their own internal resistance.


2. Men’s Resistance To Conjugial Love


Wives are by birth forms of love, so that it is innate in them to wish to be one with their husbands, and by keeping this thought in their will they constantly nurture their love. So abandoning the effort to unite themselves with their husbands would be abandoning their own nature. But it is different with husbands; since they are not by birth forms of love, but designed to receive that love from their wives, the more readily they receive it, the more readily do their wives come in with their love. But if they fail to receive it, their wives equally stay outside with their love and wait. (CL 216)


Many husbands resist the process of conjugial unification with such intensity and ferocity that it appears they are hell-bent on destroying their union, their marriage, and their heavenly place with their wife. This is true whether or not the husband is a member of the New Church. Even husbands who love the Writings and consider it the Word of God along with the Old Testament and New Testament, experience resistance to conjugial union. They may not be aware of it and may deny it, yet the Writings show that this male recalcitrance is widespread. For wives this is a major problem since by denying their resistance, husbands neutralize the wife’s power to work towards conjugial unity. Removing her spiritual role makes the wife suffer and feel desperate. The Doctrine of the Wife will help husbands become aware of their coldness and lack of desire for a conjugial relationship. At first husbands may deny they are in such a state of conjugial cold, but later they can acknowledge, confess, repent, and change.


Concerning conjugial love, the Writings identify a natural opposition between men and women regarding their receptivity to it:


Wives love the bonds of marriage, provided that their husbands love them too. (CL 217)


It is different with husbands. Because they are not born forms of love, but are receivers of that love from their wives, therefore to the degree that they receive it, to that degree their wives enter into them with their love. But to the degree they do not receive it, their wives stand outside with their love and wait. (CL 216)


Avoiding the conjugial union is natural and inherited for men as well as being fully supported and reinforced by a masculinized society. New Church husbands have a distinct opportunity to liberate themselves from this inherited evil by using a systematic self-change method to achieve freedom. This method is the Doctrine of the Wife, namely, a set of commandments extracted from the Writings to help New Church husbands and wives work toward achieving conjugial union.


Passages in the Writings that discuss men's understanding and women's affections are sometimes interpreted by men to mean that Scripture gives them the role of ruling over women or "having predominance" in relation to understanding or intellectual things, since men are born a form of understanding. While women should rule or "have predominance" in relation to affect ional things relating to feelings and love. In order to see the error of this attitude, we need to draw a distinction between


(a) what the Writings say in the literal


(b) the conclusion we draw from the literal.


In this case the Writings say that men are a form of understanding and women a form of love. What conclusion are we to draw? Are we to conclude,


(c) that in matters of Church governance or some other forensic or intellectual issue, men should predominate; but in matters of domestic order and works of charity or community, women should predominate?


Is this a correct conclusion? Part (a) is far from part (c) which is a political application having to do with governance and community relations. Whatever social applications one makes from Doctrine or from the Word is not in itself the Word or Doctrine. The Doctrine of the Church in the Writings does not actually say that men should predominate in Church administration or that women should be excluded. It is not correct to say that the Writings or the Doctrine of the Church give men the Divine right to have predominance over women in any area of life, intellectual or otherwise.


The claim that men should predominate over women in decision-making in any given area of society appears to be a self-serving policy by a masculinized society. The persuasion guarantees that men will rule over women in everyday life--at home, Church, profession, in managing things, making the final decisions, prevailing in opinion, in short, recreating and maintaining a man's world. The Doctrine of the Wife interprets the passages in the Writings relating to men’s understanding and women’s affections as indicating that the husband's understanding should unite with the wife's will, instead of predominate. And since the will rules the understanding, it would make more sense to say that it is the wife who is to rule the husband's understanding. It is therefore the feminization of marriage that creates its sanctification and fulfillment.


Note carefully that this is totally different from the idea that women should rule over men. For we are talking about men’s voluntary choice of acting form themselves or from their wife. When a wife rules over her husband it is a disorderly state (CL 291). Instead, the husband chooses to act from his wife’s will instead of his own. This is a free choice and can end at any time he so wishes. The wife has no power to make him act from herself. This is something the husband must do and enforce on himself.


Whether you say "ruling over" or "having predominance over" is the same in terms of the actual consequence, which is that the will of one prevails over the other. But there is an essential difference between ruling over someone by domination and ruling over someone by voluntary submission or cooperation. For instance, the police force in a democracy rules over the population in daily activities in public places. This is not oppression or domination as long as the population willingly and rationally submits to the authority of the law and its legitimate agents. But in an autocratic society the law rules by dominion and is hostile to the population.


The Doctrine of the Wife deals with the husband's voluntary and rational submission of his will and judgment to that of his wife in all matters pertaining to their relationship and interaction. If he refuses, there is nothing she can do to compel him since he has the greater power. In other words, the husband must listen and choose to follow the wife's directives in all things of their decision-making. Obviously this must be a voluntary submission on the part of the husband and not a dominion over him by his wife. Dominion of one over the other is destructive of the conjugial union but voluntary submission for the sake of union promotes it and makes it spiritual.


The infernal marriage, with those who are in the love of ruling and are atheists. On the part of the man there is deadly hatred. But, still, he is manifestly the servant and slave of the wife, so that he dares not murmur against her will: but [this], when she, by various means, has obtained the ascendancy. The reason is, because the man's understanding is subjugated. These have no interior virtue and honor: consequently, [such a one] is not a man. (SE 6110)


Every man who is not spiritually rational and moral but only naturally so possesses a coldness towards his wife, such a coldness being inherent in him in his inmost elements. (...) It comes from a lack of rationality on their part in matters of the spirit. Every man who is irrational in matters of the spirit is inmostly cold to his wife and inmostly warm toward harlots." (CL 294).


New Church husbands who acknowledge the Writings as the Word may have the temptation of thinking that because they possess the Word of the Second Coming, they are automatically spiritual. However the Writings teach that it is not the Word that makes the Church but the understanding of the Word, and not even this, but the degree to which people live in accordance with their understanding of the Word (TCR 245). And so the study of and expertise in the Writings do not in themselves make us spiritual. Husbands who study the Writings and worship the Divine Human nevertheless remain natural, hate the conjugial, remain unregenerate, and love unchaste sex--until and to the extent that they live their daily life in accordance with their doctrine. The Doctrine of the Wife will help husbands live their life according to their understanding of Divine Truth. Every husband must create adequate and effective Doctrine for himself so that he may strive to live according to it. It is in this striving that the Lord can be present by influx. Without this striving the Lord cannot be present in actuality, as taught in the Writings (xx).


3. Conjugial Commandments In The Writings


The Word cannot be understood except by means of doctrine from the Word. The doctrine of the church must be from the Word … The Word without doctrine is not understood … They who are in enlightenment form for themselves doctrine from the Word … Doctrine formed by one enlightened may afterwards be confirmed by things rational and scientific; and that thus it is more fully understood, and is corroborated (WH 8)


In the Word of the Writings, the Lord has given a number of new commandments to husbands who aspire to become one angel with a conjugial wife. The Doctrine of the Wife is a collection of these commandments and its purpose is to assist regenerating husbands in their difficult task. I can hope that the Doctrine of the Wife will become an ever-expanding body of knowledge, as future generations of regenerating husbands contribute to it through the expansion and deepening of their conjugial relationship. Representing the ideas of the wife will be a primary concern in this knowledge base cumulated by New Church husbands for each other. Through it conjugial love can return to this earth and all nations can return to a state of civilized paradise.


This new state of culture and consciousness will be higher than all the preceding states of humanity on this earth. This is why the Writings call the New Church “the Crown” of all previous Churches in history (TCR 787). The “Church” refers not only to the external organization and its buildings and rituals but to the “church within” or the individual’s mind and its content relative to truth and good from the Writings and its Doctrine (NJHD 244). The church “within” is the truth within our faith or understanding and the good within our will or love.


The future of humanity depends on the success of husbands in learning to conjoin to their wife on the internal plane of the mind and not just on the external plane of the body and material possessions. This internal conjunction is called conjugial love and is the basis of all other loves in the universe. All other loves are derivative of this one great love. But the husband cannot from his own self conjoin to his wife in an internal way. He appears to be able to do this externally or socially, but he cannot be conjoined in the internal mind without becoming aware of the existence of the internal mind. This is normally closed to his conscious awareness while he is still in the early stages of regeneration. By acknowledging the Doctrine of the Wife, and then striving to follow it, the husband is spiritually empowered by the Lord to overcome himself through the act of enthroning the wife in his mind. By doing this, the husband’s internal mind is activated and made operative in his awareness or consciousness. The principles in the Doctrine of the Wife make explicit in the husband’s mind that there needs to be an internal relationship with the wife and how he can foster it.


To enthrone the wife means to conjoin his cognitions or reasoning quality with her affections or needs. This can be done only by loving her affections more than his own, which means following her will or judgment rather than his own whenever they are opposed. By suffering himself to be led by her affections, the husband receives new cognitions that are harmonious with the wife’s affections. These new cognitions are new spiritual truths from the Lord given the man through his acceptance of the wife’s affections as-if his own. In the Heavenly Doctrine (or Swedenborg’s Writings) the Lord gave husbands a long list of commandments to follow in order to allow them to achieve this internal union, each husband with his wife. The Doctrine of the Wife is not only a collection of these commandments but an exposition and explanation of them.


The following are some examples of conjugial commandments for husbands. Note how easy it would be to overlook these passages and not see them as commandments, but husbands who are zealous for conjugial love can perceive and acknowledge the commandments in these passages.


(1) All human development is in relation to marriage

(see CL 191).


Therefore unmarried men are to be considered "pre-husbands" in the sense we think of "preschool" as a state that prepares for the real thing. One implication of this commandment is that the curriculum in biology and psychology needs to introduce all concepts and goals in human behavior as arranged in a hierarchy with the top always being the conjugial union. The hierarchy of affections corresponds to the hierarchy of goals so that the top affection or love is also the primary goal that governs all other goals.


(2) Husbands are wiser and more spiritual than unmarried men

(see CL 199).


The Lord's commandment in the Old and New Testaments that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, means that the man should dethrone his own affections ("father and mother") and enthrone his wife's affections in his own mind, thus to "cleave" unto her (Conjugial Love No 194). The implication of this principle is that every boy’s education and socialization process ought to be oriented towards becoming a husband and letting his wife change his old character called “father and mother” into a new conjoint character called “one flesh.” In order for her to achieve this, he must give her all the help he can muster through daily interactions of a conjoint nature called “cleaving to his wife.” The Doctrine of the Wife is a collection of principles that foster the husband’s angelic development. A single man ought to think of himself as a pre-husband. A single man should look at every woman as someone’s wife. Feminity and feminization ought to be valued as the ideal state of society and the world. Becoming a husband ought to be seen as a biological necessity and an essential step for spiritual development towards becoming whole and complete. As the Writings put it “marriage is a person's fulfillment, since it makes a person fully a person” (CL 156).


(3) Women's intelligence is like the Lord's intelligence, but men's intelligence is not

(see CL 218).


And behold Isaac was laughing with Rebekah his woman. That this signifies that … Divine good was adjoined to Divine truth, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Divine good of the Lord's rational … and from the representation of Rebekah, as being the Divine truth of the Lord's rational (AC 3392)


The rational with the Lord … is represented by Sarah (AC 2189)


Here it is said that the Lord’s Divine Rational within which is the Divine Truth is represented by the wife. Women's intelligence, like the Lord's, is described in the Writings as "modest, gracious, peaceable, compliant, soft and gentle," while men's is described as "critical, rough, resistant, argumentative, and given to intemperance." The implication of this for husbands is to reinforce in their mind the Doctrine of the Wife as long as their highest objective in life is to form a conjoint union. Unless husbands elevate the conjugial goal to the highest position in their goal-hierarchy, their life is not in the Lord’s order of things.


The central feature of the conjoint couple is that the husband loves to be led by his wife’s affections more than by his own. In this way man can be redeemed from his nature as critical, rough, resistant, argumentative, and intemperate, traits, which gradually but inexorably take him to hell. His wife is a man’s ticket to heaven, her heaven, for all the societies of heaven exist in a feminized atmosphere, which is the Lord’s Proprium—modest, gracious, peaceable, compliant, soft, gentle.


(4) Conjugial love is the state of internal union between husband and wife and it is achieved when they will that their two lives shall become one life

(see CL 215).


The “two lives” in the Writings refer to the will and the understanding, or, the affections in the will and the cognitions in the understanding. To will that the two lives become one life means therefore that the will of the wife must be conjoined to the understanding of the husband. Conjugial love is a biological growth process of the mind or spirit that is achieved when the wife's affections (or will) are joined to the husband's cognitions (or understanding). In other words, the husband's thoughts and understanding are joined to the wife's will and affections. This is not an automatic growth process that comes with merely living together. Both partners must consciously will the conjunction. The husband must will to conjoin his own understanding or thinking to his wife's affections or will. This is not easy to achieve because of the inner resistance he experiences and requires persistent effort into which the Lord's power can inflow and achieve the union.


Before being regenerated, men have an inborn tendency to discount the opinion or judgment of women in comparison to their own. Husbands experience a sense of revolt at the notion that they give up their own independent ideas and desires in favor of their wife’s judgment with regard to all things involving their joint life. This is why husbands must appeal to the Lord for strength and resolve to overcome their inner resistance to the process of conjugial union.


The husband can overcome his resistance entirely if he is willing to follow this one rule on a daily and regular basis: When his wife expresses her affections in the form of a direct request or an implied one, the husband must give and follow these minimally appropriate replies:




That's right.

I will.


And never anything else, for it is always offensive and disagreeable to the wife's affections. (Of course variations, extensions and equivalents of these are also acceptable.) This principle may strike some as excessive or perhaps emasculating and denigrating to men. But this is not the case. On the contrary, it is angelic. The Writings reveal that the lower angels, called spiritual, reason about truths before confirming them in their understanding and thereby accepting them as genuine. But the higher angels, called celestial, do not reason about truths so as to confirm them because they are given by the Lord to perceive truths instantly, that they are genuine. They do not need to reason about them. All they have to say to anything by way of confirmation is Yea or Nay. It is not denigrating but elevating for a husband to keep himself from disagreeing with his wife’s affectional requests. If she makes a request of him, his only rational and loving answer is to confirm and go along. This relationship mode builds and fosters their conjoint union.


4. Commitment To Conjugial Unity


Women are born willingnesses and never cease their striving to conjoin internally to their husbands. Since wives are conjugial willingnesses by spiritual necessity, they are zealously involved in leading their husband out of their inborn hell of unwillingness or independence. This is why husbands must bend over backwards to accommodate and adjust to their wife’s affections all the time and without exception of situation, topic, or area of contention. It doesn’t matter that the wife may appear wrong in some situation and it doesn’t matter if she makes mistakes, or if she fails in something due to her own temptations and regeneration needs. Despite her failings, the husband should honor her at all times. After all, the husband makes plenty of mistakes yet expects her to honor his unilateral decisions. The rationale for his compelling himself to abide by her affections is not that she is more right or smarter than he. It is his acknowledgment of the Doctrine of the Wife that provides the rationale, and this must be constant and continuous to eternity.


The most important part is that the husband remains unfailingly committed to internal union—this must never fail if we are to achieve success. This unfailing commitment becomes real and actual when the husband does the following:

(a) He acknowledges that he is out of line as soon as his wife tells him this.


(b) He promises her in the name of the Lord that he is determined to change his behavior.


(c) He asks the Lord to give him the power to accomplish this.


(d) He makes reparations by fixing the problem and adding a treat as a sign of friendship.


(e) He honestly strives to be true to his word by being watchful, even keeping a diary if it’s helpful.


And when he fails again, he repeats these steps—which for most husbands may be necessary to do several times every day, year after year for decades.



5. The Four-Step Conjoining Process


Conjugial love grows spiritually when the couple repeatedly goes through the following four steps on a daily and hourly basis (based on CL 293-294):


Step 1: The wife acts. She reveals her affections to her husband in the form of a direct request or an implied request, either in word, gesture, facial expression, or mere expectation.


Step 2: The husband receives. He wills himself to love her affection—which is within the request, and by this, he receives it, that is, conjoins his cognitions to it. Her affection now is as-if his own. He chooses to act from his wife’s will.


Step 3: The husband acts out. He says one or more of these four things: Yes. O.K. That's right. I will, (and equivalents).


Step 4: The wife reacts. She feels his reaction of conjunction as her bosom delight.


These are the four steps of conjunction. The husband must constantly strive to build up the network that conjoins his cognitions or thoughts to his wife's affections, which are expressed as her moment-to-moment needs and requests. The conjunction steps must be performed. Unition of mind or spirit cannot develop from mere declarations and promises, or even occasional and intermittent good behavior. The conjunction steps have to be performed continuously. Think about muscle building exercises, how we repeat the same movement in series or in sets during one workout session. Muscle tissue is built up, fiber-by-fiber, cell-by-cell, with each repetition of a movement. In a similar manner the husband builds up the spiritual fibers of conjunction with his wife when he repeats these four steps on a daily and hourly basis. The Writings make it clear that the mind is a spiritual organ made of functioning parts and fibers just as the organs and muscles of the physical body. Repeating these four steps of conjunction gradually but cumulatively builds up the united mind of the conjugial couple. This united mind is a new spiritual organ called the angelic mind. Couples in heaven have such a mind and those who have not developed such a mind while on earth are unable to be immersed in the atmosphere of heaven and live there to eternity.


To show how the four-step conjunction process works in practice, consider this example on the next page, to which most couples can relate:



The usual way

(does not build conjoining fibers)

The conjugial way

(builds conjoining fibers)

Step 1:

The wife acts

Wife says: “Honey, we need to talk about this now” (=her affectional request).



Step 2:

The husband receives (or rejects)

The husband internally disagrees (=hates conjugial unity and feels it’s a loss of individuality). He wants to tell her several reasons why it’s a bad idea to talk about it now (=discounts her intelligence). He thinks about those reasons and loves them (=clinging to father and mother).


He is conscious of an inner feeling of anger and his mind begins to rehearse reasons why they should not talk about it now. But he just laughs at himself doing that. He turns away from himself and turns to his wife and to her affection and intention. He embraces her affection and immerses himself in it (=cleaves to his wife)

Step 3:

The husband reacts

He says: “You don't understand.” And keeps talking for several more sentences (=striving to coerce her behavior and deny her freedom).


He says: “O.K. Sure.”

Step 4:

The wife reacts to the husband

The wife senses her husband's conjugial cold and experiences the pain and loneliness of internal separation. In her chest she senses his rejection or refusal to conjoin his thoughts to her affection.

The wife senses conjugial delight in her chest and experiences her husband's act of conjoining with her (=one flesh). One more pair of her affections and his thoughts are now united and function as one conjoint individual (=angel).



6. Leon’s Story


Many times my poor wife tried to tell me that I talk to her defensively, which she experiences as offensive and upsetting from within. A family trait, she added, to spurn me on to insight. For decades, my response was to deny that I was defensive. Each time we went through this routine, the conjugial separation she felt was made more painful and desperate. What could she do to penetrate this wall of blindness and denial? She got no relief, year after year. At last the Doctrine of the Wife was born in my understanding (in 1985) as I diligently studied the Writings daily. The Lord showed me in illustration while reading the Writings that the expression in Genesis “Hearken unto Sarah” (see discussion below) was a commandment, and therefore applied to me. My defensiveness was obviously a denial of that commandment. I was not hearkening unto my Sarah when I disagreed with her or made her cry—which happened frequently! I attributed her unhappiness to her lack of capacity to adjust to reality. I did not attribute it to me. This is another form of conjugial cold and lack of inner friendship.


Later I was able to see the psychobiological perspective on the Doctrine of the Wife. That's when my regeneration really started showing results. For a long time I was merely able to compel my external behavior, putting on a pleasant expression on my face and compel my mouth to express the opposite of the defensive and offensive things I thought and felt whenever she was “in my face,” while not budging an inch in my mind. She would never compromise, thank God. She remained steadfast and brave in opposing my resistance to single-mindedness and independence. This power she had from the Lord, she often said. I falsely thought she was being rigid and uncompromising, unreasonable, not coping with life’s demands. Such was my conjugial cold and blindness.


She suffered much because of my stiff-necked and self-centered gender bias. I used to freely declare that women were great, etc.; because this is the reputation I wanted for myself as a politically correct and just person. But in actuality I acted like I considered the views and opinions of women to be inferior to men’s. My wife’s opinion and judgment didn’t count with me as much as my own. This was my inherited culture bias and I lived it, enjoyed it, and held on to it. I came to realize that this unreality would inexorably take me to hell, like an unseen current that pulls a ship towards the reef and disaster. My wife was my only chance to make it to reality, and to heaven.


Since the beginning of our relationship, my wife loved my cognitions and instantly and constantly conjoined herself with them, making them as-if her own. She saw and understood what I saw and understood about anything and everything I had an interest in. She was my cognitive clone. In the Writings it is stated that a wife is the love of her husband’s wisdom. But she was more than this for she had her own mind and she deftly applied my knowledge and reasoning to all situations, surpassing me in many things. I admired her. I was not envious of her. I felt both superior and inferior to her. But she did not unconditionally love my evil affections. She did not go along with the modern fallacy that love is unconditional and therefore a wife has to accept her husband’s evils and weaknesses. She drew a distinct line and never wavered.


Her intelligence was the deepening of my intelligence. I could not attain with my wisdom to the depths she could attain through my wisdom in her. Later I understood why when I read in the Writings that her wisdom is, by spiritual biology, inmost or celestial (third heaven), while a man’s wisdom is spiritual (second heaven), which is lower or more external. As she receives my wisdom she takes it into her inmost, which means that she elevates it within herself and from spiritual she makes it celestial. This power a wife receives directly from the Lord.


A wife attains, lives, and uses a deeper wisdom than her husband’s, even though she remains dependent on and united to her husband’s wisdom. It is rational therefore for the husband to conjoin his wisdom to the wife’s affections because her affections are conjoined in herself to a deeper wisdom than the husband’s wisdom is in himself. In this way he can also attain to a deeper wisdom. If he does not conjoin himself to her affections he cannot attain this deeper wisdom, intelligence and understanding. This principle applies to all rational ideas, including religious doctrine and domestic management. Husbands can gain a more interior understanding of the Writings if they conjoin themselves to their wife’s affections because they are then in a more interior state. To conjoin himself to his wife’s affections means to listen to her requests and not to disagree on something whenever he decides it as an exception. This is the orientation of the Doctrine of the Wife.


Here is another example (on the next page) of how the four-step conjunction process works in practice:



The usual way

(does not build conjoining fibers)


The conjugial way

(builds conjoining fibers)

Step 1: The wife acts

Wife continues to clean up and arrange things while husband watches TV. She is very much aware that she is doing this in front of him. Is he going to ignore her, she wonders? She is letting him see that she is determined to finish.



Step 2: The husband receives (or rejects)

The husband sees her but feels cold for her. He hates the fact she picks this time to buzz around the room, trying to make him feel guilty, no doubt, he tells himself (=ignores her requests). He thinks about many reasons why she is wrong while he is right, and he is in love with those reasons (=clinging to father and mother).

The husband sees her and is instantly aroused by the sight of her slaving away while he does what pleases him. How can he ignore her affection in completing this task? It doesn’t matter that he thinks this is the wrong time to do it. Here she is and he must respond. He sees her presence as his business and he compels himself to accept the affection that animates her task orientation (=cleaves to his wife).

Step 3: The husband reacts

He says in a tone of protestation: “Honey, do you have to do that now?” (=striving to coerce her behavior and deny her freedom).

He immediately presses the mute button, gets up, and begins to facilitate her movements. It's as if he said "O.K. I will" to her silent request for sympathy and recognition.


Step 4: The wife reacts to the husband

The wife senses her husband's conjugial cold and experiences the pain and loneliness of internal separation. In her chest she senses his rejection or refusal to conjoin his cognition to her affection.

The wife senses conjugial delight in her chest and experiences her husband's act of conjoining with her (=one flesh). One more pair of her affections and his cognitions are now united and function as one conjoint individual (=angel).



It is therefore provided by the Lord that conjugial pairs be born, and they are raised and continually prepared for their marriages, neither the boy nor the girl being aware of the fact. Then, after a period of time, the girl - now a marriageable young woman - and the boy - now a young man able to marry - meet somewhere, as though by fate, and notice each other. And they immediately recognize, as if by a kind of instinct, that they are a match, thinking to themselves from a kind of inner dictate, the young man, 'she is mine,' and the young woman, 'he is mine'" (CL 316).


Here is a third example (next page):



The usual way

(does not build conjoining fibers)

The conjugial way

(builds conjoining fibers)

Step 1:

The wife acts

They are in traffic. Husband is driving. Wife says: “Honey, it’s very stressful driving in the fast lane. Can you please stay in the right lane?” (=her affectional request).


Step 2:

The husband receives (or rejects)

The husband instantly feels rage (=hates conjugial unity and feels it’s a loss of individuality). “It’s actually safer in this lane. Just let me handle it.” (=discounts her intelligence). “I told you before. Leave the driving to the driver. That’s the way it should be.” (=clinging to father and mother).

He is conscious of an inner feeling of anger and annoyance at her interfering with what he wants to do. But he makes himself look at the situation from her perspective. He turns away from himself and turns to his wife and to her affection and intention. (=cleaves to his wife). He has compassion for her fears.

Step 3:

The husband reacts

He says: “Do some deep breathing and relax. You know I hate it when you tell me how to drive.” (=striving to coerce her behavior and deny her freedom).

He says: “O.K. I’ll switch lanes as soon as I can.”

Step 4:

The wife reacts to the husband

The wife senses her husband's conjugial cold and experiences the pain and loneliness of internal separation. In her chest she senses his rejection or refusal to conjoin his thoughts to her affection.

The wife senses conjugial delight in her chest and experiences her husband's act of conjoining with her (=one flesh). One more pair of her affections and his thoughts are now united and function as one conjoint individual (=angel).


More examples are given below in the Inventory of Confessions.



7. The Husband’s Spiritual Dependence On The Wife


Even though men are born understandings and receive wisdom from the Lord, they cannot hold on to this wisdom or make it their own, unless and until they love their wife's judgment above their own judgment. The husband's spiritual wisdom, when genuine, is to know this. The husband's conjugial love is to love this.


The reason for this co-dependence is that the wife's wisdom is inmost and celestial, from the Lord. The wife's conjugial love is to love the husband's wisdom to the extent it is genuine. Note this qualification—to the extent it is genuine, since the wife should not love her husband’s ideas and reasoning indiscriminately, just because they are his. Until the husband accepts the Doctrine of the Wife, he is in the delusion that he has genuine understanding of his own, from the Lord, independently of the wife. This delusion comes from conjugial cold within the man. As long as the husband lives this delusion he will deny and oppose his spiritual dependence on his wife. This false sense of independence is also the reason that men discount the views of women in comparison to their own views. Even when they deny this and act as if they value the judgment of women, inwardly they despise women’s opinions, as revealed in the Writings.


Men can overtly declare that they support gender equality, but this is merely a political stance they put on in order to uphold their reputation as fair minded and favorable to women. In this state of mind they discriminate against women, discount their views, and abuse them, while at the same time denying this. Husbands refuse to recognize this year after year into the marriage. They seem to be trapped in this mode of resistance. It makes their wife feel desperate and confused and leaves them suffering and longing for intimacy and friendship.


Conjugial love is in the same measure a conjunction of minds, and the conjunction remains during the bodily life of the one after the passing of the other. This conjunction holds any inclination to remarry in balance as though in a scale, and tips the scale its way to the degree that true love has been embraced (CL 318).



Chapter 2, Section 3


3. The Unregenerate Husband



The husband in his internal mind sanctifies marriage when he acknowledges, confirms, and lives in accordance with the Doctrine of the Wife. This Doctrine is a Spiritual Doctrine because it is drawn from the Letter of the Writings, as explained throughout this Section. The Doctrine of the Wife is addressed to husbands and is phrased as follows:



The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.


There are no other rules except those that follow from this one rule. You can see that this is a Divine Rule when you reflect on the Adam and Eve story in the Word of the Old Testament, as it is explained scientifically in the Word of the Writings (xx). This rational explanation shows that the spiritual sense of Adam is the husband, and more specifically, the content of the husband’s will and understanding, whether from self and hell or from the Lord and heaven. The state of mind of Adam, prior to Eve’s apparition, was loving himself, loving his self-intelligence, loving his manly prerogatives that take precedence over women, loving to intimidate women and make them serve him, motivated to go after what he is interested at the neglect of what he is to take care of.


This is called the husband’s unregenerate state. Today in North America and Western Europe, just about every woman goes through a Christian wedding with an unregenerate man, and then in the ensuing years, has to cope with an unregenerate husband. An unregenerate husband is how we know ourselves prior to much progress in regeneration. The majority of husbands alive on this planet today would, I expect, reject Rule 1 as a Divine commandment from God, addressed to them, and by which they are to live, or else be unable to live in heaven, assuming they even believe in the afterlife.


This “or else” is not said as a threat, punishment, or warning. It is a scientific statement about the mind’s organic properties that we are to know about, just as we know about the physical body that vitamin C fortifies its capacity to resist an invading virus. If our immune system fails and we get the flu for which we were vaccinated, is it reasonable to say that we are being punished, or being unlucky? Scientifically we can see that the immune system is very complex, hardly known, and vaccination is only a partial assist to the immune system. Failure of our system is not attributed to our stupidity, since we went to get the vaccination, and we practiced medically recommended washings and inhibitions.


It is exactly parallel with the mind, as it is to the body, since everything in the body is a mere correspondence of that which is in the mind or spirit of every human being. Whether we say mind or spirit, it is the same, for what is the spirit except what the mind is, when we know that our affections are located and live in the organ of the will, and our thoughts are located and live in the organ of the understanding. These two organs make up the mind, and they make up the spirit, for there is nothing in the spirit except affections and thoughts (xx).


You can now see that if we are denied entry into heaven, it is not a punishment for misdeeds on earth. For example, if you are denied entry at a customs office or check point, it is not a punishment for your race or your legal status as a lawful citizen of a recognized nation. Instead, you don’t have your medical vaccination certificate with you, something that you know is required to be shown to gain legal entry. It is exactly parallel to your being denied entry into heaven. It’s not that your past misdeeds have been found out at the gate, and now a judgment has been rendered against you, and condemned to hell—for there is no other place available when we are denied entry to heaven!


If it’s not because of our past misdeeds, why are we not admitted to heaven?

The answer is that we are admitted, but before we can our second step at the entrance gate, we are seized by mental pangs and inner torture of the most intense and unpleasant kind. We are desperate to stop it, and it stops the moment we cast ourselves down to the lower regions of our mind. This makes sense if you think of the mind and the spiritual world as exactly alike. Heaven is the uppermost region in the spiritual world, and hell is the lowest region there. Similarly, with the human mind: the highest region of the human mind is a heavenly state of life, bliss, love, consciousness, and understanding of truths and reality. This is why the Lord said that the heaven is within us (xx). So it is the same thing whether we say “entering heaven” or “entering our heavenly or celestial state of humanity.”


In the same way, hell is within us, at the lowest region of the human mind. Entering hell therefore means sinking into the lowest form of the human mind—corporeal spirituality in which there are no rational truths whatsoever. The outward life of this hellish mentality shows as hatred, cruelty, selfishness, foolishness and stupidity, insanity, grossness, vulgarity, immorality, and devoid of any artistry or aesthetics. Denied entry into heaven and casting oneself out upon arrival, is just a correspondence idea for the actual reality, which is that we are then made of a mind or spirit whose will is filled with affections that are suffocated by any rational-spiritual idea or lifestyle.


If you were able to force your rebellious adolescent to believe and accept the Ten Commandments and the Numbers of the Writings that you quote to them, what would happen? The poor individual would be so tortured that it would be an inhuman way for you to treat anyone like that. Instead, you have to give up the idea of forcing the adolescent to accept the necessity of the Commandments and related lifestyle behaviors. The Lord does likewise, never forcing any person to accept and live by His Commandments. This guarantees that we always stay in a mental balance that allows us to freely choose our willing and thinking. This is the unregenerate Adam whose willing and thinking is biased in favor of his own proprium, his own ego, his own way of thinking, his own things that he likes to do, and that he doesn’t like to do and doesn’t want his wife to interfere. This is the unregenerate husband who loves himself above his wife.


The wife is in his eyes always less than himself, in all things.


Therefore she knows that she is nowhere his first. As a result, she knows, perceives, and senses that he is not hers. He is officially her husband, but not actually. A wife has enlightenment from the Lord in sensing these conjugial matters (xx). By this enlightenment, the wife can lead her unregenerate husband into undergoing reformation. He resists and opposes her directions. Thus she feels unhappy, lonely, and desperate. At last he is willing to apply his skills and intelligence as a man to his own marriage. He begins to listen to her at times. In those times, he feels happy. It’s a new feeling, a new state. Now he decides to undergo reformation. He studies the Writings, builds it up into a Doctrine in his mind, and starts dumping things that are contrary to the Letter of the Writings.


His mind rearranged and reordered by the Writings, he is a reformed man, a New Church mind-to-be. He now begins regeneration which will go until the end. But long before that, the husband will feel what is to be in an elevated state, in a conjugial state, and this will be all the sensuous proof he will ever need to the rational truths that are in his understanding and consciousness.


1. The Appearance Of Eve


The appearance of Eve as a correspondence to the New Church mind, marks the first time that the unregenerate husband is seized with the determination to undergo reformation and regeneration as a Divine Commandment of the Writings, hence the Lord. His wife seen through Rule 1 is the appearance of Eve. This is what it means for the husband to reform and regenerate. If he could do it by himself, would he not have done so already? How long can he believably claim that his wife is not unhappy, and that if she is, it is not his fault, thus not something that he could change, but refuses to do so because he is in love with himself. This self-love takes precedence over her, shuts her out, turns her from a wife into a whore to whom he is married. Therefore she feels used, disrespected, denigrated, injured, worthless, thrown away.


But then the husband is seized with remorse and pity for her. He gets a glimpse of his monstrous selfishness. He feels moved to repentance and change by his conscience and by higher and deeper feelings he didn’t even know he was able to have. He now turns to the Word and studies the Writings. He worships the Letter of it as Divine. He undergoes reformation and sees that his male prejudices, his male prerogatives and perks, his male belief systems—all of it, must be thrown away as dirty dish water or water that runs off an agricultural field that is poisoned with insecticides and deadly chemicals.


As he is reformed he begins to see the literal sentences of the Writings in a deeper way because he is honest enough to want to apply them to himself. At first this is only a very general sort of application and shows mostly in terms of his declarations of support for Rule 1 and its sub-rules or applications. His wife continues to suffer silently within herself, but she is encouraged by his new declarations that sound genuine. Especially is she comforted and reassured by the fact that he is now willing to accept Rule 1 as a Divine Commandment for himself. She feels inward reassurance because he now puts the Lord into the marriage, for the first time.


2. External Reformation Vs. Internal Regeneration


Studying the Writings gives us an understanding of what is a thing or object. Every created thing is created into a Divine order of discrete degrees (xx). Every object is distinct and has an outside and an inside. This is the definition of a thing or object. It must have two properties to be a created object. One is that must be distinct form any other created thing. The other is that it has an outside and an inside. Thus existential duality is built into the universe. For instance, a fruit has an outside peel and an inside flesh. A rock has an outside surface and an inside structure or matrix. The Word has an outside Letter and an inside meaning. A government has an outside cohort of elected and appointed officials, and an inside authority of making laws that apply to all citizens. A marriage has an outside legal and social reality in the community, and an inside mental or spiritual reality in the mind of the husband and wife.


The husband has a mind which has an outside portion and inward portion. The outward portion of his mind is called natural and the inward portion is called spiritual. The mind has two organs: the will and the understanding. Each of these organs must therefore have an outward portion and an inward portion, like the heart and the lungs whose outside walls are made of different types of muscle structures or membranes than the inside of their walls. At birth the outward portion of the mind, which is natural, grows into a deformed pattern as it matures. The inward portion, which is spiritual, remains undeveloped until reformation. At reformation we use the power in the Letter of the Writings to reorder or priorities, rearrange our goals, reconstruct our definitions, radically changing our justifications and orientation. Now Eve appears on the scene, and we acknowledge Rule 1 as a Divine Commandment to which we are committed out of fear of hell and love of heaven.


Reformation takes place in the outside portion of the mind. The order in this portion of the mind is a model of hell, from heredity and culture (xx). It is filled only with nondualities, as discussed in Volume 1. Without the Letter of the Writings, taken up into our natural-rational understanding as Doctrine with a Divine authority, we could not undergo reformation. Our acknowledgement that the Doctrine in our conscious understanding is Divine, becomes the condition which the Lord has specified, for being regenerated. That is, for removing the evil affections from hell, and planting new affections from heaven. The part of the husband who displays these new affections, is the man whom the wife recognizes as her conjugial husband. When this man is around her, she is in her joy of life.


But the bad guy husband always seems to return unexpectedly and suddenly, especially when she “crossed an invisible line” that he built in his mind and maintains for himself. Like a Jekyll and Hyde masquerade, the husband alternates between treating his wife with evil and treating her with good. He is still not reformed in many areas of his relationship. He is only reformed in some areas, those areas that he will allow. And so his wife languishes, begging the Lord to return the conjugial husband to her.


But while he is oscillating between these two states of order and disorder, the husband’s spiritual mind is being opened and implanted by the Lord. This is an unconscious process of the Lord and heaven in our mind. Simultaneously, the Lord creates an interior portion within the man’s natural-rational mind. This interior portion is called the interior-natural mind and it is capable of spiritual consciousness. This process has been described in detail in Volume 2.


Regeneration begins in the areas of the husband’s mind in which he was willing to undergo reformation. While he remains in an unregenerate state in some areas, he is making progress in regeneration in other areas. Now for the first time he begins to change in the inward portions of his mind. The outside portion of his mind consists of his corporeal, sensuous, and natural-rational portions. The inward portion consists of his interior-natural mind that the Lord build within his natural-rational mind. The husband himself is in full charge of his natural-rational mind, but only the Lord is in charge of the interior-natural mind. The husband therefore owns his external mind, but the Lord owns his interior mind. To regenerate means that the husband compels his external mind to align itself with the interior mind. In other words, he compels his conscious willing and thinking all day long to conform to the spiritual truths kept in his interior-natural mind by the Lord. In effect, this result is that the Lord now rules the man, to the extent that the man compels his willing and thinking to conform to the spiritual truths he can perceive. These perceptions of spiritual truths constitute his spiritual understanding of the spiritual topics he reads in the Letter of the Writings (as explained in Volume 2).


In this way portions of the husband are regenerated from the interior to the external, and these portions give the husband an ability for conjugial love. The wife is now completely reassured. She can now see that her husband knows and wants to unite with her from within, that is, with the external portion of his mind under obedience from the interior portion. She sees that her husband wants now to be ruled by the Lord. And this is the condition for conjugial love and internal unity.


You can see from this scientific and medical account of regeneration that Rule 1 is nothing but a behavioral method by which the husband can engineer his regeneration. His mind starts in a disorder, prior to the appearance of his wife as Eve, his help mate in regeneration. When he lives his life by Rule 1 the husband is actualizing his wife as his spiritual help mate. Rule 1 is his lifeline, his ticket to her heaven, which is his ritual inheritance form the Lord, his Land of Canaan in which he can be an angel of the Lord. Conjugial couples in heaven are called an Angel. But not an individual without his conjugial life. This is why angel husbands discussing with each other appear to be alone by external appearance, but in actuality they are each with their wife. Swedenborg has witnessed this phenomenon, as the wife appeared to be standing behind a transparent wall, when permitted to see it (xx).


Rule 1 guarantees that the regenerating husband will enter into the inner marriage, that is, the external marriage within which is the spiritual marriage. The external marriage is the social and legal form of it, hence also the body and the external behaviors and interactions visible to others if they are present. The internal marriage is the spiritual form of the marriage within the external form. A couple may appear compatible and friendly to one another, while inwardly there is disagreement and enmity. Rule 1 is a method for eliminating this inward disagreement and enmity the husband feels towards his wife. By following Rule 1 as a Divine Commandment, the husband gains the power to gain control over his willing and thinking, forcing these to conform and obey Rule 1.


In other words, whenever he disagrees with his wife’s explicit or implied requests, he compels his outward behavior and appearance to obey her request. This by itself would be mere hypocrisy, ultimately to fail, if he did not also agree with himself that he owes allegiance to Rule 1 from the Lord, not from himself. Therefore the husband cannot justify going against Rule 1 at any time he so wishes because some line he defined has been crossed by his wife’s request. This would make a shambles out of Rule 1 and the Doctrine he has from the Letter of the Writings. Therefore he has no other option but to continue to compel himself to obey Rule 1 as a Divine Commandment. IN this way the inward unity with his wife can go forward gradually and cumulatively over the years of his regeneration.


3. Leave Mother and Father And Cleave To The Wife


Marriage is the state of spiritual growth between a wife and a husband. There are two phases to this growth, external and internal, or, growth in the external mind and growth in the internal mind. In the external mind, marriage is masculinized and, in society, this is equivalent to the popular notion that it’s a man's world. But in the internal phase, which comes next, the husband through living the Doctrine of the Wife feminizes marriage. Thus from a man’s world society is transformed into a feminine world, more gentle, more interior in intelligence, and nearer to the Lord’s intelligence and character. In the Writings it is stated that the Divine Proprium, which refers the Lord’s Character, is the all in heaven and the angels are given to adopt or assume this Proprium as-if their own (AC 8409).


In their conversations with Swedenborg the inhabitants of the highest of the three heavenly Kingdoms said that they actually have a living perception of the Lord’s influx (HH 8). The Lord inflows into their internal mind with Divine Good and Truth, the good into their will and the truth into their understanding. They attribute all their intentions and ideas to this Divine influx. They also said that the instant they close themselves off to this influx in favor of their own intentions and ideas, they experience a sudden drop, whereupon heaven disappears for them and they are in a lower spiritual realm. But the instant they turn themselves again to the Lord and admit Him by influx, they experience an elevation of the mind and they find themselves again in their heaven. Paradoxically, the more they empty themselves and allow spiritual influx from the Lord, the more they feel free and powerful; but the more they turn to their own ideas and intentions and doing what they then feel like, the more they feel constrained and captive of their flight of ideas and emotions. While we are still in the physical body on earth we tend to feel the opposite of this heavenly model. In our external mind it appears that we feel most free when we do what we desire without any interference anywhere.


Most husbands experience a sense of constriction and loss of freedom when they acknowledge the commandment against adultery, even in the imagination. Most therapists in our generation tell their clients that it does no harm to the marriage when the husband fantasizes about sexual activities with other women so long as it remains fantasy. They even prescribe it as an activity that can re-invigorate the couple’s sexual relationship. Both self and society look with favor upon that which the Lord forbids, as people can read in the New Testament for the past two thousand years. While our moral or religious life is restricted to the external mind we feel a loss of freedom when we acknowledge God’s commandments. But when our internal mind is opened and made operational, we are turned to God and His commandments and feel freedom in obedience to His will. The internal mind of everyone is opened through the ongoing process of regeneration. This consists of a life in accordance with one’s doctrine based on God’s commandments.


The commandment for husbands to "leave mother and father" means to abandon loyalty and love for masculinized truth, and the commandment to "cleave unto the wife" means to conjoin himself in all things with the wife's affections. The essence of a woman’s life is her affections and when the husband conjoins himself to his wife’s affections he becomes a unity with her. The affections in her will and the cognitions in his understanding are organically conjoined like the heart and the lungs in the body that function together as one circulatory system. This is not just an analogy. It takes organic substances from the spiritual world to create the organs and fibers that make up the will and understanding in the mind. As the married partners are engaged in their daily interactions their new joint mind comes into being, built up fiber-by-fiber during their interactions.


In this way they gradually achieve the state of "one flesh" which means of one mind, i.e., the mind of an angel. This angelic mind is composed of the wife's affections in the will conjoined with the husband's cognitions in the understanding, thus making one angelic mind out of a man and a woman. This conjoined mind is the highest state provided by the Lord for humans and in this state we are truly human, immortal, in perfect health, ecstatically happy, fully rational, loving and compassionate, creative and skillful to the extreme in all things. This is the angelic state, and it is created when the husband loves his wife's affections more than his own and adjusts his own cognitions or ideas to harmonize with the wife's affections. In his striving to achieve unity the husband is feminizing the marriage. And the Lord rewards them by creating the perfect angelic mind out of the two imperfect individuals.


4. Becoming An Interior Man


From being an unregenerate outward man, the husband after reformation becomes an inward man. The outward man is represented by a mule of the desert (xx) and hunter of the field (xx)—thus rough, gross, and anti-feminine. But after reformation the husband becomes gentle, civilized, and wise. He is then called a man of the field (see the Introduction to Volume 1). The New Church mind must be formed as a husband who has made his internal man rule over his external. The internal man is the interior-natural infilled by the Lord with higher correspondences, giving us a new spiritual consciousness called enlightenment from the Lord (see Volume 2). The husband who is represented by a man for the field is becoming more and more a husband, and to the extent that he is becoming more and more of a husband, his wife is becoming more and more a wife:




That love truly conjugial conjoins two more and more into one man may be seen above (CL nos. 178, 179); and because the wife becomes a wife from conjunction with her husband and according to it, likewise the husband from conjunction with his wife; and because love truly conjugial endures to eternity, it follows that the wife becomes more and more a wife, and the husband more and more a husband.


The reason is, because in a marriage of love truly conjugial, each becomes an ever more interior man; for that love opens the interiors of their minds, and as these are opened man becomes more and more a man. To become more a man is, on the part of the wife, to become more a wife, and on the part of the husband, to become more a husband. I have heard from angels, that a wife becomes more and more a wife as her husband becomes more and more a husband, but not the reverse, for rarely if ever is it lacking that a chaste wife loves her husband. What is lacking is love in return on the part of the husband; and this is lacking on account of there being no elevation of wisdom, which alone receives a wife's love. Respecting this wisdom, see nos. 130, 163-65. This, however, is said of marriages on earth. (CL 200)


In this passage, and similar ones elsewhere, the Lord is revealing to the human race one of the most central and important scientific facts about human kind. Every man of the race is born a pre-husband or a husband-to-be. In other words, the individual male as a single man is not a true human being but only natural. True human beings are celestial, such as those who live in heaven. To become one of them we must prepare our mind by compelling the disorderly external mind to obey the order of the interior mind. This order in the interior-natural mind is a Divine order expressed in the higher spiritual correspondences active there and of which we are conscious when regenerating. This is called being enlightened by the Lord through the Letter of the Writings and its Heavenly Doctrines that we are taking up in our memory and understanding for the sake of regeneration.


To “become more and more a husband” is a correspondence for regeneration. A husband who is undergoing regeneration is the husband who is becoming more and more a husband. The expression “becoming a husband” signifies to form the New Church mind within ourself by means of the Writings exclusively. In other words, becoming a genuine human being, called the celestial mind, is only possible by becoming a conjugial husband. This husband is not an individual, but the male part of a functioning angel. This is proven by the fact that when the sphere of a wife is experimentally removed from an angel husband, he instantly loses his wisdom, his sexuality, and his happiness, and becomes foolish and morose. To which he greatly wonders. Then as the sphere of the wife is reconnected, he instantly regains his angelic bliss and wisdom. (xx)


It is now revealed that conjugial love “opens the interiors of their minds, and as these are opened man becomes more and more a man.” (CL 200).


The conjugial couple is the genuine unit of the human race.


Knowing this Divine truth gives the regenerating New Church mind a tremendous advantage for all pre-married men and subsequently as husbands. Swedenborg never married according to his biographers and yet he was the first New Church mind. He was thus a pre-married man, a pre-husband. He knew and loved the idea of conjugial love about which he wrote with such understanding. He writes that he had to be led by the Lord to visit the heavens many times so that he may learn by observation the character of conjugial love, the wisdom of husbands, the perceptions of wives, and the internal unity between them.


5. Proving The Doctrine of the Wife and Rule 1


In the celestial Church good resided with the husband and the truth of that good with the wife; but in the spiritual Church truth resided with the man and the good of that truth with the wife: Such is and was the actual relationship between the two, for in human beings interior things have undergone this reversal. "wife" in the representative sense signifies truth, and a "husband" good (AC 4823).


We can apply this passage to ourselves by looking at the main expressions as correspondences to activities in our willing and thinking. Doing this will allow us to see its more interior meaning, that is, what the Lord is saying to us about our willing and thinking, and especially, how they are to be regenerated. Note the contrast between the “celestial Church” and the “spiritual Church.” Taking it as a correspondence to our regeneration, the “spiritual Church” represents our willing and thinking during regeneration on earth, and the “celestial Church” represents our willing and thinking as conjugial couple in heaven. During regeneration “truth resides with the man and the good of that truth with the wife.” But in conjugial partners “good resides with the husband and the truth of that good with the wife.”


Human action is always by the understanding from the will, and never by the will through the understanding (xx). This amazing scientific revelation will surely revolutionize many social practices and beliefs, once it is generally understood. Applying this principle to the passage above (AC 4823), we can say that during regeneration the husband (“truth with the man”) acts from the wife (“the good of that truth with the wife”). This follows logically from the principle that it is the understanding that acts from the will, since truth is in the understanding while good is in the will. To say that it is the understanding that acts from the will, is the same as saying it is the husband who acts from the wife, since truth in the understanding of the husband acts from good in the will of the wife. Truth is in the understanding while good is in the will. Truth always acts from good (xx).


But during regeneration “good resides with the husband and the truth of that good with the wife.” In other words, the wife acts (“truth of that good with the wife”) from the husband (“good resides with the husband”). Again for the same reason as before, namely that it is truth in the understanding (conjugial wife) that acts from the good in the will (conjugial husband), and never the good in the will that acts through the understanding.


What is the significance of this? What does it mean that in the first state the husband acts from the wife, while in the second state the wife acts from the husband? The second state is always higher or more interior than the first, in the same degree that celestial is higher than spiritual. While the husband is regenerating on earth he is called a spiritual Church, but after, in heaven, he is called a celestial Church. Now you can see how Rule 1 is related to the spiritual sense of this passage (AC 4823). The spiritual sense discusses the contrast between the husband on his way to conjugial love vs. the husband in conjugial love. While the husband is on his way to conjugial love he acts from his wife. Once he is in conjugial love, his wife acts from him. When he acts from the wife he is regenerating. In other words, in order to regenerate the husband must act from the wife. Rule 1 says that the husband must learn to love to act from his wife more than from himself. You can see therefore that Rule 1 is a Divine Commandment by which we can approach conjugial love.


Continuing with the same Number:


In the celestial church the husband was in good, and the wife in the truth of this good; but in the spiritual church the man is in truth, and the wife in the good of this truth; such were they in fact then, and such are they now, for the interiors of man have undergone this change. Hence where celestial good and celestial truth from it are treated of in the Word, it is said "husband and wife;" but where spiritual good and spiritual truth from it are treated of, it is said "man and wife," or rather "man and woman." (AC 4823)


The expression “man and woman” signifies husband and wife in an external union, while “husband and wife” signifies husband and wife in an internal unity. Marriage in an internal unity is the true marriage, but marriage in an external union is only a representative of true marriage. On earth, the regeneration of the husband is the condition for an internal unity. This internal unity is exactly proportional to the husband’s progress in regeneration. When he falters, the internal unity dies. The husband is not much aware of the internal unity, seeing it from a distance like a four-legged animal approaching in a field with tall grasses. But to the wife the internal unity is up front, right in front of her face. It is the biggest thing in her life, all other things having a smaller importance. This is how she feels and is from creation.


Prior to regeneration, the husband acts from his own will. This unregenerate male mental state is as deadly as a poisonous snake and as slick as an eel. Deadly to himself and slick in his apparent inability to see his own spiritual insanity. Everyone prior to regeneration is spiritually insane (xx). Women marry the unregenerate man, who then becomes their unregenerate husband, rough and painful, self-involved, loving the masculine sphere above that of the feminine. The unregenerate husband is toxic to his wife, in whom conjugial love is present from nativity (xx). He hates conjugial love because the unregenerate mind hates what is heavenly, and hates conjugial love more than any other thing in the universe because it is the highest and most central of all heavenly loves and truths.


The Lord has therefore provided the New Church mind with an effective solution—Rule 1 of the Doctrine of the Wife. This Commandment, if followed, allows the husband to regenerate. If not followed, the husband cannot regenerate. It’s a clear and powerful choice—no alternatives.


To oppose Rule 1 is to keep the marriage in an external union, merely legal, social, and convenient for multiple reasons. To adopt Rule 1 as a regeneration discipline is to move the marriage into its interior unity.


How does Rule 1 work? why does it work? Consider this passage:


As speech is the form of sound, so man may be described as the form of the wife; they are one flesh; a man shall cleave to his wife; the wife is the man's soul, and life, or is the heart of the man; but neither knows anything else than that the other is his, or hers, and that each is the other's reciprocally and mutually. (SE 6110)


“Man” here signifies the husband who makes Rule 1 into a regeneration discipline. The husband who loves to act from his wife is the “man” here described. The husband is created to be the form of his wife. That he is “created” means that his regeneration creates a “man” out of him, that is, a conjugial husband. Man is created the form of his wife because man is born an understanding of truth while woman is born a will or affection of truth (xx). Every man attains the perfection of his creation when he allows himself to be regenerated by the Lord. To allow himself to be regenerated means that he compels himself to act form the wife, not from himself. He has to desist from acting from himself since this is evil, as all things of the unregenerate man are evil (xx). Hence Rule 1 is his very salvation, the bridge that leads him away from hell and to heaven.


Note this amazing scientific revelation: “a man shall cleave to his wife; the wife is the man's soul, and life, or is the heart of the man.” This refers to the regenerating husband who follows Rule 1 as a regeneration discipline. The expression “to cleave to his wife” signifies the application of Rule 1 in his everyday interactions with his wife, which means, always, since the external union of marriage makes one responsible to the other 24 hours a day. The expression “the wife is the man’s soul” signifies that when he loves to act from his wife, his will can be regenerated, so that form an infernal man he can become celestial. The expression “the man’s soul” refers to his will because a man is nothing but his affections, and his affections are in the will. Therefore in his will is not regenerated, he remains infernal, which is referred to as the soul dying or being destroyed.


The Doctrine of the Wife is called here “the man’s soul” because this Doctrine regenerates his will. And the regenerated will is his new “life.” This new celestial life is said to be “in the heart of the man” because heart represents the love of his will. When he loves to act from the wife (Rule 1) his wife is in his heart, and she is his soul, therefore, his life. To cleave to his wife is man’s life because he then acts from her, not from himself. To act from himself is death because he then cannot be regenerated.


The husband's life enters the wife, through the thighs, and by means of love. How truth then becomes good, or understanding, the will of the wife, and how, finally, the husband's understanding becomes the form of the wife's affection. (SE 6110)


Here it is specified what Rule 1 is, namely, it is “the husband's understanding [when it] becomes the form of the wife's affection.” The “wife’s affection” signifies to act from the wife since the understanding acts from the will and affection is in the will. When the husband’s acts from the wife’s will he is said to “enter her through the thighs, and by means of love.” This is the meaning of loving the wife: To cleave to her, to act from her will, and to love this. To love to act from her affections is the true love that unites.


To become “the form” of the wife’s affection, the husband has to appropriate to himself the wife’s affection.


The wife’s affection, now in the husband’s will, motivates and directs all his thinking. His willing is according to her affection, and therefore his thinking will also be, as a consequence of the first. This is what creates the internal unity of conjugial couples.


But once they are completed as a conjugial couple, it is said that the wife acts from the husband. This is a way of saying that the husband and the wife act from each other. Nothing else would be logical. The husband’s understanding has been formed by the wife’s affection during regeneration. Now, this understanding is therefore her understanding in her husband since it was formed by her affections. Therefore she acts from this understanding. She doesn’t act from her own understanding for this would not be unity.


Any widow. That this signifies those who are in good without truth, and yet long for truth, is evident from the signification of "a widow," as being good without truth, and yet longing for it. That "a widow" has this signification is because by "a man" is signified truth, and by his "woman" is signified good; and therefore when the woman of a man becomes a widow, she signifies good without truth.


But in a still more interior sense "a widow" signifies truth without good. The reason is that in this sense "a husband" signifies good, and his "wife" truth ... (AC 9198)


You can see here that “widow” or “woman without husband” represents the two states of marriage when they both fail. The failure of the external marriage is represented by “widow” in the spiritual sense, but the failure of the internal marriage is represented by “widow” in the celestial sense. “Widow” in the spiritual sense signifies “good without truth.” This is the failure of the external marriage. But “widow” in the celestial sense signifies “truth without good.” This is the failure of the internal marriage.


Good receives power through truth (AC 3563, 4592)


A man is constructed spiritually as the inverse of a woman since woman is interior truth covered over with external love while man is interior love covered over with external truth (CL 32). Therefore, the wife’s truth is more interior than the husband’s by spiritual make-up.


The Writings also teach that in all things whatever is interior is always more heavenly than that which is exterior (xx). Clearly then, a woman's intelligence is more celestial or higher than a man's intelligence because the quality of intelligence and wisdom is determined by the truth out of which they are made. The recognition by the husband that the wife’s intelligence is higher than his own sanctifies the marriage in his mind.


Regeneration in the case of husbands consists in giving up their own proprium and living as-if from the Lord's Proprium. This means abandoning the unregenerate masculine truth (=leaving father and mother) and entering existence into the interior feminine truth (=cleaving to his wife). The feminine truth is celestial while the masculine truth is spiritual. Feminine truths are called “truths about good” or “truths about love,” while masculine truths are called “truths about truth” or “truths about wisdom” (xx). In the Lord’s Proprium there are both types of truths since in Him infinite distinct things are a one (xx).


The Lord’s Proprium is the very atmosphere of life in heaven and only those couples can live in it that have abandoned the natural order of life in the external mind and live in the spiritual order of life in the internal mind. Husbands must choose to place their own masculine affections or intentions below the feminine affections of their wife because her intelligence is higher or more interior than his intelligence and this higher or more interior intelligence can conjoin only with feminine affections, and not with masculine. Higher truths are called here feminine because they are truths about love and good, and these are celestial things. Masculine truths are called lower because they are truths about truth and wisdom, and these are spiritual things. The celestial is higher than the spiritual. Celestial truths are called feminine truths because woman is born a form of love and good, while man is born a form of truth and wisdom (xx). Celestial truths are about love and good while spiritual truths are about truth and wisdom. Therefore feminine truths are to rule over masculine truths since the higher rules over the lower. (xx) Higher means more interior, as celestial is more interior than spiritual.


By accepting the wife’s affections as-if his own, the husband experiences an inner elevation of the mind because he can now be given higher truths in his understanding. These higher truths are feminine in constitution and he can now appropriate them to himself by conjoining them to the wife’s affections in him, which he upholds as-if his own. It is this spiritual biology that necessitates the process whereby feminine affections are conjoined with masculine cognitions in the mind of the husband. The Writings call this union “the marriage of good and truth.” All good belongs to affections in the will and all truth belongs to cognitions in the understanding.


We know from the Writings that the Lord's purpose in creating and maintaining the universe is to populate the heavens with individuals born on earths. The greater the number of people in heaven, the more perfect it grows (xx). In other words, people in heaven continue to experience greater and greater perfection every day to eternity. The unit of life in heaven is the couple, not the individual, and all heaven is made of married couples. The angelic or conjugial couple is in actuality a single complete angel. Swedenborg witnessed a representation of this when he saw an angel approaching him from a distance, and when the angel was nearer he saw that it was a husband and a wife. This visual representation confirms the idea of the actual internal unity of the married couple.


6. External And Internal Marriage


Changes of state are of one kind with men and of another with women, because, by creation, men are forms of science, intelligence, and wisdom, and women, forms of the love of these with men (CL 187).


Passages such as the above are seized upon by a man’s external masculinized mind, which wants to hold on to the idea that intelligence and intellectual pursuits is the arena of men while feelings and affections are the arena of women. By this affirmation men put themselves ahead of women in intelligence and wisdom while they concede that women are ahead of men in love and affection. This false and self-serving view turns their marriage into an inauthentic union made by man, not by the Lord. The union men want to make is the adjunction together of man's intelligence or wisdom with woman's “affectional predisposition,” as it has been called in New Church discussions. But this is not a true marriage because adjunction does not constitute conjunction. Before a husband is regenerated the wisdom he possesses is external, natural, and not spiritual. The passage above, and all others like it, refers to external states of marriage, which is the first phase while regeneration has not yet progressed to a significant degree. But afterwards in the second phase, internal states are described as exactly the reverse, as in this passage:


(a) The difference essentially consists in this, that the inmost quality in masculinity is love, and its veil wisdom, or in other words, it is love veiled over with wisdom, while the inmost quality in femininity is that same wisdom, the wisdom of masculinity, and its veil the love resulting from it.


(b) This second love, however, is a feminine love, and the Lord gives it to a wife through the wisdom of her husband, whereas that first love is a masculine love, which is a love of becoming wise, and the Lord gives it to a husband according to his reception of wisdom.


(c) Consequently, the male is a form of the wisdom of love, and the female is a form of the love of that wisdom.


(d) Therefore from creation there was implanted in both male and female a love of uniting into one (CL 32).


This passage has four sentences, which we marked from (a) to (d) in order to consider each in turn. Sentence (a) specifies the "essential" or inmost spiritual difference between man and woman. This spiritual organic difference is such as to allow the formation of an internal unity between a husband and a wife. No unity is possible between alike and alike for that yields only an external adjunction or co-location. Note that in order to create a structural unity there must be a particular kind of difference or relation between the two parts, so that they may function in unison like the heart and the lungs in the body act together in unison, each having its own distinct form, yet the two fitting together for joint operation as one. Sentence (a) specifies the organic structural relation in marriage by indicating that feminizing it consists in elevating masculine wisdom from external truth and reasoning, to internal, or which is the same, from the external mind to the internal mind.


A wife imbibes and appropriates her husband's intelligence and wisdom and then elevates it within herself, that is, makes it more interior, and then covers it over with feminine love. This is stated in sentence (b). Note this very important observation: In sentence (b) it is said that the Lord gives the wife conjugial love "through the wisdom of her husband." There are two ways of interpreting the meaning. One is that the wisdom mentioned here is the wisdom of the husband such as it is in the husband. But this is not in accord with the Doctrine of the Wife and its rationale. The other possible meaning is that the wisdom of the husband mentioned here refers to the wisdom of the husband that is now in the wife, and this wisdom is higher than the husband’s even though it originated from the husband. This means that the wife has conjugial love from the Lord when she unites the current wisdom in her (originally from the husband) with harmonious affections also in her, within which is the love from the Lord.


In this second interpretation it is clear that the wife's intelligence and wisdom is more interior than his, even though her wisdom originates with him. But it is given to the wife to take that wisdom of the husband within her and to elevate it by implanting it in her inner rational mind where it now functions at a more interior level than that of the husband from which it originated. The Writings say that this interior truth is represented in the Old Testament by Sarah, Abraham's wife, and by Rebecca, Isaac’s wife. It is celestial truth and is such as the highest angels have. Angelic unity of the married couple depends on the husband imbibing the wife's affections and the wife imbibing the husband's cognitions. This reciprocal and organic process gradually changes and perfects the cognitions and affections of both husband and wife in an endless process of deeper and richer union. This is not a static or one time process. When the husband imbibes the wife's affections, his cognitions must change accordingly in order to maintain the equilibrium of unity. He gains a deeper wisdom than before. When a wife imbibes her husband's cognitions, her new affections are more sublime than before. Swedenborg was very affected by this interiorized beauty whenever he was in the presence of angelic wives who were advanced in wisdom. The more husbands and wives love each other's reciprocity, the more they are conjoined in deeper unity. And this to eternity. What an amazing and wonderful reality! This is indicated in sentence (d).


Sentence (b) also states that the Lord gives the husband wisdom according to his "reception" of wisdom. What is the measure of his reception? Not his knowledge and intelligence, but the life he conducts according to these. This means the kind of affections he favors because people are led by their affections. The Lord is instructing husbands that if they favor the affections of the wife, then they are receptive of His Wisdom. Then He can give them that Wisdom to be as-if their own, and more of it to eternity. A husband can become wise only to the extent he is living what we knows to be true from his religion, and in the case of the Writings, this means loving the affections of his wife above his own. These are the affections wives have from the Lord and by elevating them above their own affections, husbands are living the doctrine they know and understand from the Writings. They are then receptive to the Lord's Wisdom.


As they receive deeper wisdom from the Lord, their wife imbibes it, elevates it in her interior mind, and receives new, deeper and more genuine conjugial love from the Lord. The husband now can imbibe her new affections--and the cycle of unity continues to grow and perfect itself forever. To imbibe the wife's affections and to favor them means that the husband must never disagree and always agree with his wife's affectional requests in all things.


7. Heresies Regarding The Husband's Wisdom


The Writings of Swedenborg contain the greatest scientific revelations ever made to humankind. The center of these revelations is that human emotions and feelings are arranged in a hierarchy from strongest to weakest, and the strongest at the very top is the intense desire to unite in marriage. This state of inner unition between a husband and a wife is the complete and pure human state of life. It is the angelic life of couplehood. This is the life Swedenborg witnessed with numerous couples with whom he interacted in the spiritual world and the heavens. The married couple is organically united in spirit or mind in a fashion similar to newly born Siamese twins who are physically joined in the body. Without knowing this internal spiritual reality, an inner union between husband and wife cannot be achieved. In fact, due to inherited evils, there is strong opposition to the conjugial union, especially by men.


In Conjugial Love Number 168-177 it is shown that a conjugial union is necessary for an individual to become whole and complete as a human being. A man and a woman are singly incomplete, the man lacking the love or affections his understanding needs to be whole, and the wife lacking the understanding or intelligence her love and affections need to be complete. It is stated that men are born to be “intellectual” while women are born to be “affectional.” The Writings also state that men are called wisdoms while wives are called affections. A woman is said to be the love of her husband’s wisdom. A man’s mind is born a form of understanding while a woman’s mind is born a form of love.


There is a temptation for men when they come across statements such as these in the Writings. From a natural perspective men prefer to think that they are superior to women in understanding the dynamics of life and the world, and therefore they feel that they should have the ultimate power to decide things relating to Church, government, business, and domestic affairs. In other words, it’s a man’s world and women have their appropriate place in it. The letter of Sacred Scripture in the major religions is written according to natural and cultural appearances so that men of every religion have found Divine justification for putting men ahead of women in many walks of life, if not all. This masculinized notion is a doctrinal fallacy. Husbands must let go of this persuasion or fail in their attempt to regenerate and become an angel with a wife in heaven.


In order to free oneself from this masculinized persuasion it is necessary to balance statements of Scripture with passages that say just the opposite. For example, in the symbology of the Writings, Abraham represents Divine Love while his wife Sarah represents Divine Truth. This correspondence is repeated in other Biblical couples such as Rebecca and Isaac. In the story of Hagar and Ishmael in the Old Testament we are told that Sarah asked Abraham to banish Hagar and her child Ishmael from the household, an idea to which Abraham balked. So God appeared to him and commanded, “all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice” (Genesis 21:12).


"Husband," when mentioned in the Word, signifies good, and "wife" then signifies truth. It is otherwise when the husband is called the "man;" for then "man" signifies truth, and "wife" good  (AC 2517)


In the spiritual church the wife represents good and the man represents truth, but in the celestial church the husband represents good and the wife truth; and-what is a mystery-they not only represent, but also in all their activities correspond to them. (AC 4434)


This is another example showing that the intelligence of a wife is higher or more discerning than her husband’s, and that a husband should be obedient to his wife for the sake of conjugial love. Abraham’s idea in his own external mind is to think that Ishmael is his son, and so he is disinclined to listen to his wife when she tells him to get rid of him. Sarah’s more interior perception can see that Ishmael is not the one, that Isaac will be the inheritor, and that leaving Ishmael to hang around will threaten Isaac’s God given mission. If Abraham is going to advance to his inner rational state he must disregard his own inclination and external reasoning, and submit to his wife’s more interior perception and spiritual understanding which she has from the Lord. This exchange in the Old Testament represents the Doctrine of the Wife, which is summarized by the Divine commandment to husbands: “Hearken unto her voice.”


And behold Isaac was laughing with Rebekah his woman. That this signifies that Divine good was present in Divine truth, or that Divine good was adjoined to Divine truth, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Divine good of the Lord's rational (n. 3012, 3194, 3210); from the signification of "laughing," as being the love or affection of truth (n. 2072, 2216); and from the representation of Rebekah, as being the Divine truth of the Lord's rational (n. 3012, 3013, 3077). Hence it is evident that "Isaac laughing with Rebekah his woman" signifies that Divine good was present with Divine truth. (AC 3392) (italics added for emphasis)


The reason for the apparent contradictions as to the intelligence and wisdom of men and women has to do with the fact that the internal and external mind is in an inverse relationship. Intelligence of the external kind is a lower form of intelligence, less spiritual and celestial, in comparison to the intelligence of the interior mind. Conjugial union is the joining of the internal mind in which the intelligence of women is more internal than the intelligence of men. This allows men to escape their inherited lower state of masculine independence and evolve into a new higher state of conjoint dependence. This is the angelic state of life.


A sermon by Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard titled "The Transformation of a Man into a Husband and a Woman into a Wife through Marriage" appeared in New Church Life, June 2001 issue, pages 243-248. We will use this article to illustrate some doctrinal issues in relation to the Doctrine of the Wife. The literal of the Writings can lead to misconceptions unless contextualized in relation to the Doctrine of the Wife or other passages in the Writings. In other words, articulating the Doctrine of the Wife and applying it to interpret the literal of the Writings avoids the heresy of believing that men’s intelligence in forensics and in spiritual instruction is superior to women due to men's wisdom, which women cannot attain. It is difficult to avoid this heresy without the Doctrine of the Wife.


It is customary to make a statement of denial in relation to the heresy of the superiority of men over women. Rev. Howard states it this way:


It is important to take teachings such as these in their proper context. Some have read into such teachings in Conjugial Love the erroneous notion that masculine virtues are extolled over those of the feminine. Nothing could be further from the truth

(NCL, June 2001, p.244).


Every New Church person needs to struggle with an apparent paradox in the Writings. Certain passages appear to suggest that men are superior to women with respect to wisdom. Rev. Howard refers to one of these from Conjugial Love:


“We say that masculinity cannot be converted into femininity, nor femininity into masculinity, and that after death a male is consequently still a male, and a female still a female. (…) The difference essentially consists in this, that the inmost quality in masculinity is love, and its veil wisdom, or in other words, it is love veiled over with wisdom, while the inmost quality in femininity is that same wisdom, the wisdom of masculinity, and its veil the love resulting from it. This second love, however, is a feminine love, and it is given by the Lord to a wife through the wisdom of her husband, whereas that first love is a masculine love, which is a love of becoming wise, and it is given by the Lord to a husband according to his reception of wisdom.” (CL 32)


Rev. Howard concludes:


From this we can see that the reception of masculine wisdom depends upon a man's willingness to look to the Lord and shun as sins against the Lord the evils that may tempt him. Thus we can see that a man does not automatically receive wisdom because he is a male. He receives it only by honoring the Lord through living according to His commandments.


Following The Lord's Commandments Through One’s Wife


How does a man live according to the Lord's commandments? One might think at first that the husband has that power from the Lord independently of his wife. Can a husband live according to the Lord's commandments from his efforts apart from the wife or can he do this only through his wife? Could it be that the husband cannot follow the Lord's commandments unless he does so through his wife? How else can the mind of each grow into reciprocal form that can fit into a unity of mind or spirit? This conjoint growth process was described above as a four-step interaction repeatedly made with each other on a daily living basis. What would happen if the heart said to the lungs, “I’m superior,” while the lungs, speaking in unison, retort, “We are superior.” One angel in heaven is made of a husband and wife interacting continuously as a conjoint unity. Swedenborg was witnessed this phenomenon while speaking to an angel husband in heaven who had invited him in to discuss the subject of wisdom:


I saw inside that the building was divided into two sections, and yet the two were still one.  It was divided into two sections by a transparent partition, but it looked like one room because of the partition's transparency, which was like the transparency of the purest crystal. I asked why it was arranged like that.


The receptionist said, "I am not alone. My wife is with me, and though we are two, yet we are not two but one flesh."


To which I replied, "I know you are wise, but what does a wise man or wisdom have to do with a woman?"


At this, with some feeling of annoyance, the receptionist's expression changed, and he stretched out his hand, and suddenly, then, other wise men were present from the neighboring buildings. To them he said with amusement, "Our visitor here says he wants to know what a wise man or wisdom has to do with a woman!"


They all laughed at this and said, "What is a wise man or wisdom apart from a woman or apart from love? A wife is the love of a wise man's wisdom." (CL 56)


Rev. Howard recognizes that women’s wisdom is more interior, therefore, higher, than a man’s:


Feminine wisdom, or perception, does not easily lend itself to description because it is of a more interior nature than is the wisdom given to a man (...) They are entirely different in quality and nature, yet complementary to each other.

(NCL, June 2001, p.245)


From the perspective of the Doctrine of the Wife it is not enough to say


(a) that masculine and feminine wisdom are different; and

(b) that they are complementary.

A conclusion must follow:

(c) Therefore the husband should elevate the wife's judgment above his own.

Another way of saying this is Rule 1 for conjugial husbands, as discussed frequently throughout this volume:



The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.


(See Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1)


Without this conclusion, the literal of the Writings may be misinterpreted. The husband's wisdom may indeed be elevated even to the highest heaven, but he cannot appropriate it to himself. His wisdom falls back quickly to the level of his love or affections, which are in hell for all who are unregenerate. The Writings make this comparison referring to the natural man before he is regenerated:


He is also like an adulterer who hides a harlot in a room below, and in turn ascends to the highest story of his house, and there in the presence of his wife talks wisely with visitors about chastity, and again steals away from the company and satiates his lust with the harlot below (TCR 590).


This comparison is said about every husband whose internal spiritual mind has not yet been opened through regeneration. Husbands can elevate their intellect into doctrinal things of the Writings while they are studying and applying themselves piously. Then they descend from the lofty heights of studies and interact with their wife, abusing them mentally, discounting their intellect, holding the wife's judgment as nothing in comparison to their own, and other such indignities, which they think nothing of. And this is done repeatedly, daily. There is no regeneration possible for them so long as this pattern in their life continues to rule their interactions with the wife.


Rev. Howard cautions that the wife’s love of her husband’s wisdom does not mean that she also loves his evils:


No wife can love a proud or conceited husband. (...) The attraction he feels [as he is drawn to her by love] has the effect of subduing his proprial pride. (...) Through the influence of her love his mind becomes elevated and aspires to a new idealism that no longer looks inward. He feels an incentive to live in a manner worthy of her love and respect. Through her influence he is withdrawn from his fallen proprium. By living a principled life of service to his wife, family and others, he begins to receive a degree of wisdom which will draw the affections of his wife

(NCL, June 2001, p.247).


The husband must make progress in his regeneration or character reformation, for without this there is no wisdom in him that the wife can love. According to the Doctrine of the Wife the only way a husband can improve his wisdom is by elevating his wife's judgment above his own. This is “living a principled life of service to his wife.” Unless this is the case the husband is drawn away by his proprium or inborn egotism and cleaves to his idols rather than his wife. It’s not enough to respect the wife and consult her in matters of importance, though these external rituals are required. If there is no commitment to the Doctrine of the Wife the husband can be drawn away by his masculine proprium and decide to exercise a veto power over the “joint” decision making process.


Consulting the wife in matters of importance still allows the husband to override her point of view or desire in the matter. And he will exercise this power when he is tempted, which means he cannot loose himself, cannot change his character, cannot regenerate, cannot form a union with the wife, cannot become an angel.


But if he commits to the Doctrine of the Wife he cannot permit himself to exercise veto power or override his wife’s affections in any matter whenever he is inclined to do so for whatever reason or rationale. He can only compel himself to be obedient to the Heavenly Doctrine for this is the Lord’s Two Great Commandments rolled into one. By loving the wife above himself, the husband loves his closest neighbor, and he thereby simultaneously loves the Lord because this love for his wife and her love for him is conjugial love, the love in which angels are in heaven. The Writings teach that it is the Lord’s most passionate desire that He be able to create as many angel couples as we let Him, for this is the purpose for which He created the universe and maintains it in order to perpetuity.


It is believed that if the husband applies himself to following the commandments, his wisdom will grow from the Lord, and the wife will be able to love his wisdom even more, and thus the couple is conjoined. But this contains a dubious assumption, namely, that the husband gains wisdom from the Lord apart from his wife, through his own independent effort and striving to follow the Lord's commandments, and then the wife can love this new wisdom in him. But the Writings specify that a husband receives new wisdom from the Lord only in proportion to his love. Striving to improve in itself is not sufficient for the husband to receive more interior truths from the Lord. This is because the striving is from his proprium. His only salvation is to love the wife's judgment and perception above his own, to love the wife's wisdom above his own. Then his love will be elevated because her wisdom is more interior than his. This higher love can now receive more interior wisdom from the Lord. This is the genuine new wisdom, which the wife takes into her inmost and from which she brings out a feminine veil of love that covers her.


There are, in consequence, two loves in a man, one of which is the love of growing wise, which comes first, and the second of which is the love of wisdom, which comes afterwards. But if this second love continues on in a man, it is an evil love, and is called conceit or love of his own intelligence. It will be established later that to keep this love from destroying man, it was provided from creation that this love be taken from him and transferred into woman, so that it might become conjugial love, which makes him whole again. (CL 88).


8. Feminine Love Within Which Is Masculine Wisdom


It is this feminine love within which is masculine wisdom that makes the atmosphere of heaven in which the angels live in blissful splendor to eternity. Couples here on earth in which the husband is committed to the Doctrine of the Wife and lives it, are internally in this heavenly atmosphere. Their conjoint spirit is actually in heaven.


I have often asked myself this question: What does it mean when the wives of New Church men feel themselves inadequate with respect to Doctrine, do not write articles about it, do not participate actively in doctrinal debates, receive the doctrinal lessons from men, and have the attitude that creating and interpreting Doctrine is for the men. What does such a state of affairs in a religious community tell us about gender relations and conjugial love in that community?


There are two types of explanations. One type takes the position that Doctrine is for men, primarily, especially formulating Doctrine and interpreting the Writings as Doctrine. The other type takes up the position that Doctrine is separate from priesthood. For instance, an evil or insincere priest can perform sacraments but can’t create genuine doctrine (AC 9180). An evil man can create only false doctrine because he creates it from his self-intelligence. He is no motivated to understand the Writings for the sake of truth, but for the sake of dominion. Therefore the Lord can reveal not a single genuine Doctrine to his mind. He will teach only false and adulterated doctrine.


This proves that being a priest and performing the sacraments for the community does not necessarily go with being good and, therefore, having truth in the doctrine they formulate.


It stands to reason therefore that a priest has no special authority to create Doctrine for the Church. The Writings say that priests ought to teach the Word in sermons and classes (NJHD 315). It doesn’t say that that what they therefore teach will be genuine Doctrine. This depends entirely on his state of regeneration (LIFE 39). A priest has no special inspiration to formulate genuine Doctrine when he is in evil, for falsity goes with evil, not truth. Since we never know whether an individual is internally in good or evil (CL 523), we cannot automatically assume that any priest’s teachings of doctrine are genuine or false—it could be either. If we merely accepted what a priest teaches out of authority for his position, we are precipitated into persuasive faith, and this is deadly for it leads to no belief at all when we arrive in the afterlife with that kind of faith (NJHD 117)


So priests ought to encourage people to study the Writings and accumulate their Doctrine from it. This is the only protection the sheep have from the wolves—their own reformation, that is, their acquisition of knowledge from the Writings and the use of this Doctrine in their daily willing and thinking. This is the only way to develop genuine Doctrine for each New Church mind. The motivation to “save souls” that attracts many priests to religious service is not to be interpreted as the ability to save souls, for only the Lord has this ability. Neither does the Lord give this ability by proxy to the priest (AE 206). The priest does not have the ability to save anyone. Therefore the motivation to save souls is in reality the motivation to help others in accepting the process of reformation, then helping them in undergoing the process of regeneration. This is when priests are motivated to save souls (xx). And since reformation and regeneration depends on forming genuine spiritual Doctrine in our mind, this is what the priest is to teach. Not: saving souls by teaching them Doctrine, but: teaching them the means by which they are to form Doctrine for themselves.


He who loves the ends also loves the means (AE 1144). Since the end in view is reformation and regeneration through forming Doctrine and living it, therefore teaching how to form Doctrine is the priest’s primary work of saving souls. Primary, because no one is saved by sacraments, but only by regeneration (LJP 216). And no one is regenerated without willing and thinking Doctrine from one’s as-of self comprehension (AC 47, 233, 1712, 2877, 5664, 10299; NJHD 148; DP 102; CL 82; SE 5958; LJ 299; AE 864). Clearly therefore, the New Church mind cannot be formed unless we form Doctrine for ourselves (AC 6822). And this Divine commandment applies equally to men and women.


I come back to the question I posed above: Why are we not seeing more doctrinal activity and involvement by women in the New Church? The fact that there is some such activity proves that women can be involved in doctrinal formations and are capable of doing it by studying the Writings on their own, just like any male man. Doctrinals articles appear from time to time in the General Church publications (e.g., New Church Life, Alpha Theta, and elsewhere). Men must become aware of the way they discourage women to be active in formulating the Doctrine of the Church. We must distinguish two separate issues and not mix them up: one is the issue of “women priests” and the other is the issue raised here: women’s contributions to Doctrine equally with men of the Church, whether priests or lay. These two issues must be separated because they are different and different considerations are involved. To mix them up is to play politics with the Word.


The priesthood may discourage or prevent women from becoming priests in the full sense. This is one issue. But the priesthood may not discourage women from actively being interested in doctrine and contributing to it. Regardless of the Church’s official position on the issue of “women priests,” the priesthood must always teach men and women how to formulate Doctrine for themselves out of the Writings. They must teach that there is no power of salvation in the sacraments they provide or in the doctrinal things they teach. They must teach that the only method of salvation is reformation and regeneration, and that this can be performed only by means of Doctrine each individual forms from the Writings in their own individual mind.


The attitude that Doctrine is primarily for men is present in all religions. Where I grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family it was required that all boys start attending “cheder” (religious classes) at age four or five. But the girls were kept with the mothers learning domestic duties. This is clearly detrimental in the light of the preceding discussion. Other religions, both Western and Eastern, similarly keep women from active involvement with formulating Doctrine for the Church. There is thus a long standing generational bias to deny women what they need for their own salvation. What can motivate this except the hatred for conjugial love? This is a hatred all men have from inheritance and confirmation in life (see the following Sections below).


Of course we know from the Writings that the Lord protects all innocent people from being denied spiritual freedom. The women who are deprived by the dragons (AR 565) of their doctrinal rights and privileges are protected inwardly by the Lord so that their spiritual choices in life are protected. Outwardly, that is, socially and politically, women can be denied knowledge and legitimacy of forming Doctrine, and this results in great harm to the community. But inwardly, every woman is given by the Lord other secret means of reformation and regeneration. Women receive special perception from the Lord so that they have Doctrine written in their hearts, like we all do when we become angels in heaven (HH 25). This inward perception gives them wisdom, or the ability to perceive that a spiritual proposition is true or false. Men do not have this perception from the Lord so they must study as-of self and struggle with learning the Writings and applying it to their willing and thinking. In this less direct and more elaborated way, men too can form Doctrine.


The New Church mind is unlike any other mind in the history of the human race. It is the highest possible form of being a genuine human, as intended by the Lord in His New Creation. The proof is this: that the New Heavens based on the Writings are at the center of the heavenly geography or spiritual position in relation to the Lord (LJ 48). They are the closest to the Lord, hence are able to receive a higher life than any other angelic society. All other angelic heavens, regardless of religion, are further from the center and at a greater distance (SS 105; CLJ 68). They retain less of what they receive from the Lord because they have a more distance perception and understanding of Him. The love and closeness to the Lord is proportional to the type of truths we have about Him. Those who have more interior truths from Him receive in these truths a higher form of life. But those who have acquired less interior truths can receive a lower level of life that can live within these less interior truths. These differences are not to be considered with invidious comparisons since everyone who is in a heaven is in their fullness of being. No one in heaven can support greater bliss than they already have (xx). The differences are to be seen in terms of the endless variety of the human genius that is continuously being gathered from the endless earths in the universe. Variety is an image of the Lord’s Infinite Love and Wisdom, and also, it contributes to the perfection of the evolving humanity (for more discussion see Chapter 2 Section 7 and Chapter 3 Section 2).


And we are to remember this: that the level of life of the highest angels of the entire human race, now and into the future, is as nothing in comparison to the Lord’s Life, His Love and Wisdom (HH 273).


9. The Role Of The Wife In The Husband's Wisdom


One of the many biological facts revealed in the Writings is that the spiritual constitution of men and women is inside out and outside in relative to each other. This organic difference results in reciprocal roles for unition. Unition would not be possible unless the spiritual organic parts of men and women were reciprocal. Wherever the word "spiritual" is used, you can also think "mental" because the mind is the spirit-body that continues its immortal life in the spiritual world. At birth, the mind or spirit is born along with the physical body and is formed through social and natural experiences on earth.


Man was created by God so as to have his internal in the spiritual world and his external in the natural world. Thus he was created a denizen of either world in order that the spiritual, which is heavenly, should be planted in the natural, which is worldly, just as a seed is planted in the ground, and he might thus become steadfast and enduring to eternity. (TCR 14)


We are thus dual citizens, the physical body on earth and the mind or spirit in the spiritual world.


Man was created by God so as to have his internal in the spiritual world and his external in the natural world. Thus he was created a denizen of either world in order that the spiritual, which is heavenly, should be planted in the natural, which is worldly, just as a seed is planted in the ground, and he might thus become steadfast and enduring to eternity. (TCR 14)


When the spirit is disconnected from the physical body at the time of passing on, the spirit is then visible in its full form and beauty. Swedenborg has encountered thousands of individuals in heaven and they all are in the “flower of youth and beauty” or around seventeen or eighteen. The spirit-body is organically and functionally far superior to the physical body, even the body of a top fashion model or athlete that our society admires. Men and women appear in their ideal form in heaven, but in hell they appear deformed.


In order to be soul mates in heaven a wife and a husband must develop a character and personality other than what each was born with on earth. One of the startling revelations in the Writings is that the character of every child contains the cumulative evils of all its ancestors. It is also taught that no one goes to hell for the evils of another. We inherit the tendency and preference towards innumerable evils attached to egotism and irrationality (CL 202). But simultaneously we also inherit the power to oppose our evil tendencies and to reject the false philosophies within which these evils are immersed. The Lord in regeneration gives us this power. First, the Lord makes spiritual truths available to us in our external mind through education and instruction. Second, he gives us the power to live up to these truths, as we are tempted over and over again in daily living. As we struggle with our temptations and win victories over them, the Lord is able to open up our internal spiritual mind, which is in heaven. This internal mind then descends into the external mind where we become conscious of it. This is our tangible reward.


The process by which husbands are regenerated is not the same as what happens with single men. The wife plays a required role. This makes sense since the couple’s life in heaven is only through a conjoint mind. This must be developed on earth because regeneration is possible only while we are in the physical body. Once the spirit-body is liberated, its life then continues such as it developed while tied to the physical body. There is no “changing your mind” after you pass on. A regenerating couple on earth must therefore evolve and develop a conjoint mind through daily interactions. This is why it is required that the wife be involved in the husband’s regeneration. The wife’s role in the husband’s regeneration is determined by the biological necessity of their respective spiritual form. The Doctrine of the Wife specifies the kind of interactions that correspond to this form.


It has now been revealed that husbands are born conjugial unwillingnesses and feel the urge to rebel, to resist, to protest, to complain, and to withdraw. But the wife, strengthened by the knowledge of spiritual truth and reality, will remind him thus:


My husband, you know you cannot save yourself by yourself. You know the Lord has appointed me to lead you to heaven. To assist me in this task, the Lord gives me perception to see your inmost inclinations or affections, and the Lord gives me wisdom to defeat the pack of delusions and lies that you've surrounded yourself with and to which you continue to hold on. You have no choice. I'm waiting. The Lord and heaven are waiting. Get with it. Give up your pride and arrogance and listen to me. Do as I ask.  Etc.


This is the Doctrine of the Wife--talking sense into men that they may enjoy eternal conjugial bliss. It contains the idea that marriage is social, legal, and religious on the outside but spiritual on the inside. The external aspects of marriage may be called by the usual word "conjugal" but the internal spiritual aspects are called "conjugial." The extra “i” represents the elevation of the natural marriage into spiritual marriage. The Lord intends that we first form, build, develop the outside conjugal aspects of marriage and then, when this is solidly established, that we form, build, and develop the inside conjugial aspects.


Unity is to be achieved in both outside and inside aspects. Then the marriage is truly conjugial, blessed, and eternal. But the fact is that external unity can be achieved and then never go on to internal unity. Spiritually this is a disaster. Husband and wife are then on their own in regeneration, like single men and women. This is important to remember when a woman feels discouragement because her husband resists the work it takes to achieve inner unity. All is not lost for her, and though it's not possible to know this fully in advance, she can trust that the Lord will provide her with her true soul mate in the afterlife. A wife ceaselessly and courageously continues her efforts to unite herself to her husband, externally and internally, despite all his efforts to discourage and resist her. By doing this she makes it possible for the Lord to unconsciously prepare her conjugial mind from within in such a way that she in the afterlife can conjoin with a suitable man also prepared for her by the Lord.


10. Inventory Of Confessions For Husbands


To shun evils is to do goods (AE 803)


The Writings teach that “All of us are born with a tendency to every kind of evil, and if we do not partially remove evils by repentance, we remain subject to them, and if so cannot be saved.” (TCR 520) The Writings also teach "A mere verbal confession that one is a sinner is not repentance." (TCR 516). In order to repent and reform we must become conscious of each evil trait in our character in a specific way. This is the purpose of the inventory of evils inspired by the Doctrine of the Wife. The inventory is something we need to keep track of for ourselves. A public confession to anyone but one’s wife is not a requirement for repentance and regeneration. But because we don’t want to publicly discuss our evils of daily life is not a reason for not becoming aware of them ourselves in an objective way by self-witnessing and monitoring our moment by moment willing and thinking all day long. This kind of self-awareness takes practice to perform effectively just like any other discipline or task that you learn to do well. First, can you see yourself making this kind of confession to the Lord, to yourself, and to your spouse?


I husband, will circle the items that constitute my confession, which is that I have been engaging in these lowly acts on a regular basis and that now I wish to stop, by first, recognizing my brutishness, and second, holding it in aversion for the sake of the Lord and a heavenly life with my wife. One way I can show my honest intention is to print out the list with the circled items and to ask my wife to help me fill in what I have left out.


I also realize that it's not up to me to tell her to fill out a similar list for herself because our situations are not parallel, and for me to ask her to do that would be insulting her and thus contrary to the intent of this confession.


I also dedicate myself to maintaining these lists up to date so that I will write all those additional items that do not yet appear, but of which I'm guilty and become aware of.


In all this I realize that though I must do this as-of self, the power for my success is solely the Lord’s. I acknowledge that the removal of these evils is not something I do on my own and alone. Angles and spirits are present and intimately involved in every detail. The Lord manages and supervises this process in its every detail.


Now take a look at the list. It can be considered a behavioral Inventory of Confessions for husbands. You might like to adjust the style and particular content to fit your actuality. These items are for the most part the things I have noticed in myself, after much help and insistence from my wife. A few were added from other husbands who wrote to me. I numbered them for easy reference but I have not tried to order them or group them—though that might be a beneficial task as it increases consciousness of the inner affections that maintain these outward behaviors of conjugial evil, both inherited and acquired.


1.        I upset her by raising a topic at the wrong time

2.        In our conversations, I initiate most of the topics

3.        When we talk, I pursue my perspective on the topic rather than hers

4.        When I get upset in our exchanges, I raise my voice and put on a stern face

5.        When I'm under stress, I don't mind taking it out on her

6.        When I'm very angry, my body assumes a threatening posture towards her

7.        When I feel that she is driving me nuts, I stay away from her

8.        When I think she is not paying attention, I punish her by making her feel bad

9.        When I feel nagged, I think it's OK not to answer her

10.      If in a discussion, I feel that she is getting irrational, I put her down in my mind

11.      If I get annoyed at her, I don't mind showing it

12.      I refuse to take responsibility for her bad feelings

13.      I criticize her when I feel she deserves it

14.      I hate it when she pouts because of something insignificant I did to her

15.      I hate it the way she keeps bugging me when I won't do something her way

16.      Sometimes I think she is a bit lazy

17.      I think she tends to deliberately exaggerate our difficulties

18.      I often think it's unfair the way she mostly wants things her way

19.      When things get impossible with her, I just walk off

20.      When she leaves or comes home, she wants me to make a big fuss over her, and I hate it

21.      When she has PMS, I try to stay out of her way

22.      I don't mind embarrassing her in public if she gets on my nerves

23.      When I drive, I don't tolerate her telling me what to do

24.      I put my loyalty for our children ahead of my loyalty for her

25.      I show my impatience when I am shopping with her and thinking she is taking too long

26.      When I get mad at her, I stay mad longer than a few minutes

27.      When I make her cry, I wait more than five minutes to come to her rescue

28.      I let weeks go by without making her dance with me even though I know she wants to

29.      I let days go by without giving her a shoulder and neck rub even though she would want one

30.      I let a whole day go by without giving her at least one kiss or hug

31.      I often change topics without satisfying her

32.      I frequently conveniently forget something I agreed to do

33.      I neglect her and exploit her in many different ways

34.      I betray her in my mind by ridiculing her, belittling her, saying No to her

35.      I try to keep certain information about myself from her so she won't be able to get to me by using it to pressure or fight me

36.      I retaliate when she's just doing her conjugial job pointing to my resistances and lack of cooperation in conjugial unity

37.      I flatulate at my pleasure without consideration for her feelings or sensibilities

38.      I belch aloud in her presence without excusing myself, acting like a savage

39.      I expose her to my bad breath

40.      I expose her to my body’s unpleasant acrid odors from sweating and not washing

41.      I often present my scratchy unshaven face and irritate her skin and her sense of grace

42.      I touch her with dirty finger nails

43.      I let my nose and ear hair grow until they show despite her protest

44.      I walk around the house in dirty shorts and sneakers, not caring about what it looks to her

45.      I leave my clothes lying around for her to pick up

46.      I never pick up after her, expecting her to do that

47.      I don't launder my dirty clothes and often don't bother thanking her for doing it for me

48.      I am mostly oblivious to washing dirty dishes, leaving the kitchen chores to her

49.      I expect her to take care of the bills and then criticize her if she makes a mistake or is late

50.      I don't call her when I'm late coming home, ignoring her fears and insecurity

51.      I neglect to express my appreciation for a thousand little kindnesses she does for me all day long

52.      I don't mind staring at other women when she is with me, and I don't hide it from her (or else: and I hide from her).

53.      I stare at other women when she is not with me, without trying to remind myself that my wife wouldn’t like that

54.      I'm not upset if I forget to do something I promised her, and I don't try to own up to my mistake and make her feel better about it

55.      I fail to give her dependable and regular sexual satisfaction due to my incompetence

56.      I fail to massage her body every day, though she likes it, needs it, and feels it as closeness

57.      I sometimes criticize her body parts

58.      I fail to play with her hair, though she told me many times she likes that and makes her feel secure

59.      I often fail to comment appropriately on her appearance, clothes, jewelry

60.      I sometimes criticize her looks

61.      I make her wait when she calls me to the meal table

62.      I make her late when she's anxious to get there on time

63.      I often enter a room where she is and do not first acknowledge her presence

64.      I often show insufficient enthusiasm for her proposals, hints, plans

65.      I lie to her when I decide it's OK to do that

66.      I let her believe a lie sometimes to avoid an argument

67.      I don't laugh at her jokes or sense of humor

68.      I have not bothered to learn how to walk with her without bumping into her

69.      I have not bothered to learn how to drive without making her anxious about my driving

70.      I have not bothered to learn how to find something at home without asking her (e.g., a light bulb, a battery, a clean bed sheet, a tax record, etc.)

71.      I have not bothered to learn how to buy her tampons without having to ask her the size

72.      I have not bothered to remember what her doctor's name is and what medicines she takes

73.      I don't feel responsible for running out of things at house parties--that's her problem

74.      I don't feel responsible for getting us to a social engagement on time

75.      I don't feel responsible for keeping up appropriate social appearances and do all the expected rituals fro family and friends, like birthdays etc.--that's her job

76.      I don't feel responsible for planning and preparing for a party we throw--that's her job

77.      I don't feel responsible for taking care of Christmas gifts--that's her job

78.      I don't feel responsible for taking the cats to the vets for their shots, but I complain when she doesn't

79.      I make her responsible for overdrawing our checking account

80.      I don't feel responsible for taking our clothes to the cleaners

81.      I sometimes forget our anniversary date

82.      I often discount what she says and perceives, even though I know from the Doctrine of the Wife that she speaks and perceives from the Lord

83.      I raise my voice above hers to force her to relinquish her demand

84.      I am task-involved in discussing something with her, and pay little attention to how she feels during the discussion, simply ignoring her frustration and suffering

85.      I often ignore where a discussion was left off, so she gets the feeling it's hopeless because there is no cumulative progress--so she has to start from scratch each time

86.      I often forget things that are important to her that she doesn't want me to forget. Further, I don't act like my forgetting is a big deal and I act like she is a stickler or nag because she insists on remembering that stuff

87.      I don't try to find out what she thinks about many things because I don't make the effort to find out, so that she is left with the injurious feeling that I don't care about her and that I'm not interested in her

88.      I raise my voice at her and intimidate her physically (like throwing something, banging on something, or grabbing her with force, etc.) so that she feels fear from me as if I were her father or a stranger

89.      I criticize her, which makes her feel that I do not like her

90.      I don't always help her when she needs help, thus letting her figure it out for herself--which gives her the feeling of not having a friend

91.      I have sex with her without making up for my prior insults or quarrels--this makes her feel like a slut, but I act like it's not a big deal

92.      I use my male prerogatives to satisfy myself in sex without wanting to know or making the effort to find out, whether she has been satisfied

93.      I rebel against her desire to know my every move, and don't tell her details about my schedule, so she has to wonder where I am and when I'm coming home. And worse: sometimes lying about what I do or covering it up because I want to retain my independence, or because I decided it's not her role to keep tabs on my comings and goings.

94.      I resent her for wanting to micro-manage my time or activities and, going along with that resentment instead of fighting it as illegitimate and evil

95.      I involve myself with activities that exclude her automatically so she feels like her connection to me is broken, e.g., having a long conversation with an ex-girl friend; going to a bar with the boys and spending time there, instead of coming home to her; spending a lot of time at some hobby in which she cannot participate or in which I don't want her to participate; etc. etc.

96.      I embarrass her in public, or to her friends or company, or to the children; making a scene and spoiling the decorum and mood she wants to set or maintain

97.      I keep away from her at parties and gatherings, sticking with the men, avoiding the women's talk as disinteresting; or, if participating, then taking over and dominating the conversation or focus

98.      I don't mind letting a whole day go by without complementing her or her appearance or her work; taking her for granted, and making her feel that I'm taking her for granted instead of treating her like I think she is special, which is what she wants and needs

99.      I relentlessly pursue my topic, insisting on my opinion or judgment, suffocating her with my dominating power and rigidity and selfishness

100.   Sometimes I act like I don't want to have sex when she hints at it

101.   I refuse to give her veto power over what I want to wear, then embarrassing her by what I wear as if that decision is mine entirely

102.   I act disinterested in her aesthetic side so she ends up feeling neglected and needing friends who will give her attention

103.   I leave wet towels in the bathroom for her to pick up, like she were my slave, and then not acknowledging her charitable deed on my behalf

104.   I jab my fingers into my wife's ribs, and claim I'm just tickling, when really it's to make her flinch and struggle to pull away—a kind of obnoxious game violence

105.   I procrastinate in self-destructive ways (e.g. not getting forms filled out by a deadline, not taking care of needed repairs), then act like she's responsible for the remedies to the situation (like rushing to the post office for me, or making the phone calls to service people)

106.   (add your own)


You can see from the inventory of evils that the items are pretty universal and apply to every husband. You can also see that they are very specific and recur many times in the course of a single day. You can also see that there are thousands more that have not been written down. Many additional items are mentioned or described in Section 1 above and in the sections on disciplines below.


11. Six-Step Process For Removing Our Evils


The sequence of our moment to moment behaviors is made of three parallel or “simultaneous” levels integrated into a smooth flow: the motive, the reasoning, and the body’s actions. The motive is affective and resides in the will. The reasoning is cognitive and resides in the understanding. The body’s actions is sensorimotor and physical. Every single sensorimotor act is the effect, while the cause is the reasoning that is selected and driven by the motive. This threefold integration of the natural mind is like the threefold integration of the body, which corresponds to it: the heart and the circulation of the blood (affective; the will); the lungs and the respiratory system (cognitive; the understanding); and, the nervous system (sensory and motor activities). Clearly then, as we perform one of the behaviors on the inventory of evils, it is a threefold integration that allows us to perform it: our anti-conjugial motive or affection selects and drives the negative thinking about our wife, and the two acting to trigger the outward nasty, hurtful, and insensitive behavior. When we think of this integration we cannot dismiss these behaviors as relatively unimportant, due to family or cultural habits, and other such excuses.


Many believe that man is purified from evils by merely believing what the Church teaches; some, that man is purified by doing good; others, that it is by knowing, speaking and teaching such things as pertain to the Church; others, by reading the Word and books of piety; others, by attending churches, listening to sermons, and especially by approaching the Holy Supper; others, by renouncing the world and devoting oneself to piety; and others, by confessing oneself guilty of sins of all kinds; and so on.


Nevertheless, man is in no wise purified by all these works unless he examines himself, recognizes his sins, acknowledges them, condemns himself for them and does the work of repentance by desisting from them; and unless he does all these things as of himself but still in acknowledgment from the heart that he does them from the Lord.


[2] Until he does these things, the actions just mentioned avail nothing, for they are merit-seeking or hypocritical; and those who do them appear in heaven in the sight of angels like beautiful courtesans giving forth the offensive odor of their defilement; or like ill-favored women made to appear handsome by the application of paint; or like clowns and actors wearing masks on the stage; or like apes in human clothing.


When, however, men have removed their evils then the actions mentioned above are acts of their love, and they appear as beautiful men in heaven in the sight of angels and as their associates and companions. (DP 121)


Note well what the Lord is telling us here. Our evils cannot be removed unless we go through this sequence:


Examining the sequence of our daily willing and thinking

Identifying the evil behaviors at all three levels—what we will as our affections, what we think in our understanding, and what we execute in our outward acts

Acknowledging that if we don’t stop doing them, we go to hell (“condemning” oneself)

Repenting so that we can rationally see that they are selfish and evil

Desisting so that we no longer do them—in our willing, in our understanding, and in our outward acts

Knowing that the power to desist is from the Lord but that nevertheless we must struggle as-of self to bring it about


This six-step process must consciously be practiced as a daily and hourly discipline. If this seems exaggerated to you, ask yourself, what then is going to get rid of these evils in you? Are you relying on what the first paragraph says in the quoted passage above? Which lists these things:


Being purified from evils by merely believing what the Church teaches

Being purified by doing good things (as long as the good things outweigh the bad things)

Being purified by knowing, speaking and teaching things that pertain to the Church

Being purified by reading the Writings and books of piety

Being purified by worship in the Church (listening to sermons and approaching the Holy Supper)

Being purified by confessing oneself guilty of sins of all kinds


These are not going to get rid of your evils or neutralize them somehow. Only cooperation as-of self in getting rid of them will achieve the process, and without undergoing this process there can be no salvation and life in heaven. There are no exceptions! And how can the process go on if you don’t begin it and get it going? And is it not a most dangerous evil to postpone the beginning of it? Clearly then, you must make the decision to begin today, now at this hour!


He who leads a life of piety, and not at the same time a life of charity, does not worship God. It is true, he thinks of God, yet he does not think from God, but from himself; for he constantly thinks of himself, and not at all of the neighbour (NJHD 124)


Believing that you do not need to rid yourself of these evils in relation to your wife is called here a life of piety that is not at the same time in a life of charity. For charity to your neighbor refers to conjugial love to your wife, since this is the love that is to be placed above all other loves (xx).


God is loved when a man lives according to His commandments; and the neighbour is loved, when a man performs uses. In order therefore that a man may receive the life of heaven it is absolutely necessary that he live in the world, and engage in its various duties and vocations. (NJHD 126)


I did not struggle with my daily evils for many years. When my wife brought them forward I told her no one is perfect. When she asked me whether I think I can go to heaven with them, I replied that eventually I will get rid of them. When she pointed out that I do not know how long I have on this earth, I became anxious, but I still wanted to postpone getting rid of them. It was too much work, too soon, I felt. I can take it little by little, with more comfort, so the process doesn’t interfere with my pious activities studying the Writings and writing about it. But the passage above, and many others like it, should have told me that I do not love the Lord unless I obey His Commandments, and He commanded that we as-of self get rid of our evils so that we may be regenerated. And neither did I love my wife who is my neighbor in the house because I was willing to subject her to continued hurt from my evils. And neither did I love uses because loving self, willing to live with one’s evil affections, is not a use but contrary to use.


Hereditary evil derives its origin from everyone's parents and parents' parents, or from grandparents and ancestors successively. Every evil which they have acquired by actual life, even so that by frequent use or habit it has become like a nature, is derived into the children, and becomes hereditary to them, together with that which had been implanted in the parents from grandparents and ancestors. The hereditary evil from the father is more inward, and the hereditary evil from the mother is more outward. The former cannot be easily rooted out, but the latter can. When man is being regenerated, the hereditary evil enrooted from his nearest parents is plucked up by the roots; but with those who are not being regenerated, or who cannot be regenerated, it remains. (AC 4317)


We cannot be regenerated in the abstract or in the general. Only in the particular. And if we are regenerated in the particular, then we will have been regenerated in the general. Every particular evil in our affections is a spiritual fiber that lives on forever, unless rooted out by the Lord. And this rooting out or purification process is performed by the Lord—but only to the extent we cooperate, that is, we make lists of our evils, monitor their occurrence, and make a conscious effort to desist from it because it is contrary to the heavenly mind we must have to live in heaven. We have numerous such evils that we inherit and many more that we add prior to our reformation when we lead life in spiritual unconsciousness. Since there are these many thousands of evil affections we hold on to and enjoy, it takes years and years to go through them one by one. Clearly we cannot afford to postpone the process for one more day. And it is begun, we cannot afford to waste a single day in which we do not identify a bunch of them, and struggle consciously against them, thanking the Lord for supplying the power. And He is always willing, if only we are.


But what hereditary evil is, few know; it is believed to consist in doing evil; but it consists in willing and hence thinking evil; hereditary evil being in the will itself and in the thought thence derived; and being the very conatus or endeavor that is therein, and which adjoins itself even when the man is doing what is good. It is known by the delight that is felt when evil befalls another. This root lies deeply hidden, for the very inward form that receives from heaven (that is, through heaven from the Lord) what is good and true, is depraved, and so to speak, distorted; so that when good and truth flow in from the Lord, they are either reflected, or perverted, or suffocated. (AC 4317:[5])


Once again you can see from this passage that doing evil is the resultant effect of willing evil and the thinking derived from it. And willing evil is a love of the infernal or lust. It is something delightful to us. And note this very important statement: that the evil love in our willing “adjoins itself” to the good we are also willing, and therefore, corrupts it. The good we are doing, and the uses we are engaged in, are not genuine good because the evil we are also permitting in us, remains and corrupts unconsciously. Therefore we have no choice but to monitor our willing and thinking hour by hour and to go through the sex-step process outlined above.


12. The Marriage Of Good And Truth


Regeneration is the psychobiological activity of the Lord in our mind by which He conjoins His good to the truth we take in from His Word. When good is conjoined to truth in our mind, it is called a “marriage,” as in this passage:


There is, however, a marriage of good and truth in the cause, and there is a marriage of good and truth from the cause in the effect. The marriage of good and truth in the cause is a marriage of the will and the understanding, that is, of love and wisdom.


There is such a marriage in everything that a man wills and thinks, and in his consequent conclusions and purposes.


This marriage enters into the effect and, indeed, produces it; but in the process good and truth appear to be distinct, because what is simultaneous then produces what is successive. For instance, when a man wills and thinks about being fed, clothed, having a dwelling place, conducting any business, performing any work, or engaging in social intercourse, he first wills and thinks about these things, or forms his conclusions and purposes, simultaneously; but when he has reduced into effects what he has willed and thought, the one follows after the other; nevertheless, they continue to make one in his will and thought.


In these effects, uses pertain to love or good, while the means employed to furnish the uses pertain to the understanding or to truth. Anyone may confirm these general truths by particular illustrations, provided he clearly perceives what has relation to the good of love and what to the truth of wisdom, and also how these are related in the cause and also in the effect. (DP 12)


This says that the threefold integration of our behavior is called by the Lord a “marriage.” The outward act involving the physical body is nothing but an automatic effect of the marriage of our will with the understanding. In other words, every act, at both the macro and micro levels, is the child or offspring of our willing and thinking. This is the marriage the Lord is talking about to us. The Lord’s intent is to create a celestial marriage in our mind in order that we may become angels—for this is His utmost desire, as He often reveals it in all Three Testaments of His Word. But in the Third Testament of His Second Coming He can at last reveal the rational principles by which He governs the universe and our regeneration. And so it has been amply shown in many places in the Writings that affections in our will remain forever because they are spiritual fibers, and as such immortal and indestructible. And yet the Lord has provided that He can uproot them, lay them aside so they can have no influence on the new will He gives us. But this requires our active and willing cooperation, and He has explained in the Writings what this cooperation must consist of.


We have been discussing this cooperation process throughout this book, and especially in Volume 2. The Lord calls it a marriage between the good He gives us in our new will and the truth we acquire in our understanding from His Word, in the First Education of the letter, and then in the Second Education of the spirit, when we undergo reformation in adult life (AE 803; AC 8780; AC 3518:[2]). Now we can understand this process at first in the general only, and then after regeneration is on its way, we can understand it in a particular way. And this particular understanding refers to the thousands of acts of willing and thinking we do in an hour and in a day. These particular acts must be witnessed and condemned, ad discussed above. The self-witnessing of our willing and thinking is our reformation and our regeneration, therefore our enlightenment and salvation, but only when put up the inner struggle to inhibit them, to desist from willing and thinking all the old things that must be uprooted by the Lord. And He does it to the extent that we cooperate willingly and effectively, that is, sincerely.


The inventory of evils in our willing and thinking can only be identified and built up when we monitor our willing and thinking all day long, hour by hour. In the Lord’s providence, to which I can testify, it is a task that is most arduous at first, but after just a few years of practice, or three to four thousand days, it no longer feels arduous, and then we bask in the bliss of understanding the Lord’s Word that His Yoke is easy (xx). And we continue our struggle until the end, but we have our love in it.


… the Lord continually flows in with man with good, and in good with truth; but man either receives or does not receive; if he receives, it is well with him; but if he does not receive, it is ill with him. If when he does not receive he feels some anxiety (here meant by "distress of soul"), there is hope that be may be reformed; but if he has no feeling of anxiety the hope vanishes.


With every man there are two spirits from hell, and two angels from heaven; for man being born in sins cannot possibly live unless on one side he communicates with hell, and on the other with heaven; all his life is thence.


When man is grown up and begins to rule himself from himself, that is, when he seems to himself to will and to act from his own judgment, and to think and to conclude concerning the things of faith from his own understanding, if he then betakes himself to evils, the two spirits from hell draw near, and the two angels from heaven withdraw a little; but if he betakes himself to good, the two angels from heaven draw near, and the two spirits from hell are removed.


[2] If therefore when a man betakes himself to evils, as is the case with many in youth, he feels any anxiety when he reflects upon his having done what is evil, it is a sign that he will still receive influx through the angels from heaven, and it is also a sign that he will afterward suffer himself to be reformed; but if when he reflects upon his having done what is evil, he has no anxious feeling, it is a sign that he is no longer willing to receive influx through the angels from heaven, and it is also a sign that he will not afterward suffer himself to be reformed.


… for with those who are then in anxiety there is an internal acknowledgment of evil, which when recalled by the Lord becomes confession, and finally repentance. (AC 5470)


You can clearly see from this passage that reformation occurs only in adult life, and only if all along, in our youth, we allowed our conscience to survive. For there are many who squelch, subdue, and eventually silence all conscience within them from the Lord. This is the anxiety we feel when we observe our evil willing and thinking. The anxiety is the consequence of allowing the angels to stay near us in our decisions and reflections. In this way we avoid giving ourselves totally over to the evil spirits and creating a permanent association with hell that later remains.  The passage also shows that reformation in adult life depends on “the things of faith in the understanding,” which means, the Doctrine we take up from the literal of the Writings. This Doctrine in the understanding then is made spiritual by the Lord who opens our spiritual mind to the extent that we cooperate. The passage also shows how important it is to maintain a good education and social atmosphere for the youth who are in our charge. This means teaching them about how to resist the nonduality of culture and science in their social environment.


It is known that faith from love is the essential means of salvation, and thus is the principle of the doctrine of the church; but since it is important to know how a man can be in such enlightenment as to learn the truths that must constitute his faith and in such affection as to do the goods that must constitute his love, and thus can know whether his faith is a belief in truth and his love a love of good, this shall be told in its proper order, as follows: (AE 803)


This passage (more is quoted below) outlines the details of how we can cooperate in our regeneration by the Lord, for without this cooperation the Lord cannot regenerate. Note that we cannot be regenerated without knowing spiritual truths by enlightenment from the Lord. We cannot obtain spiritual truths from self or from the literal of the Writings, as shown in several places above. Spiritual truths only come to us by means of enlightenment from the Lord when we read the Writings and apply its Doctrine to our willing and thinking. Note also that we cannot cooperate in our regeneration by means of the spiritual truths we acquire but only by means of the affections we have for them. When we have an affection or love for the spiritual truths that we receive by enlightenment, then and only then, do we have the motive “to do the goods that must constitute our love.”


13. Shunning Sins, Doing Good, And Performing Uses


How do we know whether the affection we have for doing good is genuine, that is from the Lord and not from self? For both are possible! We can have a love for doing good to others and for performing uses that is from self, not from the Lord. That is, we can love to do good and perform uses for selfish reasons such as reputation, gain, or merit. This is not from the Lord, hence its is not doing good actually, and it is not performing uses actually. Hence the Lord is giving us methods by which to know ourselves, whether we do good and perform uses form self or from Him. Several are outlined in the continuation of the passage (AE 803). The numbers are in the original.


(1) Let him read the Word every day, one or two chapters, and learn from a master and from preachings the dogmas of his religion … and that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, … that the Word is holy, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death. (AE 803)


For the New Church mind this means that it is a Divine Commandment that we read the Writings every day. Also, that we receive our First Education in the literal of the Writings, called its scientifics (xx), from teachers and preachers, as well as from self-study. Throughout this education it must be believed that the Writings are holy and that all its dualities or spiritual truths, are the Divine Truth.


(2) Let him learn from the Word, from a master, and from preachings, what works are sins, and that they are especially adulteries, thefts, murders, false witness, and the others mentioned in the Decalogue; likewise that lascivious and obscene thoughts are also adulteries, that frauds and illicit gains are also thefts, that hatred and revenge are also murders, and that lies and blasphemies are also false witness; and so on. Let him learn all these things from childhood to youth. (AE 803)


This specifies what we are to learn in our First Education about the literal of the Writings: namely: which of our loves and deeds are sins. They include outward acts (“thefts, murders, false witness”), acts of thinking something (“lascivious and obscene thoughts”), and acts of loving something (“hatred and revenge”). Sins are therefore in our willing, in our thinking, and in our outward acts.


(3) When man begins to think for himself, which is the case after he has grown up, it must be to him the first and chief thing to refrain from doing evils for the reason that they are sins against the Word, thus against God, and for the reason that if he does them he will gain, not life eternal, but hell; and afterwards as he grows up and becomes old he must shun them as damned, and must turn away from them in thought and intention. (AE 803)


Note that we don’t begin to think from ourself until young adulthood when we are considered “grown up”—in today’s times and culture this means in our late twenties and early thirties. Even if you are born in the New Church religion, you do not begin your reformation until that time of adulthood. Until then our religion, worship, and understanding of the Writings are purely natural and do not yet have a spiritual internal. Internal worship is the only worship that saves (xx) and is the sole means by which we can be regenerated. Internal worship is by means of spiritual truths revealed by the Lord to an individual, to the extent that he is ready for it, that is, to the extent he is ready to cooperate with the Lord by fighting his sins. Those who pass into the spiritual world before the age of reformation must undergo this process in the world of spirits (xx).


But in order to so refrain from them and shun and turn away from them, he must pray to the Lord for help. The sins he must refrain from and must shun and turn away from are chiefly adulteries, frauds, illicit gains, hatreds, revenges, lies, blasphemies, and elation of mind. (AE 803)


Note that we must acknowledge that it is the Lord who is withholding us from evils but that we are to struggle as-of self to do this. The Lord cannot remove our evils unless we struggle as-of self to do this. Note also that these evils are in our behaviors and acts at all three levels, outward and inward. To will evil is an act. To think something obscene is an act. These inward acts are just as necessary to remove as the outward act. Generally in society, from a social and legal point of view, outward acts are more important to regulate, while inward acts are left to one’s freedom. But spiritually, the reverse is true. Inward acts are more important because the rule over the outward acts. “Hatreds” are acts of hating; blasphemies can be outward or inward acts, or both. Adulteries can be merely cognitive acts, like enjoying watching obscene movies or enjoying daydreaming about sexual acts that are forbidden or scandalous when performed outwardly. Illicit gains include the thought of cheating but not doing it out of fear of repercussions. Note that it is not the occurrence of these thoughts or feelings that is the sin, but our approving of them, that is, not shunning them.


(4) So far as man detests these evils because they are opposed to the Word, and thence opposed to God, so far there is granted him communication with the Lord, and conjunction is effected with heaven. (AE 803)


Conjunction with heaven and the Lord opens our spiritual mind by which we are regenerated. Note that this conjunction or communication only takes place when we detest our evils of willing and thinking. And further, to detest them because they are against the Writings, therefore against the Lord Himself.


For the Lord enters, and with the Lord heaven enters, as sins are removed; since these and their falsities are the sole hindrances. The reason is because man has been placed in the midst between heaven and hell, wherefore hell acts from the one side, and heaven from the other; therefore so far as evils that are from hell are removed, so far goods from heaven enter; for the Lord says:

Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hear and open the door, I will come in to him (Rev. 3:20). 

(AE 803)


The Lord desires nothing more than to grant us conjunction with Himself and heaven. But it says that sins hinder. He cannot enter until He removes our sins, and He cannot remove our sins until we allow it, for this is given to us by creation. Without this freedom we have of not allowing the Lord to remove our sins, we could never be regenerated and saved (xx). And so the Lord guarantees that we retain this spiritual freedom forever. Our spiritual freedom is achieved not from ourselves, but solely from being in balance between good forces from the angels and evil forces from the devils with which everyone is associated by the Lord so that they may have freedom of choice. And when sins are removed, “goods from heaven enter.” This refers to our new willing and thinking after reformation.


But if man refrains from doing these evils for any other reason than because they are sins, and are opposed to the Word and because thence to God, no conjunction of heaven with him is effected, because his refraining is from self, and not from the Lord. The Lord is in the Word, even so that He is called the Word (John 1:1-4), because the Word is from Him; consequently the conjunction of heaven with the man of the church is by means of the Word, as may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell ... (AE 803)


By means of the Writings we have conjunction with the Lord because He is His Own Word and Divine Truth. This conjunction is only in proportion to sins being removed by means of the spiritual truths of doctrine from the Writings. If we only have the literal truths of the Writings, the Lord cannot enter, cannot remove sins, cannot regenerate us and save us. And the Lord gives us the spiritual truths within the letter to the extent that we detest our sins because they are contrary to the literal of the Writings.


(5) So far, then, as man detests these sins so far good affections enter. Then so far as he detests adulteries so far chastity enters; so far as he detests frauds and unlawful gains so far sincerity and justice enter; so far as he detests hatred and revenge so far charity enters; so far as he detests lies and blasphemies so far truth enters; and so far as he detests elation of mind so far humility before God and love of the neighbor as oneself enter; and so on. From this it follows that to shun evils is to do goods. (AE 803)


14. To Detest Evils And Sins


To shun the evils within our willing and thinking is to detest them. To detest our evils is to do good from the Lord. To do good from the Lord is to be saved. Everything about our regeneration depends therefore on our willingness to detest our evils. This willingness is at first extremely difficult to muster because we love our sins and we are unwilling to detest them. Hence we experience spiritual temptations which are states of despair and inward suffering and dread. The inward pain is felt on account of our realization that we must give up our delights of sin because they are contrary to heaven. It appears to us in those states that we are going to lose all the value of living that makes it worthwhile. But after the temptation process is over, the Lord gives us inward peace (xx) and the strength to detest our sins. Nor can this be accomplished generally, once and for all initiation or baptism, but gradually over time, after many many temptations in everyday situations over and over again, each time with a slight but significant variation. This is what we must be willing to go through.


(6) So far as a man is in these good affections he is led by the Lord and not by self; and so far as he acts from them so far he does what is good, because he does this from the Lord and not from self; and then he acts from chastity, from sincerity and justice, from charity, from truth, in humility before God; and from these no one can act from self. (AE 803)


Our goal in regeneration is to lose self and gain the Lord! And when we have gained the Lord we have immeasurable improved our condition of life, our happiness, our fulfillment, as well as the happiness of others who benefit from our love of uses, and especially our wife, for the greatest of all uses and all happinesses is the use of conjugial union. Such are we from creation, that we complete ourselves as perfect human beings in our heaven, in the conjugial union, while all else is meager in comparison to this human state.


(7) The spiritual affections that are granted by the Lord to him who is in them and who acts from them, are the affection of knowing and understanding the truths and goods of heaven and the church, together with the affection of willing and doing them; also the affection of combating with zeal against falsities and evils and dispersing them, both with himself and with others. From this man has faith and love, and from this he has intelligence and wisdom. (AE 803)


Where do we get intelligence and wisdom, the two things men long for and in which they feel their fullness of being? This passage tells us that it is from faith and love that we get intelligence and wisdom. If we pursue intelligence and wisdom from our self-intelligence and self-motivation, we only get stupidity and foolishness, no matter how learned and famous we become in our generation. But if we pursue faith and love, then we get intelligence and wisdom. And what is faith and love that we are to pursue? How do we pursue them? It says in the passage that we get faith and love by doing these two things: (1) “combating with zeal” the many evil affections in our will; (2) acquiring Doctrine from the Writings in our understanding (“truths and goods of heaven”) to guide and direct our combats against our evil affections. From these two actions we have faith and love that gives us the intelligence and wisdom that is the fullness of our being as a man.


(8) Thus and in no other way is man reformed; and so far as he knows and believes truths, and wills and does them, so far is he regenerated, and from natural becomes spiritual. The like is true of his faith and his love. (AE 803)


The faith and love we have from our willingness to undergo reformation and regeneration, is a spiritual faith and a spiritual love. These two things cannot exist in the natural mind. The spiritual mind must first be opened by the Lord so that spiritual faith and love can exist within us, within our natural mind that is otherwise empty and infernal. We become spiritual when our spiritual mind is opened by the Lord. This is a psychobiological process of growing spiritual fibers that coil in a special way and form our spiritual-body which we need to live in heaven (xx). There is no other way that the Lord has provided for our regeneration. He uproots the old evil affections in proportion to how much new spiritual fiber we allow Him to grow in us (xx). If the Lord should implant spiritual fibers at a greater rate than He uproots the old depraved fibers, what do you think would happen? We would suffer the agony of death and be destroyed forever. Therefore it says that we are regenerated “so far as we know and believe truths.” To “know truths” refers to our study of the Writings and extracting Doctrine for ourselves. To “believe truths” refers to compelling ourselves in our willing and thinking all day long, to conform to the Doctrine in our understanding.


[3] If evils have not been removed because they are sins nothing that a man thinks, speaks, wills, and does, is good or true before God, however it may appear as if good and true before the world. The reason is that they are not from the Lord but from man, since it is the love of the man and of the world from which they are, and which is in them. Most people at this day believe that they will come into heaven if they have faith, live piously, and do goods; and yet they do not turn away from evils because they are sins, consequently they either do them or believe them to be allowable; and those who believe them to be allowable do them when opportunity is given. (AE 803)


This passage refers to a most dangerous and pernicious nonduality that can destroy our regeneration and spiritual life. It is the equity model of good and evil. It is the belief that our good traits can outweigh our bad traits, and since no one is perfect, everybody has flaws which must hen be balanced as against their good. In relationships this belief expresses itself variously as “I am the way I am. Don’t try to change me. Take me as I am if you love me. Ignore my weaknesses, focus on my strengths. Nobody is perfect. Who can be the one to throw the first stone. Who is blameless? Who doesn’t have faults? It’s human. Etc.” (See the discussion on Unconditional love in Chapter 6, Section 7.) But this and many other passages teach the contrary, that there is no compromise or equity or balance between good and evil loves. They are in a discrete duality.


Every single evil affection must be uprooted and not a single one can be taken with us into heaven. This can only be done when we shun our evils as sins. Why? Because, as it says, if we shun them for reasons of reputation, gain, or merit we shun them from self, and not from the Lord, all things from self are infernal (xx). But when we shun our evil affections and delights because they are sins, we shun them from the Lord since sin is an idea that is connected directly to the Lord: we sin against Him when we love our evil delights! And this makes His goods unavailable to us, as a result of which we enter the life of misery from which we can never escape to eternity.


But let them know that their faith is not faith, that their pious things are not pious, and that their goods are not goods; for they flow from the impurities that lie inwardly concealed with man; and externals derive everything that they are from internals. For the Lord says:


Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside may become clean also (Matt. 22:26).  (AE 803)


There is no equity in spiritual things, no continuum between evil and good, no compromise, but only absolute truth and absolute good distinct from all evil and falsity. Religious worship and piety are nothing when we fail to undergo reformation and then regeneration. The “inside of the cup” refers to our evil delights and their many false beliefs. The “outside of the cup” refers to our religious and pious behaviors, thoughts, and prayers. It says that these are not pious and not good unless we are sincerely struggling against our evil delights and false beliefs. “Sincerely” struggling against them means acquiring effective techniques to combat them rather than leave it up to circumstance, hope, promise, or wish fulfillment. It requires a conscious focus and discipline on a daily and hourly basis to be effective and real. Do you not agree? The shunning of our evil affections as sins against the Lord must be a forefront activity for our day, every day, don’t you think? How else can we get rid of each particular and specific delight and belief or idea? There is no general forgiveness and dispensation or propitiation of our evil attachments (xx). It’s a matter of a psychobiological gardening—the uprooting of each bad plant and the implanting of a new plant in its place. No other method has been provided by the Lord from creation! This He repeats to us man times in all Three Testaments.


From this it can now be seen that if a man were able to fulfill all things of the law, if he should give much to the poor, if he should do good to the fatherless and the widow, and if he should also give bread to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, take in the strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and go to them that are bound in prison, if he should earnestly preach the Gospel, convert the Gentiles, frequent temples, listen devoutly to preachings, observe the sacrament of the Supper often every year, spend his time in prayer, and other things; and his internal has not been purified from hatred and revenge, from craftiness and malice, from insincerity and injustice, from the filthy delight of adultery, from the love of self and the consequent love of rule, and the pride of self-intelligence, from contempt of others in comparison with oneself, and from the other evils and their falsities; still all these works would be hypocritical and from the man himself, and not from the Lord. (AE 803)


The Lord makes a wonderfully helpful list of our evil delights—the spiritual fibers He must uproot for us, if only we Let Him. The first grouping is about religious, pious, humanitarian, and “spiritual” behaviors that are internally hypocritical because they depend and live from equity theory, or the cherished idea that our good traits and deeds outweigh our bad, so that we don’t have to struggle so hard against some of the evil delights we are unwilling to give up. This is the first grouping of our evil affections and thoughts that lead to damnation. The second grouping refers to the evil affections that we are unwilling to give up, that we are willing to keep: “hatred and revenge, craftiness and malice, insincerity and injustice, the filthy delight of adultery, the love of self and the consequent love of rule, and the pride of self-intelligence, from contempt of others in comparison with oneself.” Keep a list of these things and use it to organize the inventory of evils discussed above. These are the chief enemies of reformation and regeneration.


And yet these same works, when the internal has been purified, are all good, because they are from the Lord with man, and since the man is in the faith and in the love of doing these works he will do them as a matter of course. (AE 803)


There is no merit in doing good from the Lord. Doing good is to detest our evil affections, as discussed above. But note that it is not possible to do good except from the Lord, which for the New Church mind means that there is no doing good apart from the Writings, since it is the Lord in His Divine Truth. To do good from the Lord means that we compel our willing and thinking all day long to be in accord with the Doctrine from the Writings which is in our understanding.


This has been proved to me by a thousand examples in the spiritual world. I have there heard that it has been granted to many to recall the actions of their life in the world, and to enumerate the goods they had done; but when their internal was opened it was found to be full of every evil and the falsity therefrom; and it was then disclosed to them that the goods they had enumerated had been done from self, because for the sake of self and the world, and that they were full of evils from their interiors; and on this account they appeared either as if scorched with fire, or as if sooty. (AE 803)


The Lord has provided through the Writings all that the New Church mind needs to become a celestial mind capable of living in conjugial love in the New Heavens of the Divine Human. He is waiting for us to take the initiative to get there. He has provided only one way, which is, to undergo reformation and regeneration. He has explained how we are to do this, and if we obey, it will be well with us, but if we do not obey, it will be miserable with us to an unimaginable extent. Therefore the time to act is now! And the place to begin is with the wife, for she is the sine qua non of our success. She is the indispensable spiritual helpmate the Lord has created for our regeneration.


Chapter 2, Section 4


4. The surrendered wife vs. the surrendered husband


The Doctrine of the Wife is a religious and spiritual discipline for husbands. The wife has no actual power to control her husband. The main principle in the doctrine of the Wife is Rule 1:



The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.


The initiative here is in the husband. It his voluntary decision to learn a new thing: to learn to love acting from his wife more than from himself. What happens when he does not take this initiative and actually opposes it ferociously? After all, this is the most common scenario with husbands: they oppose their own reformation, and by this, they oppose their wife’s desires and requests regarding his conduct and personality. If the wife then continues to take the initiative, the husband knocks her down, and the marriage turns into a hell. This is the theme of a new movement among wives started by Laura Doyle through her book known as “The Surrendered Wife.”


Here are excerpts from the Introduction of the book:


Why Would a Woman Surrender?

When I was newly married at 22, I had no idea I would ever call myself a surrendered wife. At that time, I would have been repulsed by the whole idea.


At first I treated him with respect and kindness because I was so impressed with him. Then, as his imperfections grew more familiar and glaring, I began correcting him as a way of trying to help him improve. From my point of view, if he would just be more ambitious at work, more romantic at home and clean up after himself, everything would be fine. I told him as much.


Needless to say, he didn't respond well to this. In fact, the more I tried to control him, the more strained things got. While my intentions were good, I was clearly on the road to marital hell.


None of us feels good about ourselves when we're nagging, critical or controlling. I certainly didn't. The tone of my voice alone would make me cringe with self-recrimination. Through surrendering, you will find the courage to gradually stop indulging in these unpleasant behaviors and replace them with dignified ones.


There was no single moment when the surrendered light bulb went off in my head. Instead, I changed little by little. I experimented, first by keeping my mouth shut and sometimes even my eyes when John drove. When we arrived in one piece, I decided that I would always trust him behind the wheel, no matter how strong my urge to control.


We were intimate again. Instead of keeping a running list of complaints about how childish and irresponsible he was, I felt genuine gratitude and affection for John. We were sharing our responsibilities without blame or resentment. Instead of bickering all the time, we were laughing together, holding hands, dancing in the kitchen and enjoying an electrifying closeness that we hadn't had for years.


The basic principles of a surrendered wife are that she:

Relinquishes inappropriate control of her husband

Respects her husband's thinking

Receives his gifts graciously and expresses gratitude for him

Expresses what she wants without trying to control him


If you're a wife who feels overwhelmed, lonely and responsible for everything, this book is perfect for you. If you can admit that you frequently or sometimes control, nag, or criticize your husband, then it is up to you and you alone to take the actions described here to restore intimacy to your marriage and dignity and peace to yourself. … The point of my journey was to give up controlling behavior, and to look inward instead of outward.


1. Do not surrender to a man who is physically abusive to you.

2. Do not surrender to a man who is physically abusive to your children

3. Do not surrender to a man who has an active addiction.

4. Do not surrender to a man who is chronically unfaithful.


If your husband doesn't fall into one of the categories above, then you are married to one of the good guys. Not a perfect husband, but one who is capable of loving you and cherishing you one who has the potential to help you feel great about yourself and your marriage.


I know what I'm suggesting is difficult. I know it doesn't seem fair. It didn't seem fair to me that I had to work so hard to change while my husband continued to sit around watching television, but your husband will have to make big changes too. … He will have to listen to his own inner voice of conviction instead of relying on yours to tell him when he's not doing something right. He will need to use his own mind to figure out what's best for his family rather than reluctantly carrying out your subtle or not-so-subtle orders.

(Laura Doyle. “The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide to finding Intimacy, Passion and Peace with a Man” 2001 on the Web at  Accessed June 2002)


This new philosophy is being acclaimed by many wives whose marriage became more satisfactory when they stopped trying to “control” their husbands and learned to act like a “surrendered wife.” The lesson I see in this is that a man has more power to make his wife miserable than the other way round. The “surrendered” wife gives up two things. One is her participation in negative interactions that are used by the husband to create a hell for her. This is no doubt a good thing for her and for their relationship. The other thing she gives up is her participation in initiating his reformation. This is not a good thing.


The wife has an essential role to play in her husband reformation. He is dependent on his wife for undergoing reformation and he is rarely able to do it on his own. The examples Laura Doyle gives about her “control” attempts include all the things that he should be listening to her, but refuses. It is his refusal, attitude, and punishing reaction that turns her interventions into “nagging” and “controlling.” She is only courageously insisting that he change his irresponsible, bad behaviors that are abusive, rejecting, and non-cooperative. The wife’s motive is not “control.” This is a basic misunderstanding of the surrendered wife proposal. This notion assumes that what the wife is trying to do is to control her husband. This is a misconception that men have foisted on women so that the men won’t have to change. Anytime a man thinks that his wife is “nagging” him or trying to “control” him, it is most likely not so. This may happen, but it is rare with the vast majority of cases. Wives are more honest and more skilled in relationships. They are given perception about what conduct in their husbands is injurious to their intimacy and love.


This motivation ought to be honored by the husband. And when it is, the husband does not feel “nagged” or “controlled” but helped along the way of reformation and regeneration. If the “surrendered wife” surrenders her role in his reformation, the external marriage may improve, as Doyle testifies, and others who have followed her. But the inner union is made impossible. For that union to develop, the husband must accept his wife’s role in changing him.


1. The Surrendered Husband is The Ideal Elevated Man


Men are unwilling to give up the male prerogatives or perks that society bestows upon them as a right and privilege for being a male man. I received this idea from childhood culture. My parents said it was better to have boys than girls. Boys carry the name and the blood line. Boys grow up to be men with power, fame, and riches. Girls were nice, but they were weak and you had to spend more effort at keeping them unspoiled so a man would want them. They also cost you a lot of money when you give them in marriage. Boys can protect you and take care of you. Yes, boys are trouble sometimes, but you have to give them a lot of slack. Etc. As a result, I was instructed by my parents before marrying that I be sure to “train” my bride right from the start to be subservient to me. She has to follow your word. A man must wear the pants and make the decisions. She has to serve you, cook for you, wash your clothes, look after you properly, like you deserve. And you have to let her know you’re expecting her to look fresh and nice for your, when you come home, anytime. She shouldn’t let herself go. You have to demand respect from her. Then she’ll love you and she’ll be happy, and she’ll take care of your children too. How astonishing to me now, as I list these factual realities of cultural gender arrogance.


The truth in the Writings has now been revealed: It is the opposite! It is the feminine perception and the feminine intelligence and the feminine beauty that is superior relative to men (xx). And so it is the feminization of marriage that sanctifies it and makes it a spiritual and whole (see Chapter 9 Section 1 above). One might wonder: Does this mean that it is the man who has to surrender to the wife—THE SURRENDERED HUSBAND? This would not be far from the truth, as long as you make sure to include the idea that it is another way of saying Rule 1:



The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.


This is what makes the difference between subjugation, servitude, and dominion. Only love can fend away these inherited enemies. Rule 1 doesn’t say “Husbands must obey their wives.” Neither does it say “Husbands should listen to their wives.” It says: “Husbands are to love acting from the wife more than from self.”


If a husband behaves in a way that is pleasing to his wife, he is pleasing her, even if internally he feels emotional conflict and stress. This is the first step of learning to live by Rule 1. It is loving your wife more than loving yourself. This type of love is called celestial, and is the highest human love (xx). If this love is elevated by the husband to the highest position in his hierarchy of loves, he will behave to please her, and this always means firstly, to avoid displeasing her. Eventually he will no longer feel the inner conflict of rebellion when he is pleasing her. He will then act to please her, and love it. From then on he lives by Rule 1, the celestial life on earth. He is conjoined as one from within with his wife. Of the two, they make a one—the conjoint self (see Chapter 9 Section 4 below).


This is the “surrendered husband”—the elevated true man of creation, who loves the feminine sphere of his wife’s affections more than the masculine sphere of his own affections.


The “surrendered wife” is the man’s exploitation of the woman, as a result of which he fails to attain his true self, the self into whose perfection he was created. A man can reach his perfection in the state of being an elevated husband, which is defined as a husband who has learned to love acting from his wife’s affections more than from his own. The man is then a celestial mind, conjoint to the wife from within. Her life is his life because affections is nothing else than life itself in human beings. He then acts from his wife within him. Note how different this is from acting from the wife from without!


If a man acts from his wife from without, he is not a man but a zombie under the woman’s control. She thereby becomes infernal, and he as well, because only voluntary submission can create the zombie relationship with someone. The Lord guarantees freedom of choice moment by moment for every individual in the universe. If a husband becomes a zombie, he maintains himself in that state voluntarily, by his own falsifications of truth or reality. This is acting from the wife from without—she is standing there, with her hands on the hips, staring him down, and giving him orders to prove to herself that she can dominate him. This is an infernal couple. But it’s altogether different when the husband acts from the wife from within.


The expression “to act from the wife from within” means that the husband loves her affections and appropriates them to himself. Now the wife’s affections are within him. Now he acts from the wife’s affections from within. This kind of action is possible only from love of her affections. And what is loved, one chooses freely and voluntarily, in freedom (xx).


2. The Self-Entrapment of Male Intelligence


I agree on this with Laura Doyle and the many enthusiasts she seems to have among married women: It’s far better to be treated in a civilized way by one’s husband than in an abusive way.


What a relief these women feel when their man suddenly stops the heavy handed punishing treatments and abuses, verbal and physical, social and psychological. But he still holds it on top of his wife’s head, like a sword of Damocles, ready to fall on her head if she should step over a line that he defines.


This is an external improvement, like what the citizens experience when a dictator of a country passes away and is replaced by a democracy. Yes, being treated with due human rights is a start. Look what it took for the man to stop making a hell for his wife: Her surrender! He is now back with his male privileges and prerogatives! She is now treated a little better, but at what ultimate cost?


The wife’s surrender in order to achieve peace, romance, and respect is similar to the psychology and politics of blackmail, family style. The man says to his wife: “I will stop abusing you and neglecting you if you turn yourself into a surrendered wife.” And she has no choice but to accept, or else see no end to the abuse to which he subjects her. She has no recourse because the man she is tied to by external marriage bonds, has closed off the interior relationship between them. Yet, it is the interior marriage relationship that is the wife’s life roots, the wellspring of her happiness and fullness of being. This is why she is married: To unite herself from within—feelings, thoughts, futures. She is the genuine married partner while he is the bogus husband, one who does not treat her lovingly, but tortures her instead. She feels like a lamb chained to a wolf who at any moment he wishes, can pounce on her and annihilate her lifeline of dignity, happiness and comfort.


The husband sees himself adjoined to her in the exterior physical and social domains. She sees herself conjoined to his interior psychological and emotional self, his hopes and aspirations, his dreams and perfectionism, his intelligence and power of reasoning. She loves all of these because they are his, and unites herself to them, which means, she takes these things within herself as she takes his semen into her birth canal. But the husband in contrast spews out his wife’s affections and walls himself off to be sure they don’t get to him. He will not appropriate them. His wife’s affections are his pet peeves, the bane of his marriage. It is on account of her affections that he denigrates her, calling his wife a nag, the moment her affections touch him. He acts like he wants to shake them off, like so many worms clinging to his body. He hates conjugial love because he is born with hell within him.


And hell hates nothing more fiercely an insanely than the idea of conjugial love. When an infernal sees a an angel couple, and receive a whiff of their conjugial sphere, they fly into a maniacal frenzy in an attempt to tear apart and squash the couple. But as they approach nearer to the angel couple, the infernals are seized with such anxiety and terror, that they cast themselves back down into hell. This was witnessed by Swedenborg in the spiritual world where the angel couple had descended (xx).


Such is the husband’s inherited opposition to internal unity with his wife. Such an internal unity with the wife REQUIRES that he love her affections!


But he hates her affections and finds them obnoxious and unpleasant, grating and nagging on his nerves. This hatred of her affections is what his lower outward self expresses as abusive behavior, emotional coldness, uncaring, and independent. She desires to tie him to her, for this is the internal unity. He is revolted by the idea and makes him suffocate. He feels all the joy of his life squeezed out of him when her affections touch him. He then feels like he’s been burned and denigrated. He lashes out against this hated foe called his wife’s affections. And she wonders “Why? And how can he be such a beast, such a hypocrite, so self-destructive of his own elevated happiness, who he was created to be, whom I fell in love with? O, O Where is my true husband who has been hijacked by this rude and gross man pretending to be my husband. How long Lord?”


So now that she is a surrendered wife she sees her inner striving for conjunction with him closed off. The door has shut!


How could it be otherwise? He still wants her to obey him! This is the death of the conjoint couple, the celestial ideal creation that makes up one celestial angel. As long as the husband wants his wife to obey him, the interior door is shut tight. She is excluded in an absolute way. It feels to her like death. Now it’s her husband and God, forming an alliance against her. She is the third person. First comes himself. Then comes his God. Then comes her. This is the hierarchy in his mind, the idol he worships, or claims to, for convenience and perks. By the wife “obeying him,” he means that he wants her to act against her own wishes, her own best sense of what their relationship needs! She is the expert who can see the relationship in a rational way since conjugial love imparts the perception to the wife (xx). Her inner desire for conjugial love is the source of her perception form the Lord. The Lord gives her conjugial love, and then he can have it to the extent that he loves her affections (xx). When he doesn’t love her affections, she is powerless like a fish before a steamboat, or like a tomato on the road before a truck.


She feels disjointed, rejected, abandoned for the sake of an external politically motivated physical and social intimacy, but not a spiritual intimacy. What she craves for is a spiritual unity, which means that he loves her affections, appropriates them as his own, then acts from her, now within him. It’s a process that continues and repeats itself endlessly so that she is in the fullness of perfection of her being as a woman. A woman and a man are created reciprocals, in general and in every particular so that they may be united into one conjoint self.


Consider the wife who got into an accident on her way over to visiting her husband in the hospital, where he was waiting for a suitable donor to replace his worn out heart. The take her to emergency and before she dies she wills her heart to her husband. They perform the heart transplant and now he sits at home thinking about her. He lives because her heart is in him.


This story is parallel to the conjugial union which is established when a man adopts the Doctrine of the Wife and Rule 1 as a regeneration discipline. The wife dying represents his hatred for her affections. The wife’s heart that is now transplanted in him, represents her affections within him, because he now loves them. That she is no longer around physically because she has died, represents that she has resurrected in his mind as the conjugial wife. Since this is a spiritual unity, it doesn’t appear in the outside natural appearances.


Perhaps it is necessary for a woman to become a “surrendered wife” for awhile, as a phase in the marriage relationship. This may be imposed on her by the husband’s relationship blackmail mentioned above. But if there is going to be a heavenly marriage with these two, the man must become a “surrendered husband” as discussed above, since this is the state of perfection into which a man is created. This is his “elevated state.” This is the second phase, when the marriage turns into an inner unity between the willing and thinking of the man and the willing and thinking of the woman.


It has been revealed that a woman’s intelligence, wisdom, compassion, and grace is more abundant and inspired than a man’s (xx). A woman’s intelligence is celestial or the highest and inmost of human possibility (xx). A man’s intelligence is spiritual, which is a discrete degree below that of the celestial. A woman’s intelligence can therefore be compared to the noonday sun in the summer, while a man’s intelligence is like the light of the moon on a bright night (xx).


Since this is the created reality, it is rational and spiritual for man to love to act from his wife more than he loves to act from himself.


This means that the highest wisdom and intelligence of a man is that which he acquires for himself from his wife’s affections which he has taken up within himself.


Affections always determine the quality of wisdom and intelligence:


Such as the love is, such is the wisdom, consequently such is the man. (DLW 362)


The affections in the will are called “love.” The unregenerate husband acquires all his wisdom and intelligence from his own affections. This intelligence opposes itself to the intelligence of his wife, which she acquired from her affections. In other words he loves himself and is sealed and isolated in himself. There is no entry point. His wife receives from the Lord conjugial love in her affections (xx). Her affections regarding him and the marriage are therefore heavenly. She now has to wait. At some unpredictable point he will decide to stop opposing and hating her heavenly affections. He undergoes reformation by means of the Letter of the Writings which he applies to his mind, bringing order out of disorder. Now he officially acknowledges to her that he is struggling to learn to love her affections so that he could act from her, rather than from himself. His Doctrine now confirms this process and he is officially ready to participate, to submit, to die, for the sake of being reborn an angel man.


He begins regeneration. He fights against his nature. He has to simulate friendship and enthusiasm as he painfully makes himself swallow her affections, like bitter medicine. As he persists in this struggle, the Lord enlightens him. He builds Spiritual Doctrine for himself whose power is so great that he sees himself a new creation. He loves to love his wife’s affections! He has been healed. He is now the elevated husband in training. He is happy. She is ecstatic. Soon they are both ecstatic. Ecstasy becomes the bliss of their life here on earth. They are forerunners of the new human race. The Alpha Couple. The angels are in bliss for they actively participate in this awesome makeover. Angels love nothing more than to assist in the birthing of conjugial love in a couple on earth (xx).


Now the new husband would not be able to support displeasing his wife, an idea that devastates him as if all his happiness were suddenly gone. He would always act from her affections, which means from her perceptions and perspectives, not his own. In this way he can be conjoined to her form within and be happy and wise to eternity.


But if the wife surrenders to him, he is once again entrapped in his own male intelligence and externality. It’s as if God had not created Eve as an help mate to Adam.


The husband cannot save himself and he cannot be saved by his wife, as intended by the Lord.


The future of this man is sorry and miserable. This fate is not something she contributed to. He is the one who forced her into the subservient status of a “surrendered wife.” He forced her by systematically wearing her down over years of strenuous effort. He made her feel scared, made her doubt herself, threatened her, ignored her, did not value her judgment or opinion. So she had no choice but to give up her most central role and task in life: To unite herself to her husband and thus to make him happy and alive from herself, from what she has in herself from the Lord. This is how the Lord intended it from the beginning and this is what the Lord once again will re-create, as conjugial love is to return to this earth through the Heavenly Doctrines (CL 130).


When the man acts from his wife’s affections which he has internalized (Rule 1), her life is in him like the organ transplant the husband received of his wife’s heart. Her life is within him because her life is nothing else than her affections (xx). His intelligence is now reformed by the new affections in his will. Her higher affections, which are from love and good, shape his new intelligence which are from truth and faith. He receives truth from the Lord as before, but the truth he now receives is far more interior and higher than before because he now has his wife’s affections in the will, and these celestial affections conjoin themselves with a more interior truth form the Lord.


The more the man loves his wife’s affections, the more he has got the celestial love within him, and the more interiorly he can receive Divine Truth from the Lord. When he has only his own affections in his will, the man also receives Divine Truth, but in a more external way. The Lord longs to be conjoined with the man more and more interiorly, as He is already conjoined to the woman through conjugial love.


3. Who Is Going To Do The Bills?


Recall again that “surrendered husband” doesn’t mean that she must now do the finances, the military service, and the paycheck! Equity is not what it refers to (see Chapter 9 Section 5). Rather, to be a surrendered husband means that he prefers to act from her more than from himself. If she says, “Honey, would you explain to me our finances?” he then strives to satisfy her. He explains as much as she wants to know and tries to respond to her inner emotions and intentions so she can feel that he is with her and for her. That’s what she wants, that’s what the surrendered husband gives. Or, if she says, “Honey, I think we should do x, not y” he then strives to value this request, to honor it, so that she feels that he cares and he likes her. If she says to him,


Do this. Don’t do that.

Do it this way. Don’t do it that way.

Start now. Stop now.

Keep up with me.

Lower your voice. Stop frowning.

And other things like these,


and he doesn’t do any of these things, what will happen?


What will happen to her conjugial? She will be feeling a process of breaking off, a growing incapacity to feel conjoined to him from within. This is because he refuses to meet with her in the interior mind. That’s where they are united, each giving something and living by what the other has. He—the cognitive reception from heaven by means of her celestial affections which he has internalized as-if his own. These are the interior truths that her conjugial love craves from within to unite with. Her inmost being or consciousness wants to unite to this Divine truth he receives from the Lord by means of her affections in him.


This is the achieving of the conjoint self. (See Chapter 9 Section 1 above.)


4. The Spiritual Physiology Of Marriage


One expression of men’s distaste of the feminine sphere is the grouping of the people at family gatherings. The men group together and bask in the masculine sphere of each other. Their wives are forced therefore to group with each other. They rather be together with their husbands, but when they try, the husbands abuse them. So the only peace the women can find is in each other’s sphere. This changes completely when a husband is surrendered to his elevated creation, which is that he act from his wife’s affections within him. When he does this, his intelligence tells him that his wife wants to be together with him. He is entertained by her feminine sphere far more than he cares for the masculine sphere. The feminine sphere of his wife is now his life. This is because her life is in her affections, and when he appropriate her affections to himself, her life is now within him. Now he is a complete man, a true human, a celestial mind, a conjugial husband.


The reason husbands hate the affectional sphere of women is that it breathes out conjugial unity, spiritual conjoining in willing and thinking. The man feels this as a process of being shackled or restricted. He feels that the woman wants to encroach on his territory of independence and freedom. He experiences the mother, the sister, the girlfriend, or the wife as constant nagging to do this or to do that, to be this way or that way, never to be who you really feel like being. So men prefer the permissive company of other men who respect the brotherhood rule of not trying to pressure or coerce one another.


The woman’s sphere of affections is animated and domestic, because it is celestial. Domestic uses are celestial while forensic uses such as business, science, and politics, are spiritual and natural uses. The reason domestic uses are higher is because they have to do with the home, with conjugial love, and with raising children. These are celestial uses because the purpose of the earths in the universe is to be a seminary for a heaven out of the human race (xx). Domestic uses are therefore higher. Women are in charge of domestic uses because the affections of women is celestial by birth, while the affections of men is spiritual by birth. Celestial uses are far more elevated and human than spiritual uses.


A man can transcend his lower creation by conjoining with a wife who is created into a higher creation. This is the meaning of the surrendered husband. He is surrendering the masculine idea that his essence is masculine.


For in fact the Lord has revealed the physiology of the masculine and feminine. The man as a whole, and in his every part and particle, is love in his inmost, and this love is covered over with truth, which forms his exterior. The reciprocal is the case for what women are made of. Woman as a whole, and in her every part and particle, is truth in her inmost, and this truth is covered over with love, which forms her exterior.


You can picture this to yourself as a diagram:



What an amazing scientific revelation! How beneficial it would be for society if this revelation were understood rationally. Since man and woman are reciprocals of each other in general they must also be in particular, which means not a single thing in a woman can be like a thing in a man, and vice versa. (xx)


This can be understood rationally if you think of marriage in a physiological sense, which it is. Marriage is something sanctified and Divine since it is the vehicle of the seminary for heaven, and this is the highest purpose or use for creation. Unity is the conjoint operation of two things together so that the result is a new conjoint object that is superior to the composing parts. Man as an individual and woman as an individual are not human units, but only potential human units. A human unit is the conjugial pair that from a distance is seen as one angel (xx). The closest maximum unity is achieved between two distinct individuals. Since not one thing in a man overlaps with one thing in a woman, they remain most distinct. Therefore, when they unite, their unity will be more perfect (xx).


Conjugial unity is so perfect that it demands that not a single thing in a man can be like a single thing in a woman. An exception would reduce the perfection.


This applies to the body and the mind. Not a single fiber in a man can be like a fiber in a woman. Not a single thought a man has can be like any thought a woman has. Not a single affection a man has can be like an affection a woman has.


You can see the perfection of conjugial love when you consider from the Writings, what happens when a man meets a woman and they fall in love and get married. The woman takes within herself the man’s thinking style and reasoning process. This is the same way as she takes his seed through her birth canal and gives it life in her womb. That child born of her represents the husband’s intelligence in the wife. She is now no longer an individual woman but a married woman, which means that she has within her, his seed, his intelligence, his ideas, his manner of thinking. She has a replica of her husband’s mind within herself so that she always know what he is thinking!


Now it’s the man’s turn. His job is to take his wife’s affections within himself just as she took his cognitions within herself. As a conjoint self, the couple has become just one. She acts from his thinking within her and he acts from her affections within him.


Thus they form a superior human being called the celestial mind or conjugial couple. This is the plan of creation, now revealed!


Consider the second diagram of the spiritual physiology of marriage:



The marriage on earth of a regenerating couple is called Phase 1, while their marriage once they get to heaven, is called Phase 2. Conjunction in Phase 1 is external, also called spiritual. Internal conjunction in Phase 2 is celestial. In the external conjunction while regenerating on earth, the husband’s intelligence (“truth, wisdom) is conjoined to the wife’s affections (“love, good”). The wife’s affections are within him as a result of loving them more than his own affections. This gives the surrendered husband a new will from the wife. And it gives the conjugial wife a new understanding from the husband. In this mode they grow more and more into a spiritual unity while on earth. After they are reunited in heaven, they begin the conjunction of Phase 2. Now they are both interior people having cast off whatever was not part of their love and affections. The external truth and wisdom of the husband, are gone. The external love and good of the wife, are gone. What remains in the spirit-body of the angel couple is the interior—his celestial love and her celestial truth. As these unite, they become one angel more and more to eternity (xx).


Unity is only possible between truth and good, which is the same thing as saying, between wisdom and love (xx). This unity is called “the marriage of good and truth” (xx). For the celestial couple, the husband is the good and the wife is the truth (xx). Their conjugial unity is the result of the universal unity between good and truth in the Lord. Marriage is holy because it is an image of the marriage of good and truth in the Lord (xx). Marriage on earth is holy only when the husband’s truth unites with the wife’s love, which is nothing else than her affections. In other words, when the husband loves to act from her affections more than from his own.


The surrendered husband loves to meet his wife’s requests because that’s how he reciprocates in conjoining himself with her, as she is conjoining herself with him. The man who rebels and hates the feminine sphere perceives her wishes and instructions as demands, as nagging, as taking away his freedom, as going too far, as power hungry, as misguided, etc. I have felt all these feelings and they are general to men, because biological and cultural.


A Christian, because he knows the Lord, has the Word, and since the Lord places the church in him through its means, it is obvious that he is more able than the non-Christian to be reborn, so becoming spiritual, and to achieve truly conjugial love, since these go together. (CL 339)


A husband is a form of truth, and his wife a form of good, and that good cannot love any other truth than its own truth, nor can truth love any other good in return than its own good.  If it were to love another, the inner marriage that forms the church would die, and the marriage would become merely external - the kind of marriage that idolatry corresponds to, not the church. (CL 76)


Here it is revealed how the “inner marriage” or internal unity, can be achieved. The husband loves his wife as his own good attached to his truth. Not his own good attached to his own truth—for this is the life of an unregenerate single man, or an unregenerate married man who avoids internal unity with his wife. To take his wife’s good as his own means to love to act from what is in her will more than what is in his own will. This is Rule 1 as discussed throughout this chapter.


[3] Take as another example conjugial love. The good which comes first and is introductory is good looks, or good manners, or outward compatibility, or similarity of social class, or aspiration. These forms of good are the first intermediate ones of conjugial love.


After this comes the joining together of minds (animus) in which one wills as the other does and finds delight in doing that which is pleasing to the other. This is the second state, and although those initial forms of good are still present they are no longer kept in view.


Finally there follows a uniting involving celestial good and spiritual truth. That is to say, one believes as the other believes, and one is moved by an affection for good as the other is moved. When this state is reached both together experience the heavenly marriage, which is a marriage of good and truth, and so experience conjugial love since conjugial love is nothing else.


At the same time the Lord is flowing into the affections of them both as into a single affection. This is a good which flows in down a direct line, whereas the previous kind of good which had flowed in down an indirect line had served as the means of introduction to this good. (AC 4145)


Note the statement: “At the same time the Lord is flowing into the affections of them both as into a single affection.” The expression “into the affections of them both as into a single affection” refers to what might be called the conjoint self.


Why must the husband surrender to his wife before he can achieve the conjoint self? Because:


He hates giving up his prerogatives and superiority status

He loves to have dominion over her

He has justified his superiority by philosophy or religion

He doesn’t trust women’s abilities

He hates the sphere of conjugial love she has within her

He ridicules or gets enraged at the idea he should act from her will

He justifies the falsity in his mind that it should be a kind of equity arrangement—he has his roles and his places assigned by society and religion, and she has hers.


What about the idea that the wife often doesn’t know as much as he does about many things, and so it wouldn’t be prudent or rational to let her make the decisions instead of him.


You will see that this is not a real danger, only an imagined one. It’s a doubt about women being able to be reasonable and practical. It’s the generalized gender bias that men have about women from inheritance and from culture. This biased reasoning says, How can you trust women to make the right decisions about so many things where men are used to making the decisions—etc. These are the doubts that come from not valuing women. The external philosophy of equity that men try to impose on women is nothing but a ploy. And unless men awake from this subconscious acquiescence, they will be men no longer, for the unregenerate man turns into a sub-human worse than any beast (TCR 564). Man’s salvation is regeneration of character, for which the wife is a Divinely appointed and essential instrument. This has been justified by many quotations from the Writings in Section 1 above.


Many intelligent men will admit to this: that the wife is essential in their life. And yet they do not ordinarily mean essential for their inner life, but essential for their outer life. By their outer life they mean their intellectual and economic power and their achievements and awards, including successful children. Many men admit that without their woman they would not have achieved what they did. And also, that they could not be content in life without being in love with this woman. These are noble legends. He may have convinced himself easily enough that he believes them sincerely. If indeed it had been the truth, his woman would have been in the fullness of her being, conjoint to him from within. But instead, she has been offered a fake marriage life, one that has the trappings of external propriety, success, and happiness, but not the real life and animation that is supposed to be within these outward achievements and enactments.


The outward married life remains an enactment until it grows a spiritual reality within. This is the spiritual union held together by each being the other’s all in all in their willing and thinking. Can she achieve this without his reciprocation? No, not in the least, for spiritual love requires reciprocation to become alive and real.


He is satisfied with the outer success, but she languishes from within. He is content to wait and let time pass, endless years and decades to her, waiting for her real man to enter her.


And so what is to be done?


The surrendered husband is a practical proposal. It is just another way of saying the Doctrine of the Wife, which is discussed at length in the preceding section. Women are intelligent and wise from within from heaven from the Lord. They will not do anything that is contrary to conjugial love. This is their highest love and all other loves are placed below and subdued under its command and absolute rule. This is woman’s wisdom: the certitude they feel from within as to whether something is this way or that way in relation to her husband. This is a Divine perception women receive from the Lord regarding their husband (CL 166). It is a perception of seeing the husband’s spiritual mind and content, his inner affections, loves, and reasoning through them. She knows this thoroughly, fully. More than he ever will—until he knows it from her, when he is united to her.


The wife will know when to make a decision, and when to let him make it. She would never override him except for one reason: she can see the danger he cannot see. So it makes total sense that he should listen to her and really believe from within that she has this perception from the Lord. This is the religion of the New Church mind for it is conjugial love, and this union between husband and wife is the purpose and basis of the universe and of heaven (HH 382).


But, but what if she makes mistakes? What if she is uneducated? What if she’s got weaknesses, blindnesses, even neuroses and addictions? The answer is: And what if he has these things? Husbands make many many mistakes, do they not? Is there somebody there to remove him from the office of decision maker and over rider of her opinions when events prove her to have been right and he to have been wrong? No of course not. He makes mistakes as he goes along and the family lives with it. The point is that if he’s willing to live with the consequences of her mistakes she will gradually improve and be at least as good as he used to be—with his help. This is the point. Perhaps he needs to educate her views when ignorant, just as she does that for him. After all, he is free to do as he wants at any time whatsoever. His acting from her will is purely voluntary. He has the exercise that power at any time. Again the point is this: is he after dominion over her or after internal union? This he must answer for himself moment by moment.


It makes sense to think that the Lord is managing this process as closely as any other in the universe. The Lord longs for the husband to want to be united to the wife. The Lord calls the two together, “One flesh,” and “His Church.” (CL 178) The husband-wife conjoint self makes the one angel that is the Church to which the Lord is married.(CL 62). Not the husband by himself, ever, even if he comes to the gates of heaven in Aaron’s robes. The only admittance to heaven for a male man is as a conjugial husband (CL 50). The only.


And so is this not the most important work a man has—to prepare his mind to be a conjugial husband? Which is why a religious discipline is needed, as discussed throughout this chapter.


5. Her Heaven, Not His


The natural world tends to be male dominated, but not because of men’s superior intelligence to women. It is a “man’s world” because the unregenerated natural mind operates by the corporeal principle of “might makes right.” The feeling from which this idea issues is at the level of animals and men’s affections are at the animal level of operation in the unregenerate state. But when they begin to be regenerated their internal mind is opened and receives feminine intelligence through his wife from the Lord. This softening and humanizing of the man shows that man on his own is only a half-man:


And when they become one, then taken together they are man in his fullest sense. But without that conjunction they are two, and each is like a person divided or half a person. (CL 37)


(For more on the spiritual psychobiology of gender see Note 16 at end).


For years now I’ve made it a habit to keep notepads all around the house and write down many of my wife’s observations. I can accurately state that her perceptions and insights form the starting point of the many rational and spiritual ideas I elaborate in this and related articles. I’m especially stimulated by the way her observations contain nonobvious connections to other things, revealing to my sight relationships that raise the level of my understanding and explanations. This cross-gender intellectual borrowing and sharing process creates a more interior spiritual dimension in our relationship. The wife’s interior wisdom from the Lord descends into the natural-rational intelligence of the husband where he builds it into an outward shape that has many new uses.


In this way it has become true that I think from my wife, which is Rule 1 in conjugial development (see Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1). If you ask her she would tell you that this is the ideal to which I am officially committed, but that my actual adherence to it is variable. Therefore I continue to struggle, turning to the Lord for strength to persist. And He always gives it, if only I would take it from Him.


The New Church mind today is only the sixth generation of the new civilization of the Second Coming (1771 onward). We are part of the early generations that are building the great transition of the human race from the temporary external bonds of marriages to eternal interior union. The future of this transition depends on how we today are dealing with the struggles in our mind against the opposing forces of the natural mind. The power of the entire hells is in this resistance and there is no way of winning except through the pathway the Lord laid down in His Second Coming. This pathway is the rule of life for husbands that they must act from their wife and not from self. This is explained in Sections xx and xx). The retain full independence of thinking and willing. They must learn to compel themselves voluntarily in all freedom to love acting from the wife more than from self. In this way their independent understanding—how they think and reason—is gradually realigned into the rational alignment of conjugial love as defined in the Writings. They are unable to do anything without this grounding and intentionality in their daily study of the Writings.


Husbands would do well to explain this to their wife. They need to show them how their conjugial efforts are grounded in the Writings and that this is the cornerstone of their salvation. Only through religion can the New Church husband obtain sufficient power to overcome himself, that is, the forces of hell in him through his hereditary and acquired evil loves. He needs to have an ally in his wife who can remind him when he is down and rebellious:


Now my husband, remember what struggle you are in. This is your life, our eternity. Come now, gather your spiritual strength and your religious motives and go forth in victory over your ego and arrogance. Compel yourself to act from me, my standards, my guidance, my will. For only this is from the Lord in our marriage and what is from you is hell itself. I will help you if only you will help yourself. Give up your rebellion and act like I say to you. Etc.


I’m sure you can understand the intended meaning in this representation and apply it to the particulars of your unique life situation. The wife is to fight for you with all that the Lord gives her, and you are to fight yourself by compelling yourself voluntarily to act from her. This is the spiritual discipline for conjugial husbands.


For many years I’ve been keeping track of my interactions with my wife and my behavior as a husband. This has helped me greatly to become actually aware of attitudes, opinions, and behaviors that I have developed from socialization and culture that are opposed to the development of conjugial love (see Note 16 at end). I noted the many unexamined ways that I insisted on my male prerogatives which a “man’s world” bestows upon men. Husbands interrupt when wives talk and instead of listening they give premature advice. Husbands determine the majority of topics being transacted by refusing to address issues raised by the wives. Husbands raise their voices and make scary faces when they disagree or are angry about this or that. These are maladaptive methods men use to intimidate women whose sensitivities are threatened and injured by this manly harshness. A crucial mental discipline for New Church husbands is to systematically and regularly keep track of how we fail to honor our wife. It requires that we enlist our wife’s help in providing us with information about our behaviors, habits, and traits that are contrary to conjugial love. Wives receive from the Lord special perception into the unconscious traits of their husbands (CL 156). Relying on our own perceptions is insufficient and misleading.


Making lists is very helpful. Keeping cumulative records is what makes into a discipline. What makes it into a spiritual discipline is being motivated to use the records for self-change efforts in conjugial cooperation. Whatever the husband does consciously for the sake of preparing himself for conjugial love is a spiritual discipline.


Those who enjoy truly conjugial love have eternity in view in their marriage; but the reverse is true of those who do not.


The reason why those who enjoy truly conjugial love have eternity in view is that eternity is contained within this love. This is because this love increases for ever in the case of the wife, and wisdom increases for ever in the case of the husband; and as these increase and develop, the couple plunges deeper and deeper into the blessings of heaven, which lie hidden in their wisdom and also the love for it. So if the notion of eternity were torn away, or by any accident slipped from their minds, it would be as if they were cast down from heaven.


It is much the same with marriages on earth. When couples there love each other dearly, they think of their partnership as eternal, and pay no attention to its being ended by death. But if they do think of this, it upsets them; though they are revived by hope, when they think of it continuing after death. (CL 216)


Keeping self-witnessing records conscientiously is a discipline. Consulting the wife’s perceptions about the records for the sake of conjoining their perspective, makes it into a spiritual discipline. It is painful due to our inborn pride and runs against the grain of our culturally received male chauvinism and male prerogatives. Resistance to the process is strong and motivation falters. Overcoming these constantly opposing forces is the discipline. The results are very beneficial and promote conjugial friendship and unity. This makes it into a spiritual discipline.


6. Divine Truth Within Which Is Divine Love


Married and pre-married men can practice many conjugial disciplines that relate to their relationship to a wife. Pre-married men can practice by viewing every girl or woman as someone’s wife. In addition, Christian women have conjugial love implanted and imprinted by nativity (CL 216, 457). The reason only Christian women have this is that conjugial love is only from the Lord and so He alone must be acknowledged in order to receive it (CL 71). Nevertheless the women who are not Christian can also be in conjugial love in the afterlife, when they are instructed regarding the Lord and are willing to receive it (HH 512[3]). The New Church mind exists as a duality: male and female, as determined by birth. No part of the male New Church Mind can be similar or overlap with the female New Church Mind inasmuch as in marriage they are united into a perfect one, and this is only possible with absolute distinctiveness of each unique element.


The Lord’s perfection lies in this: that in Him infinite things that are distinct make a one (DLW 223). The New Church couple is a celestial unit made of two elements that are distinctly different. If things are distinctly different in general they are also distinctly different in every particular (AC 1040[2]). Hence it is that nothing in a husband can be similar to anything in a wife.


This unity cannot be understood outside the intellectual sphere of the Writings. To understand it rationally one needs to apply several things to it: the law of discrete degrees (DLW 186), the Lord’s Proprium that angels use for themselves (AC 8409), the organic composition of the will and understanding (DLW 373), the perfection of unity from discrete elements (DLW 201), the character of temptations (natural, spiritual, celestial) (NJHD 196), the gradual character of regeneration (CL 146), conjugial simulation (CL 282), what chastity is and is not (CL 138), the wife’s interior perception of their husbands which husbands do not have on themselves (CL 166), and other things besides. In the context of these ideas from the Writings physical and mental disciplines can serve to strengthen a man’s suitability for conjugial union.


The focus is on the husband because conjugial love is not inscribed on men from birth as it is on women. It is revealed that men are promiscuous from birth like animals (CL 48) and if they are going to enter heaven they must regenerate into a celestial human being. Only this interior human can unite in perfection with a wife who has conjugial love implanted in her soul.


Conjugial love is lodged with chaste wives, but their love still depends upon their husbands.


The reason is that wives are by birth forms of love, so that it is innate in them to wish to be one with their husbands, and by keeping this thought in their will they constantly nurture their love. So abandoning the effort to unite themselves with their husbands would be abandoning their own nature. But it is different with husbands; since they are not by birth forms of love, but designed to receive that love from their wives, the more readily they receive it, the more readily do their wives come in with their love. But if they fail to receive it, their wives equally stay outside with their love and wait.


This happens in the case of chaste wives, but it is different with the unchaste. These considerations will establish that conjugial love is lodged with wives, but their love depends upon their husbands. (216bis) (see also CL 457)


Physical and mental disciplines by men performed for the purpose of conjugial motives, as defined in the Writings, are spiritual disciplines. But not otherwise.


From what is implanted in them, wives wish to be wives and to be called wives. To them, this is a name of beauty and honor and for that reason they love the bonds of marriage. Moreover, chaste wives wish to be wives not in name only but actually, and because this is effected by an ever closer tie with their husbands, therefore they love the bonds of marriage by reason of the stability of its covenant; and this the more, as they in turn are loved by their husbands or, what is the same thing, as the men love those bonds. (CL 217.) (See also CL 457)


Self-witnessing is at the basis of these disciplines. (See Note 20 for more on self-witnessing techniques).


The New Church mind contains the idea that the evolution of the universe towards its perfection is gradual change back from exteriorization (=creation from Firsts to lasts) to interiorization (=return to the Creator from lasts to Firsts). Creation is a process of distancing from the spiritual Sun which is uncreate, infinite and closest to the Lord. This is the inmost of existence and being. The substance from the spiritual Sun proceeds to a greater and greater “distance” from Itself, going through discrete degrees of transformation, each more externalized than the preceding, until at last it reaches the inert stage of the physical universe, starting with energy and space or ether, and more and more externalized until the various minerals and compounds of planets is reached.


The distance or externalization is a process of becoming more and more inert, that is, less and less life which is the inmost substance of every object. This inmost of every object and particle is the life of existence in a created reality. The word “distance” in this context must be taken as a correspondence for the exteriorization process of creation by substance and intermediaries (xx). The originating substance in sequential order becomes the inmost substance in simultaneous order (xx). The originating substance of created objects is the substance that emanates from the spiritual Sun. This substance is called “Divine Truth within which is Divine Love” (xx).Therefore the inmost of every object or particle in the universe is “Divine Truth within which is Divine Love.”


This inmost substance called “Divine Truth within which is Divine Love,” is living in itself, or life in itself. It is an uncreate substance that belongs to the Lord, and is infinite, since infinite distinct things are contained in it as one. You can see that this substance is be source of infinite distinct or unique things in the created universe. This momentous scientific revelation gives the human race a far higher consciousness of reality than was possible before.


The level of thinking, reasoning, and understanding the workings of the universe is immeasurably increased by this revelation. One important implication is that the universe is rational. The universe is rational since it is created from truth, within which is good. Truth is the inmost substance out of which a thing exists! What an amazing revelation of reality! For instance, a rock, the brain, and a feeling are all created out of truth as a substance of love. Truth creates not from itself but from love or good. Still, it is not love that creates but truth from love. This is what makes the universe rational, and what is rational is both human and alive. Rational defines the human (xx) because the human mind is created an organ for the reception of rational truths from the Divine. When these rational truths are appropriated, loved, and lived, they become our heaven in eternity. But without rational truths appropriated to ourselves by loving them, there can be no heavenly life in us, but only infernal, for all life in human beings is either heavenly or infernal (xx). This is the result of the fact that all things of truth are heavenly, while all things of hell are falsifications or distortions of truth.


This is the same as saying that the living function or quality is hidden more and more within, and doesn’t show in its effects. Animals are less externalized and the life within is visible and obvious. Human minds are the least externalized of the created things, especially the consciousness or rationality of human beings. The minds of women are more interiorized than the minds of men. The male human is more externalized than the female human.


Every man is created that he may live for ever. In the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM, Parts Third and Fifth, it is shown that in man there are three degrees of life, called the natural, the spiritual and the celestial, and that these degrees are actually in every man; while in beasts there is only one degree of life, which is similar to the lowest degree in man called the natural. From this it follows that man by the elevation of his life to the Lord is in such a state above the beasts that he is able to understand what pertains to the Divine Wisdom and to will what pertains to the Divine Love, and in this way to receive the Divine; and he who can receive the Divine so as to see and perceive it in himself cannot be otherwise than conjoined to the Lord, and through this conjunction cannot but live for ever.


In order that every man may live for ever, what is mortal with him is taken away. His mortal part is the material body which is taken away by his death. His immortal part, which is his mind, is thus unveiled and he then becomes a spirit in human form, his mind being that spirit.


As it has been granted me to speak with angels I will also say something from my own experience. I have talked with some who lived many ages ago, with some who lived before the Flood and with some who lived after it, with some who lived in the time of the Lord, with one of His Apostles, and with many who lived in later times. They all appeared like men of middle age, and they said they did not know what death is, but only that there is condemnation. Moreover, all who have lived well, when they enter heaven, come into the state of early manhood they reached in the world and continue in it to eternity, even those who had been old and decrepit men in the world. Women, too, although they had been shrunken and aged, return to the flowering period of their age and beauty.


Thus every man is created that he may enter heaven. This is the end of creation; but all do not enter heaven because they become imbued with the delights of hell which are opposite to the happiness of heaven; and those who are not in the happiness of heaven cannot enter heaven, for they cannot endure it. To no one who enters the spiritual world is it denied to ascend to heaven; but when one who is in the delight of hell enters heaven his heart palpitates, his breathing is labored, his life begins to fail, he is in anguish, distress and torment, and he writhes like a serpent placed close to a fire. This is so because opposites act against each other.


Nevertheless, they cannot die, as they were born men and thereby with the faculty of thinking and willing, and consequently of speaking and acting. However, as they can live only with those who are in a similar delight of life they are sent to them; thus those who are in the delights of evil and those who are in the delights of good are sent to their own appropriate companions. It is indeed granted everyone to experience the delight of his own evil provided he does not molest any who are in the delight of good; but as evil cannot do otherwise than molest good, for there is inherent in evil hatred against good, therefore lest the wicked should inflict injury they are removed and cast down to their own place in hell, where their delight is turned to what is the reverse of delightful.

(DP 324)


7. Is The Surrendered Husband Feminized?


In earlier drafts and articles I used the term “feminization,” as in “the feminization of marriage” or “the feminization of the husband” and, “the feminization of the universe” and also, “the feminization of the Church.” I have a note to myself to go back to my earlier articles and edit out the word “feminization” from the sub-titles as this might be a kind of red flag to some people. While discussing the matter with my wife I suddenly got the sense that it might be an unnecessary stumbling block. Some men might not be able initially to shake the negative implications of this word when applied to a man.


Yet the underlying idea in the feminization of marriage, husband, universe, or Church, is that conjugial love is returning to earth (xx). Conjugial love is feminine. When the husband is feminized it means nothing else than that he has acquired conjugial love, which is now part of him. It cannot mean that his traits have become feminine since it is a Divine Law by creation that not a single thing in a man can be like a single think in a woman (xx). The man before being feminized by conjugial love is the same man as afterwards, except that he now has conjugial love as part of him whereas he did not before that.


8. The Conjoint Mind Is Both Masculine And Feminine


The Lord has now revealed the scientific fact that a man by himself is an incomplete creation and is still to develop to maturity. The mature man is created into perfection when he is no longer an individual man, but a structural or organic part of his wife, so that the two together are one angel (xx). Only as an angel-husband is a man in his created perfection. It is just like the surgical reintegration and attachment of a man and a woman in which her lungs are removed and her heart is attached to his lungs. And his heart is removed and his lungs are attached to her heart. This integrated new body corresponds to the conjoint mind of an angel-couple, which therefore has both masculine and feminine characteristics.


The Doctrine of the Wife, through Rule 1, creates the conjoint mind. Through Rule 1 the husband’s will, which corresponds to his heart, is removed, and it is replaced by the wife’s heart to which he keeps himself cleaving by conjugial love and the motive to acquire it. From the perspective of the husband, thinking and acting from his wife’s will, which corresponds to her heart, is to lay aside his individual independent will, which was entirely masculine. Henceforth his masculine understanding is to operate from a feminine will, just as his masculine lungs would be purified of impurities and poisons by the feminine heart to which he is now joined. To be a conjoint mind means that the husband thinks from his wife’s will or affections, and the wife thinks from her husband’s understanding or thoughts. He is feminized while she is masculinized, even though they each retain their full gender, gaining everything, losing nothing.


What does it mean specifically to say that the husband loves to think and act from the wife’s willing more than from his own willing?


Consider how you might describe your daily behavior. You act in accordance with your thinking, which is from your willing. In other words, the motives and affections in your will select and direct those thoughts that serve its affections and motives. The thinking is therefore from the willing, and the acting is from both of them together. This is the way we operate prior to being a conjugial husband.


As we are reformed by the Doctrine of the Wife, and struggle daily and hourly to follow Rule 1, we begin gradually to change from the operation just described. Now we inhibit and weaken and suppress our own affections and motives in interacting with our wife. Instead, we begin to compel our thinking to fit the wife’s requests and needs. This is gradual because we do not hear her requests except in a weak sense at first, gradually gaining strength until we can actually hear the request she had been making for years. Then we sometimes compel ourselves to think in accordance with the request, but sometimes we choose not to, and then we slide back, to the chagrin and suffering of the poor wife. But eventually we get better at it, more honest in our attempts, and at last our wife begins to say new things about us, things that a conjugial wife says to her conjugial husband who has become her bosom friend.


The more we think from the wife’s willing, the more our mind is conjoined to her mind. When our thinking is done from her willing, our doing will be called the works of conjugial love. This is what the Lord has Commanded by saying that the man shall leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife (xx). “Father and mother” refers to the man’s own willing and thinking, since willing relates to good, and “father” represents good, while thinking relates to truth, and “mother” represents truth or the Church in us. We leave our own “father and  mother” by laying aside our own willing, and the independent masculine thinking that goes with that willing. And in its stead, we hook ourselves into our wife’s willing by knowing her affections and hearing her requests. This is the meaning of the promise to “honor” her which we solemnly make at our sacred wedding. “To cleave to the wife” signifies to honor her by reforming our thinking to fit her willing, and then acting by the new thinking from her willing. In this way we act agreeably to her and she can conjoin herself to our new mind even more than before. this is a continuous process over the years. Happy is the couple on this earth that is immersed in this process.


Conjugial love is the highest of all loves and uses in the universe (xx), for which all other loves exist, for which all created objects exist. Conjugial love is called a celestial love (xx). This highest of all loves is received from the Lord in the inmost of the wife, and conjugial love in the wife becomes the source of conjugial love for the husband (xx). It is in the husband only to the extent that her heart is in his, that is, to the extent that he has appropriated to himself her affections and now thinks and acts from them. Thus, he is in the state described by Rule 1 of the Doctrine of the Wife. This is meant by the elevated husband.


Conjugial love in the man is therefore the exchanging of his old masculine will and affections for her feminine affections, which are her will, her love. Her love is now in him and he thinks and acts from her love.


All thinking and acting is from love (xx), and he either acts from his own love or from her love in him.


To be able to act and think form her love requires that he appropriate her love, that is, make her affections to be in his will. This appropriation, or interiorization, is achieved solely by loving them, for only loving something can be appropriated to a human being. Once appropriated, it remains forever. Now he is a new man, for the man is his intelligence, and this is such as his love is (DLW xx). Now he acts from a higher love than before because woman’s love is higher than man’s, her love being celestial, while his love being spiritual, and the two are as far apart as the noonday sun light is from the midnight moon light (xx).


Man was created into a perfect order. He arrives in this perfect order when he becomes the elevated husband. He achieves this higher existence by exchanging the hereditary and acquired masculine affections in his will with the feminine affections of his conjugial life. Her affections are higher because she is the only one that receives conjugial love directly from the Lord (xx). The Lord provides that the husband also has conjugial love, but not directly from Him, but directly from his wife. This appropriation to himself of the Lord’s conjugial love in her, effects his elevation. And this appropriation of her love as his own makes him hers, for he now is what his love is, purely hers. His new thoughts are now created by this new will, which is his wife’s in him. These new thoughts are higher than his thoughts before the makeover of his will. Now the wife takes these new thoughts into herself as she does his seed through the thighs (xx). This is her delight of unity that is indescribable according to the celestial wives who talked to Swedenborg about it in a rose garden (xx).



Chapter 2, Section 5


By Sarai" as a "wife," is meant truth (AC 1431)

To act from the wife is to act from truth!


5. Rule 1: The Regeneration Discipline Of Acting From The Wife


The Doctrine of the Wife is a Spiritual Doctrine that can be summarized in the form of a correspondence expressed in the natural-rational expression called Rule 1:



The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.


(See Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1)


Every man always acts and thinks from his love. The understanding thinks form the will (xx), and such as the love is in the will, such is the intelligence in the understanding (DLW xx). Prior to regeneration, the husband acts and thinks from his own loves in the will. As he undergoes regeneration he learns more and more to act and thin from his wife’s loves which originate in her will, but which he has appropriated to himself by loving them more than he loves his own affections. Clearly, the consistent application of Rule 1 will guarantee that the husband acquires a new will. This is what it means to say that the Lord created Eve as an help mate to Adam. Were Adam to continue thinking and acting from his own love, he has no choice but to fall into self-love. Loving one’s own intelligence is the serpent of hell (xx). So the Lord provides that the wife take the husband’s intelligence into herself as she takes his seed through the thighs (xx). And the Lord provides that the husband take the wife’s affections into himself by cleaving to them, which is to love them and to do them. Now they can each love their reciprocal in the other, which is the conjugial unity from within, namely a unity of minds or spirit.


Note that Rule 1 eliminates all elements of dominion from the couple. At first the male mind abhors this notion. All sorts of oppositions arise to make this a hard rule for him. Its felt hardness or pain comes from its opposition to the numerous male prerogatives that we receive from culture and which we like and don’t want to give up. The corporeal self is not about to give them up without a fight to the death. This is the death of the unregenerate corporeal self we have from birth. This animal mind is turned against the interior rational or human (TCR 564[2]). It must die (AC 1408). And in its place the Lord creates a new corporeal that is obedient to the interior human and suitable for conjugial union.


Consider what the Lord is saying to us about conjugial unity:


Marriage in heaven is a conjunction of two into one mind. It must first be explained what this conjunction is. The mind consists of two parts, one called the understanding and the other the will. When these two parts act as one they are called one mind. In heaven the husband acts the part called the understanding and the wife acts the part called the will. When this conjunction, which belongs to man's interiors, descends into the lower parts pertaining to the body, it is perceived and felt as love, and this love is marriage love. This shows that marriage love has its origin in the conjunction of two into one mind. This in heaven is called cohabitation; and the two are not called two but one. So in heaven a married pair is spoken of, not as two, but as one angel. (HH 367)


As husbands, our eternal life in heaven depends on learning to love to be conjoined to our wife in an internal union, not external. How do you figure you’re going to acquire this love? None of us men have it from birth and all our upbringing and culture has led us to oppose this kind of union and to fight against it, yeah, to desire to destroy any vestige of it that we can see in our wife. Women are born with conjugial love, implanted by the Lord from nativity (CL 223). But men must acquire it through the wife—there is no other source.


So it stands to reason we’re not going to heaven if we do not suffer ourselves to acquire this love from the wife. Rule 1 is the regeneration discipline that can get us there! The Lord has Commanded that we do everything in our power to get there! The celestial husband is called the elevated husband. This is the Lord’s purpose an intent in creating him. The elevated husband has reached into the creation of his perfection and is a true image of the Lord. His wife’s heart is in him and directs his thoughts and drives his acts. The Lord’s conjugial love enters her will and by making her will his own, the husband is appropriating conjugial love. There is no other salvation for man but through his wife. The man cannot approach the Lord directly to obtain this love and therefore he remains at a distance from the Lord without this love in him.


And since this love can be in the husband only by his interiorizing her affections, you can see that Rule 1 of the Doctrine of the Wife becomes the only means of salvation the Lord has provided for the husband who is forming the New Church mind in himself.


You can see from the passage above that “In heaven the husband acts the part called the understanding and the wife acts the part called the will” (HH 367). It is said that the wife acts the part of the will because it is her will in the husband that animates his acts and thoughts. It is said that the husband acts the part of the understanding because it is the understanding that acts, but it acts not from itself but from the will (xx).


1. Achieving Internal Union


Husband and wife in heaven make one angel—I call this the conjoint self. The angel couple is a husband and wife, two distinct individuals, each with their own mind and spirit-body, each with their own daily duties and activities with others in their angelic society (xx). Outwardly it appears that the elevated husband acts from his own will as he goes about his daily activities with other husbands, making decisions, dealing with visitors, etc. (xx) But this outward appearance does not make apparent what is going on in the interior mind of the angel husband.


The following Number gives a description of conjugial love by means of the correspondences expressed as a Memorable Relation in CL 75. I will add some comments after each segment regarding its correspondences. The purpose of figuring out the correspondences is to apply the Letter to one’s regeneration. If we merely read the Memorable Relations, remaining in its literal meaning, and not considering its correspondences, we do not know how to apply the Number to oneself. Yet the Word is given for our regeneration. By figuring out the correspondences we can gain a clearer understanding of what the Number is discussing from a spiritual perspective rather than natural-rational. On the surface it appears that this Memorable Relations is about a visit Swedenborg made to the heaven of the people from the Most Ancient Church on earth. And indeed Swedenborg did make such a visit, as he reports it in detail and sincerity. Nevertheless there was a Divine purpose in his making this trip, and this purpose was that he be able to record the events, and that this record be the Word of the Second Coming in its internal series.


The Spiritual Doctrine we extract according to this internal series, is the means by which we are to be regenerated. Therefore we need to see each expression as a correspondence, and that constitutes the first step of extracting the Spiritual Doctrine (see Volume 2 for more details on this process).


The first experience.

I was once meditating about conjugial love, when my mind was seized with a desire to know what this love had been like in the case of those who lived in the Golden Age, and also in the following ages, which were named after silver, copper and iron. (…) At once I found an angel beside me, who said: 'I have been sent by the Lord to be your guide and companion. First I shall guide and accompany you to those who lived in the first era or age, known as golden. (…) I was in the spirit, so I prepared myself for traveling, and we set our faces towards the east. As we went I saw a mountain, the top of which was higher than the level of the clouds. ... (CL 75)


Swedenborg represents the New Church mind since he is the first of the new human race which began with the Lord’s Second Coming, completed on June 19, 1771 (xx). “I was meditating” signifies the New Church mind when it is enlightened by the Lord during regeneration. “To be seized with a desire to know conjugial love” signifies that the New Church mind is regenerated by means of this love. The four ages “Golden, silver, copper, and iron” represent the phases we undergo when being regenerated by means of conjugial love. The inmost phase is simultaneous order is the first phase in successive order. Hence Golden is visited before silver, and this before copper, and last is iron. This means that the last is also the outermost phase. The apparent order is the reverse of the actual order (xx). So we enter the iron phase first, then the copper, then the silver, and at last the Golden.


To “be in the spirit” means that we are being regenerated by the Spiritual Doctrine, not the Letter. To “set the face to the east” signifies to obtain the Spiritual Doctrine, for this is the Lord (xx), and the “east” in the human mind refers to the Spiritual Doctrine we have acquired from the Letter. “To see a mountain” in the east signifies the Lord’s presence in the Spiritual Doctrine, for He is called a Mountain. That the top of the mountain “was higher than the level of the clouds” signifies that the Spiritual Doctrine is from the spiritual sense within the Letter. It is the Letter that is called a cloud (xx). Above also means within (xx) and therefore the expression “higher than the level of the clouds” means the spiritual sense within the Letter.


Continuing with the Number:


We went across this plain and saw tents upon tents to the number of many thousand extending as far as the eye could see before us and to the sides in all directions … When these men saw us, they hurried up to us and said: 'Where do you come from, and how have you come here? Your faces are not those of the people of our mountain ... (CL 75)


The expression “to go across a plain” signifies a change of state. The expression “to see tents upon tents” signifies to be conjoined to “holy things of love, namely, the walking uprightly, and working righteousness” (AC 414). The expression “to the number of many thousand extending as far as the eye could see before us and to the sides in all directions” represents the universal presence of conjugial love in all creation. It is said that Swedenborg’s “face is not the face of the people of the mountain” by which is signified that the New Church mind does not have conjugial love in it until it is regenerated.


Since I was thinking that I wanted to know about marriage among the most ancient people, I looked in turn from husband to wife and back again, and observed that their faces showed how they were almost of one soul. So I said: 'You two are one.' The man replied: 'We are one. Her life is in me and mine is in her, so we are two bodies, but one soul. The union between us is like that of the two cavities in the chest, called the heart and lungs. She is my heart and I am her lungs. But since by heart we understand here love and by lungs wisdom, she is the love of my wisdom, and I am the wisdom of her love. Her love therefore forms the outer covering of my wisdom and my wisdom is inwardly inside her love. As a result, as you said, the unity of our souls is to be seen in the look of our faces ... (CL 75)


The expression “wanting to know about marriage among the most ancient people” signifies readiness to be regenerated for the sake of conjugial love. Conjugial love in its interior is the unity between the husband’s understanding and the wife’s will. “Her life” refers to the wife’s will (“she is my heart”), while the husband’s life in the wife refers to his understanding (“I am her lungs”) which she appropriates as belonging to her love (“she is the love of my wisdom”).


This organic unity between husband and wife is the celestial state in which conjugial couples are.


The second account:

One time, while speaking with angels in the spiritual world, I was filled with a pleasant wish to see the Temple of Wisdom, which I had seen once before. (…) In the company of two angels I then went in the direction that the light grew brighter, and I ascended by a steep path to the top of a certain hill which was in the southern zone, where I found a magnificent gate. (…) As I looked around in the garden, I saw some smaller buildings, replicas of the temple, with wise men in them. (…)


The expression “while speaking with angels in the spiritual world” signifies that the New Church mind is celestial. The “Temple of Wisdom” represents the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind which is of Divine origin. The expression to “ascend by a steep path to the top of a certain hill “ signifies to struggle against what opposes the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind, and to overcome it. “In the company of two angels” signifies that we overcome what in us resists regeneration by appealing to the Lord who gives strength through heaven. The “Southern zone” represents enlightenment when perceiving the spiritual sense within the Letter of the Writings, which is called “wisdom in a state of light.” Seeing a garden with buildings and wise men represents the Spiritual Doctrine seen in its internal series.


I saw inside that the building was divided into two sections, and yet the two were still one.  It was divided into two sections by a transparent partition, but it looked like one room because of the partition's transparency, which was like the transparency of the purest crystal.  I asked why it was arranged like that.


The building represents the truths of Doctrine arranged in their order. The two sections represent the Letter and its spiritual sense. That “the two were one” signifies the spiritual sense within the Letter makes a one. That they are separated by a transparent partition means that those who are enlightened by the Lord when reading the Letter can perceive the spiritual sense within it. The Letter in the understanding represents reformation, while the spiritual sense represents regeneration.


The receptionist said, "I am not alone.  My wife is with me, and though we are two, yet we are not two but one flesh."


“My wife is with me” signifies that the affections in the will are regenerated by means of the truths in the understanding. When the understanding is reformed and the will is regenerated, they form a marriage or union, so that they act together, as one.


To which I replied, "I know you are wise, but what does a wise man or wisdom have to do with a woman?"


This signifies the desire to know how the will and the understanding make a unity.


At this, with some feeling of annoyance, the receptionist's expression changed, and he stretched out his hand, and suddenly, then, other wise men were present from the neighboring buildings.  To them he said with amusement, "Our visitor here says he wants to know what a wise man or wisdom has to do with a woman!"


They all laughed at this and said, "What is a wise man or wisdom apart from a woman or apart from love?  A wife is the love of a wise man's wisdom." (…)


After these and several other similar views were expressed, one of the wives appeared through the crystal-like partition, and she said to her husband, "Speak, if you wish."


And when he spoke, the life in his wisdom from his wife was perceived in his speech, for her love was in the tone of his voice.  Thus did experience bear witness to the truth expressed. (CL 76)


The transparent partition in their dwelling place portrays how the two minds—husband and wife—act as one. The dwelling place (house, tent, palace) represents the mind in which there are many things that are our own. Husband and wife live in one dwelling place that they share and each consider as their own. The partition represents the fact that husband and wife are each an individual, permanently distinct. The transparency of the partition makes it disappear as if it wasn’t there. This represents the fact that husband and wife act as one conjoint self. How is this possible? It is explained how: he acts from his wife’s will and she acts through her husband’s understanding. Another way of saying this is that her will and his understanding make up one conjoint self. That is, when the husband thinks, he does it from the wife’s affections and motives, and therefore when the husband acts, he acts from the wife. His thoughts are nothing but the outward form of her affections (xx).


It is not possible for an angel husband to act from his own will—without immediately losing all his angelic happiness and wisdom (xx). Picture yourself as an angel husband in the afterlife: you will then love to act from her will more than from your own will, or else you could not be there. Now ask yourself: How am I going to learn to love to act from her will more than from my own, since right now I do not have this love and striving? The answer is that we must go through a spiritual discipline to teach ourselves to love this new love—if indeed we wish to become an angelic husband and live with our true love in eternal bliss. The only other alternative is to live in hell in an infernal marriage with a concubine we hate (CL 464). What a choice!!


It is not known at this day what marriage love is, or whence it is ... Marriage love is willing what another wills, thus willing mutually and reciprocally ... Those that are in marriage love dwell together in the inmosts of life ... It is such a union of two minds that from love they are one ... For the love of minds, which is spiritual love, is a union ... (HH 367)


Moreover, such a conjunction of husband and wife in the inmosts of their minds comes from their very creation; for man is born to be intellectual, that is, to think from the understanding, while woman is born to be affectional, that is, to think from her will; and this is evident from the inclination or natural disposition of each (HH 368).


From all this it is evident that love truly conjugial is the union of two persons in respect to their interiors, which belong to the thought and the will, thus to truth and good; for truth belongs to the thought, and good to the will.


For one who is in love truly conjugial loves what the other thinks and what the other wills; thus he also loves to think as the other does, and he loves to will as the other does; consequently to be united to the other, and to become as one man.


This is what is meant by the Lord's words in Matthew:

"And they twain shall be one flesh, therefore they are no more twain, but one flesh" (Matt. 19:4-6; Gen. 2:24).

(AC 10169)


It’s important to understand that internal union with a wife is made possible by the permanent and absolute duality in the psychobiological distinctness between man and woman. The body could not function as itself were it not constructed out of the circulatory and respiratory systems acting as one. These two systems are distinct and permanently different from each other. Only then can they achieve a perfect union as an integrated body. The conjoint self of the married couple is a new construction by the Lord, who out of two separate individuals, human male and human female, He creates a perfect union of one angel. The distinctness of each, which is not a perfection by itself, becomes a perfection in a conjoint self. This new entity has a will and an understanding, and the will is that of the wife and the understanding is that of the husband. United they make a functioning angelic mind.


There is no status differential or equity in this kind of union. Is the heart more important than the lungs? Neither can function without the other. In the body, the heart rules, and the lungs cooperate. The heart corresponds to the will in the mind and the lungs to the understanding. In the conjoint self the wife rules because she is the will. The will always rules the understanding just as the motive always drives the plan, and the two together engender the outward act or sensation (DLW 214). This is why it is necessary for us husbands to teach ourselves how to act from the wife’s will. This has got to become our permanent discipline while we are in the physical body. In the afterlife, we will do so spontaneously and irresistibly. But here, we at first hate it, which is why I said that we “must be willing to suffer ourselves” to learn to act from our wife. The Lord gives us power in our religious disciplines, the ability as-of self to carry it out. Hence it is a commandment that we disregard our hatred for conjugial love and to simulate loving it for as long as do not love it (see Chapter 9, Section 4 below).


There is no conjugial love possible until the husband becomes willing to love his wife’s thinking, reasoning, willing, and doing. This is what makes the interior union! Clearly then all regenerating husbands must practice in doing this even if they don’t feel like it or even if they can think of many reasons why not to. They ought to think rationally about it and compel their natural mind to obey and conform to this sacred commandment. They ought to simulate this behavior while they’re learning to love it. It stands to reason that if the Lord commands us to love Him and neighbor we have no choice but to teach ourselves how to even if we don’t feel like it. This is true human liberty. Similarly, when the Lord commands husbands to love their wife’s willing, thinking, and doing we have no choice but to compel ourselves to do so even when we don’t feel like it.


Everyone, whether man or woman, possesses understanding and will; but with the man the understanding predominates, and with the woman the will predominates, and the character is determined by that which predominates. Yet in heavenly marriages there is no predominance; for the will of the wife is also the husband's will, and the understanding of the husband is also the wife's understanding, since each loves to will and to think like the other, that is mutually and reciprocally. Thus are they conjoined into one. This conjunction is actual conjunction, for the will of the wife enters into the understanding of the husband, and the understanding of the husband into the will of the wife, and this especially when they look into one another's faces; for, as has been repeatedly said above, there is in the heavens a sharing of thoughts and affections, more especially with husband and wife, because they reciprocally love each other. This makes clear what the conjunction of minds is that makes marriage and produces marriage love in the heavens, namely, that one wishes what is his own to be the others, and this reciprocally. (HH 369)


So to learn to love this state it would be wise and prudent and good for us to practice conjugial disciplines. At the forefront of our mind will be Rule 1: that we are to learn to love to act from the wife more than from self. At first we oppose this idea in our mind as all sorts of objections come in. O.K., I agree to love her thinking and willing, but where does it say I have to act from her thinking and willing? Wouldn’t that turn me into a zombie? Am I not responsible for my own thinking and behaving? How can I act from another and still be required to account for my own actions? Besides, what if she is wrong about something? Wives have to regenerate just like other people and God knows how many women are messed up. Should I just go along with her misconceptions and weaknesses? Isn’t this the wrong way to love her? Etc. etc.


When these objections come into us, the first reaction we should have is to say: All right, whatever the answers are, the Lord will enlighten me. One thing is for sure: I will not depart from the commandment which is that I teach myself how to love her willing, thinking, and doing. This I’m going to do no matter what. Then within this context of reaffirming the positive, we can go to the second step—demolishing the objections with rational arguments based on what we have taken up from the Writings into our mind. Once again this shows the crucial importance of studying the Writings daily in order to accumulate all the knowledge we need to take care of these natural dilemmas and resistances.


I have been shown how the delights of marriage love advance towards heaven, and the delights of adultery towards hell. The advance of the delights of marriage love towards heaven is into states of blessedness and happiness continually increasing until they become innumerable and ineffable, and the more interiorly they advance the more innumerable and more ineffable they become, until they reach the very states of blessedness and happiness of the inmost heaven, or of the heaven of innocence, and this through the most perfect freedom; for all freedom is from love, thus the most perfect freedom is from marriage love, which is heavenly love itself. (HH 386)


2. I’m Commanded To Not Disagree With Her


To summarize the answers that are to be given to objections to Rule 1: I’m commanded to love her thinking and willing. That means her reasoning and choices in relation to our marriage and our relationship. Obviously it doesn’t mean in other things since the special perception she receives from the Lord has to do with all things about her husband’s interior mind, not about his external knowledges and skills. A wife who is given the freedom by her marriage to open up her conjugial love, loves her husband’s thinking more than she loves her own. She is and feels herself to be the very love of his thinking (CL 193). Love compels her to learn and adopt this thinking, and to think from it. So we husbands need not worry at all that our wife will want to expand her sphere of thinking to override us in our forensic and intellectual expertise. All the objections fall to the ground when we hold this thought: Rule 1 applies to all things of our marriage and relationship.


Now what does it mean to love her thinking and willing? Does it not mean to want to conjoin with it and to be as-if it? Can you love your wife’s thinking and willing simultaneously as you disagree with her on any thing? When such a disagreement arises in your mind, as it so often does in the course any day with her, can you love her thinking even as you disagree? No, for one can have only one love spiritually, and one serves either one or the other as master (Mark 3:24). For to love something is to serve it (AC 9039[3]). And if you disagree with her, you serve yourself and you love yourself. But if you compel yourself to go along and express as-if agreement, then you love her, and then you are in true human freedom (xx).


And finally, the third step, is to keep track by self-monitoring as to when and how often you fail the commandment.


1.      How often you show her that you disagree (overtly or, tacitly by moodiness, refusal, secrecy, etc.)

2.      How often you hurt her (by avoidance, intimidation, abuse, unkindness, neglect)

3.      How often you fail to show your appreciation (her appearance, her sweetness, her contributions to your happiness, her work, her loyalty, her passion)


To the extent that we permit ourselves to disagree, hurt, or abuse our wife to that extent we do not love her, do not love her willing and thinking, and therefore, hate her, and hate her thinking and willing. We are then no longer free but driven by the lust for dominion and hell. Yes, to allow ourselves to show disagreement with our wife is to hate her. This the Lord tells us:


That which is done from love truly conjugial is done from freedom on both sides, because all freedom is from love, and both have freedom when one loves that which the other thinks and that which the other wills.


From this it is that the wish to command in marriages destroys genuine love, for it takes away its freedom, thus also its delight. The delight of commanding, which follows in its place, brings forth disagreements, and sets the minds at enmity, and causes evils to take root according to the nature of the domination on the one side, and the nature of the servitude on the other. (AC 10173)


It took me many years to learn to comb my hair the way my wife likes to see it. My habit from adolescence was to plaster it down flat on both sides of the part. She would rearrange my hair, combing it so it has “body” rather than being flat. She especially insisted on this when we went on camera or were being interviewed with pictures for the media (see Note 17 at end). Why did it take me years to learn to fluff my hair and give it body in the way she thought I should look? The reason is that I preferred to act from myself rather than from her. Thus, I was not her true friend but my own friend. And this applies to many things that are revealed when you lead a life of self-witnessing discipline. Find out what she doesn’t like that you do routinely, and change it.


Do not argue or ask for justification “first.” Just go ahead and do it for the only reason that the Lord commands us to learn to love acting from the wife more than from self. We need to understand why the Lord gives us this commandment, for He wants our involvement with the rational as-of self to assent from freedom and love of obeying Him. And the reason we should learn to love to act from wife more than self is that only in that way can the two be united into a conjugial union. The Lord commands us to do those things that will allow Him to give us more from Himself, so as to make us happy from Him. This is love (HH 399).



Chapter 2, Section 6


6. Giving Up Male Prerogatives As Contrary To Conjugial Unity


Male prerogatives built into our mind from heredity and socialization enter into every fabric and setting of society: the home, the workplace, recreation, dating, marriage, family, religion, drama, song. Men, their mentality, reigns everywhere, and if women gain a political or economic position within the male system, their behavior is sanctioned in terms of whether or not they act consistently with the male system. This maleness of society is maintained by both men and women in the external world. But in the internal where women have freedom, it is different. The difference is described by the Lord as follows:


That in itself the intelligence of women is modest, elegant, pacific, yielding, gentle, tender; and the intelligence of men in itself is grave, harsh, hard, spirited, fond of license. That such is the nature of women and such the nature of men, is very manifest from the body, face, voice, speech, bearing, and manners of each. (CL 218.)


Since intelligence is the very face of the person and reflects one’s character (AR 433), it is clear that men are born and raised opposed to the nature of women. As a result men hate women, subjugate them, seduce them, use them, abuse them, and abandon them. A woman to survive has to feign male traits and behave like men—toughness, seductiveness, rebelliousness, corporeality, independence. But these external personality traits that women feel compelled to put on, are discontinuous with their internal character and therefore women end up living in stress and suffering, unable to flourish internally, suppressed and suffocated in their genuine femininity. This deep dilemma women face in a male dominated world, a man has to understand and take to heart where compassion and friendship lie. The male discipline of conjugial love is a helpful tool for overcoming the built-in male orientation that keeps us in the animal state below our true human.


The departure point of the husband’s conjugial discipline is to acknowledge all of the above and to feel responsible for it. The sin that stands in the way is the man’s accommodation to the male prerogatives he is given by birth and culture. Even men who are ardent supporters and admirers of women and women’s causes in society, may still harbor, deeply embedded within them, opposition to women. Consciousness of where these oppositional forces are hidden in our mind can gradually increase under the discipline. Self-witnessing is the only tool I know that develops this consciousness (see Note 20 at end). And it does it only to the extent that the man is willing to abide by Rule 1 discussed frequently above--that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife more than from self. Self-witnessing our numerous daily interactions with our wife reveals the numerous areas of resistance we feel when trying to apply this rule. Consider the quote that appeared in a previous section:


It should be known, moreover, that, so long as man is in knowledges only, and not in any life according to them, he is in his proprium and led by self; but, when he is in a life according to them - and to the same extent - he is elevated out of his proprium, and is led by the Lord. This man does not perceive, but still it is so; and so far as man is led by the Lord, so far is there good in him, or good is what he wills and thinks. But it should be thoroughly known, that nobody can live according to the knowledges from the Word, except from them he reflect upon his thoughts, intentions and deeds, that is, examine himself, and abstain from evils and do good as from himself: otherwise, there is no reception by man; and if there is no reception, there is no conjunction with the Lord; therefore, neither can he be led by the Lord. (SE 5945)


Since our mind is beset with numerous resistances to our  regeneration we need to monitor what they are, when they occur, and how we manage them in response. The resistances are arranged in a large hierarchy and every man has to learn what his is. Near the top are the arrogant affections for feeling superior to women, which can only be accomplished by putting them down in our mind. When a woman speaks, a man doesn’t listen, interrupts, and dismisses. This is the external result of his internal arrogance towards the woman. When these chauvinistic and undignified brow-beating strategies fail to silence her, they either remove themselves from the wife’s sphere or they put on a fake exterior within which there is an inward hatred for her and desire for revenge and punishment.


The retaliation is carried out either overtly by violence and intimidation, or covertly by passive aggression which they refuse to admit. Thus the wife is neutralized, defeated, and rendered useless for his regeneration. No internal union can be established as long as this process goes on. And no regeneration can take place. His salvation and his eternal future is now threatened. He must stop and back out of this strategy. He cannot silence and suppress his wife without closing up the interior union between them. He needs a conjugial discipline to save himself as of himself (AC 47, 233, 1712, 2877, 5664, 10299; NJHD 148; DP 102; CL 82; SE 5958; LJ 299; AE 864). The Lord is knocking at the inner door, waiting for the man to turn to Him. Rule 1 is a way to let Him in because this is His Divine Commandment to all husbands who are forming a New Church mind in themselves.


But Rule 1 can only be believed by the man if he sets it into the center of his religion. For years I tried without this requirement and I failed, to the immense distress of my wife. But then I made it into a doctrinal issue which I called the Doctrine of the Wife (see Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4). Rule 1 can only be acknowledged in sincerity and power  if the husband enlists the wife as a witness of the covenant he makes between himself and the Lord. This is not a private thing between the man and the Lord. It is a partnership covenant with the wife that is sealed in the man’s love and worship of the Lord. This empowers the wife to fight like a brave warrior for the life of her husband. Nothing less is at stake—his eternal life. He has to come to the realization of the truth that he cannot regenerate by himself so as to turn his character into something that is suitable for conjugial union. Only those men who turn themselves into this can live in heaven. All others live in hell. And this is why the wife is fighting for his very life. This drama is powered and closely supervised by the Lord Himself.


The first phase of the discipline then, is for the husband to establish the conjugial context and motive in his mind. This takes time and goes through a process powered by the Lord who allows spiritual temptations in which the husband feels reeling and screaming. He alternates between states of rage and obedience. When obedient, his wife is encouraged and makes herself available and lovely for him. When he is mean and rebellious, his wife is discouraged and turns away from him inwardly. This painful dance goes on for as long as he takes.


The second phase of the discipline is entered when the wife perceives that her husband is firmly grounded in his acceptance and dependability on Rule 1-- to love acting from the wife more than from self. Now begins a new struggle in which she patiently and bravely intervenes in her husband’s mental life. This requires more daily and hourly attention than several babies and children need from the mother. Everything but everything about her husband needs to be modified and guided to life and sanity: his facial expressions, his manners, his dependencies, his habits, his hobbies and interests, his reasoning process.


Her total guidance and her consistent demands are at first hated by him. He feels suffocated, suppressed, dealt with badly. It’s crucial for the success of the discipline to keep track of all this inner resistance. I started keeping lists and arranged them in inventories. I consulted my wife and she was always able to add new ones to the list. Keeping track over months and years allowed me to see how I cycle backwards, but also, how I progress forward. I kept wanting to make exceptions, to convince her that she is exaggerating, that she is not recognizing all the good parts, that she is trying to go too fast in our process, that there are things which stay as long as I am in this sinful body, that it will be different in heaven, and so on. None of this helped me. I found with amazement that my wife’s determination in changing me was greater than mine in resisting it.


Phase three then began—no more fights. I acknowledged myself defeated and, O so happy and blissful. Now came the long process of sincerely becoming what she wants me to be as her conjugial partner. Resistance melted away as soon as she took a stand on anything. When she was challenged by something I thought or failed to think, or something I did or failed to do, she was able to maintain conjugial contact, to continue perceiving that I was dedicated to following her side rather than mine. The problem issue was a matter of incompetence rather than vicious or gross rebellion, as before. Not: I don’t want to do this, but, How do I do this. In this way I gained in strength and integrity, and she gained confidence and a measure of peace.


My new mental outlook and motive changed the way I talk to her, behave towards her, think of her, and love her. When I show my face to her, a smile of pleasantness comes over it. When I address her inappropriately or with a harsh tone, I feel instant repentance. It shocks me. When she tells me I’ve been neglecting her in this or that, I take immediate notice and desire to make amends. I look around to survey her setting and use my personal services or forensic skills to make things easier for her. I come to her rescue feeling responsible for her state of mind. I attribute all negativity to my failures and none to her. I do not demand or accept equity or equality between us, putting her ahead of everything. I do not use religion to put her in her place and claim male doctrinal expertise or supremacy on this or that issue. I give her all my private thoughts and excuses I want to make for myself so that she can use the knowledge as weapons against my reluctances. Thus she is winning the battle and I can look forward to eternal life in her heaven. This makes it all worth it. And to fail is horrible and scary to contemplate:


By this is meant, that if a man knew the hour of his death, he would prepare himself, not indeed from the love of truth and good, but from the fear of hell; and whatever a man does from fear remains not with him, but what he does from love remains; therefore he must prepare himself. (AE 193)


Repentance is the first stage in the development of the church in a person. … the church enters into a person when he is being regenerated. Everyone is regenerated by abstaining from sinful evils, and shunning them as anyone would on seeing the hordes of hell seeking with torches in their hands to attack him and to throw him upon a pyre. (TCR 510)


Chapter 2, Section 7


7. The Equity Model Versus The Unity Model Of Marriage


Contemporary secular psychology advocates equity between married partners as the desirable balance in their relationship. Equity has an economic-political aspect, and a psychological aspect. Equal opportunity for women and men, and equal pay for equal work. Though this is not practiced in the majority of venues, it is the ideal that is upheld as right, and it is the law. In the psychological arena equity refers to the 50-50 model of sharing duties that ideally applies to workmates, roommates, couples living together, and married partners and their family. Everyone does their share as expected of them or as formally assigned by some procedure, and this has to reflect equitable and just proportions. No one should have to do more than any other relative to their share. The husband and the wife are told to negotiate some sort of equitable arrangement that gets the work done, each according to expectation or assignment. Who does the dishes; who takes out the garbage; who balances the check book; who remembers dates; who cares about appearance; who drives the kids somewhere; who gets to relax and be served; and so on.


Every day brings thousands of such mutualities of service and communal decisions. The occasion that gives psychologists to advocate the equity model is the sad statistic that the majority of married couples don’t get along well and there is much open or hidden anger and resentment between them. It is believed that the equity model might be a solution because a common symptom is that of the women complaining about the husbands with a long list of what they are not doing that is their share to do: helping with house tasks, helping with children, with cleaning, with guest lists and family dates, knowing when to initiate sex and when not, doing enough to comfort her, helping her with problems, letting her to take a vacation from routines by taking over, taking more responsibility for many things, and so on.


The theme in the complaints wives have of their husbands seems to be that they are not doing enough. Therefore psychology says to the husbands: you’ve got to do more in this relationship to make it work, and you need to increase all the way to 50-50 equity. This belief is based on the nonduality between husband and wife. It is a natural idea, not spiritual or rational. The principle of equity in husband-wife relations is so ubiquitous that it may be the most pernicious of all nondualities opposing conjugial union. The race of men is more corrupted than women because power by itself corresponds to a corporeal love that tends to corrupt the natural mind while it remains in an unregenerate state. The principle of equity in marital relations merely maintains the power advantage of men and this becomes their stumbling block on which they sacrifice conjugial union.


The duality of conjugial love is contrastive with the equity principle. Consider Rule 1 as discussed before:



The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.


(See Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1)


This idea is based on the absolute duality between husband and wife. Their relationship of unity must be based on distinctness and its perfection is that not a single trait of the husband overlaps with any trait of the wife. Instead, the traits of each is in a reciprocal relation, and this is what allows their perfect unity. Clearly then, making rules of nonduality between them could not work. Rather than looking for equity arrangements the husband must strive to learn what Rule 1 states: to love to act from the wife more than to love to act from himself. This orientation is based on acknowledging and honoring the absolute duality between them. He is to act from her half of the time, and the other half of the time from himself. This would be equity. Rather, he is to act from his wife 100 percent of the time. This is the meaning of Rule 1. If the husband would do this, the wife would not have any complaints, the psychologist would not be involved in mediation, and they would have peace and happiness together as a foretaste of the true peace and real happiness of heaven.


But is this possible? Is it even advisable? Show me where in the Writings this comes from.


And the answer comes from above: Study the Writings yourself and search and see if you can find doctrines that teach Rule 1. (See Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4).


The male New Church mind can see this more and more as regeneration proceeds. It might be useful to list some of the results from my self-witnessing over the decades. Each item refers to conjugial things a husband is to do 100 percent of the time and anti-conjugial things he must do zero percent of the time. The items are stated in a general way so that each includes numerous particular items in that category (see next page):


Husband MUST DO All the Time



always offer do it for her

always let her decide whenever she wants to

always think of her as perfect for you

always gladly try to perform any request she makes

always allow her to interrupt you (sentence or activity)

always show attention to her

always take her side on anything with anyone

always allow her to complain without restriction or demanding reciprocation

always allow her to throw a temper tantrum by not getting angry at her and not getting into a bad mood



never attach more importance to your point of view than hers

never think your topic is to be handled before hers

never choose something against her wish or preference

never pressure her to go along with you or to change her mind

never want to change her or think it

never prefer to be with someone else (friend, family) or alone (activity)

never complain about her or to her

never show impatience, anger, or disapproval relating to her

never act like you’re not available because busy with something “more important” going on

never interrupt her when she is talking or doing something (wait for a proper moment when her focus is available again)



When you look at this list does your mind protest and want to say, But what about the wife? Doesn’t this apply to her too? Shouldn’t they each be doing these things? Etc.


This desire to balance the sides for husband and wife comes from nonduality in thinking about them as equal or in a continuous degrees rather than discrete. The New Church mind is capable of accepting the rationality and desirability of absolute thinking in husband wife relationship. When the husband thinks in his natural mind his logic then dictates equity and reciprocity as the appropriate and fair solution to all things between him and his wife. But when he thinks in his rational mind he allows the idea of non-reciprocity as fair and beneficial. The New Church mind can bring forth many things form the Writings to support non-reciprocity between conjugial partners. Equity opposes unity and imposes an external affiliation or partnership. Non-reciprocity opposes equity and imposes an internal union. (Section 1, this Chapter).


What happens when the husband backslides from these absolutes in the Table? Here are some of the results:


q       He allows himself to think of her as a nag or bitch or idiot.

q       He thinks and/or says denigrating things, criticizing her

q       He feels and shows anger, rage, and often threatens her

q       He refuses her when she makes certain requests

q       He picks and chooses which requests he agrees to depending on his preference, convenience, or philosophy

q       He asserts his turn to choose and makes her watch a movie she doesn’t want to

q       He neglects her in many ways and denies it

q       He is willing to see her stressed or distressed and not do much about it

q       He wants to retain some independence in areas he picks, giving her no say in the matter

q       He makes many mistakes that inconvenience her and feels little repentance or the desire to make up to her

q       He is romantically lukewarm at times, or frequently

q       He relaxes into male prerogatives, taking advantage of her obedience

q       He chooses when he is to prevail regarding choices of residence, career, budget, friends, family, schedules, recreation, housework


The nonduality model of marriage destroys the development of conjugial love and creates the various plagues listed above. In this fallen state the husband is totally ignorant of his wife’s sweetness and passion, for his negative behaviors suppress the expression of the conjugial in her, turning her life into something harsh and unfulfilled. And yet husbands could enjoy this heavenly sweetness and passion if they only strive to follow Rule 1 and allow their wife to coach them in the process. It’s a choice they make between eternal life or spiritual death, between heavenly bliss and infernal misery. Regeneration is an awesome task and self-witnessing disciplines are useful in helping the husband to learn to cooperate with his wife. It is this work of learning to cooperate with the wife that constitutes the arena for his regeneration. Every error brought to his attention must arouse the desire to repair and modify so that the progress is cumulative.


It stands to reason that there is no regeneration for the husband by himself, separate from his wife. The husband cannot accomplish this task by himself or from himself, but only from the Lord by his wife. He must appeal to the Lord daily, hourly, and by the minute, to receive from Him the motivation and persistence that it takes to succeed (see next page).


Self-Witnessing Exercise for Husbands—fill in today, and a month later, then monthly. Make a chart at the end of the year.



I knew it

I do it every day several times

I did not know it


Watch her walk away from you with romance in your eyes




Notice the work she does all the time by mentioning it with appreciation




Appreciate her style in everything and let her know with each thing separately (“That’s really cute.” “I really love that.”)





Laugh at her jokes and wit and show you’re having a great time





Admire her wisdom, intelligence, and perspective on things





Show that she is your favorite in everything (person, friend, lover)





Frequently express enthusiasm and passion for everything about her (“You’re so great!” “You’re really wonderful.”)





Give her things (presents, mementos, notes, nicknames, surprises)





Treat her all the time like she is special





Each time she needs it: console her, reassure her, protect her, look after her





Look for opportunities to touch her, hug her, hold hands, etc., (once an hour at least while you’re together)





Look for ways of communicating with her when separate (short phone calls, notes left around for her to find)







I call these behaviors “sweetheart rituals.” If it seems that they are somewhat exaggerated consider how people in love act together. Consider how you were together in that first flame of passion, even if it only lasted two weeks. It was a foretaste of heavenly union (CL 275). It is required that we prepare our mind for heavenly life. This is our regeneration process. The Lord can create a heavenly mind in us to the extent that we cooperate with Him. This is our cooperation: that we strive to follow “sweetheart rituals” all the time and allow ourselves no exceptions, ever. If we fail to follow any particular sweetheart ritual, we must immediately repent, reform, and modify.


Repent, reform, and modify. This is our breastplate of honor and virtue from the Lord. Repent, reform, and modify your behavior towards your sweetheart wife every minute you spend with her. Consider that conjugial love is not a status you achieve but a doing you maintain. If an angel husband in heaven would stop doing their celestial sweetheart rituals, he and his wife would be catapulted out of heaven, causing her great shame and distress.


Above all consider that conjugial love is the closest love to the Lord! Conjugial love is above all other loves and closest to the Lord (CL 222). There is no other way to get close to the Lord except through conjugial love. If there were another way, then this other love would be at the top, not conjugial love—and that love is then a usurper and a robber (John 10:1). Thus, we have no other choice but to learn to love sweetheart rituals above our own preferred male rituals from inheritance and hell.


Chapter 2, Section 8


8. The Spiritual Discipline Of Sweetheart Rituals


It is a natural process for love between partners to start with passion and romance during the dating period and the special initial phase following the wedding. Secular psychologists within the scientific orientation of nonduality (or monism) have tracked the expected decline in “romantic love” setting its waning at around seven years into the relationship (see Note 18 at end). Popular culture already had phrase for it--“the seven-year itch.” But careful observation of one’s own marriage would reveal that husbands begin to decline in their romantic heat almost immediately after the initial fuse is satiated. And this comes just days, weeks, or months into the relationship (not years). This miserable outcome is due to the “scortatory love” that is rooted in the man’s natural mind (CL 426). Though a man may try to hide it by overt declarations of faithfulness, his wife or sweetheart, knows it and perceives it easily, to her deep and utmost distress!


This is the way with most men since they don’t undergo reformation until adult life, following years of unregenerate attitudes towards women, sex, and pornography (AE 803; AC 8780; AC 3518:[2]).


 By the time the New Church mind begins to be formed through reformation the person has lived several decades of willing and thinking scortatory loves, ideas, and behavior, imbibing and absorbing the cultural environment, loving it and being as one with it. Scortatory love is roaming love of the sex (CL 112). Only men have it spiritually, thence biologically, though women can also acquire it into their outward personality from culture and society. But men have it in their inner character given the long historical line of the love of dominion over women. Men are born with this love that turns into roaming love, which is the scortatory delights of “free love” or casual sex with any female.


Women have a contrastive inner spiritual inheritance, and therefore biological as well. Women inherit the spiritual love of marriage (CL 169). This is the inmost desire women are born with, namely the desire to conjoin from within with a husband to eternity. This is the woman’s fullness of being and she works tirelessly to achieve it with a husband who has an inborn aversion for that union. The is the harsh labor of love that woman was given to accomplish—to try to unite herself to a husband who inwardly is an angel but outward acts like a devil. If you think this is an exaggerated idea of my imagination then show me where is the husband who doesn’t torture his wife?


Who is torturing his wife and why? Every husband, because he hates conjugial love, delights in torturing his wife in numerous endless ways—to name just a few general areas:


How he talks, stands, looks, eats, does gross things with his body in front of her, neglects the basic things of sweetheart rituals, yells at her, criticizes her, scares, abuses her, disregards her opinion, belittles her mind, rejects her, gets angry and enraged at her, embarrasses her, isn’t loyal to her, doesn’t the details of her life because he doesn’t care, and so on.


Thus I stand convicted, along with other husbands. There is no equity excuse possible for any of us. It is hypocritical and self-serving to say, Well, I don’t do most of those things, and some of them only sometimes. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the motivation for “doing it sometimes.” This motivation is either from heaven or hell, either good or evil (TCR 115; AC 904). There are no in-between motivations. And a single connection to hell that we maintain voluntarily, reserving for ourselves the right to keep that single tie to hell, is our total perdition. There is no partial perdition. An angel cannot survive in heaven if it has a single contact point to hell. You can see this easily. So now it applies to us here, as well. Every New Church mind formed by the Writings exclusively is an angel before the Lord. In his inmost, he is already an angel, for the future is nothing but the inmost of the present. And this is the man the wife loves and wants to conjoin with from within. It has to be from within, because that’s where is the angel she wants to conjoin with.


The Lord gives her special perception to perceive this angel in her man (CL 166). Behind the devil, she sees the angel she loves. But how can she get to the angel when this devil is surrounding him and guarding him? At her intimate approach to him, he snarls at her, seduces her, abuses her, and abandons her, to start fresh with another victim. This is the man we are born to enact and live until our reformation. When the wife is exhausted by her miserable treatment he gives her, she suddenly comes back to life from within as she sees her man undergo the struggles of reformation. And she is happy to renew her difficult struggle for winning conjugial love with this man, who is now undergoing regeneration. He cannot do it on his own, for when he deserts her for a few hours in one or another angry state of mind, he reverts to animalhood—harsh, competitive, self-centered, dishonest, irresponsible, out of balance in everything, lacking empathy and compassion for anyone, isolated on top of a self-created mountain of ice and wind storms.


But the second he turns back to his wife, repenting, apologizing, making up with animation and sincerity, that very instant he revives from within, he gets to descend from his icy mountain into her sweet arms and the protection of her conjugial love, warmth, and healing of wholeness.


These things happen because they are spiritual necessities, hence biological realities.


If a man concentrates his love upon his wife, by shunning adultery as sin, then love with its potency increases daily; but if men take from that love and consume it with harlots, conjugial love becomes like chaff, and dies.


[I mentioned] about a woman, that she said, that it is impossible to love one's wife, because it becomes usual. But the angels said that she is mistaken; and that what is usual, when love is truly conjugial, is the plane in which enjoyments form themselves, from within, as upon a rose bed; and that every separate rose becomes a plane in which interior enjoyments are formed and variegated, and this to eternity. (SE 6110)


The New Church mind has a great opportunity for reversing this natural devolution of lost sweetheart love. The knowledge that conjugial love exists and is actively promoted by the Lord affords us with a brand new and powerful motivation. We know rationally that angel couples make a unity from their male and female distinctness which is permanent in every single trait they each have. Not a single trait in a man can be like that of anything in a woman (CL 46). It is this zero overlap or maximum distinctness that creates the perfection of the conjugial unity, once established. The New Church mind sees from its vantage point that the phenomenon of declining romantic love is the opposite of the process in conjugial couples. Natural marriages in whom one or both partners are not regenerating will experience the natural decline. But conjugial couples in which both partners are regenerating will experience the opposite effect, namely the daily increase of romantic love, with never a reversal. This is how the Lord wills it and it occurs to the extent that we suppress our will and accept His will.


Suppressing our will and accepting His will means that we suffer Him to regenerate us through the innumerable temptations we are to face, struggle against, and conquer with His power, not with our own for we have none. We must therefore consciously ascribe the power to Him, imploring Him that we might accept it, for He is always willing to give it. We accomplish this not by mere prayer and by dint of imploring sincerely, with reflection, and many times over, for this is but the first step and cannot lead to success until we take the subsequent steps the Lord wants us to take, has commanded us to take. And the second step is to acknowledge that we need a discipline to learn and to apply, so that our cooperation with the Lord may be adequate for our continued regeneration (DP 114).


I may suggest here the discipline of establishing sweetheart rituals as one area of illustration. The details I mention may apply variously to particular couples. This is something that every husband needs to find his way around in his own relationship—what is appropriate, what is impractical, what seems to work, how often to perform it, in what specific style, and so on. The things I mention may serve as samples of what might be considered. Though wives will have a deep interest in reading this, they will see that it is not addressed to them but to husbands. It’s the husbands who need to plan, perform, and monitor sweetheart rituals. The wives will respond and react in their own way and on their own pace, guided by secret knowledge and perception they have from the Lord, either consciously or unconsciously.


So the first principle the husband needs to apply is that it is he that is required to initiate and perform romantic rituals. He must not make his wife’s response or reaction a condition for starting and continuing to perform the sweetheart rituals. His mind must be cast into an absolute duality: I am preparing myself to become a conjugial husband or I am not. I am doing this in every act or in none. He must not allow anything in between because that smacks of a nonduality, of a continuum from slightly or sometimes to often to most of the time, etc. A discrete jump is required from the natural concept of “conjugal” to the spiritual concept of “conjugial” (the extra “i” marks the discrete difference). The New Church mind needs to banish from itself anything in between. Of course, the husband’s performance is not going to be a categorical jump—this the wife longs for but knows better. For he will have lapses and relapses over the years and decades of relationship. His performances might look like the stock market that reaches highs and falls back many times, yet when averaged over decades, it will show a steady rise.


I have spoken with spirits about the changes of state of man's life, that it is inconstant, and that he is borne upward and downward, now toward heaven and now toward hell. But they who suffer themselves to be regenerated are being borne continually upward, and thus always into more interior heavenly societies. Extension of sphere into these societies is given by the Lord to those who are being regenerated, especially to those who are being regenerated by means of temptations, in which resistance is made to evils and falsities; for the Lord then fights through angels against the evils and falsities; and in this way the man is introduced into the societies of these angels, which are more interior societies; and into whatever societies he has once been introduced, he there remains; and from this he also receives a more extended and elevated capacity of perception. (AC 6611)


The husband’s performances may jump around, this she will learn to live with, but in the meantime, he must never take back his commitment to conjugial union. The commitment to one hundred percent sweetheart romance must never relapse because this is a thing of faith for the New Church mind, and to relapse in conjugial commitment is to destroy one’s faith and consequently, one’s salvation. Every time we sin against the wife by displeasing her or worse, we must repent and make up for it in an appropriate way, and triple and quadruple the effort never to do it again. To the unregenerate husband this may sound like gender slavery or feminism or some other derogatory idea, but once we undergo reformation (see Volume 1) and we rearrange every concept in our mind to be consistent with the Writings, this sounds like conjugial love, eternal happiness, and closeness to the Lord through all His ineffable blessings to eternity. We know this from the Writings (xx).


The performance of sweetheart rituals starts with self-witnessing. We need to make a list of all the sweetheart rituals we can think of. Many of them are those that we practiced in the initial phases of the relationship. Some we know from observing other couples, either in real time or as portrayed in movies and novels. The list should be lengthened whenever the Lord reveals to the husband one more ritual he can perform. And so it grows, and with it love between them and for each other.


1. Sweethearts Spend All Their Time Together


Observe the time you spend together. Sweethearts spend as much time together as circumstances allow. They don’t voluntarily choose activities that do not allow them to be together. When they are separated by the daily role activities they think about each other constantly and long to reunite. If both are near phones the man in love calls up his beloved several times and they “steal” moments from whatever they are separately engaged in doing at the time. They do not talk about business or duties but about love, romance, longing, and desire. They hang up with regret, because they are forced to, not because they want to. Husbands must practice this approach as a deliberate plan or discipline. It’s crucial to keep track:


When is the last time I communicated with her? How many hours and minutes? How many opportunities for communicating have I let slip by? How many hours and minutes since the last time I thought of her, longed for her? What else can I do on top of what I’m already doing? Can I send an email note? Can I bring some surprise home with me? What words of romance and love do I have prepared for our moment of reuniting? Etc. etc.


When he arrives home he doesn’t enact being tired and wanting to be served by his wife. Instead he enacts being animated and exalted by being reunited with her. He touches her and holds her and sits close to her, smiling, beaming. He offers to serve her, to pamper her. He stays on her topics as long as she desires. He never turns on the TV to shut her up or out. He doesn’t leave her to go play with men and be with men instead of being with her. None of this comes naturally. The natural is to hate this, to see it as subservient to women, as losing manhood, etc. But the spiritual we want to become and are from within, rejects this anti-woman he-man level of thinking. We can see rationally that voluntary enactment of sweetheart rituals are from heaven and prepare us for life in heaven.


Husbands must take care of the temptation to use workload as an excuse for neglecting sweetheart rituals. This is easier if one takes up a radical and categorical orientation with respect to what is always to be on top of one’s workload and recreation—the sweetheart. She must be the reigning love in the New Church husband who is regenerating. There is no regeneration for the New Church husband save through his wife (see Chapter 9 Section 1). It stands to reason therefore, that nothing can trump the wife in importance. She comes first, always and everywhere. The minute that he puts something else first, he has sunk down into the lower regions of the natural mind and thenceforth, rationality and sanity have departed from him. He cannot see this but his wife can, painfully, and she tells him. He must then immediately repent and change direction by putting his wife back into first place. This will not be easy. This is the real test of the sincerity of his faith in the Lord. He must look to the Lord and ask for help to do His will, to follow His commandment. Conjugial love is a Divine commandment. If you never let go of this idea, you will make it through reformation. After that, you never feel like giving it up but want to hold on to it for dear life.


Depending on life’s circumstances some couples can spend many hours together every day and some only a few. Whatever the case is, when they are together the husband must perform his sweetheart routines hour by hour, and minute by minute. This is “quality time” together, making the most of it, as the conjugial demands it. As always, the husband must monitor his actions towards his wife:


How many times has he smiled and called her sweet names during that period? How many times has he touched her, kissed her, cuddled her, held her hand? How many sweet sentences has he spoken to her—complimenting her, praising her, acknowledging her accomplishments, her loyalty, her beauty, her sweetness? How many times has he brought her something to enjoy—a drink, a sweet bite, a flower, a surprise? How many times has he offered, Is there anything I can do for you, sweetheart? Etc. etc.


Sweetheart rituals are continuous non-stop performances of conjugial love. When the wife leaves the room and returns a couple of minutes later, the husband has to take official note of it. Hi, Sweetheart, you’re back. His body has to demonstrate the readjustment, for it’s one thing for him to lie, sit, stand, or work at something while he is alone, and a totally different thing to do these things while she is present. So the ritual of acknowledging her coming back must be overtly marked by visibly readjusting his body and his focus.


Romantic love is spoiled and temporarily destroyed by the slightest negativity a husband lets out in the presence of his wife. His self-witnessing must include the bad things he does:


How many times has he frowned in her presence, or worse, has spoken harshly towards her, or worse, has expressed cold or anger towards her? How many times has he said NO to her for anything? How many times has he neglected her, caused her to cry, to feel abandoned, betrayed, unloved, abused? How many times has made her frustrated, anxious, doubting, intimidated, forced, pressured, manipulated? Etc. etc.


To the unregenerate mind these sweetheart rituals may seem exaggerated and impossible to learn and perform consistently. All sorts of objections present themselves to the mind to prevent, to impede, to sabotage. Even the committed conjugial husband may lapse into temptations of doubt and delusions about being unable to reach such lofty standards of conduct. All this must be overcome by imploring the Lord and reflecting that one has no choice for there is no other way the Lord provides for our regeneration and preparedness for heaven. We must compel ourselves to perform the sweetheart rituals whether we feel like it or not (CL 282). Make your feeling irrelevant in deciding whether to do or not. Do not allow yourself a choice or an exception. If you fail to perform in any one instance, then monitor, reflect, repent, repair, and go on. But we must not fail in our commitment and in our orientation. For this is what drives the whole thing.


It is primarily men who adopt simulations of conjugial love or outward shows of friendship for the sake of peace and tranquility at home. This is owing to their natural characteristic of doing what they do by an exercise of the intellect. Because the intellect is a thinking faculty, it occupies itself with various matters which disturb, distract and trouble their spirit. Consequently, if they were to find no peace at home, eventually their vital forces would languish, their inner life would sink almost into a state of death, and thus the health of both mind and body would be ruined.  Men's minds would be assailed by the fears of these and many other dangers if they did not find havens of refuge at home with their wives to calm the turmoil of their intellect.


[2] Besides, peace and tranquility soothe their minds and dispose them to receive favorably kindnesses offered by their wives, who spend every effort to dispel from their minds the clouds which they keenly observe in their husbands.  And this also makes their wives' presence agreeable.


It is apparent from this that a simulation and seeming display of truly conjugial love for the sake of peace and tranquility at home is both necessary and useful.


To this we add the further note that simulations on the part of wives are not the same as simulations on the part of men. Even if they appear similar to them, they are expressions of real love, because women are born forms of love for the understanding of men. They accept their husbands' displays of favor graciously, therefore, if not in words, still in heart. (CL 285) (see also CL 282)


This passage shows that conjugial simulation is taught by the Lord and therefore it is to be taken as a commandment for husbands. A husband who is angry with his wife or treats her badly is breaking the Lord’s commandment. There is no salvation possible when we reject any of the Lord’s commandments. A Divine commandment doesn’t require perfect performance, for this idea is not from rational spirituality. A husband cannot take refuge in the idea that no one can be perfect. The commandment requires first, that we acknowledge it as Divine; second, that we sincerely try to practice it, and third, that we immediately repent and reform when we fail to perform it. The Lord commands that we be perfect, “like the Father in Heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). This does not refer to our performances, for only God is perfect from Firsts to Lasts. It refers to the strength of our commitment from the Lord. This must be perfect, meaning, it must never cease. And this is possible when we rely on the Lord to empower our strivings for conjugial unity.


2. The Commandment Of Conjugial Simulation


For Husbands: The Commandment of Conjugial Simulation:

When you feel positive, act positively.

When you feel negative, act positively.


Freedom is to compel our self to follow this commandment. Slavery is to follow it or not depending on how committed we feel at the time. When we are put off or angry we don’t feel like acting positively towards our wife. If we then act negatively we are in slavery to self-love. But if we then compel ourselves to act positively out of our commitment, we are in freedom. For freedom is to obey the order imposed by the Lord while slavery is to obey self (AE 774[4]). Slavery leads to hell, but freedom leads to heaven. Clearly then we are much better off by obeying this conjugial commandment!


Observe the various objections that occur to our mind as we consider whether to accept this:


How do I know it is a commandment? Where does it say that?

Or: This can’t be true—it sounds too extreme.

And what about the wife—does she have to stop nagging and acting negatively towards me?

I’m only responding to her pushiness and lack of balance. How can I act positively when I’m seething inside? Haven’t you heard of venting and unhealthy it is to keep strong emotions inside?

Doesn’t it count that I almost never lose my temper with her? Wouldn’t this be playing the hypocrite? How can we ever work on our problems this way? Wouldn’t this stop all progress? Isn’t it undignified? Couldn’t it be bad for her?

Etc. etc.


These resistances are natural and stem from our conditioning to equity orientation discussed in Chapter 9 Section 6. This is a concept from nonduality. The enslaving nature of it can easily be seen from the perspective of duality. While equity strives to destroy categorical distinctions between husband and wife, non-reciprocity strives to maintain the duality into which men and women are created (CL 90-2). Absolute distinctness must be maintained for every component of a man that functions analogously in women. For only absolute distinctness between elements can produce perfection in their unity (DP 4). The conjugial union exists only in perfection. Equity destroys the conjugial union, forcing man’s philosophy over women. Conjugial union works if man voluntarily chooses to do everything for his wife without expecting that she does things for him. She already is going to do what is necessary for the conjugial union, but he is not. So he can’t afford to practice equity because it destroys his ultimate goal of unition with his wife.


Overcoming all resistances is achieved when the husband first, rejects nonduality (or equity) and second, adopts non-reciprocity (or duality) as the operating procedure for himself as husband.


Then conjugial simulation becomes an essential tool for making progress. Without it we botch the whole thing right from the start. This is because wives are so affected by the negativity of their husband that they feel like they’re dying and they want to die (xx). What’s more, it lingers in their interior mind long after they are able to recover externally and favor the husband with their grace and sweetness. These pleasant things they give out despite their lingering internal injury. And the husband who takes these gifts with delight is enjoying stolen kisses he does not deserve. He is a thief and robber because he tries to climb in some other way than what the Lord provides (John 10:1). And he fails should he persist, and many are those who do.


Therefore we gain freedom from the slavery of equity and anger the very moment we commit to non-reciprocity:


“I will always act to please her and I will not demand that my wife does so too. If I should feel that she is acting negatively, I will act positively. If I feel that she persists in acting negatively, I will act positively. If I feel annoyed or mad like hell, I will act positively. I will be pleasant in face and voice, mild in my speech, quick in responding when she wants a response, quick in listening when she wants me to listen. I will not allow myself to think anything negative about her or her behavior. I will instantly contradict and reject all such thoughts and conclusions in my mind. I will monitor them carefully so they do not run themselves off automatically or subconsciously. I will ignore whatever I think is negative in her attitude or conduct and I will hold before me the positive that I can see in her everywhere.”


This is conjugial freedom. This is sanity. This is rationality and spirituality. The Lord can give it whenever we think and act from His commandment. This is the freedom of angels, and their peace and bliss (HH 386). Conjugial simulation acts to absorb the compulsive reactivity in the equity philosophy: eye for an eye, insult for insult, negativity for negativity, imperfection for imperfection. When we simulate pleasantness the compulsion to react negatively is absorbed by the corporeal mind. It is a perceptible experience. I feel it distinctly and painfully. My interior dialog with myself as it is happening says:


Wow, it’s amazing how the explosions just get absorbed and I only feel them for a fraction of a second. I watch myself go through the motions—I smile and stay quiet instead of interrupting her. I nod instead of shake my head. I stay close instead of bouncing away, putting distance between us. I watch my hand reach towards her and touch her arm or shoulder slightly. She moves away, still disturbed, heated up. She wants me, she needs me to appease her and put an end to her misery. How heartless can I be to prolong this for her. I make myself agree. I think of conciliatory things to say. I do not remain silent or sullen, passive-aggressive. I reassure her that I am now with her. I console her by apologizing endlessly and promising profusely. At last I watch her calm down, as she begins to feel safe again. She is so grateful she has already forgiven me, but she thinks it wiser not to give me too much praise because it sometimes blinds me with pride or self-satisfaction (lulls me back into the ego).


This is conjugial simulation. It is as far from playing the hypocrite as heaven is from hell. Conjugial simulation leads to peace between the partners while the husband catches up to his wife in commitment and love. The wife does not need conjugial simulation because she is oriented towards internal union while he is oriented towards external partnership. Everything she does in relation to her husband is marked by non-reciprocity and duality right from the word go. If some wives appear not to do this, it is just an outward illusion, for inwardly they have conjugial union inscribed in their interiors, in every single element of their interiors, in their willing and thinking. Hence it is that equity in the husband’s mind is destructive while non-reciprocity is saving.


When a wife sees that her man is compelling himself to enact decency and friendship towards her, she doesn’t think that he is being hypocritical, but brave. She thinks of him as a hero. Women appreciate a man who is strong enough to lay his male ego aside and act, not from his own will, but from the woman he loves and respects. She may hope and trust that his enactment will eventually be his preference and issue from his love of union with her mind. But in the meantime, she considers it a good sign that he is willing to enact it out of a love for his religious commitment. This gives her inner hope that some day her husband will get rid of the devil and step out and be the angel that she can see within him.


Chapter 2, Section 9


9. Conjugial Intimacy Disciplines


It’s normal for the religious husband to wonder about the number and gravity of his sins—his weaknesses and faults, or his long standing stubbornness about changing parts of his personality for the sake of his wife. There is a nonduality hidden within this thinking. It is the idea that sins are arranged on a continuum of gravity, with abominable sins and a lawless life on the one end, and on the other, these little weaknesses or stubbornness we still hold on to. After all not even angels are pure and perfect (SE 883). This nonduality leads to further things allied to it like the balance idea or equity idea (see Chapter 9 Section 6). The balance idea is the notion that if you have lots of good things you do and just a few bad things, the good outweigh the bad, and we’re O.K. spiritually. In other words, our salvation is secured so long as those little sins don’t get bigger or more numerous. You can see that this contains nonduality at its core. It denies the absolute duality between committing sins and not committing them. It further denies the duality of angel and devil in the idea that angels are not perfectly pure. This is a false idea of what the Writings say about the personality of angels.


What needs to be kept in view is that the personality of angels is not their own personality but the Lord’s Proprium that they borrow (AC 8409). They act from that Proprium through their independent and free understanding. The conscious life of human beings is situated in the understanding, even though the cause of all thinking is in the will. The cause of the thinking of angels is not their own will but the Lord’s Proprium and will therein. Angels therefore act as-if from themselves in consciousness but from the Lord’s Proprium in the will of the angels (HH 591). Clearly then the threefold self of an angel is entirely pure—their willing, their thinking, and their acting. This is why angels are called holy. When we take our focus off this idea, we can then think about the historical biography of an angel since angels and devils are the people on earth who pass on. We also need to recall that loves are spiritual substances and the will is a spiritual organ made of these substances. Whatever you once love, becomes permanent because its fabric becomes your self like the cellular synapses that make up your brain. If you cut out the cellular synapses, there is no brain left. In the same way if you cut out loves from the will there is no will left, and without that, there is no conscious or voluntary life whatsoever. One cannot cut out former loves or eliminate them to eternity (DP 78). But they can be put to sleep or rendered completely inactive if the individual admits in its stead the Lord’s Proprium and will in it. In this state one cannot act from one’s own will. It is as if gone forever.


Angels are people who suffered themselves to be regenerated while in the physical body. Obviously they were born with hereditary evils they had to overcome and be reborn and reformed in character. Every angel has had to be reformed from animal and evil to human and good. The good is being able to love to act from the Lord’s Proprium. The former evil they now hold in the greatest aversion, so much so that they would much rather instantly die or disappear from existence than have even one of their earthly sins back again. This aversion is so strong that it keeps every former sin or lust in a coma at the farthest reaches of their biography and influence. They have this powerful aversion not from themselves but also from the Lord. Clearly then all they have to do is cleave to the Lord’s Proprium through the love of acting from the Lord.


You can see from these considerations that there is an absolute duality between committing sins and acting from self and not committing them and acting from the Lord.


Therefore the balance theory of nonduality is false and good deeds do not cancel out bad. So if you ask this question, you already know the answer:


What about the really small things like if I don’t floss regularly, or if I have little hair sticking out of my nose, or bushy eyebrows, or have food spots on my shirt, and act a bit clumsy due to a few extra pounds…— these little things of anyone’s life. Surely they don’t send people to hell. It’s not the same thing as being lawless, an adulterer, and being cruel and avaricious. Where is justice and fairness in this? Etc.


You know the answer from what was said above about the angels. There is only heaven and hell for our final lot in life (HH 491). Hell is for those who love to act from self, while heaven is for those who love to act from the Lord. There is nothing in between, even though within each discrete degree there is a never ending continuum of love and its strength and purity. So there are innumerable hells arranged in order from least grave (highest) to most grave (lowest or deepest). And there are innumerable heavens from highest (celestial angels) to lowest (natural-spiritual angels). There is no overlap. Consider what would happen if you arrive at the stage in your regeneration when you’re entering your heaven and your conjugial wife is with you. Now you still have with you a few of these little loves that caused you to have hair sticking our of your nose or ears, and having bad breath from not flossing regularly and not brushing your tongue. What is going to happen as you are receiving the Lord’s Proprium in your will? All the old lusts you now hold in aversion are rendered permanently comatose—except for those you do not hold in aversion.


And there’s the big problem.


You have no protection from the lusts you do not hold in aversion. They are your connection to hell, either a light hell or a deep hell. Can the Lord’s Proprium enter in such an unclean will? No. The only other alternative available is that mild hell you’re still connected to. Out you fall from your heaven into the lower regions of your mind called the hells. Now you’re in big trouble. Whether or not you get back to heaven now depends on whether or not you suffer yourself to give up those little sins. Some who get there do give them up, and some do not (xx). Friend, don’t take that gamble. Get rid now of the hair sticking out of your nose and all those other little things that your wife vigilantly warns against and that you stubbornly continue to ignore.


One reader responding to an earlier draft of this book wrote:


Bad breath, flossing, sweetheart rituals, etc. This is all excellent stuff. And since I have read it, it’s amazing how conscientious I have become about these matters. This is great stuff. And I really enjoy being clean and fresh for my wife. I have even started cleaning the sink when I get through shaving, wiping my splatters off the mirror when I get through tooth-brushing, double checking that the toilet seat is down and clean after I use it, etc. It is something that my wife occasionally comments on, but which I never pay much attention to. So, thanks for the heads up!


And, oh yes, I am much more inclined to get ready for her and be there for her when she comes into the room—shutting off the computer entirely and giving her my focused attention. I am doing it now, and I feel so good about it!


There are many such little sins and they are embedded in inherited male stubbornness. It stands to reason therefore that we should be using a discipline to help us be efficient in this process. Monitoring what the wife says is the first essential. Self-witnessing our daily life is the second essential (see Note 20 at end). We need to keep lists of what she says about our little sins and what we witness ourselves about them. The wife will point out to you the physical manifestations from what she can notice, but you will point out to yourself the thoughts that accompany them. You have to catch yourself in the mental sequence of disregarding and ignoring her. This is where you’ll find the outside form of your loves. For such as your love is, such is your thinking, consequently such are you (DLW 368).


I mention nose hair and flossing in this section, which is called conjugial intimacy, because it is one of the many unregenerate behaviors adult men retain as if they were male prerogatives from heaven rather than from hell. Take for instance flossing regularly, which is necessary for most people to remove the food between the teeth, which if left there, cause bacteria that destroy the teeth and create bad breath. You might think that bad breath is not such a big deal, yet it is so offensive to conjugial union that the Writings mention it as a legitimate cause for separation in marriage (CL 253). Why? Because bad breath is offensive to conjugial intimacy. If it is the cause of some unavoidable medical condition or life situation, the wife can overcome her revulsion of being close to him, but if it is caused by choice, could the wife overcome her revulsion? Not in her interiors, but only in her externals. She can overcome in her interior when it is not a matter of his choice since she knows that this will disappear in heaven. But if it is by choice, then it cannot be changed by heaven, thus, she cannot accept it temporarily and overcome her revulsions.


Take another example: men get used to shaving in the morning so that they may be presentable to the world. But if you shave only in the morning, what happens to your face when you get into bed with your wife at night? Your rough face offends her tender skin. Is she condemned therefore to sleep with a pineapple all her life on this earth? The husband who cares about his wife more than the public will shave at night, before going to bed. The husband who doesn’t care, can he be in her heaven in the afterlife? If she is of a mentality to withhold her complaint about some of his little sins the responsibility is on him to discover them and practice holding them in aversion.


Take another little sin: clumsiness in close physical contact with the wife. As couples lie together in physical bodies they are weighted down by gravity. It’s natural for a man to be clumsy and do things that hurt her physically. He is heavier than she is, and more muscular. He has to watch his elbows from bumping into her sensitive parts, especially the breasts. He must take care that his nails are short and filed so as not to injure her sensitive skin. His hands must be clean when he approaches her. If he lies against her or on top of her, he has to maintain muscular control so that he doesn’t weigh her down anywhere, or make her feel trapped. The point is: these are the little things that he must monitor and adjust, each husband in accordance with what is comfortable and pleasant for his wife.


When the husband kisses his wife in a physical body, what happens to her breath? It is mostly cut off. He needs to monitor that and become skilled. She will graciously forgive him for having to learn, but she has to see progress over time. And this will come only if he has made it into a discipline—which starts with a religious commitment and continues with progressive self-modification procedures. Use your rational mind to invent effective ones for yourself. To help stimulate your awareness, here is a short list of little sins that impede progress in conjugial union: (see next page)


Oral hygiene (brushing tongue, teeth, flossing)

Body hygiene (cleanliness and odor)

Clothes (old and crumpled)

Nudity (shirtless in public, shorts on the wrong occasion, visibly not wearing undergarments)

Habitually interrupting the wife who is speaking

Ignoring house cleanliness rules (leaving clothes in the wrong places, not picking up after self, sloppy food behaviors)


Accepting in ourselves the enjoyment of sexually explicit materials

Laughing at scortatory jokes

Using swear words

Using sexist language

Saying disrespectful things about women

Communicating with an ex-girlfriend

Embarrassing the wife in public (talking too loud, yelling, making a scene)

Neglecting repairs she wants done

Etc. etc.



(For a longer list, see Chapter 9 Section 1)



Chapter 2, Section 10


10. Overcoming Threats To Sweetheart Rituals


Married partners together, or conjugial love, is the very image and likeness of God (adultery destroys it). Hell is infuriated when those there perceive the sphere of conjugial love, - from experience, as it were, out of heaven. When adultery is thought permissible, it exists in endeavor in the whole body. (SE 6110)


In the unregenerate mind and prior to reformation, romantic love among marrieds has a half-life of three to four years, according to research by psychologists (Hatfield, Elaine and xx). It is gone after seven or eight years, and replaced by love for duty, loyalty, conscience, avoidance of failure, love for children, fear of change, and so on. These are external motives in the natural mind in comparison to romantic love which is more internal, more permanent, and spiritual. Romantic love is given by the Lord to a man and a woman at the beginning of their relationship. During this initial and brief period, the couple experiences the feeling of internal union. The Lord accomplishes this through connecting their spiritual mind to the angels who are in conjugial love (xx). How long this special state lasts depends on the couple, almost always on the man. This is because conjugial love is part of the inner constitution of women but only of the outer constitution for men (CL 156). And since the outer constitution of men contains hereditary loves for adultery and promiscuity, the conjugial love that is there cannot survive for any length of time. It is as if absent in the mind of men.


Declining romantic love in marriage is therefore attributable for the most part to husbands. This is not recognized in secular therapy where the nonduality of equity reigns in counseling and professional advice-giving (see Chapter 6). In this case, equity takes the form of “they both share the blame.” I watch the many TV programs that feature couples therapy or counseling by the most popular health professionals in the nation. What strikes me each time is how the husband gets away with silence and hiding behind the chair, while the wife is up front taking all the criticism and advice from the experts. This is equally true with the female experts. The wife is always picked as the focus of what’s wrong with the union. She is the one who is told to lower her demands, to accept him as he is, or to change her approach to him. Why this bias? Because this is a man’s world, a male oriented intellectual climate (see Chapter 9 Sections 1 and 2).


This unregenerate orientation and motivational climate hates the conjugial and only tolerates the conjugal. “Conjugial” means an internal union in accordance with the reciprocally constructed spiritual constitution of the husband and wife. In the conjugial, the husband learns to love to act from the wife more than from himself (see Chapter 9 Sections 1 and 2). This motivation creates the internal bond between husband and wife. But the unregenerate man is inherently opposed to acting from his wife. He wants to act from himself only. This he calls freedom. Hence the wife can only establish an external “conjugal” bond with a husband who remains in that state.


To live by the Doctrine of Conjugial Love is to be regenerated and this lengthy psychobiological process involves engineering a reversal of the normal declining romantic love. As time passes by the man erodes the initial romantic love until nothing is left but external friendship, mutual aid, and social company. These external and convenient benefits do not contain conjugial love in the internal which remains closed until the husband reforms and begins regeneration. Using spiritual disciplines to help our regeneration is an effective way for husbands to cooperate with the Lord in their regeneration. This is required since regeneration is proportional to this conscious and willing cooperation (DP 114).


Sweetheart rituals were described above as illustrations of this cooperation. To perform the sweetheart rituals effectively we need to understand and struggle against many threats from within. The corporeal mind hates non-reciprocity and loves equity (see Chapter 9 Section 6). It wants very much to hold on to male prerogatives. Male superiority feels good, it’s nice, it’s so convenient. Besides, it’s society. It’s the way it is. Etc. Even more intense resistance wells up when the discipline is applied to the little things of life that are hardly ever mentioned in divorces or psychology books for marital relationships.


For instance, linguists and sociologists have analyzed video and audio records of interactions between men and women (Tannen xx; Lakoff xx). Men choose most of the topics that get discussed. Men interrupt twice as much as they are interrupted. Men talk longer stretches, often hogging the conversational minutes. More interiorly, men show anger, refuse requests, and criticize more than women. Men do almost all the violence and abuse. Men tend to quit “working on the relationship” while women try to hold on. Women are loyal and faithful, men break the promise and cheat. Inwardly men are adulterous, promiscuous, and consumers of pornography. (See Chapter 7 Section 4).


Men are proud of being issue oriented and task involved when they talk to women. They hide from themselves the obvious fact that they force the relationship to remain external and defeat the woman’s endeavor to develop an internal union. A woman is relationship oriented since it’s so clear to her that the internal relationship is the only one that is permanent and successful. They feel that they are up against a brick wall in his will when he repeatedly stays focused on the issue or task and refuses her requests that he switch orientation to the relationship. She wants to resolve feelings; he wants to avoid that. Thus they struggle against each other. The struggle can stop only when he gives in, for she can never give in and still save the relationship. Giving in to her means to begin acting from her will, reasoning, and goals. This restores the internal state of conjugial preparation for celestial union, which is perfect (CL 61). Then for the first the man becomes a human and is no longer a mere animal. The beginning of the human in him is the rational from the Heavenly Doctrine.


Consider how men go along with male prerogatives. They are content in playing third or fourth fiddle in the marital orchestra of raising children, running the household, and managing social relationships. If compelled by equity norms to “help around the house” husbands will try to make it as little as possible without ruining their reputation of fair-mindedness. Also, they do not readily take full responsibility of even the share they agree to. Forgetting to take out the garbage, he gets sullen when she reminds him, and then still doesn’t do it, waiting for another reminder. This is a representative of man’s involvement in household partnership. Another is to insist on doing things according to their own standards, even if it fails the standards of the wife. There is no honest owning up to their utter refusal to do things from the wife’s standards.


Once again, monitor the objections you feel swelling within you as you contemplate what is being said here.


What about my wife? Why should she do things from her standards instead of mine? Why do I have to do things from her standards while she gets to do things from her standards? Where is the logic in this?


Insisting on equality in all things in the husband /wife relationship destroys the conjugial union. This union is based on fundamental, discrete, and eternal differences between men and women. This is what we mean by “duality.” Remember that women love the bonds of marriage, and constantly strive to establish an internal union with their husbands. This effort is from the Lord along with a perception of how to bring this about. Men have no such perception and therefore must trust the wife’s insight about their relationship. Even though this may seem ‘one-sided’ in the wife’s favor, it’s the way the Lord has arranged it. We can choose to resist His Providence concerning marriage, and never realize our conjugial potential. Or we can accept this miraculous provision with gratitude and enter more and more deeply into the eternal, ever unfolding delights of conjugial love.


In our daily study of the Heavenly Doctrine the Lord gives us the higher understanding by which we can clearly see that in a conjugial union husbands always act from the wife. The moment they stop, they fall out of conjugial union, to their great distress (xx). It’s only during the period of reformation and early regeneration that we doubt the Divine requirement of acting from the wife. After that we can see it constantly before our mind because it becomes an orientation. Sweetheart rituals and conjugial simulation, as discussed above, maintain this orientation on a permanent basis. What makes these disciplines spiritual is the motive of conjugial love. Anything done consciously from this motive is spiritual to the extent that our idea of conjugial love is rational rather than natural. And it is rational to the extent that we think and will according to Doctrine that is in our understanding from the daily study of the Writings.


A man cannot be withdrawn from evils and falsities except by means of the truths and goods that are with him from the Word (AC 9468)


Self-witnessing is a necessary activity to detect male prerogatives in the little things we do since childhood and so automatically that it’s easy to deny to ourselves that we do them. This self-subterfuge cannot stand against self-monitoring motivated by spiritual Doctrine. The Lord opens our eyes to see them and waits for us to reject them and at last to hold them in aversion. Then He liberates us from these natural plagues in our character. To illustrate, I’ve observed in many ways how the culture of male prerogatives exerts a bear’s hold on my physical behavior in the presence of my wife. One particular practice is especially distressing to wives and puts a strangle hold on conjugial development. I will discuss it under the topic of turning cold in the body.


Chapter 2, Section 11


11. How To Avoid Turning Cold Against The Wife


When an unregenerate man is exposed to his wife’s conjugial heat he feels seared and beaten down. This is in his internal mind of which he may not know much. In his conscious lower mind he feels it as resistance, anger, hate, resentment, and the desire to retaliate, lash back, break free. This is the source of so much wife abuse by husbands. They perform abuse according to their sub-culture and station in life, some physically violent and others mentally and treacherously by domination and scheming. Male prerogatives are also used as weapons to keep women in an external rather than internal relationship to themselves. To allow an internal relationship is threatening to a man because it feels like he has to give up all his power, not just some of it, or half of it, but all of it. This is because the wife’s conjugial heat takes over his whole being and consumes him as a single individual who can have an independent life of his own.


The only thing that can protect him from the excruciating pain is his doctrinal commitment, and then only to the extent that he applies it to any situation. To the extent that his commitment wobbles to that extent his mind will be invaded by conjugial cold (CL 241). His body and his behavior will play out all the forms of destructive negativity. As she talks to him the cold in him gets him to turn away from her and to increase the distance between them. He will not look at her, and when he does, he will avoid her eyes. All his enthusiasm for her is gone. He doesn’t find her charming and entertaining. Her ideas are all wrong and contrary to his. He can hardly stand her, and often he loses control and acts violently or with open derision and lack of respect. When she talks and he nods at her he will reduce the frequency and amplitude of the movement. His “Mm. Mm.” is intended to withhold more, lest she go on longer. He hates her and is in rebellious suffering. He refuses her, denies her, suppresses her, starves her with lack of affection and legitimization, the things she craves the most from him in that sorry state. He makes her furious, drives her mercilessly to lose emotional control of herself. She does and feels humiliated, miserable, defeated. He then feels victorious, the victory of hell which is his destruction. Over and over again he performs this interaction until all is destroyed. What then remains is an external relationship in which the internal is closed.


As this marital devastation is happening he is given by the Lord numerous opportunities to witness the atrocious negativity in himself so that he may become aware of all its little details, and consciously reject them one by one, and over and over again since they occur in numerous forms and variations. It is a gradual process he must suffer himself to go through, if he wants to be saved.


Conjugial cold descending into the husband’s body shows to the wife as his sullen silence and slow down of his reactions to her. She sees him becoming less reactive, less animated to her. It’s as if he turns into dry wood (xx). There is a calcification of his demonstrations of love for her. She shudders at the coldness billowing out from the hell of hatred he is in. It is his inherited hatred of conjugial heat, a heat that strives mightily to eliminate his independent willing. She does everything to get him to will from her so that his affections are filled with her all. She must be the all in all in his will and there must be nothing left of his own unregenerate scortatory will. It is not a before-after continuum like a physical makeover. It is a discrete ascension to a higher place in his mid where the Lord must create from scratch a new conscience, a new human character. This new creation is the conjoint self:


wife willing from the Lord (xx), husband willing from the  wife (xx), and the two each arranging their independent understanding in accordance with their will.


It is the Lord who wills in such a husband, through his wife, and this is what creates their perfect celestial union. This is “the man” for the sake of whom the Lord created all things in heaven and earth.


Desiring in my thought to learn about the marriages of the most ancients, I looked now at the husband, now at his wife, and in their faces I observed the unity, as it were, of their souls. So I said, "You two are one." The man replied: "We are one; her life is in me and mine in her. We are two bodies but one soul. The union between us is like the union of the two tents in the breast which are called heart and lungs, she being my heart and I her lungs. But here, by heart we mean love and by lungs wisdom. Thus she is the love of my wisdom and I am the wisdom of her love. Therefore her love veils my wisdom from without, and my wisdom is in her love from within. Hence, as you said, the appearance in our faces of the unity of our souls." (CL 75:5)


Here it is said by the angel husband that conjugial union exists when “she is my heart and I her lungs.” When a husband learns to love to act from his wife more than from himself, then the wife is his heart, and he is her lungs, that is, the love of his wisdom. To be “two bodies but one soul” refers to the conjoint self.


A husband who read an earlier draft shared this section with his wife. He wrote down her reaction and e-mailed it to me:


When the wife is in tune with the Lord, and the Lord is speaking to her heart, she conveys that to her husband. He must listen and interpret what she says. He must strive to see the good in what she is saying, and hear it as ‘she means to help me.’ He then uses this information to examine himself and to grow from it. But he must formulate it for himself in his understanding and determine how it will impact his life. He then puts it into his will. It is his will—his new will (not her will) that is being developed. This is what is meant by the words ‘She is my heart.’ The Lord speaks to the woman’s heart and she conveys that to her husband. She is his pipeline to God—through her heart, through her heart message. The heart message does not always have words—that the task of the understanding. And that’s how the man develops his new will.


1. The Fallacy That Men Want Sex More Than Women


Today I happened to come across a Marriage Seminar program on a Christian TV channel, showing couples sitting in the audience. If I may reconstruct some of what the leader said, it would go as follows:


What we need to understand is that a man and a woman are different. A recent national survey asked women how important to her was sex, and she ranked it as number 13, with gardening as number 12 [audience laughter]. Now you ask any man and he’ll rank sex as the number one on the list, or number two or three, but it’s always up there with the highest. A man will say to his wife, Honey, let’s have sex, and she’ll say, What we need is being close, holding each other, snuggling. The man answers, Honey, what we need is sex. And she says, What we need is to sit down, get ourselves comfortable, have a conversation, relax, put on music, talk some more. And he says, What we need is sex. [audience laughs].


You see a man is different from a woman. That’s just the way it is. A man wants to have sex every time, every day, whenever. But a woman wants closeness, and just holding, and intimacy. A man has to respect that. Etc.


What’s terribly wrong with this attitude is that it makes it out to be as if men want sex while women do not, or that women are less interested in sex than men, and that this is a biological difference. The opposite is the case, as can be shown from the Writings. This false notion of men wanting sex and women not so much or not at all, is a legend invented by men who are motivated to punish women in one way or another. The fact is that men hate the conjugial sphere and are excited by the scortatory sphere of roaming lust, which is a purely corporeal affection. The truth is that all the sex in the world comes from women, not men (xx). That is, all the desire and motive for sex is initiated by women, and men have none of it except from women.


Swedenborg reports a fascinating scientific experiment he was given to perform in the spiritual world (xx). He was talking to angel husbands who doubted this truth that sexual interest and desire originates in their wife, not in themselves. Higher angels then approached by the Lord’s permission, and the sphere of women was removed from the men. They felt instantly different. They had absolutely no sexual desire, no interest in women. They got so disturbed at this that the angels immediately restored the sphere of the wife to each angel husband. Immediately that this was done they felt relieved, sensing their sexuality once more.


This experiment proves that sex originates from women, and that men have none of it unless they get it from women. You can see how wrong and hurtful the idea is that men want sex all the time while women do not. In a conversation with angel wives, Swedenborg was told by them that they hide this truth from their husband (xx). Since in this spiritual society the husbands were spiritual-natural, they did not distinguish between some appearances and the truth within those appearances. The Writings explain that husbands from higher spiritual societies who possess spiritual-rational ideas, and celestial ideas about the wife and sex, know the truth from the Word that all their sexual feelings originate from their wife. And this knowledge does not disturb them as it does those husbands in the lower societies who think with spiritual-natural ideas. On the contrary, the idea that all their sexual feelings originate from the wife, makes their wife even more precious to their mind.


How then are we to explain the natural appearances that men want sex more than women want it? There are at least four reasons for this that we can find in the Writings:


1) women playing hard to get on account of the men’s impotence otherwise

2) men lusting for scortatory sex but turning cold to their wife

3) women needing to be prepared, but not men

4) women’s preparation requires inward friendship and trust


Men’s natural desire to have a woman increases as access to her is denied, and decreases as it is allowed (xx). This attitude is hereditary and infernal, and hates the sphere of conjugial love, that is, sex with only one of the other sex. Eventually this attitude leads to impotence and a dislike, and even hatred, for the sphere of women generally, for whom they no longer feel any desire or friendship. Women have learned that if they resist the man’s advances, he gets more hot and wants her even more. But as soon as he can have what he wants freely and any time, he loses sexual interest in that woman. This is the pattern of an unregenerate man (xx). As a result, women play hard to get to prevent their man from turning cold toward them (xx). This maintains the false legend that men want sex more than women do.


Men’s sexual pattern is like a firing rocket, quickly enflamed, explosive, and short lasting (xx). But a woman’s sexual pattern is from inward out, and so more like the slow steady rising of leavened dough under heat (xx). Women need extensive preparation for receiving her man into herself. She must first feel close to him by means of affections of trust, friendship, and liking. Her sexual feelings begin in her chest and gradually descend towards the waste and hip. To the extent that the man is then willing, to that extent she is eager to receive him. A man must therefore suppress and inhibit his natural explosive tendency that starts directly in his groin and remains there until consummated or exhausted. Since men are regularly abusive to their women, it is difficult for women to be adequately prepared. The men then falsely interpret this slowness as disinterest or reluctance, giving the false appearance that a man wants sex more than a woman.


Unregenerate husbands are unwilling to give their wife adequate preparation for sex. To perform this duty properly would require that a man act from his wife’s affections, and this is what he hates the most to do. Hence he turns cold when he sees what the wife wants and needs, unwilling to grant it to her. Women’s responsibilities outside the sphere of domestic uses increases stress that must first be relieved by the husband before she can receive him within her in an appropriate and genuine union. The husband has to accept his responsibility in relieving the wife’s stress that originate from her forensic duties outside the home. Only after this stress is relieved, can he begin to prepare her for sexual union. Pampering and massage, food and laughter, pleasant surprises, romantic themes, being charming and gallant—these are the preliminary methods a husband needs to use before he can even begin to prepare his wife for sexual union. To get her involved in sex before this kind of adequate preparation is a kind of marital rape. The result is that she feels used and discarded by the man who says he loves her.


Also, men are verbally abusive to their wife on a regular daily basis, and afterwards are unwilling to make up for it properly. As a result she carries the disturbance within her for a long time until it eventually diminishes and vanishes, which takes a long time given the spiritual biology of women. While this is going on they cannot be adequately prepared for sex since for them, sex begins in the bosom with friendship, trust, and respect. This sexual biology of the wife is created by the Lord for the sake of her husband, since this is what a man needs in order to be able to be conjoined to the wife. Men must therefore honor this biology as something holy from the Lord and must compel themselves to give their wife adequate and proper preparation for sex. The truth is that women crave sex all the time and pray to the Lord that their husband would finally “get it” and figure out what they need to do to prepare the women for this physically healing and spiritually regenerating treatment. Angel couples have sex every day all night since they cannot prevent themselves from it, such is the irresistible attraction for inward unity between conjugial partners, and this irresistible inward attraction they have for each other has to exteriorize as sex when they are alone together. (xx).


Angelic sex in heaven, and likewise conjugial sex on earth, is a rational love, not sensuous or corporeal. It starts from above the waist as intimacy and friendship towards each other, and only then descends below the waist.


How wrong are those who think that sex and rationality are opposites, or even, independent, when the truth is that conjugial love, and all the sex that flows from it, is necessarily spiritual-rational. This is proven in many ways, rationally and empirically, in Swedenborg’s book titled Conjugial Love (CL).


Chapter 2, Section 12


12. Spiritual Psychobiology Of The Conjoint Self


When a husband refuses to act from his independent self, there is born the conjoint self in his spiritual mind and in the spiritual mind of his wife. This new birth is from the Lord through the angels and consists in the opening or activation of the spiritual mind which until then was not a part of our own mind. Husband and wife now act from the common conjoint self they share in the spiritual union. It is now only that their marriage is first made spiritual. Until then, it was natural, regardless of the couple’s religious involvement in the New Church. The husband’s reformation is what gives birth to the spiritual marriage. This reformation takes place when he stops acting from himself, and starts acting from his wife. This way of acting produces the birth and growth of the conjoint self. When acting from the conjoint self, he acts from his wife’s will and he is one internally or spiritually with her.


This “acting from his wife’s will” is acting into his own understanding which remains totally free and independent. It is only his will that is substituted for his wife’s will. This way the two make a one (CL 157). It would not be so if his wife’s will were to act into his corporeal mind and body. He would then be a slave to her and have no will and understanding of his own. Thus he would be a zombie not a free human being. And zombies cannot be in heaven. But he retains his maximum freedom when he chooses freely out of his own love and understanding. And he can choose to act from his own will or to act from the will of his wife through his understanding. “It is the understanding which acts from the will, not the will which acts by means of the understanding.” (TCR 105)


 It is the husband’s conscious understanding that acts in conjugial union, not the wife’s will by means of his understanding (which would turn him into a zombie). Clearly the conjoint self is possible only if the husband loves to act from his wife’s will more than to act from his own independent will. For if he doesn’t love it more, he cannot choose to act from it, for love leads us to act in accordance with it, and this in an absolute sense in the afterlife. Everything therefore hangs on this: the husband’s persistent religious motive to strive to make this new love his actual love.


To love to act from the spouse is the internal union of conjugial love. The wife by nativity or spiritual psychobiology already loves this more than she loves acting from herself as an independent individual. Therefore the pace of growing in the internal marriage union is set by the slower pace of the husband who is born to be licentious and promiscuous. He has to be willing to give up these unclean delights and receive far greater delights, but which he cannot actually see yet.


It’s important to maintain the absolute duality between the understanding and the will, in the same way that the body must maintain the dual function of heart and lungs in order for it to work as a unity (DLW 407). When a man loses his independence and freedom in his thinking he is no longer free or human. This is because rationality only occurs in freedom. Domination of one over the other removes freedom of thought. This is why a wife cannot force a man into conjugial union. If she has the persuasive power to remove his freedom and independence of thinking she will still not be in a conjugial relationship with him. Women know this from within and so do not attempt it, for the most part (xx CL 291[?]). Acting from the wife is therefore acting from her will through his independent and free understanding. The result is that his understanding gradually becomes realigned so as to be in conformity with her will.


This process is gradual and cumulative over time so that a discipline is required in the meantime, as was suggested with sweetheart rituals and conjugial simulations. The husband compels himself to act outwardly from the wife in conformity to her standards and requests, while internally he feels resistance and negativity towards her. Thus he makes progress until at one point his free and independent understanding is in full agreement with his acting from her. He is then a reformed husband and capable of being prepared further for conjugial union. From then on it’s easy in comparison because the wife’s conjugial heat no longer burns him. He is no longer cold but warm and her heat feels sweet and blissful.


Act precedes, man's willing follows; for that which a man does from the understanding, he at last does from the will, and finally puts it on as a habit; and it is then instilled in his rational or internal man. And when it has been instilled in this, the man no longer does good from truth, but from good; for he then begins to perceive therein somewhat of blessedness, and as it were somewhat of heaven. This remains with him after death, and by means of it he is uplifted into heaven by the Lord. (AC 4353)


The idea of a “conjoint self” is extremely helpful to husbands. It helps them rationally see how they need to change to become conjugial. During reformation and at the beginning of one’s regeneration struggles the mind is infested with submerged nondualities, especially in relation to women and one’s wife. Men inherit an enormous gender arrogance and then culture chisels it into a system of male prerogatives and cruelties against women. Men treat women as an inferior caste to themselves. Some men learn to hide this orientation and cover it up with all sorts of superficial niceties in order to get their pleasure with women and dominate them, use them for all sorts of purposes throughout life. Other men do not hide their disdain and hatred of women and show it in various vulgar, stupid, and abusive way. New Church men start at this level, as everyone else.


It stands to reason that a spiritual discipline is going to help a husband to as-of-self extricate himself from this sink hole of nondualities that oppose the dualities that the Lord is endeavoring to establish in him. A man’s feeling of gender superiority is a nonduality in disguise. It places man and woman on continuum of traits like strength, rationality, stability, entitlements, independence, precedence, etc., and judges men to be on the high end and women on the low end. Once in a while they admit that a few men are effeminate and cowards—not real men. Also, that a few women are as capable as most men—though the best are still men. You can see that this is a nonduality, rigged to promote the domination of women by men.


The New Church mind has to be built up even as it is surrounded by this corporeal and corrupt mentality. It involves struggles against these booby trapped gender superiority complexes. Getting rid of the hidden traps and mines is a great task of reformation that is carried forth by discipline, discipline, discipline, by the day, hour, minute, and even second. Mental life is fast. I witnessed myself having several thoughts of superiority and denigration in one whole second. Add to this the expressive facial expression, gesture of the hand, and body posture, and you can see that in one second with our wife we can put her down a dozen times! Can you believe it! It’s not a matter of belief for every man gives himself the male privilege of overlooking his faults. Self-witnessing will very quickly uncover the multitude of methods we perform to keep women beneath (see Note 20 at end).


The discipline of building up a conjugial self gives the man a fantastic opportunity to train himself to love acting from the wife (see Chapter 9 Sections 1 and 2). He can see rationally that there is his normal regular self full of woman-hatred and his new conjoint self that is formed not by him, not by society, but by the Lord through heaven. The conjoint self is conjugial, hence celestial, hence genuinely human, holy because it is the Lord’s Proprium that rules in it. The conjoint self is built up gradually to the extent that the husband learns to love acting from his wife. After the husband officially declares his commitment to the conjoint self as a religious discipline, there come various phases of combat he must engage in and overcome (TCR 587). The initial phases are combats against all the nondualities that justify gender superiority in the man’s mind.


For example a husband will stake out certain areas of activity and either openly or by dire implications, will persuade his wife to allow him independence in those areas. This stubborn stance is maintained despite the husband’s cooperativeness and even pleasantness in those other areas where he allows his wife to “meddle” or “butt in” as they disrespectfully put it. Again this is a nonduality that becomes a stumbling block to any progress whatsoever in building up the conjoint self. The man wants to make this into a continuum measured by percentages, as he says to his wife in his head: “I will give you 95 percent of my life—which is a lot more than most men give their wives. But 5 percent I need to keep so that something of myself is left that I can recognize.” And when the list is made, it is obvious that it is a giant heap whose tip only may be said to be 5 percent of the total.


The conjoint self is not a percentage of traits of mixed origin. It is entirely made up of traits of conjoint origin only. There is a categorical and absolute duality between a man’s self and the conjoint self. No portion or fiber in the conjoint self can be built that is not from this one source: An act performed from the husband’s love to act from his wife more than from himself. Any act that doesn’t have this love in it is excluded by necessity. Clearly, no gender superiority is possible in the conjoint self, not a single one.


At first we simulate our behaviors to look like we’re acting in harmony with the wife’s known wishes, expectations, and requests. Privately, we don’t like it even as we enact the conjugial simulation (see Chapter 6 Section 7). But we compel ourselves to continue, to not break form, from a religious motive that is far higher and stronger than the inherited nondualities in our mind. We reaffirm to ourselves that we do this, or we go to hell. No other motive can be above this. So this vanquishes all other motives. If you don’t have this motive, you better acquire it if you desire heaven more than hell. This motive will deliver you from hell and lead you to heaven.


The religious motive in the conjoint self is the power that keeps it growing.


The areas of self staked out as “They stay mine” are numerous for husbands:


q       Family—parents, joint children, children from a prior marriage

q       Friends—childhood buddies, best friend, the man who saved my life, drinking buddies, sports team members, out of town visitors, etc.

q       Hobbies—weekly golf, chat room, recreation, entertainment, sports, etc.

q       Personality traits related to Politics and Profession

q       Etc. etc.


1. Conjugial Husbands Are Loyal To The Wife


The conjoint self has no area of independence because this is contrary to the absolute duality between independent self and conjoint self. A mixture or commingling is not allowed by the Lord as it would be most injurious (xx). All the husband’s loyalties must be subordinated to the supreme loyalty to his wife. This is the Lord’s Commandment that the man “cleave to the wife” (Gen. 2:24). The husband needs to love this above all other things: To act from his wife rather than from himself. This is why I call it the supreme loyalty. This loyalty of the husband for the wife is the same as the loyalty he has for the Lord. The loyalty he has for the Lord remains in his natural mind unless it is practiced and applied to those things the Lord designates and commands (xx). And the Lord designates conjugial love as the highest of all loves (CL 222) and commands the man to cleave to his wife and to be one flesh with her, that is one mind (CL 278). Hence it is that his supreme loyalty to the wife is actually his supreme loyalty to the Lord. And in no other way can the husband make the Lord supreme in his love and be what He calls “my friend” (xx).


The attitude of “don’t try to change me” and “don’t try to change him” is heard everywhere as advice given to women by health professionals and social gurus. Women are so intimidated and influenced by this anti-conjugial intellectual atmosphere that they begin to doubt themselves and their true role. And the situation is so rigged that when the wife eases up on her conjugial role, he appears to improve, their relationship is lighter and smoother and he is more pleasant to live with. This result tends to reinforce in her mind the hypothesis that a man has to have his portion of independence and rigidity in certain areas, since that’s how they come and that’s how they are. But this is not so. The wife must not give one inch in the battle against her husband’s ego, in the battle for the conjoint self. For without this, she doesn’t walk away with him and into heaven. She will have to do that with another, when she gets there (xx).


The wife has one powerful tool to work with: her husband’s religion. I don’t think it can be done any other way. Religion occupies the highest place in the human mind (TCR 601), therefore it rules all motives beneath it. If the religious motive is not invoked and held before the husband constantly and without let up, what other power or force is there to overcome his fully corrupted mind? He will then win most of the battles, but lose the war in the end. Without the wife, the husband cannot regenerate, as shown repeatedly throughout this article. He either acts from the wife or from himself. When he acts from the wife, the conjoint self is built up, and when he acts from self, the conjoint self is being destroyed. Whatever conjoint self can be built up, that is the angelic spirit-body that lives in heaven. To the extent that the husband reserves and puts aside anything about himself for himself and by himself, and loves it, to that extent he is incapable of living in his conjoint self, hence heaven. This is because a love you take with you into the afterlife cannot be removed (DP 277a).


We should all carefully ponder this, and hold the thought before us every hour of the day. Thus can we be continually in the Presence of the Lord.


The discipline of conjoint self requires our full attention. The wife needs our help in her awesome task as personality coach to her husband. First, we must continually legitimize this role in her mind by thanking her for doing it on a daily and hourly basis. Tell her the truth you believe, namely, that without her doing this you cannot make it (to heaven, that is). Tell her this is your highest religion. Only this declaration repeatedly made can fully reassure her. Allow her to use this declaration against you, so that she can remind you in some situation where you’re giving her a hard time: “Husband, are you now denying your religion?” She must have this tool to influence you and hold it over your head, or else you will find ways of defeating her. So this is first.


Second, you need to help her against yourself. Give her the information she needs about your thoughts so she can use those against you. She cannot read your thoughts, she can only sense and perceive your affections, whether they are for her or against her. So you need to tell her what you’re thinking about the situation at issue. Then you need to listen what she says about what you tell her. She will not like what you think. She will want to have you think in accordance with how she thinks, and how she thinks you should think. This is your lifeline, your narrow door, where you must end up. Don’t waste her time and energy by arguing about it. She will never change her mind. You can only wear her down so she can’t oppose you for awhile. So tell yourself to make your objections brief and mild, then switch. Switch instantly and fully, not by half steps. I found it much easier to go over her side in one categorical jump, not in gradual increments. She will appreciate it and love you for it. Then you can experience the sweetness of your conjugial wife—the deepest softest most intelligent thing imaginable, and beyond.


One day my wife mentioned that when she expresses concern about her long list of things to get through, I never say, “Anything I can do for you, honey?” I was shocked at myself, feeling convicted by the truth of her remark. I resolved to say this sentence to her every day, “Anything I can do for you today, sweetheart?” That was my reformation regarding this area of my life. In the first phase of my regeneration regarding this portion of my character, I noticed a furious debate in my mind by the many spokespersons around the conference table of the selves. “But I don’t feel like offering my help. I’m really busy today.” Or, “It’s O.K., she can get through her list, there is no pressure. She doesn’t really need my help. We each have got our own list of tasks to get through.” Etc. I had to merely compel myself to ignore all of this drivel and force a smile on my face, and to assume a pleasant voice, and say it. My heart would palpitate during the one-second delay of her answer. I thought, “Maybe she’ll say, Oh, it’s O.K. honey. Thanks for the offer.” But instead, I heard the dreaded sentence, “Yes, as a matter of fact there is something.” My heart sank into my socks, and I compelled myself to keep smiling and say out loud, “Sure, honey. What is it?”


Almost always, after she made her requests, I had occasion to say to myself, “That’s it? That sounds like very little. I can do that in less than a hour, then I can get back to my computer.” As I get through the task I reflect on my reluctance, my feeling of doom and despair at such a little thing as helping my wife out with her list of tasks. After all, what are these tasks on her list? They are things that belong to our domestic life. What gives me the right to unilaterally allocate tasks she is to do, and tasks I am to do. Who elected me leader? What is my warrant for ranking “my work” as having priority over “her domestic work.” This idea is from the unregenerate self in which the man is dominant and decides where the equity line is (see Chapter 9, Section 6). Yes, I recognize it. It is my downfall. I have again departed from the Lord’s Presence, turning my head away, towards myself, which is allied with the hells.


Not surprisingly, when I complete the tasks, I can see more clearly why it was the right thing for me to do. By doing them as a “volunteer” for “her tasks” our relationship is elevated to the conjoint self. This is what she wants most out of it.


But it doesn’t go smoothly all the time. One day she says, “Can you do the laundry? I won’t have time and we’ll need the pajamas tonight.” I hear my voice in a reassuring tone, “Sure babe, anything for you.” I make a mental note, “Better not forget!” At some point I have to get up from the computer and go do the laundry. I have to make sure I check the pockets for tissue paper, and the bright things for any spots that need to be treated. I have to make sure I hear the dryer buzz so as to fold the clothes while they’re still warm (so they don’t crease!). I have to remind myself to fold them the way she does it, therefore the way she likes it. She has reasons for everything—and I acknowledge that they are rational. I’m getting impatient as I fold the clothes and it takes longer to smooth them out before folding. I have to repeat things.


I’m getting enraged inside. Rebellious. Why do I have to do this? Who cares if they’re creased—they’re just for bed. Etc. I recognize the symptoms of rebellion against the conjugial. Our cat Minsky comes around, watching me fold the clothes. He seems to be saying to me: “Are you going to come to the dish with me afterwards?” I ignore him in my rage, or worse: I think, “No way are you getting food. Not again. I’m busy now. No time for play.” I tell myself to repent and some serenity comes back as I continue folding. The Lord wants me to do this. The Lord is commanding me to do this. At last all her clothes are folded. I leave mine for later. I turn my back on Minsky. I rush back to the computer. An hour later I go back to the folded clothes. I discover I had forgotten to fold two of her shirts. Now they looked full of creases. It’s really true what she says that they get creased if you don’t fold them while still warm. Now it takes me much longer trying to get the creases out. In the meantime Keo, our other cat, sat on the clothes I had folded. Now I had to redo some of the folding.


I finish my task and reflect upon it. These rebellious feelings and thoughts, what are they? They are the thoughts I have that correspond to the affections beaming into my will from the spirits. Good spirits or evil? That’s always the first thing that must be settled. Obviously evil in this case because these affections are struggling against the conjugial which evil spirits hate more than anything else. I am the one who insists on maintaining connection with these spirits because of my delight in their affections. What is my delight? No doubt it is the delight of dominion, of ruling over my wife. It is as delight that is inherited by men and reinforced by culture. Now I’m holding on to this delight, enjoying myself in myself, narcissistically. Ruling over a woman. Ruling over my wife. Even as I submit voluntarily to her request, I rebel inwardly against it. I won’t do it the way you like it done. You can do it yourself if that’s what you want. I’ll do it my way, and that’s enough. Etc. This is from dominion from the love of self. The affections of the evil spirits that I delight in cause corresponding thoughts in my understanding—and these are the things I perceive and am aware of.


These attachments I have to delights brought on by the influx of evil affections must be detached from my personality. This process of extirpation is done by the Lord by means of the temptations created by our attachments to delights from evil affections. The temptations are created by the Doctrine in our understanding, or the conscience. A temptation involves facing two things simultaneously: the delight of evil and the truth in our Doctrine. The Doctrine of the Wife, which I acknowledge (see Chapter xx, Sections xx and xx), requires that I strive to act from my wife, not from my love of dominion. Now I’m creating a false scorpion of nonduality in my mind by acting like we’re both natural minds and only my external conduct is to count. But the Doctrine says that the conjugial is interior, which means not my external conduct alone but what are my feelings, loyalties, and thoughts—are these internal things what she would want them to b? Is this not what will create our union in heaven? Can I maintain these rebellious thoughts and feelings even as I claim to her my inmost friendship and love? Is love not the desire to make her happy from myself, and is not myself what I think and feel? Etc.


I feel satisfied. I thank the Lord for giving me insight and victory. I rededicate myself to my highest ideals—that they are possible and practical:


The reason why the Lord spoke of His conjunction with men as of His conjunction with the Father, that is, of His Human with the Divine which was in Himself, is that the Lord is not conjoined with man's proprium, but with what is His own. The Lord removes man's proprium, and gives from His own, and in that He dwells.


Because the Divine of the Lord received by angels and men constitutes heaven and the church in them, they are one with the Lord, as He and the Father are one.


"Be ye perfect, as your Father in the heavens is perfect" ([Matthew 5] verse 48).

(AE 254)


Chapter 2, Section 13


13. The Regeneration Discipline Of Conjugial Massage


Conjugial disciplines are joint projects couples undertake to cooperate with the Lord in being prepared for conjugial love in heaven. By way of illustration I can make a few observations about my involvement in a conjugial massage discipline. This was in response to pain management efforts involving the usual areas—hip, small of back, knee, foot, shoulder blades, neck, scalp, fingers. Millions of people in our generation take a variety of popular over the counter drugs to manage these pains. Being somewhat rational about it, we decided it’s better to use non-drug approaches to pain management in our life. We learned about Bonnie Pruden’s Trigger Point Therapy from her popular book some decades ago. We also learned to practice Yoga, to avoid bad positions, to walk straight. Still, this would not be enough, and we tried acupuncture, which helped my knee problem, from a judo practice injury I sustained in my 20s. and never relinquished until the acupuncture. But it issues remained with neck, shoulder, thighs, hips, as a result of which we learned about “deep tissue” body work massage. A combination of these things more or less keeps us in a functional state physically, allowing us to enjoy and appreciate the Lord’s abundant gifts.


People sustain pain areas, marking the event with a permanent muscle tightening. I think of it as ”sensorimotor memory.” I assume that it is within the corporeal mind, thus the lowest region of the natural mind. This region is turned outward towards the physical world which it apprehends and reacts to through the body’s sensory organs racing to the brain where they are organized into information chunks that the corporeal mind can actually sensate to. This synchronous reactivity with the physical world gives our mind the ability to have sensations and perceptions of the world and ourselves in it. Sensorimotor memory is an accurate recording of this interaction process between the body in the physical world and the mind in the spiritual world.


1. Sensorimotor Memory


Sensorimotor memory keeps track of this flow of information between the natural world and the spiritual world. The sensorimotor memory is situated at the precise interface between the spiritual world and the natural world. The interface between the spiritual and natural worlds takes place in no other place than the human mind.


For "the face" signifies the affections (n. 4796, 4797, 4799, 5102, 5695, 6604), consequently those things which belong to the face signify such things as belong to the affections, and correspond to their functions and uses; as the "eye" signifies the understanding of truth, the "nostrils" the perception of truth, those things which belong to the mouth, as the "jaws," the "lips," the "tongue," signify such thing as relate to the utterance of truth (n. 4796-4805).(AC 9049)


Sensorimotor memory is etched in frozen lines on the face and hands of an individual. An individual’s eyes reveal interior affections because affections lead to sensorimotor acts when not prevented (xx). These sensorimotor acts are etched in the sensorimotor memory. Similarly, the many falls we tale as children, and those as adults when we sustain an injury. Each and every one of these pain moments are recorded in sensorimotor memory. Whatever lives in the mind strives to live in the body. Sensorimotor memory lives in the muscle-bone-cartilage system of the body (xx). The wrinkles on the face are accumulations of items of sensorimotor memory recorded from the face’s expressions, or acting out, of our daily willing and thinking. Despite the impressive amount of information in sensorimotor memory, spirits and angels are able to “go through” its content very rapidly as they meet each other in the world of spirits (xx). And angels are able to go through the deeper layers of the mind of spirits, seeing there a record of their willing in daily life, whether each item is infernal or heavenly (xx).


The excellence of our sensorimotor memory is of tremendous use to the physical body for it is what controls the body in physical training. We learn to talk, walk, write, run, dance, type, play musical instruments. We learn how to drive a car and replace a tire, how to navigate inside the house and on the streets. Our eyes know where to look when, to obtain the information we want at any point. We do many muscular movements spontaneously and in reaction. This entire world of the corpus is kept in order and in going condition by the sensorimotor mind. This mind is turned outward towards the world and identifies with the world. Thus, it is turned away from the spiritual world and heaven, and is in opposition to it since the Fall of the human race on this earth.


To be in opposition to heaven means that the sensorimotor memory is unwilling to be rearranged into a different order than it is born into since the Fall. The only force that will compel it to accept rearrangement is the power of the Word which we take up into the mind and used it to effect the rearrangement. As we do this, to that extent the Lord then turns the sensorimotor mind around, so that now it is facing upward to heaven. This means that we are committed to reformation by means of the power of the Letter of the Writing sin our mind.


2. The Sensuous Mind Turns Itself Away From The Rational


After reformation, the sensuous mind is rearranged according to the dualities of the Writings, and this compels the corporeal mind to realign itself with the sensuous mind. This realignment is effected by correspondences. The sensuous mind takes up sensuous correspondences from the Word and instruction. For example, it is universally taught that the mind is corrupted by immoral behavior. In other words, a corporeal concept “corrupted” is applied to a sensuous concept “immoral behavior.” The corporeal concept is not the same as the sensuous concept, but they are related to each other by correspondence. The idea of “immoral” is a discrete degree higher than the idea of “corrupt.” In this way, the two lower levels of our natural mind are tied to each other by means of correspondences.


In the Writings it is revealed that the sensuous correspondences are within the corporeal meanings, and that the corporeal is the effect while the sensuous is its instrumental cause (xx). Thus, “corrupted” applies to the body and physical things, but its origin is the sensuous correspondence of “immoral.” We also have the historically known expression of “healthy mind within a healthy body” and sometimes “spirit” appears instead of mind, the two being the same. The word “healthy” has an external literal meaning, which applies to natural things like the body; and it has an internal meaning which applies to spiritual things like the mind or spirit. A healthy body is a correspondence from a healthy mind. The latter precedes the former since all spiritual things precede natural things as cause precedes effect (xx).


One of the great scientific revelations in the Writings is the information that successive degrees from firsts to lasts, are present in simultaneous degrees from inmost to outmost (xx). For instance, the effect cannot exist without the cause being in it (xx). As long as the effect is observable, its cause lies within it in simultaneous order. When we look at the sock we put on, we are making use of an object that is called the natural effect or, ultimate lasts. The sock on my foot could not exist without the motive to produce socks for retail merchandising, coupled with other motives in a sequence, such as my motive to go to the store for buying the sock, and my motive for keeping it handy and clean so I can put it on today. Each of these motives acted together in a coherent whole in order to get this sock on my foot. None of these motives can be removed without making the sock vanish from my foot—is this not so? It’s a rational necessity.


Hence it is that angels and spirits can go through each other’s memories and affectional biographies—the past is always within the present as cause is always within the effect. Also, no one goes to hell for past sins and evil deeds. People go to hell for the past that is with them in the present.


Such as the past is, such is the present, consequently such is the future!


The New Church mind forms its sensuous portion by means of sensuous correspondences that are aligned with rational correspondences from the Writings. For instance, the entire collection of sensuous ideas is divided into two absolute categories: it is either from hell or form heaven. This fundamental duality is represented in the Old Testament by the creation of land and the separation of the waters from the dry land (xx). Everything now in our sensuous mind must be filtered through this bifurcation—it is either from hell or from heaven. What are the things in people’s sensuous mind? Basically two things: pain or pleasure, and real or imagined. Pain vs. pleasure relates to the will and its affections and motives. Real vs. imagined relates to the understanding and its true vs. false thoughts.


In the New Church mind all sensuous ideas are marked by good and truth. A sensuous idea is good and true when it is a correspondence to heaven; it is evil and false when it is a correspondence to hell. Take for instance the idea we have of eating. By it we are relieved from hunger and enjoy the tastes and tactile properties in the mouth. This is from heaven. But now we can add to it corrupted things from hell. For example, we can begin to overeat. The motive to overeat, and its delights, are from hell. Similarly with the way we chew the food. To chew improperly is infernal. To fill the mouth with extra amount of food is from hell. To swallow without chewing fully, to enjoy the half-chewed food going down the distended throat, and to continue to do it without feeling the motive to modify, is sinking deeper and deeper into infernal shackles from which it is difficult and very painful to be freed in the afterlife (xx).


Angels enjoy food delicacies that appear on their tables while sitting down for meals and celebrations (xx). Celestial gardens have fruit trees of magnificent appearance and taste (xx). Angels enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the art and architecture designed and instantiated for them by the Lord (xx). The homes of angels are palaces of art, beauty, and functionality (xx). Precious stones and jewels are everywhere (xx). Fabulously elegant and royal clothes appear in their closets from the Lord on many occasions (xx). And best of all, angels enjoy conjugial love, sleeping in its embrace every night (xx).


The New Church mind has much to look forward to. The Writings put an end to the fabrication by nonduality that the sensuous and the rational in humans are opposed to each other. Writers, psychologists, doctors, poets, dramatists, have all fallen to the illusion that the sensuous part of the personality is independent of the rational and has different needs and delights. Religious dogmas have also associated the sensuous with the immoral, making a nonduality between infernal and celestial sensuality. Religious disciplines in the East and the West have elevated the fiery idol of corporeal spirituality and held it in opposition to the cool serpent of sensuousness. For example, sexual abstinence and an ascetic life have been made a condition for higher spiritual development throughout history, in both East and West, and still has a presence in the New Age spiritual movements today.


In popular psychology today, Jung’s nonduality continues to be a very strong influence. Our culture is immersed in the idea that the sensuous self deserves a separate life from the rational self. Therapists encourage people to dissociate the hold that conscience has on the sensuous. Conscience is the rational and moral dictating to the sensuous, and the rebellion of the sensuous leads to immoral behavior, materialistic science, and self-serving justifications for maintaining infernal sensuous involvements or servitudes. But the truth has been revealed by the Lord in the Writings. The sensuous is the very containant of the rational, and one completes the other, and neither can live without the other (xx).


The scientific reality is that every object or property is created into its own order and hierarchy, from the spiritual Sun to the last ultimate on the earth, and the entire chain of existence is maintained from Firsts to lasts, through intermediaries at discrete levels connected by correspondences. Hence it is not possible for the sensuous to exist and function without the rational within it, animating it by correspondences form above. For the rational level of the natural mind is a discrete degree above the sensuous, and looks down on it, and sees it, thus controls it.


This is how it was with the celestial races on earth called the Most Ancient Church (xx). But after that race fell, and the human race became spiritual, the sensuous was in rebellion against the rational, so that it is closed off from its inward side, and open only to the outward side, which is the order of the physical world. The sensuous does not communicate with the spiritual, as the rational does. As a result of the Fall, which refers to the sensuous turning away from the rational, the human race lost its consciousness of the spiritual world, and therefore, of the mind within. The mind appeared to people as a deeper and less visible aspect of the body, making a nonduality between them. Heaven was imagined as an inhabitation in the clouds, or just floating around in the air without the idea of cities, houses, and gardens. Conjugial love was unimaginable since bodies were thought of as earthly. Those who had children die, thought of them in heaven as children forever. It was unimaginable to think of them as growing up and becoming adults.


One consequence of the loss of the rational was this thinning out of existence in heaven instead of a fuller life than on earth. Another consequence was the notion that becoming rational meant that we must lose the sensuous. Popular psychology and literature fostered this idea by creating personality tests that were interpreted as identifying and individual’s type, whether sensuous or rational, or a balance between the two, or a dominance of one over the other. This fallacious model ignored the truth which was that the rational is within the sensuous or else the sensuous could not operate and function.


What happens then when the sensuous is closed off to the rational? How can it then continue to function?


3. Creation Of The Natural-Rational Mind


After the Fall, the new spiritual race had a split mind. The will and the understanding were no longer locked together by correspondence. People now inherited evil affections, that is, they were born with shackles to the hells. They had to regenerate before passing on, in order to have a mind that can live in heaven. Regeneration involved (1) elevating the understanding through truths from Written Revelation and (2) using this higher rational perspective to purify the will from its infernal affections. Note therefore that the understanding had to gain independent existence from the will.


But this is only a general description, and is an appearance of the sensuous mind. To the rational mind, there can never be an actual independence of the understanding from the will because it understands that the understanding is of truth and the will is of love, and truth is nothing but the outward form of love (xx). From this the rational mind can see that when the understanding is elevated by means of truths from the Word, this elevation process cannot take place without a motivation in the will. In order for us to do any thinking we must first do the willing. We must will our thoughts! Willing creates thinking, and no thinking can come into existence without willing. Remove the willing, and there is no thinking. You can see this in your voluntary acts. Remove the motive to move your hand, and it stops moving. Lose the motive to eat, and you starve yourself. Action without willing is not possible.


Similarly, action without thinking is not possible (xx), though the appearance to the sensuous mind is that sometimes we act by impulse, without thinking. But this is a fallacy of the senses. Similarly with sensation. It appears to the sensuous mind that first we sense some smell in the air, and then we think about what it indicates. Or, it seems as if we first see a friend on the street and then we start thinking about him.


But the scientific truth, revealed in the Writings, is that sensation itself is an act of thinking. It is not the sensory organs that sensate but the understanding. The understanding senses, or sensates, the pattern of information chunks coming from sensory organs into the brain. The sensorimotor portion of the mind then sensates in correspondence with the physical patterns induced in the brain from the organs. The activity of sensating is an activity of the mind that involves (a) the readiness or motive to sensate, and (b) the organization and content of sensuous correspondences in the understanding. Thus both the affective and the cognitive mind are involved in the process of experiencing a sensation.


It is not necessary that we be aware of these organic operations in order for them to go on according to the Lord’s created order. Hence the sensuous mind can turn itself away from the internal operations of the will and understanding, and it can continue to operate, seemingly by itself. But this is an appearance which gives a fallacious description of reality when confirmed and built up into a doctrine, philosophy, or scientific theory. The rational continues to mediate between the spiritual and the natural worlds, but unconsciously. The unconscious operation of the rational mind is called “influx” in the Writings.


Influx is from the Lord. It refers to the mechanism or intermediaries the Lord uses to maintain the operation of the sensuous mind and the corporeal below it. Despite the Fall, society and culture have continued to develop into more and more advanced forms of human civilization and ideas. Although the rational was cut off form the sensuous, the interconnection was duplicated by unconscious spiritual influx, which kept things going progressively in society and the human mind.


But in order to be regenerated and be capable of living in heaven, the individual had to regain conscious rational control over the sensuous. This was possible by the opening of the conscious rational mind in two organic phases, one external, the other interior. The external portion of the new rational mind is called the natural-rational; the interior portion of it is called the interior-natural. Prior to beginning regeneration, we must undergo reformation. This involves the opening of the natural-rational mind by means of the understanding of the Letter of the Writings. Then, the opening of the interior-natural mind within that, to the extent that we apply the understanding of the Letter to our daily willing and thinking.


With the rational mind now open at both the external and interior sides, regeneration can begin and proceed until the end. The sensuous mind is reformed, and along with it the corporeal. Now we enter into combats with the hells as they fight to retain our shackles to them. We struggle and suffer through many ups and downs and reversals, but make steady progress because it is the Lord who fights for us, if only we are willing.


The regeneration of the sensuous and corporeal mind requires systematic involvement that the Lord calls “cooperation,” warning us that without it we cannot be regenerated (xx). Systematic cooperation in fighting against our infernal affections and delights requires the use of spiritual disciplines. Conjugial disciplines involving the physical body and health are also necessary.


4. The Weekly Massage Routine


Sensorimotor memory can be altered by physical reconditioning of the muscles, ligaments, and bone alignment. We do this normally, almost without thinking, when we pull or tear a muscle or joint. We spontaneously decrease its use while it’s repairing itself, after which we start using it gradually, and finally back to the way we used it before the injury. Pain is a common sensation for injured muscles or joints. Millions of people every day take pain medication in the form of over the counter drugs. Pain is the conscious sensation of the sensorimotor mind. The mind has three portions: affective (will), cognitive (understanding), and sensorimotor (sensations). Pain is the cognitive activity that accompanies sensation.


One significant source of daily pain is chronic contraction of muscle fibers. These contracted states are set off by bumps, falls, and minor injuries that every individual accumulates over the years and decades of life. Body work massage involves locating the contracted and congealed muscles and pressing on them forcefully in order to encourage them to release somewhat. By pressing forcefully or smashing the area for periods of 6 to 12 seconds, there results a loosening or breaking up of the congealed and cramped muscles and sub-cutaneous materials. The pressure is applied differently depending on the sensitivity of the area. For example, the hips and shoulders can take a lot of pressure from the tip of the elbow. Using oil allows the elbow to run smoothly over the long line on both sides of the spine, depressing the tight musculature and causing it to relax its grip of tightness. One can use the side of the elbow for the back of the thighs, and the knuckles and fingers for everything else, including the scalp, the facial musculature, the hands, and the feet.


This process when done regularly greatly reduces the kind of body pains that cause millions of Americans to spend billions of dollars annually trying to relieve it with chemical drugs, whose side effects, when taken excessively, can be serious for many people.


This kind of “deep tissue” body work is very painful at the beginning. One might even use the word excruciating. But because it is fully controllable, it is something we can learn to endure for the sake of the release and benefits. It is fully controllable because the pressure is applied gradually, increasing steadily over the seconds until it reaches the maximum to be applied to that area. You hold it there for a few seconds, then you gradually release. So it’s about a six-second build up, a six-second hold, and a six-second release. If I’m being worked on I indicate the strength of the pain vocally. As the pain builds up, my moan gets louder, and if my moan dramatically increases, it’s a sign for the other person to stop increasing the pressure. This kind of verbal or non-verbal signals can be worked out to achieve maximum control over how much pain you want to stand for on that session in that area. It varies. On some days I can stand for a lot of pain using slow breathing and relaxation, or at times, panting breathing. It’s common to want to tighten muscles when feeling pain, but one can learn gradually to inhibit that habit response to pain. Tightening muscles when sensing pain adds to the chronic tightening and cramping of muscles.


The pain that is applied in the deep tissue body work immediately subsides when the pressure is released and unlike injuries or workouts, the treatment does not cause pain afterwards. Instead, there is a release of pain and a feeling of well being and thankfulness. My wife and I decided to turn this into a joint marital discipline for the sake of our conjugial development. And this is when the merely health activity (natural) was turned into a health activity within which there was something spiritual for one’s regeneration.


Specifically what turned it into a spiritual discipline is the motivation which activated us, which was not merely a health involvement, but a health involvement that we can do jointly as a couple for spiritual purposes. Further, it was more intimate and personal than other types of joint involvement like cooking or doing the household budget together. The medical reason was there, but this could have been taken care of by a health professional (as it had been before). We had an independent reason that was religious, namely, our desire to cooperate with the Lord in helping us grow together as a conjugial couple. This religious motive always looks around the couple’s life to locate secular activities that can be turned into religious ones. This is the life of religious discipline, in my view. And so we pegged “deep tissue body work” as another convenient “method” for forming our conjoint conjugial self.


Since I was practicing the discipline of self-witnessing (mentioned above; see also Note 20 at end). I was able to monitor my thoughts and feelings before, during, and after each of our sessions. In this way I became conscious of all sorts of temptations that I had to overcome by imploring the Lord to give me the victory. This is the core of spiritual discipline in the New Church mind—turning to the Lord for victory in temptations. This dialog with the Lord in states of rebellion or fear is the very thing that makes the activity a religious discipline of use to our regeneration. In the initial phases of our conjugial discipline I experienced temptations that made me doubt the value of massage. I wanted to postpone it or forget about it. I thought: No couples we know do massage to each other on a regular basis (or ever!). Or I thought: This is not massage—it is torture. Or: I’m not good at this. Why don’t we let the professionals do it. Etc.


By the Lord’s mercy I was allowed to overcome these temptations and move to a second phase of the discipline. Now that I was able to “make myself” participate at our weekly appointed time, I underwent doubts as to my ability to do a good job at it. The routine we decided on involved that I should lie on the massage table first and my wife would work on my body. Then (after about one hour) we switched places. When my wife was doing the work I could see how well she did it by how she manipulated the muscles. There are all sorts of details to learn. There is an optimum amount of pressure to apply; if it is too little, there is less medical benefit; if it is too much the treatment turns into screaming torture. Also one needs to learn what “instrument” to use on the area: elbow, knuckles, fingers, arm, knee. One needs to learn the rate of pressing in, the length of holding it, and the rate of releasing. When it was my turn to work on my wife’s body I did it all wrong. She was long-suffering and patient with my ineptitudes—and very didactic.


All sorts of temptations assailed me like the Red Sea had suddenly inundated our living room. I felt she was “overdoing” her coaching and that she should give me more time to learn this thing, and so on. I didn’t want her to tell me what to do (she had gracefully maintained silence for a long time before deciding I wasn’t going anywhere with it by myself). Now I see in retrospect that the Lord had given her special perceptions about my reluctances, as wives receive from the Lord regarding their regenerating husbands (DLW 131). After I overcame my resentments and self-doubts I began the third phase of the discipline. This is what we are enjoying now as we continue the discipline. I look forward to the weekly “event” of intimacy between us, and during the in-between days I mention the benefits I’m experiencing and the appreciation I feel for her service.


Now I’m experiencing temptations in terms of “little things” which to me indicates celestial rather than spiritual temptations. Some of them relate to performance anxiety by which I perceive my lack of skill in some areas due to lowered motivation, commitment, or love and the desire to be of use to the neighbor. Selfishness and arrogance become impediments that I must overcome by turning again and again to the Lord for help. I must not let my mind wander from commitment to better and better performances, and thus services. I must not short change my service and hurry over some areas and thus neglect them out of laziness. I must not chit chat and disturb her quietude. I must pay attention to extra things like the music I put on—it should be to her pleasing and relaxation. I must not use more oil than is necessary because she doesn’t like it as it closes up her pores. I should be able to anticipate her wants—whether she is cold and needs an extra covering, or whether she is too hot. I must not end the session with painful things but with pleasant and light. Etc.


Deep tissue work relieves pain and improves functioning but there are also less severe forms of massage that can be physically enjoyable and offer similar opportunities for practicing conjugial discipline. I continue to marvel how few couples we’ve ever met give each other massage treatments on a regular basis. One lovely use of it is for a husband to help his wife relax deeply before falling asleep. Care must be taken not to use it for pressuring the wife to have sex, either by direct suggestions or implied ones. This use is different and the two must not be mixed up or else it loses its first use relating to helping the wife to fall asleep.


The fact that married couples avoid regular massage with each other may be due more to husbands than wives. For falling asleep men prefer sex, when it’s not lengthy. To distinguish between sex and massage a man must elevate his consciousness above the corporeal and sensuous, thus to the rational where the spiritual lurks close by. If a man is reluctant to do that, he will oppose the idea of giving his wife a massage to prepare her for sleep. This is my tentative hypothesis why so many couples do not use massage. The conjugial husband is able to overcome this problem because his mind is in the rational when he thinks about his marriage.


The form or type of massage can be adjusted to each purpose or conjugial use. Besides deep tissue work there is also massage for relaxation, for preparation for sex, and massage for putting to sleep. I especially recommend the latter for husbands to take on as a regeneration discipline. Think of how much more heavenly peace can enter your wife’s life by your discipline. Women are more assaulted by this earthly world than men, especially the added stress they experience from a masculinized culture and society, as all countries on this planet appear to be since historical beginnings. It was otherwise in the earliest civilizations on this earth known as the Most Ancient Church. They were a celestial mind prior to the Fall and the split-brain evolution. But since the fall of that race culture and society became progressively more masculinized and anti-feminine. This the result of giving love a lower priority to truth. This attitude is called the Fall, because it is the opposite of reality, which is that love is primary, and in fact, that truth is nothing but the external life of love. And therefore all things from this mind in society and culture tend towards the masculine which is spiritually an organ for receiving truth, while the feminine is an organ for receiving love.


5. The Masculine And Feminine Mind


Since everyone has a will and an understanding, it is clear that men and women are constructed out of both masculine and feminine organs. A man’s understanding is masculine and primary in his life, while the love that is within the understanding becomes secondary in his vision and priority. Therefore a man is internal love in the will that is covered over with external truth. Before a man’s eyes, there stands truth, and love is behind it. Before a woman’s eyes there stands loves, and truth is behind it. A woman’s understanding is her masculine part since truth is masculine and she takes truth into her understanding just as she takes the male semen into her womb. A woman is described as truth covered over with love, while a man is described as love covered over with truth. Love is received in the organ of the will while truth is received in the organ of the understanding. The marriage of good and truth is the basis of the universe and its creation and maintenance by the Lord (xx). Therefrom it is that marriages are holy when a man representing truth unites with a woman representing love so that the one can have form the other what it doesn’t by itself.


Women have truths just as much as men. Let there be no mistake about that.


What’s being said here is different. It’s important for understanding how a man and a woman form an angelic unity from within, a unity which is eternal, unbreakable, and forever growing daily.


The wife takes the husband’s semen into her womb, nurtures it, until a child is born. This is the result of their love or union. This is the highest use in the universe, for which all creation was made is being maintained by the Lord. This use is the building up of the heavens in the Grand Human with more and more people form all the planets. The more populous a society of heaven is, the greater is its joy and creativity. This is because everyone’s good and truth, which is unique from the Lord, adds itself to the society so that each shares and becomes aware of the good and truth of everyone else. This is true within a society and reverberates to other societies in a chain of sequence by which the societies are aligned in the Grand Human. You can see from this that babies being born on the numerous earths is the highest use for that earth since every baby is born for heaven to be an angel. Since the Fall, every baby is born for heaven, but can only get there by regeneration of the adult. Children who die before growing up, do so in heaven and have a special innocence not shared by those who arrive as regenerated adults.


Because of this supreme spiritual use, a wife represents the highest possible wisdom and love for a human being. Divine Wisdom or Divine Truth is represented in the Word by the feminine: women, wives, girls, virgins, daughters, mothers, grand mothers, aunts, sisters (Faith 59, xx). The Church is called a mother and a bride. A woman giving birth represents the Lord bringing Divine Doctrine or Truth to the Church in the minds of men. Thus all truth has the feminine as its mother, since love is the origin and life of all truth. The surrendered husband is the regenerated husband who is elevated to a celestial mind, called an angel-husband (xx). Divine Love in the Word is represented by the masculine: husband, priest, father (xx).


 Everything that pertains to the will, in the Word is represented as love or good. Everything that pertains to the understanding, in the Word is represented as truth or wisdom. In the celestial mind, love is primary, which is why Father and Husband represent love. But in the spiritual mind, father and husband do not represent love, but truth instead. The spiritual state is a lower state than the celestial. A man then becomes elevated when he represents love, which is done when he acts from his wife’s will. Then his mind becomes a celestial mind, otherwise it remains spiritual, and this mind cannot regenerate (xx). The regeneration of those who are spiritual angels in the Second Heaven is also achieved by love, but to a lesser extent because they value love of truth higher than love of good (xx). The celestial angels of the Third heaven value love of good more than love of truth. And good is in the will, hence feminine. The celestial angels put love of good (celestial mind) ahead of love of truth (spiritual mind).


From all this you can see that the “feminization” of man and society is nothing else than the elevated man. The elevated man is feminized because celestial is above spiritual. Man is born spiritual and in order to regenerate, must become celestial. This is an elevation. Regeneration elevates from spiritual to celestial. To give truth priority over love is spiritual, but to give love priority over truth, is celestial. To become a celestial mind, or elevated husband, the man must turn himself inside out, as it were. Much of our disagreements with our wife, by which our regeneration is arrested, revolves around this dilemma for a man:


(a) putting truth considerations above love considerations


(b) putting love considerations above truth considerations


Alternative (a) is masculine and inborn, leading to damnation. Alternative (b) is the method of regeneration, leading to salvation.


For a husband who is forming the New Church mind in himself, putting love above truth is the battle that every Church in history has fought, and lost. Every Church on this earth, which was always dominated by men, fell, was consummated or destroyed, by putting truth above love (xx). This is the root cause of our masculinized society and culture. But the Lord has foretold that conjugial love, or the celestial husband, is to return to this earth by means of regeneration (xx). This means that society and culture will evolve into a more feminized form in which state men will put love ahead of truth.


The fact is that when truth is made primary and love secondary, it is not truth but appears to be. This is obvious when you consider that truth and love cannot exist separately (xx). Therefore all truth that is genuine and real, is nothing but the external activity or appearance of love. Love is always within genuine truth, and what is within, is a discrete degree above or superior in excellence of creation (xx). When a man adopts Rule 1, or the Doctrine of the Wife as his regeneration discipline, he does nothing else than turn everything inside out of himself. His inmost portion is love, so this must come out and be first. His outer portion is truth, so this must align itself with love and be married to it as a one, so that the husband’s truth is nothing else than the wife’s externalized love. In this way he can have what is hers from the Lord, and she can have what is his from the Lord. This union is created when the husband thinks from the wife’s will (Rule 1).


The use of massaging one’s wife to sleep every night is a supreme use by which the husband wills and thinks from her feminized love, her good, and her needs. To adopt it as a regeneration discipline means to acknowledge that it is a Divine commandment. Every truth we understand from the Writings is a commandment for our life. Massage is mentioned once in the Writings, when discussing the


Chapter 2, Section 14


14. The Regeneration Discipline of Heaven On Wheels


Recognition of sin and a person's self-examination are the beginnings of repentance (TCR 525)


It is easy for the New Church mind to overlook an important area of regeneration-our driving and other uses of public places such as walking in a shopping mall, bicycling, boating, surfing, etc. It is evident from both experience and newspaper headlines that people today behave aggressively as drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and users of public places and venues. I detail the worldwide phenomenon in my book on road rage and related articles (see Note 17)


Prior to my reformation I drove in a style one can call being a rushing maniac. It was a morally bankrupt way of driving in which the usual claims to being a civilized and reasonable person, fell off my personality prior to entering the car and settling myself behind the wheel, ready to be this other person. He was crude, gross, aggressive, hostile, arrogant, lawless, foolish, unfair, risky, lacking compassion and respect for other human road users. As usual in all matters of my regeneration, my wife played a courageous and definitive role in making me look at my driving personality from the perspective of the Writings.


I went through a three-step process that later in our book, I defined as the AWM approach to driver self-improvement:


(A) Acknowledging that my aggressive driving is a sin

(W) Witnessing myself in the act of committing the sin

(M) Modifying my act


The acknowledgement step is the most difficult. We run off automatic denial routines to prevent us from making this acknowledgement. First, we deny that our driving is aggressive. Assertive, maybe; impatient maybe; but not aggressive. Second, we deny that driving styles are sins. For instance, only ten percent of my students, when taking the aggressive driving course, at first are willing to define tailgating as a moral issue. By the end of the semester, that percentage rises to fifty percent. Despite my efforts, half of them still reject my idea that aggressive driving is immoral, and from hell. They are unwilling to admit that other road users have human rights that must not be violated. They mostly define driving as competition, and therefore the rules of competition allow you to fight for your place, for your comfort, and the freedom of individual style.


The morality that characterizes the thinking level of driving is at a corporeal level suitable for the Letter of the Old Testament. The law of talon is the operating procedure. Drivers who operate in a stupid manner are offensive, need to be punished, and no longer deserve respect or dignity. We give ourselves permission to compel another driver to go faster than they want to by tailgating them, especially when they block our way and refuse to switch lanes. We give ourselves permission to think offensive and denigrating things about another driver. We give ourselves permission to feel rage and hatred towards other drivers who show their inconsiderateness and put us in danger or prevent us from doing what we want. We find a way of justifying ourselves in these hostile feelings, thoughts, and actions on a daily basis while we are in traffic with others.


The first step of Acknowledging is therefore the hardest to make. This step is equivalent to the reformation of the New Church mind. Until my reformation, which took place in my early 40s, my driving personality was turned towards myself as the primary focus. Consequently all my willing and thinking behind the wheel was infernal. I broke all the Commandments because I hated my traffic neighbor, loving only myself. First, I rejected the Lord, cutting Him out of the equation. It was me against the other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicycle riders, truck drivers, taxi drivers—except police cars. I had great respect for them. When one of them was around, I became an angel. It was so easy to play the part of an angel, I didn’t mind, I enjoyed it. Just four or five minutes later, or less, I threw off my angelic robe, emerging as the road genie out for the kill.


1. Becoming A Reformed Driver


Time had come for me to meet my higher destiny. At age 42 I was at the height of my external career, which is that of a tenured full professor at a university with a respectable reputation in my field of psychology. I was also at the height of my internal career, which was to become an avatar—the self-sufficient accomplished man who has risen to the top of the intelligence scale of his race, needing no God or superstition, himself as the sole arbiter of what’s right, true, and good, possessing full self-control over his weaknesses, unstoppable and limitless in his potential extensions.


That’s how foolish and blind I was when I had reached the top of the ladder I was climbing on since adolescence when I first started formulating the idea of my superiority to everyone else, needing no God, being above morality, above religion, above culture, art, and aesthetics, above the human race.


How amazingly insane! And yet I was fully convinced with total certainty that I was this avatar.


Then, for no reason I could see, all of a sudden, there was a slow but steady and building feeling of anxiety rising from inside to my awareness. What’s this! I was immediately alarmed and shaken. I thought I had put all these weaknesses of human emotions to the side, leaving me in a solid steady state of smooth sailing on the river of life conquered. This anxiety, what was it, what did it have to do with, who was it? My legs led me to the bookshelf in our living room. My hands removed the Jewish Prayer Book that I had kept as a childhood memento, with my parents’ handwritten inscription on it. As an avatar, I thought it would be chicken for me to try to hide my religious background. It turns out there was a purpose for it that I had not anticipated. I opened it and began to read the Hebrew sentences I could not fully understand. I could read everything phonetically. I could read the same verses in the old European Orthodox accent and characteristic sing song intonation, or I could read it in modern Hebrew with an Israeli accent and sentence pattern intonation. But I could not have translated more than 10 percent of the sentences! The rest was totally meaningless!


After a few days of this, I got tired of it. I was unmoved. Then the next time my hand reached towards the bookshelf it got hold of the American edition of the Jewish Prayer book, that had been a gift from a friend of the family, but which I had never actually read or used. But now I noticed with delight that the right hand side was in English and was a translation of the Hebrew on the left hand side. How amazed I was to be able to read those familiar prayers with 100 percent meaning rather than 10 percent. It was like a dark sooty wall that had just been professionally cleaned up, turning out to be a large clear window pane giving access to the landscapes in the land of God-human relationship.


Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who sanctifies us with his commandments, and commands us to light the candles of Shabbat


Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe who sanctifies us with his commandments, and commands us concerning washing of hands


Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe who has chosen us from among all people, and exalted us above every tongue and sanctified us with His commandments


I am the Lord, your God, who lead you from the land of Egypt to be a god to you. I am the Lord, your God.


May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified in the world that He created as He willed.


May His great Name be blessed forever and ever. Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed is He beyond any blessing and song praise and consolation that are uttered in the world.


May my mouth declare the praise of God and may all flesh bless His holy name forever. We will bless God from this time, forever, halleluiah. Give thanks to God for He is good, for his kindness endures forever. Who can express the might of God? Who can make heard all of His praise?


Beware, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn and serve other gods, and worship them Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, they should make themselves tzitzit (fringes) on the corners of their clothing throughout their generations, and give the tzitzit of each corner a thread of blue.


How amazing that I should have recited these words in Hebrew as a young child, not knowing their meaning, and how amazing that as an adult I never was exposed to their meaning, or perhaps, I kept myself from being exposed. I found in these words a new relationship from within, a new comfort that took care of the angst that had bothered and threatened me. I was not alone, like Atlas. I was just a created human being, a mortal, an individual with limited vision and power within limited spheres of action and decision. How relieved I was I no longer had to be an avatar and a god.


I had never taken time out to get to know this old God of my childhood. But now, there He was, and there was I, now an adult. So now it was God and me, tete a tete, as it were, person to person, like Rabbi Baal Shem Tov whose legendary magical feats and stories enlightened my childhood years with the exciting youthful visions of adventure and mystery. Along with “der leimene golem”—the Jewish version of a Hollywood Frankenstein set in Prague during the Middle Ages. Instead of a daring scientist doing research on human life, it was a local Rabbi desperate to save the Jews from a pogrom. And instead of electricity and wires, the Rabbi used the power of the Holy Name, which he inscribed with a stone on the forehead of the giant clay figure he had fashioned for the occasion.


The words in English reverberated in my mind, over and over: “Blessed art Thou Lord our God King of the universe.” I recited the familiar Hebrew incantation, bored into me by childhood indoctrination: Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Haolam.” And I thought of the meaning in English: “Blessed art Thou Lord our God King of the universe.” One so familiar and meaningless; the other so new and alive with meaning. But now they have come together in my mind and it was very exciting, because enlightening. I turned the concept around in my mind: “King of the universe.” Why a king, I wondered. I suppose that’s how they used to think in the olden days. God is a King. I thought of the word “Lord”—Adonai. It means Master. God is King and Master. I did not yet know or reflect on the truth that when Jews read Adonai the Old Testament Hebrew actually spells out Jehovah.


During these months of religious revival it never occurred to me that to meet God I needed to reform my life. I continued to think like an avatar, but now, a religious avatar. I became a pious man in the order of my own construction. I thought of God as a loving super-natural intelligence who wants to interact with individuals who are especially high in intelligence and are able to apprehend Him and His Truth. My old search for truth continued as before, but this time the truth was centered in God. I was interested in God because I was interested in truth, and God was part of this truth. I was very far from the idea that my intelligence is held together and operated by God from within, and without that, I would fall into a thoughtless heap of protein cells and whirling atoms vibrating off electrons and mesons. God and me still hadn’t met one on one, face to face. God was not yet something real in my mind.


2. Meeting My Master


After a few weeks of this new enchantment with Jewish memories from my childhood, my hand one day reached for the red covered edition of the Holy Bible on the shelf, next to the other “religious” books I had kept. I turned the pages to the New Testament. I was surprised at my boldness, feeling trepidation. What’s going to happen to me? I had never done that. I swiped the Gideon Bible from a hotel room years ago, for no reason I could think of except that I was a book collector in those days and filled my library with books I might look at but never really did. But that day I started reading the New Testament, something forbidden to a Jewish boy—except perhaps as literature. But literature was not my reason for reading it. It was just to see, out of personal curiosity, what this forbidden thing was. I had broken the barrier of being birthed in the Church, though I was an ignorant infant.


I read through the Four Gospels and the Acts, and the Epistles, and the Book of Revelations. What amazed me to no end was that the New Testament was a continuation of the Old Testament. Isn’t astonishing that I didn’t know that? My brother who is almost 50 years old today, still doesn’t know it. The fact is that if you hear something you’re disinclined to hear, you haven’t heard it, and you don’t know it.


The rest are to him as shades, all as it were, rejected far to the sides, so that he sees and hears, and does not see and does not hear (SE 2850)


As I read through Matthew I did not come to any part that I could react to as foreign or unacceptable to my Jewish training. Likewise with Mark. And Luke and John. The same with the rest. The Book of Revelation made no sense but it just sounded very familiar and similar to Ezekiel, Isaiah, and some of the Psalms. I loved the personality of the Lord and His disciples. Very Jewish, I thought. I approved of Paul and his Jewish logic—much like the Talmud of the Rabbis. One thing put me off: all the passages that talked negatively about the Jews. I felt it should have said “the leaders of the Jews” or “the officials of the Church” but not “the Jews.” I felt it cast the Jews in a bad image and maybe this was part of the source for anti-Semitism—the Jesus Christ badmouthing His people. Still, I continued to think that the Jews were superior because they are the “Chosen People of God.” Reading the New Testament and seeing it as a mere continuation of Judaism, I was willing to accept the Christian religion by subsuming it under the Jewish religion.


I thought of myself as a Christian Jew. Still a Jew, but a kind of a Jew, namely a Christian Jew. I felt myself superior to Christians who were after all of the Gentile stock, while I was of the Jewish stock, descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I was proud of my name “Jakobovits” which was the name of my adoptive father. It means Son of Jacob. Later, after I became a New Church mind, I changed my name to “James” which represents Jacob converted.


Even then, though I was baptized in the Episcopal Church, the idea of repentance remained dead in my mind. When I read the word in the Bible, or heard it in a sermon, it never applied to me. I had nothing to repent of since I was not a sinner. I hardly ever lied, and then only if I had to get out of trouble. I did not steal or murder or swear falsely in court. I did not commit adultery, and what was in my private thoughts could not hurt anybody. I had compassion for people in distress. I was supportive of societal institutions. I was impartial and fair, except in a few instances here and there. So basically repentance is not something that applied to me.


True repentance means not only examining what one does in one's life, but also what one intends in one's will to do. (TCR 532)


3. What Is Repentance


About two years later, when I started reading the Writings, I discovered what repentance is:


Recognition of sin and a person's self-examination are the beginnings of repentance.


No one in the Christian world can fail to recognize sin. For everyone there from childhood is taught what is evil and from boyhood what is sinful. All youths learn this from their parents and schoolmasters, as well as from the Ten Commandments, the first text put into the hands of everyone in Christian countries. As he grows up, he learns this later on from sermons in church and instruction at home. It is fully taught by the Word, and moreover by civil law and justice, which say the same as the Ten Commandments, and other parts of the Word. Sinful evil is nothing else but evil directed against the neighbour; and is also directed against God, and this is sin.


But the recognition of sin is useless, unless a person examines what he does in his life, and observes whether he did such a thing in secret or openly. For up to this point all that is mere knowledge; and then the arguments of the preacher are merely a noise in the left ear, which goes through to the right ear and so out. Finally it becomes no more than a thought, a piety on the part of the lungs, in many cases mere imagination and a chimera. But it is quite the reverse, if a person, recognizing what is a sin, examines himself, finds one in himself and says to himself, 'This evil is a sin,' and fearing everlasting punishment abstains from it. Then for the first time the preacher's teaching and oratory in church is taken in with both ears and reaches the heart, so that he turns from being a pagan into a Christian. (TCR 525)


At this point I had to take a look at my driving personality from the perspective of my religion. All my life I operated on the assumption that I was my own boss, my own ruler within. I decided what is right, true, or good. In hindsight I can see that I was unable to distinguish between truth and good, nor between right or wrong except in terms of my own judgment. There was no higher authority in my mind. God and the Word was something I had to figure out, decide on, and act—all from myself in accordance with my understanding.


My reformation began when I tied the concept of sin to the concept of evil. Isn’t astonishing that it took me till age 42 to figure that out? But then I was shaken to the core of my being as the thought struck me: “if a person, recognizing what is a sin, examines himself, finds one in himself and says to himself, 'This evil is a sin,' and fearing everlasting punishment abstains from it.” (TCR 525). I suddenly realized with consternation and fear that I was a candidate for hell! Hell was not just for others, bad people. I was those bad people as long as I had evils in me. Hell means evil; evil means hell. If I have evils, I’m tied to hell, and headed that way unless I break the shackle by getting rid of the evils.


4. Driving Like The Lord Is My Passenger


I began the discipline of driving before the Lord. My car was to be a heaven on wheels in traffic. My feelings for other drivers had to be charitable, consequently there was to be no tolerance for hostile or denigrating ideas about the neighbor. To reform myself as a driver was the most difficult project I had ever undertaken. I suspect it will be difficult for many men who are struggling to regenerate. The key to my success was my listening to my wife. The plain things that she could see and perceive about my driving habits were hidden to my eyes, or perhaps I should own up to the fact that I kept them hidden from my view—which is not hard to do. Men are experts at it from longstanding practice as part of their cultural masculinity. Having my wife as guiding light for my driving took about a dozen years of resistance on my part. I made her suffer for all those years when I drove like I wanted to, even though she was my passenger. I would not modify my driving


q       to please her

q       to make her happy

q       to reassure her

q       to make her feel secure and safe

q       to make her feel that she has some control over the driving situation

q       to feel compassionate for her stress and fear as a vulnerable passenger

q       to honor her dignity as a human being who has inalienable human rights

q       that should not be violated by her husband who claimed to be her friend.


None of these reasons had any power over that man that I was then, mean, selfish, and foolish. And it’s amazing that I was then at the height of my professional and scientific career. And my search for truth for I thought of myself as a good man regardless of my driving emotions, driving thoughts, and driving acts. My state of foolishness, or spiritual insanity, was so deep that I operated under the principle that my feelings and thoughts behind the wheel were not relevant to my salvation, to the question of whether I am a good person or evil. To my mind evil had to do with the other person, not me. I was not evil, therefore my feelings and thoughts could not be evil.


But eventually I was willing to see myself from my wife’s perspective. This is what saved me.


The first step therefore was this acknowledgment. It is the acknowledgement that I am such as she sees me, consequently such as she tells me. This put the burden on my accepting, or trusting, what she tells me about me as a driver, DESPITE MY THINKING THAT THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. This is the most difficult step in the entire driver reformation process. For years I would merely deny what she says, or else, ignore, and attribute it little credence. It was her fears speaking. It was her unreasonable demands speaking. It was her weaknesses speaking. It was her exaggerations speaking. It was her unwillingness to adapt speaking. Through this mental discounting activity I set her opinion aside, along with any responsibility I had to her as a husband who claimed to be a friend and a decent man. This demonstrates the depth of the foolishness any of us can wallow and remain, were it not our fear of hell and our desire to enter the conjugial bliss of heaven.


After I acknowledged that I was a selfish, immoral, illegal and dangerous driver, I began monitoring my willing and thinking on each trip. I drove alone daily and I carried a tape recorder for several years, speaking my thoughts out loud, later listening to the tape. I then began to see myself more objectively. Everything on the tape seemed familiar, recognizing myself; but the cumulative effect of listening to half an hour of it, was illuminating. I saw the depth of my depravity as a human being. I could no longer pretend like before that I was a decent and good man. I was not better than my relatives! This is what struck me deeply. I operated by higher standards of morality and thinking than my relatives, and yet I was degenerating to their level of savagery and grossness from which I thought I had freed myself.


Of course this was a personal reaction. It wasn’t just like my relatives, but like the entire culture and society. If you consider driving scenes depicted in cartoons and movies you will immediately see that what they portray is evil, that is, they portray doing evil to the neighbor while driving a car. Mostly they get away with it. These scenes train the sensorimotor memory, engraving it with that style of evil driving. This is then reinforced for several years by the adults that drive us, who are verbally abusive and spew out a hostile philosophy of other drivers. Children imbibe this subconsciously, along with the style of driving the car, its start and stop motions, its acceleration, changing lanes, going over the speed limit, competing, acting like a bad loser, and many such things that we imbibe and acquire and make it part of ourselves as drivers, ready to serve us when we get our driver’s license.


There are good drivers out there among the 125 million on the road every day in the U.S. A good driver is one who loves the traffic neighbor as much as loving self. To love the traffic neighbor means to not do them any harm. We can do the neighbor harm in several ways. One is physical damage to the car and physical injury to the body. Another is psychological injury such as exposing the neighbor to fright or insult. If I insult the other driver I am doing psychological injury. If I drive in such a way that the other driver suddenly fears for a crash, I have psychologically injured the neighbor. If I maneuver my vehicle faster or closer than my neighbor expects me to, I have injured my neighbor with fear, worry, loss of peace. I have also put the neighbor in greater jeopardy by tempting and provoking them, so that they are more compelled to react negatively or dangerously than otherwise they would in that situation.


I had to start thinking about my driving according to my doctrine of fairness and morality. I wanted to be a gentle driver more than an efficient one. This is what allowed me to listen to my wife. As an efficient driver I had a delight for making up time lost, or getting there faster than before. Later I called it being a rushing maniac. Eventually the addiction is so strong that one begins to feel a kind of panic when not moving. One begins to dread “getting stuck” as in “Don’t get stuck behind that truck.” or, “Speed up to make the light so you don’t get stuck.” Under this negative motivational pressure the driver begins to take risks, and sometimes excessive risks, the result of which is to crash and injure someone, besides oneself. I was shocked at myself, saying: “How can you pretend to a decent person yet you’re willing to take a risk of injuring another person.” My wife would frantically whisper from her passenger side: “Leon, don’t threaten those pedestrians.” In the meantime, I was enjoying threatening the pedestrians. Only some of them. Those that gave drivers a hard time by walking slowly, or by looking the other way and ignoring you. I loved to threaten them by approaching at a faster rate than I should for safety and compassion. What a primitive man I was!


5. The Conjugial Discipline Of Partnership Driving


Now when my wife and I are in the car together, we are committed to driving as two instead of as one.


Since we both prefer that I always be the driver, my wife [the passenger] is given by mutual consent the right to react to my mistakes and to tell me what makes her uncomfortable. I agreed to do this out of a religious motive after I felt a crisis of conscience when I took to heart what my wife had been complaining about: I drive scary and aggressively. For many years I denied the charges as untrue and dismissed her complaints as excessive. She had no choice but to endure the torture and degradation. Later my research uncovered the fact that the majority of men in North America have a similar driving problem and attitude, and a similar cruel relationship with their passengers, mostly spouse and children (see Note 17 at end).


I give thanks to the Lord for shaking me out of this terribly sinful practice we all tend to learn as children from our parents and the media, and then begin to unconsciously practice it ourselves when we become drivers. Realizing all this, I decided to undergo a self-modification program of my driving personality, what may be called my “driving personality makeover.” It was a religious work of daily discipline. Religious because I clearly saw that I was continually sinning by continuing to accept my driving habits and attitudes. During the first phase of my temptations I was enraged (in hell). I resented my wife’s constant interventions—which she did in accordance with our mutual agreement—thinking of them as her exaggerations and neuroses. I would deny: “No, I didn’t do that.” I would minimize: “That’s not a big deal.” I would punish her: I refused to talk to her for the rest of the trip. I would alter my driving style for a few minutes, then revert. This went on for several more years.


But I continued hanging on to our Partnership Driving Contract, being mortally afraid that if I didn’t I was rejecting the Lord. This religious motivation saved me from continuing the evil habit. The second phase then ensued at some point and I felt totally motivated to change and to honor my agreement with her. I now welcomed her interventions. I actually felt safer letting her determine the level of risk I should be taking (or not taking).


q       “Slow down!“

q       “Don’t threaten the pedestrians.”

q       “Put your signal on.”

q       “Stay in this lane.”

q       “Wave at that driver for letting you in.”

q       “Fix your face—you look like you’re mad.”

q       “Smile at the gate attendant.”

q       “Let’s leave sooner.”

q       “Let’s stop to ask for directions.”

q       “Don’t block the exit.”

q       “Don’t drive so close.”

q       “Stay in this lane.”

q       “Don’t take the turns so fast.”

q       “Think ahead where you have to turn.”

q       “Is somebody honking at you?”

q       “Use the gear on the down slope.”

q       “Aren’t you going a little too fast?”

q       “Stop driving like a cowboy drives his horse.”

q       Etc.


After years of discipline I can say today that I’m a reformed driver, loving traffic instead of hating it, being supportive and helpful to other drivers rather than competitive and nasty. But the temptations continue, when for example I’m late, and I must then appeal to the Lord to save me once more. Thus it goes on.


Disciplines have tremendous uses for building up the external (natural) vessels in our will and understanding. The more we can develop this natural-rational mind, in its will and in its understanding, the more we create suitable vessels to receive the interior rational truths that infuse these mundane activities with spiritual things (NJHD 51). It’s important to remember that building up the natural-rational mind can be done for either a secular or religious motive. The Lord supplies power to the secular motive as well as the religious, for this is a matter of spiritual liberty that is eternally guaranteed by Him as part of everyone’s humanness. Though the secular motive can drive perfectionism and self-mastery in any discipline, it can only do so in a continuous fashion, trapped inexorably within the natural discrete degree. But the religious motive for being disciplined produces self-mastery and expertise in mundane activities that are in a form suitable to be external “vessels” capable of containing spiritual motives and meanings.


The expertise produced by the secular motive is not called a “vessel” for spiritual things because it is restricted to the ultimate (natural) discrete degree. Producing expertise and self-mastery in daily routines by means of a religious motive is empowered by the Lord in a new way which allows the activity to contain a spiritual discrete degree. This interior area is called the ”ground” within which the Lord implants spiritual/celestial truths and new spiritual motives. But the secular products of self-mastery and expertise, even though they may be indistinguishable (in appearance) from the religious, are called the “earth” and this is not yet ready for implantation by the Lord (AC 566).


Chapter 2, Section 15


15. The spiritual discipline of shopping together


Why do women like to go shopping together? It’s because they act like friends to each other and women need that, depend on it for their mental balance. Yet it stands to reason that for conjugial couples the husband should be the wife’s best friend, otherwise how can they form a perfect unity? If the wife has to depend on other women to achieve balance it’s only because the husband won’t play that role in a sufficient degree. But he must learn how to be his wife’s best friend if they are going to be a couple in heaven. But the Writings tell us that wives in heaven also have meetings with each other (e.g., CL 293).


It is only with one wife that truly conjugial love can exist, and consequently the same is true of truly conjugial friendship, trust, potency and the linking of minds that makes the two one flesh. (CL 333)


Since truly conjugial love links the souls and hearts of two people, it is also combined with friendship, and through this with trust, both of which it makes conjugial. These are so far superior to other kinds of friendship and trust, that just as this is the leading love, so these are the leading kinds of friendship and trust. For a number of reasons, some of which will be revealed in the second account of experiences at the end of this chapter, the same is true of potency, from which the long duration of this love follows. It has been shown in the Chapter on this subject ([VIII] 156-183) that truly conjugial love makes a married couple one flesh. (CL 334) (See also CL 216)


Clearly, the idea that women need women friends because their husbands can’t be that, is true only of unregenerate husbands. The pure friendship a woman needs can best be provided by her husband for he alone can enter into the inmost friendship that both are capable of. This inmost friendship is at the same time romantic and sexual, while the others are not. Hence it’s superior excellence and use for the wife and for the husband.


These remarks have been made so that you may acknowledge that conjugial love of such surpassing quality exists, and it does so when one woman alone is loved out of the whole sex. Can any intellect, sufficiently trained to see the connections between matters, fail to deduce from this that a lover, if he is constant in soul and at the inmost level in loving her, would achieve the everlasting blessings which he promised himself before he gave his agreement and promises himself when he does so? It was shown above that he actually does achieve them, if he approaches the Lord. and under His guidance lives a truly religious life.


Can anyone else come into a person's life from on high, and confer inward heavenly joys on it, and pass them on to the following stages -the more so, when He also at the same time confers constant virility? (CL 333)


Clearly then, the New Church husband needs to inquire diligently how he can become his wife’s best friend. He cannot expect to occupy this status by election or membership. She cannot elect him to be her best friend for this would only have a superficial effect. He cannot claim this status on account of him being a New Church man. He must achieve it through conjugial discipline.


Learning how to shop with one’s wife is a discipline that provides the husband with many opportunities to play the role of being best friends. In the early phases of this discipline the husband assumes that merely by going shopping with her accomplishes the goal of becoming best friends. But this is not the case. Self-witnessing of his sorties with her reveals this to the sincere man. What does he do? He drives her around and walks with her into the shops. She loves this and appreciates it, as long as he does it from her standards and not his own. He will then be properly attired, patient and pleasant, and avoid embarrassing her or worrying her. He will take charge of the packages and give her the feeling that he would rather her not carry anything. It’s a luxury for her to have her husband take care of these side-issues so that her shopping could be as pure an experience of delight as possible. A wife is constantly oriented to receive what the husband wants to give her by which he hopes to make her happy. This is one way she returns his love: “Darling, I will let you make me as happy as you want to.”


Her attitude is rational since love is the desire to make the other happy from oneself (DLW 48). The happier he wants to make her from his services, the more he loves her. And the wife is happy from her husband, he sees in her happiness the goal of his desire. This makes his happiness. When the wife sees her husband’s happiness, she sees in his happiness the fulfillment of her goal to make him happy from herself. And he is happy from her since his happiness stems from seeing her happiness that is from him. In this way they are entwined and enmeshed in a crescendo to bliss that is only limited by what each can support without bursting.


You will note that this celestial happiness is not a feeling of contemplation or celebration or reflection or expression. Rather it is a doing for each other. Conjugial love is not a status achieved or bestowed, but a continual doing for each other. The inner union of the two depends on this reciprocity of wanting to make the other happy from oneself. This motive cannot exist in the unregenerate or natural man. In the state prior to our regeneration we are all natural and think externally about our wife. In that external state we allocate our love on a continuum—she gets it sometimes, I get it at other times. Proof of this is that the wife is never sure of her husband for he will suddenly blow the deal by doing something that hurts her—get angry, get nasty, get obstinate, get embarrassing, get unreliable. This hurts her conjugial which constantly strives to weave a conjoint web of fibers so that they may be united in will and understanding. This see-saw action is typical of alternating states of regeneration by which the Lord is regenerating us (AC 847).


Eventually the love battle ceases and the husband is at last oriented the same way as his wife—toward internal union. Much remains that needs to grow up before it can be functional, but the wife is patient from the Lord, and waits for him to mature. But she can keenly feel the difference between before and after. It’s completely obvious to her when she sees him not questioning her judgment every minute which he used to do before.


Also, when she sees him genuinely repentant after making her feel bad with some response or reaction. When she points something out he is doing to distress her, he no longer digs in his heels, refusing to acknowledge it. Instead, he is profusely apologetic and sweet about it, and enacting instant turn about. To her this is proof that he has changed. And she is willing to believe this, hoping in her heart, that he will not relapse and break the bond once more. Wives are always turned to the Lord and in their inner self they are asking, “How long, Lord? How long?” By which the wife is expressing not her impatience or complaint, but her inmost desire to fulfill the Lord’s love through her conjugial union with her husband.


Since this love comes from doing to each other, let us go back to the discussion on shopping with your wife as a religious discipline of doing.


Observe when into the outing you begin to feel tired, and when you begin to let it show so she can see it. You yawn, you slow down, you look for chairs to sit on, your eyes get glazed over, your face looks severe. All these signs she takes note of, and she begins to worry. Pretty soon she feels she must end the process lest her husband get angry or resentful. This martyrdom approach on the part of the husband is the opposite of what he has to achieve if she is going to end the shopping spree with the gladsome feeling that she’s been out with her best friend.


Therefore you must inhibit all these signs of boredom and compel yourself to put on all the signs of enthusiasm and animation. This is what women friends do to each other  and why they need one another. By being together they experience a release of energy and enthusiasm. They achieve this by mutual stimulation and reactivity. So you must learn the steps and cumulate them so you make progress. A wife is very patient and very gracious when she perceives her husband involved and interested in learning her things. What does she do when she is shopping? You need to observe her and learn compatible responses to her actions.


Does she sit down like you want to? No. She keeps running, looking, comparing. Look at her face: Does she look bored or sullen? No. She is excited and enthusiastic, constantly being surprised or disappointed, and is affected in a continuous unending stream of animation. This is what you must match. Make sure you are in good physical shape so you’re not actually tired and can keep up without giving out the signs that bother her. Observe how she looks at clothes on the rack. She doesn’t spend time looking at the wrong sizes. She first notes how the sizes run on the rack, then looks only in her size. You can help here for this is pretty easy. Learn where to look on the garment or on the rack. Stick close to her side. Do not go off on your own so she has to wonder where you are or if she’s lost you. Listen to what she says. She carries on a constant stream of relevant comments. Learn what they are:


q       The size (is it in her range)

q       The color (is it in her category of what she would wear)

q       The sleeves (short, three quarters, full length)

q       The collar (with, without, round, scalloped)

q       The length and shape (does it cover the butt, is it too tight)

q       The texture (is it scratchy, too thin, too thick)

q       The fabric (denim, seersucker, cotton, silk, wool, stretchy)

q       The ensemble (does it go well with what matching pieces)

q       Etc.


I learned a lot by listening to her and watching the Shopping channel where these details are discussed with each item. I enjoy watching the Style channel with my wife, along with the Food channel, and the many decorating and remodeling programs. Never refer to or discuss the price, unless she raises the issue, and then just listen. Let her decide to mention it or not, and do not volunteer your opinion. Only hers counts anyway. Your opinion would be an unwanted intrusion. Friends don’t intrude. If she hesitates, always encourage her. If she decides against it, never try to change her mind. Try to go in the fitting room with her, if store policy allows it. This is a wonderful treat—you’ll discover why if you do it. Once inside, don’t just sit there. Make yourself useful. Hang up the clothes she’s finished with. Help by unbuttoning and take the garments from her as she takes them off. Control your voice so it remains subdued. You don’t want her to worry and wonder if she’s making a spectacle. Be prepared to go out and find another size. For this you must keep track where the pieces come from on the various racks. And if you can’t find it right away, do not make her wait. Consult the salesperson.


You must exercise your discipline to be sufficiently animated at all times. For instance, when you approve of some garment, accessory, or jewelry, be sufficiently enthusiastic. What is sufficient? You have to magnify your approval and praise way beyond the point you think is enough. You can’t just say, Very nice Honey—as if you’re talking about a jar or bottle. This is Her! Your conjugial Sweetheart! So you have to continue, not stop there.


Very very nice. Oh, yes, really. Wow, amazing how the two go together. It just looks like something ordinary when you look at it first but then when you put it on it takes on life. (Try to touch the garment at this point.) Very impressive. How it fits together with your skirt! You’ve got a good eye, you picked out just the right shade. Look at them together, it’s amazing, they make a kind of harmony, I can see it, yes. Excellent. Good show Honey. Yes.


That kind of thing. Choose your own style. You can never overdo it, but you can easily under do it. Sometimes we might want to balk at what seems to us like a gross exaggeration. “It’s insincere. It’s fake. It’s manipulative.” But the truth is that these judgments and complaints are resistances from the unregenerate male ego. The proof is easily to be witnessed in your wife’s reaction and mood. Note carefully how she is acting and what she is expressing as you spin off all your gracious speech acts. You are making her feel good. She is not asking you, “Are you sincere?” She is accepting it. Because it is you, her husband doing it, she feels legitimized as who and what she is. She feels safe. She is grateful for it and she loves you for it in her inner bosom.


Above all remember that these little enactments you do with her must all be “celestial”--pleasant and compatible, gracious and harmonious. One bad move of impatience or disagreement throws the whole thing off like a break in the singer’s voice at an important concert. It’s useless to think you can get away with a 99 to 1 split (99 pleasant things and one unpleasant). Of course she is forgiving and reasonable if you make a mistake, as long as you tenderly make up for it immediately, meaning pronto (not five minutes later!). Keep in mind what it is that she needs and wants from her best friend while shopping:


Animation (don’t lag behind, don’t take time to respond or react when she’s waiting for it)

Joint focus (know what she is referring to, look at the garment, the store, don’t get lost)

Appreciation (show her you enjoy looking at her, tell her she has a good figure, praise her taste, how that lime color goes well with her skin)

Confirmation (always agree, nod vigorously, smile constantly, make your eyes big, say mild things that are not controversial, expand on her statements instead of taking them in another direction)


She will feel that you are best friends when she feels legitimized in each of these areas. Then suggest some fun thing to do when it’s over. Go for lunch or coffee and don’t forget the cake. Postpone getting back to the usual topics of work, house, children, and socials. Think about what friends do: they get each other out of these usual topic routines. When you get home do not break the contact right away by sitting down in front of the television or your computer. Stay with her, it’s not over yet. She wants to unpack everything. She desires you to be a witness to her excitement. She wants to start all over again with each garment she brought home. She wants to try them on again before she wants to take the labels off (in case she has to return something). Be there as an audience. She wants that. Be animated and say something about each thing. Let her calm down at the end of it all. Give her plenty of time. Genuine friends don’t hurry one another, only sloppy friends do that. At last there comes a point when she can let you go do your things. She know all along that’s what you really feel like doing. She tries to hold on to you for a while longer. Observe your own resistances at her mannerisms that are calculated to keep you a little longer with her, and to herself. For that’s what she is feeling, if you haven’t spoiled it for her by then. She is feeling the irresistible and delicious desire to conjoin herself with you from within.


You are then a happy and fortunate man, for she will bestow upon you her sweetness, her passion, and her pure friendship. But the shopping ritual is not over yet. You have to memorize while you still remember where a particular garment was bought and other details about it. You have to recognize the item when she wears it and mention where it was bought or some other detail about it. Friendship is not on and off, like thirst or sexual arousal. It is on all the time. And it is heaven on earth.






An inclination and also a capacity for conjunction as though into one was implanted in man and woman from creation, and man and woman still have this inclination and capacity in them.  That this is so appears from the book of creation, and at the same time from what the Lord said.  In the book of creation, which we call Genesis, we read:


Jehovah God fashioned the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman, and He brought her to the man.  And the man said, "This one, this time, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.  She shall be called woman ('ishshah), because she was taken from man ('ish).  For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh."  (Genesis 2:22-24)


The Lord also said something similar in Matthew:


Have you not read that He who made them from the beginning...male and female..., said, "For this reason a man shall leave father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two shall be as one flesh"?  Therefore they are no longer two, but one flesh.  (Matthew 19:4-6)

(CL 156r)


Chapter 2, Section 15


16. Wife takes precedence over the children


For the New Church mind it’s harmful to the conjugial union, to allow anything to come between husband and wife—work, politics, friends, children. This is clear when you consider that only the husband/wife relationship is permanent to eternity, and also, is the closest relationship possible from creation (CL 178). Hence the conjugial union is called “from two making a one”—also “one flesh,” meaning, one mind. This inward unity is not merely a human commitment of great strength, for this would not create an inward unity but only closeness and intimacy in proportion to the commitment and love. The unity of conjugial love is from creation and is located in the inmost of the human mind, thus not reachable by us but only by the Lord. But in order for the Lord to effect an actual union at this inmost level, the husband has to make himself acceptable to his wife for union. She sets the conditions because conjugial love is only with her from the Lord, and he must receive it from her, then the Lord can form an inward unity in their inmost (CL 224).


Knowing this psychobiological condition the husband will see it rationally, not from ego. He will see that he is “dead” set against it in his natural man, which is unregenerate and filled with anti-conjugial and anti-feminine hatreds. This is why reformation is necessary before regeneration can begin in adult life (AE 803; AC 8780; AC 3518:[2]; TCR 587). Reformation is the husband’s realignment of his loyalties so that at the end of the struggle of reformation he will put the wife on top. He will justify doing it by his rational explanations which he obtained from the Writings in a similar way to what I have written in this book. Now that he has put the wife at the very top of all loyalties, and he is prepared to enforce this principle as a Divine commandment, then he has completed his reformation. He is now ready to begin regeneration. From then on the Lord works with him very closely and the man knows it. His life is changed.


His wife is now in charge of his willing and thinking, and he loves it. And if doesn’t love it yet, he simulates loving it, and he persists and he looks to the Lord for relief. Relief comes at some point when he lets go of the left over loyalties for parents, children, and family that compete with the top loyalty in his mind. Now they are below the loyalty he assigns to his wife. Now she can continue her assiduous work of revealing to him his hidden weaknesses and affections. Thus he makes progress toward regeneration and the Lord is able to conjoin them more and more interiorly. These interior conjoining are celestial and permanent. There is no way back; no way to undo them. Their very life now depends on what’s in the conjoint self that the Lord is creating for their heavenly union. The Lord would not create any interior union between them if they weren’t going to be permanently conjoined.


The husband’s unwillingness to reorder his loyalties from the unregenerate state is a major impediment to his regeneration. Today a significant percentage of children are raised in divorced families by a stepmother or stepfather. Health professionals call it “step parenting” and “blended families.” The focus seems always to be on the stepmother and the husband’s children from a prior marriage. Movies commonly portray the meanness with which children treat the stepmother. No one respects the stepmother and she gets to be blamed by everyone, including the professional counselors who do not call it “blame” but refer to it as the stepmother’s “adjustment problems” that she has to overcome. Always left out of the equation is the real culprit—the husband and father who hides behind the furniture when his wife is being abused by his children. He does not come to her rescue as he ought to, and the male oriented society allows him to get away with it. Here is one typical complaint:


I have been in a relationship with my husband for 14 years. We were married this past year. Long story as to what took so long, don't ask. My stepdaughter is 17 and soon off to college. She is good in school and I have no issues with her mom. The problem is that I can't get close to her. She will not look me straight in the eyes when speaking and tries to ignore me alone and in front of others. Her dad is over reactive when I have a conversation about all of this. I care for her and have always done things for her and tried to be a nice as I can towards her. She recently told her dad that she doesn't like me and she doesn't know why. She refuses to go to counseling. This stuff hurts and I don't know what to do with it.


The other part of this is her dad will not allow us to sit down and talk about it. Instead he sought out a close friend to work with his daughter and try to get through this. I am just really so burnt and frustrated with it all. I just want us to all get along and like/love each other and appreciate today –

(“Stepparent Discussion Web” On the Web at Accessed in May 2002)


This man’s cowardice is typical. I did it for years to my poor wife. She was devoted to the care and welfare of my two children from a prior marriage. She did her best in all sincerity and duty. She treated them with compassion and rationality, but they paid her back with plenty of sassy talk, insults, rebellion, uncooperativeness, and worst of all, trying to marginalize her in the family’s decisions regarding everything. She did not count in their estimation since she was not “family” by which they actually meant “blood.” This attitude was reinforced and legitimized by their biological mother, my parents, my extended family, neighbors, and even her own parents and siblings. No one wants to respect a stepmother.


The most remarkable and disturbing aspect of this gross injustice and mean attitude towards stepmothers is that the husband will allow it to happen around him and will give himself permission to “stay out of it.” I did it. For several years after my remarriage I had the cruel attitude of allowing my wife and my two children to “work it out” with each other. And even worse, I allowed the children to come in between us in all sorts of objectionable ways. One destructive rule I had was that “the children come first.” If my wife and I were having a tete a tete, they were allowed to interrupt when they felt like it. When my wife was speaking, they were allowed to interrupt her. When my wife and I decided to do X, they were allowed to interfere and change things to Y. When they openly accused my wife of X and Y, I let her go through the process of defending herself as I was playing the neutral observer part. Even when the children were not present, my prejudice in their favor led me to deny my wife her requests or point of view on any matter regarding them.


Conjugial love is the linking of minds; if therefore the mind of one goes in the opposite direction to that of the other, their link is dissolved and together with it their love fades. (CL 252)


The main office which confederates and consociates the souls and lives of two partners, and gathers them into a one, is their common concern in the education of their children. In this the offices of the husband and those of the wife are distinct, and at the same time conjoint. (CL 176)


1. The Parenting Relationship Is Temporary And External


When I started reading the Writings in my early forties, I began to learn the real truth about parents and children, and about husband and wife.


The nature of the love of infants and children with the spiritual, and its nature with the natural, is manifestly perceived from parents [in the spiritual world] after death. When they come there, most fathers call to mind their children who have passed away before them, and the children are presented to them and there is mutual recognition. Spiritual fathers merely look at them and ask as to their state, rejoicing if it is well with them and grieving if it is ill; and, after some conversation, instruction, and admonition respecting heavenly moral life, they separate from them. But before separation, they teach them that they are no longer to be remembered as fathers because the Lord is the one only Father to all in heaven, according to His words (Matt. 23:9); and that they themselves never remember them as their children.


But natural fathers, as soon as they realize that they are living after death and recall to their memory the children who had passed away before them and who also are presented to them according to their desire, are at once conjoined with them, and they cling together like a bundle of sticks. The father is then in continual delight at the sight of them and from conversation with them. If it is told him that some of these children of his are satans and have brought injury upon the good, he nevertheless keeps them in a circle around him, or in a group in front of him. If he himself sees that they inflict injury and do evil deeds, he still pays no heed and does not dissociate any of them from himself. Therefore, lest so harmful a company continue, they are of necessity sent together into hell. There, in the presence of his children, the father is put under guard and his children are separated, each being sent away to the place proper to his life. (CL 406)


First, I was amazed to learn that parents and children are not necessarily together in the afterlife because they have a different spiritual constitution, as the above quote indicates. The reason is that in the spiritual world incompatible affections prevent co-presence (HH 194). In the natural world the external environment compels people to be together physically regardless of whether they inwardly have the same affections or opposing ones. Not so in the spiritual world. This put things in a different perspective for me regarding loyalties because I could see that my children were resisting the affections to which my wife and I were committed. I continued to be the same father outwardly to them, but inwardly I was not connected to them. The Lord commands us to be “spiritual fathers” and not establish inward connections with our children who inwardly resist and reject our spiritual affections, ideas, and loyalties.


Clearly, the wife is more of a neighbor to us than children, and therefore we ought to love the wife more than our children (see Chapter 9 Section 15).


I also learned from the Writings that it is an unregenerate and hurtful attitude to elevate “blood” to an important consideration in human relationships. It is based on false reasoning and evil motives. It was instructive for me to contrast the three portions of the Word with regards to how they each treat of the subject of “blood.” In the Old Testament, the level of thinking was corporeal, so that blood ties became paramount in relationships and politics. Blood was imbued in their mind with spiritual significance, on account of which the Lord permitted them to have a religion that involved blood rituals such as sacrificing animals and sprinkling of the blood on the altar, the ground, and the clothes as a sign of holiness and Divine acquiescence (AC 10057). At that level of thinking, the worship is external, ritualistic, representative, not genuine and spiritual. The worship or religion becomes spiritual only when the external worship has an internal acknowledgement in it (AC 1094).


This is not the case when the outward ritual or performance is considered to be the essential of the worship or its sacredness. In that level of thinking, to love the neighbor means to love those who are of one’s blood. The Lord in the Old Testament frequently complains about this mentality calling it a religion of the lips only, and frequently lamented that He does not want sacrifices but obedience from them—which they would not suffer themselves to do (1 Sam. 15:22).


The New Testament brought a more interior worship and the meaning of blood was altered. Now the neighbor was to be anyone who is in need of charity. Blood relations were no longer determinative. Blood sacrifices ceased as a form of worship. What was internally in the mind became more important spiritually than what the body did. Furthermore, the union between husband and wife was reaffirmed as sacred and eternal. That relationship became spiritually more important than the relationship between parents and children. This new level of thinking weakened or eliminated among Christians the despotic power of the extended tribal family. Nevertheless the secular nonduality of society continued to maintain and foster “blood ties” as exemplified by inheritance laws and the common belief that “blood is thicker than water” or that “You don’t say no to family.”


These cultural slogans reflects the attitude that familial loyalty ought to be put above other loyalties in relationships. Today in America the majority of adults live at some distance from their parental home. On Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays there is a mass migration of millions of people traveling back to their parental home and congregating with the extended family. Those who do not migrate back feel guilty and offer apologies. There is a fervor in maintaining the ritual every year and it is valued as something deeply satisfying and spiritually worthwhile. Would these relationship be so close if they gave up belief in blood ties as their justification? Would they congregate in one place if the internal disdain many have for each other were to show outwardly? Is not internecine war the bloodiest? These questions serve to illustrate the point that acts of outward family loyalty are frequently not based on inner respect and love for each other.


The Writings put inheritance, blood, and family on an entirely new basis. In it we learn that children inherit from parents both good and evil. The good in our children is to be loved, but the evil is not to be loved. If we love the children as to their person, that is, because of the blood tie, then we love both the good and the evil in them. It is forbidden in the New Church mind to love the evil in a person for this would be spiritually harmful to both parties (TCR 442, 459[5]). Therefore we cannot love our children as to the person. We are commanded to love the good in our children (AC 8122, TCR 431). Similarly with our parents. They have both good and evil in them, and we must love only the good, and separate the part that is evil even though it is a part of them, a part of what they love. We cannot love the evil and falsity they love, and therefore we must not love them as to their person (AC 3419[3]).


But blood ties do not count in the afterlife (CL 250). The spiritual family is among those who share the same love for the Lord and acknowledge the same truths (AC 3815[2]). Love of the neighbor is to be exercised in proportion to the quality of good in the neighbor, not at all in proportion to blood, genes, tradition, ethnic background, or culture (see Chapter 6 Section 7). And above all, the Writings reveal the true relationship between husband and wife, that it is the highest and holiest of all loves (CL 61, 270). There is never a doubt in the New Church mind as to which takes precedence: the wife or the children.


The same applies to one’s parents. The wife comes before the parents. What about the Fourth Commandment of honoring parents? Here is how the Writings discuss it:




So reads this commandment in Exod. 20:12; Deut. 5:16. In the natural sense, which is that of the letter, "to honor thy father and thy mother" means to honor parents, to be obedient to them, to be devoted to them, and to return thanks to them for the benefits they confer, which are that they provide food and clothing for their children, and so introduce them into the world that they may act in it as civil and moral persons; and introduce them also into heaven by means of the precepts of religion, thus providing both for their temporal prosperity and their eternal happiness.


All this parents do from a love which they have from the Lord, in whose stead they act. In a relative sense it means that if parents are dead, guardians should be honored by their wards. In a broader sense, to honor the king and magistrates, is meant by this commandment, since these provide for all in general the necessities which parents provide in particular. In the broadest sense this commandment means that men should love their country, since it supports and protects them, therefore it is called fatherland from father. But to country, king, and magistrates honor must be rendered by parents and by them be implanted in their children. (TCR 305)


This passage teaches that parenting is from the Lord and that we ought to honor the Lord in what parents do by taking care of children. There is no warrant in this passage of loving the parent from person rather than from the good in the person. Our loyalty to parents is to be no other loyalty than our loyalty to the Lord. As indicated by the earlier passage quoted above regarding parents meeting their children in the afterlife: “Spiritual fathers merely look at them [their children] and ask as to their state, rejoicing if it is well with them and grieving if it is ill; and, after some conversation, instruction, and admonition respecting heavenly moral life, they separate from them. But before separation, they teach them that they are no longer to be remembered as fathers because the Lord is the one only Father to all in heaven (CL 406).”


The parent-child relationship is therefore not a permanent one. It depends on whether their spiritual affections are compatible. In this life the compatibility of natural affections determines the closeness of relationship with grown up children, but in the afterlife the natural affections fall away as the deeper  inward affections come out to the surface. Now it becomes visible what are the real affections parents and children have of reach other, and they may be compatible or in opposition, in love for one another or in enmity and hatred. It was all along these deeper affections for each other that lay hidden within, but not dormant. The affections we have in the interior man pull the strings, as it were, while the outward man plays the part that leads to the interior man’s real affections and real delights and real values and perspective.


The Writings describe the family relationships that existed on this earth during the civilization of the “Most Ancient Church” (CL 178; NJHD 247). Swedenborg visited them in their specially guarded and isolated heaven where he discussed how life used to be for them on earth many thousands of years ago. Parents and children then had a spiritually intimate relationship because they lived their daily life in rational consciousness rather than sensuous, as we are today. They were thus able to be in direct sensuous contact with the spiritual world, through which each child was associated with a teacher from the spiritual world. The teacher remained in conscious contact with the individual all day long, instructing, warning, rewarding and punishing. This was the method of their education, not schools as we have today. In this way children and parents did not lose conscious contact upon death and continued their interaction in a changed way.


After many generations, however, there arose a new and deadly lifestyle philosophy represented in the Old Testament by Adam eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (DP 241; AC 202). This refers to the severing of one’s spiritual ties to the Lord and His commandments, replacing it with ideas and notions concocted by the natural self separated from the spiritual mind. This new deadly lifestyle philosophy is represented by the snake. This is the voice in us of the corporeal self that is incapable of forming thoughts at the rational level. At this level of consciousness we are informed only by the sensuous input from the physical environment. All our ideas and concepts are formed into a material shape and meaning, not rational. Hence we deny the reality of the spiritual mind and world, plunging ourselves into spiritual darkness. In that state we live our life in a demented style bringing to society wars, crimes, and sicknesses, and worse of all, calling these things true, while the genuine truth is called falsity, and rejected.


2. Moses, Paul, And Swedenborg Phases Of Marriage


The ancients wrote the details of this history down in the language of correspondences, still known in those days, and Moses copied a portion of it from ancient sacred texts (De Verbo 15; SS 103). The Garden of Eden story, when read through genuine correspondences, is the history of the race’s mental evolution of consciousness, its high rational state by creation, and its fall to the low state due to their confirmed rejection of rationality. This affects us directly today since individual biography recapitulates racial history. We inherit everything that precedes! (xx) This conclusion also follows from the fact that the Word has layers of meaning, the inmost being about the Lord’s Mind, the intermediate about the history of Churches and their civilizations, while the outmost is about the “church within,” meaning the conscious mind that directs our willing and thinking in daily life. These three layers of meaning occur together, one within the other, as specified by the literal words, that is, “contained in them as vessels.” Since there is this objective parallelism of the internal series in the Word, it follows that individual biography recapitulates racial history.


What then happened to the Most Ancient Church is going to happen to every individual along the way to rational and spiritual development. Similarly with all the Churches and their history of rise and fall, and succession—these events are going to recapitulate in our individual biography and regeneration. These connections are inevitable because all life is interconnected and no part happening just by itself for itself. Every event no matter how tiny, has consequences to eternity and it is the Lord’s infinite Wisdom and Power that calculates, maintains, and eventuates these untold number of interactions to eternity (TCR 290). In the Lord infinite discrete things are one (xx). This means that all that happened and all that will happen is already present to the Lord (DLW 73). This explains how the Grand Human evolves to perfection (HH 469).


The theistic science facts revealed in the Writings will allow future research to develop a genuine psychology of the mind with its laws of development. What we then can do for children will be immeasurably better than what we do today to help them regenerate. Only by regeneration can the inward evil we are born with be removed by the Lord. But He can do this only to the extent that we clean up our outward act as-of self, that is, live a life of good in accordance with our conscience. For the New Church mind the conscience is the Doctrine in our mind from the Writings. Knowing the Writings well through daily study gives us access to this spiritual psychology.


That by the "Nephilim" are signified those who through a persuasion of their own loftiness and preeminence made light of all things holy and true, appears from what precedes and what follows, namely, that they immersed the doctrinals of faith in their cupidities, signified by the "sons of God going in unto the daughters of man, and their bearing unto them." Persuasion concerning self and its phantasies increases also according to the multitude of things that enter into it, till at length it becomes indelible; and when the doctrinals of faith are added thereto, then from principles of the strongest persuasion they make light of all things holy and true, and become "Nephilim."


That race, which lived before the flood, is such that they so kill and suffocate all spirits by their most direful phantasies (which are poured forth by them as a poisonous and suffocating sphere) that the spirits are entirely deprived of the power of thinking, and feel half dead; and unless the Lord by His coming into the world had freed the world of spirits from that poisonous race, no one could have existed there, and consequently the human race, who are ruled by the Lord through spirits, would have perished.


They are therefore now kept in a hell under as it were a misty and dense rock, under the heel of the left foot, nor do they make the slightest attempt to rise out of it. Thus is the world of spirits free from this most dangerous crew, concerning which and its most poisonous sphere of persuasions, of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. These are they who are called "Nephilim" and who make light of all things holy and true. Further mention is made of them in the Word, but their descendants were called "Anakim" and "Rephaim." That they were called "Anakim" is evident from Moses:


There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, of the Nephilim, and we were in our own eyes as grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes (Num. 13:33).


That they were called "Rephaim" appears also from Moses:


The Emim dwelt before in the land of Moab, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakim, who also were accounted Rephaim, as the Anakim, and the Moabites call them Emim (Deut. 2:10-11).

(AC 581)


Every New Church husband and father goes through the three phases of thinking that characterizes the three portions of the Word: the Old Testament phase, the New Testament phase, and the Swedenborg phase, that is, the phase of the Writings (For more details on these phases see Note 7 at end). I can testify to the actuality of this threefold progression from what I went through in my development. In my “Moses phase” I acted like my parents, perhaps even from my parents, and my children took precedence over my wife, and I expected the wife to accept this political caste system. It seemed to me then that for women to complain about its injustice was useless and in bad form. This irrational attitude trumped any progress in my internal union with my wife. Loyalty to my parents’ wishes and convenience trumped any plans my wife preferred for us. My wife was expected to be subservient to my parents and their wishes. The wife’s wishes and preferences were merely ignored. They were made not to count. It was an unspoken conspiracy, like the emperor’s clothes. Women had no recourse but to join the system and make it perpetuate itself. This phase lasted for me until age 47 when I first read the New Testament and from seeing myself a Jew I began seeing myself as a Christian Jew (see Note xx at end).


This initiated my “Paul phase” of religion and marriage. I made the wife’s subservience to me a matter of religion. My wife should obey my wishes regarding everything, especially my ideas of loyalty to the children. My second and current wife, as a stepmother, was put in double jeopardy, once as a woman, and once as “not their real mother,” or, the more politically correct phrase “not their biological parent.”


When I started reading the Writings and making it the basis of my thinking, I entered the “Swedenborg phase” of being a father and husband. Now for the first time my primary loyalty to my wife became a religious commandment. I had to repent of the awful years of injustice and cruelty which I forced her to endure. I had to retrain myself in how I talked to her in front of the children, on the phone with the children, and when they were not present but were the topic between us. It took years for me to retrain my habitual speech acts so that what my wife said about the children could now count in my mind. I gradually began to see my children in a different light, in the spiritual light of the Writings, which gives a revealing perception of the children’s unregenerate nature and character. I saw them as selfish, egotistical, ungrateful, rebellious, disorderly, disrespectful, disdainful, and disinterested in what we as parents, thought was important. They acted like we were under their ultimatum—“You accept us as we are or you won’t be a significant part of our life.”


No doubt this is how I was as a grown up child to my parents. Unregenerate children, when they become adults, are unregenerate adults, and unregenerate adults are filled with hidden inherited evils that cannot be removed until reformation and regeneration, midway through life. The evils we see in our children are often the evils we have ourselves, which we pass on to them by heredity and lifestyle. We are not to love these evils in ourselves or in our children (TCR 469).


By looking to the Lord I was able to free myself from this spiritually pernicious attachment to the idea of “blood ties.” I love my children in proportion to the good they love and the truth they value. It is only their good that I am to love. To the extent they do not love and value what my wife and I love and value, to that extent our love for them is curtailed. Parental love is not unconditional love since this would be harmful to the children’s mental and spiritual development. When parents love themselves in their children, they are willing to accept the children’s faults and habits of misdemeanor and insensitivity. They are therefore internally tied to their children, the result of which is that in the afterlife they are connected and inseparable from each other (CL 406). If the children turn out to be unregenerate while the parents have undergone reformation and regeneration, then the parents are in big trouble! They cannot leave their children who cannot enter heaven. They are lambs tied to a wolf (xx).


You can see what unimaginable horrors and suffering the parents are then going to undergo. This is done under the supervision of the angels (xx). Eventually, after much agony, the parents are willing to let go of their internal ties to their children. Thus freed, they can enter their eternal happiness in heaven.


3. Blood-Love For Children Is Spiritually Hurtful


Let therefore parents beware that they ought to love their children not as “blood” or “as to person,” that is, loving them as part of themselves in them. A documentary I recently saw on television showed the sad fate of runaway children living on the street. Some of the parents were interviewed on camera and said, “He is my own flesh and blood. A piece of my soul knocked off. Of course I love him. Yes, I want him back. He is bad, disobedient, robs people, uses drugs but I love him. He is mine.” And other such things. The point is not that they wanted their child back, but the reasoning in their mind that they cannot but love themselves or their own in their child. This mentality is spiritually hurtful.


Rather than this, let parents follow the Lord’s commandment as to the ways we are required to love our neighbor: not as to person, but as to the good in the neighbor (HH 390). The good in each neighbor is the Lord Himself, regardless of the individual’s acknowledgment or knowledge of this fact. The Second of the Two Great Commandment is: Love your neighbor. Prior to the Second Coming of the Lord it was hidden from the world that “love your neighbor” doesn’t mean love your neighbor as to person, that is, according to blood ties, religious ties, national ties, friendship ties, or any other tie that exists socially between one person and another. In the Writings the Lord has at last revealed that His Commandment means to love the good in the neighbor (TCR 416). The reason is that loving the good in the neighbor is to love Him. And the more we love Him the more He can bless us with good, which is His desire and longing, His Love.


You can see from this that the Two Great Commandments are both about loving the Lord. The First Great Commandment is that we must love Him more than anything else. The Second Great Commandment is that we must love the good from Him that is in every individual. Thus, by obeying both commandments it is the Lord alone that we love. Even the Lord must not be loved as to Person, meaning as to His Natural Body by itself, without loving the things in it (D.WIS. 10, DP 94). The angels love the Lord by loving first the Lord’s Rational, and thence the Lord’s Natural. To love the good and the true is to love the Lord’s Rational.


If on the other hand we love the neighbor as to person we do not love the Lord. We love the person, and the person’s proprium or selfhood, and this is a devil from birth, dead, offensive in every way to heaven, and unable to be regenerated (xx). Loving this devil is to hate the Lord. There is no in between! The reformed and regenerated self is no longer the old proprium, but a vessel for the Lord to dwell in. It is filled with good, and therefore we can and must love it. Now you can see in what trouble parents may be who love their children because of blood, that is, because they see their own inner person in them. And not just from blood, since they may be adopted children, but from upbringing and the habits of willing and thinking parents inculcate in the children as part of themselves in them.


To love the good and the bad in one’s children is egotistical, not altruistic. It is anti-social for it hurts the community when justice and favoritism is practiced out of loyalty to blood or self-interest, instead of loyalty to the common good of society. The same can be said about friendships that develop into internal ties (TCR 446). It is only with our spouse that we can enter into an inner tie. This is because heaven can be entered only as a married couple that formed themselves into a conjugial union (see the discussion in Chapter 9 Section 1).


My feeling of duty and compassion remain for my children, but not my unconditional loyalty or permissiveness to them—which is what I think they would prefer as a sign of unconditional love and acceptance. It was the same with my parents during the last two decades while they were still in this world. They often complained to their other adult children about my filial “coldness.” I feel I should have been more compassionate and steadfast in the little rituals of respect like sending birthday cards, photographs, and more phone calls. I do not at this time feel a longing to see them again in the other world. But I can imagine that they might want to see me, and in that case I will see them and express my respect for what they had done for me, that is, for the uses they were motivated to teach me and the sacrifices they endured for my sake. Will my children desire to see me in the afterlife? I do not know the answer.


A reader of this document reminded me that there is such a thing as inherited goodness, not just inherited evil, and this is something we should honor in our parents since all good anywhere is from the Lord alone:


For the good into which man is born he derives from his parents, either father or mother; for all that which parents have contracted by frequent use and habit, or have become imbued with by actual life until it has become so familiar to them that it appears as if natural, is transmitted into their children, and becomes hereditary. (AC 3469)


In honoring this good in our parents we must not honor them as to person because love of neighbor is love of the good in the neighbor (see also Chapter 6 Section 7).


The New Church husband who is undergoing regeneration is required to monitor his willing and thinking regarding the children, to identify all the ways he expresses the inherited attachment to blood loyalty. Sometimes what people call “family loyalty” is another form of the same blood loyalty dogma. Many are raised to behave in such a way as “to treat family different.” Generally this is taken for license to impose on the members of family. They expect to be put up in your house when vacationing in your town. They expect you to serve them, clean up after them, give up your preferences on their account. They don’t have to thank you or  feel very grateful because you are family, not strangers. If you don’t like it, you’re disloyal and a worm. Behind your back they talk ill of you, and to your face, they insult you. All in the name of family privileges. The couple who puts up with this blatant exploitation by family is asunder from within. Everything must be put on hold—their intimacy, their privacy, their exclusive time with each other, their comfort and happiness, in short, their life. This is not a good idea, therefore, not rational.


What protects the New Church mind from this cultural and psychological hijacking is the Doctrine of how we are commanded to love the neighbor, and in no other way. This has been discussed just above.


Another common danger zone in parent-filial love ties is what we do about feeling favoritism and exclusivity for one child rather than another. In the unregenerate state we sometimes express guilt feelings about loving one child more than another. The guilt comes from doing something spiritually injurious to the child one favors or loves in person more than another. Our behavior helps to strengthen the child’s implanted seed of blood loyalty. That child will go on and practice this orientation with friends and later with their own children. I discussed just above what trouble those people get into from doing this. Instead we must obey the Lord’s commandment, and we are required to teach our children the same. We do this by loving the good in them, not the person.


Besides favoritism, another danger zone is exclusivity according to person. Secular psychology has impressed upon our culture the practice of spending “quality time” with each child alone. In general, this is a potentially good practice, depending on how the parent interprets and enacts “quality time.” Parents may be tempted to turn quality time into exclusivity relationships. This means acting like what they have together is exclusive of others rather than merely intimate or close. What is being accomplished when a parent maintains this kind of exclusivity with a child? It creates an inner spiritual tie between them, person as to person. This is injurious because all inner ties must be exclusively reserved for the conjugial spouse (CL 214).


No person to person love is allowable in the New Church mind except the person to person love for one’s spouse, which is conjugial love, which is from the Lord alone. Person to person love is interior friendship, and this was created for conjugial pairs only (CL 334). To violate this propriety, and to confirm it as allowable, is to destroy conjugial union with one’s wife. Hence we must shun as sins the tendency to love our children as to person, and avoid wanting to treat them with favoritism or exclusivity.


For additional discussion specifically on religious phases of development in the New Church mind, see Note 7 at end.


Chapter 2, Section 16


17. The spiritual discipline of metanoid television watching


If they are not elevated together, love or the will is defiled in and by the intellect. This follows, since if love is not elevated, it remains impure, as we said in nos. 419, 420 above. And as long as it remains impure, it loves things that are impure, such as the practices of vengeance, hatred, deceit, blasphemy, and adultery. For these are then its affections, which we call lusts, and it rejects things having to do with charity, justice, honesty, truthfulness, and chastity. (SE 421)


Consider the five practices of “defiled” affections listed here: “vengeance, hatred, deceit, blasphemy, and adultery.” Does that remind you of anything in relation to watching television? These are the practices portrayed for hours on every day and night on TV, or, which is similar in content, movies people take home every week from their neighborhood video rental store. It’s the same with the blockbuster movies shown in thousands of theaters every week and viewed by enthusiastic crowds of millions every week end. The TV news programs regularly show the rankings of these blockbusters every week end. The top three always bring in between 20 and 50 million dollars per week end. It is the same with the top ranking novels nationally, each being bought by millions weekly. It is the same with the video games being played by millions of children and teenagers. A total blanketing of the people’s intellect has taken place in Western Christian nations. The practices of defiled affections have become the entertainment of the age.


Note that these defiled affections are called lusts, and that they reject the five purified affections: charity, justice, honesty, truthfulness, and chastity. A spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of the people is going on. The arena of entertainment is the portrayal of the battle of evil and good in our minds—this is the battle of nonduality and dualism:


vengeance, hatred, deceit, blasphemy, and adultery


charity, justice, honesty, truthfulness, and chastity


Nonduality wants to line up all ten items on one continuum from left to right as a realistic image of the human mind. This is the level of thinking of the natural mind. But the rational mind sees an absolute and discrete duality between the five evil affections and the five good affections. The evil affections are from hell but the good affections are from heaven. All human affections are either from hell or from heaven (NJHD 237). Therefore, the discipline of watching TV and movies consists in remaining conscious of this dualism. Similarly with all the forms of entertainment and mass media exposure.


I observed that I watch TV in two distinct mental states—conscious and unconscious. In general people give high preference ranks in entertainment value for shows, movies, novels, and games that are absorbing. What is being “absorbed” in a dramatic presentation? It consists in losing oneself, so to speak, and living in the excitement of the drama. Obviously this is a spiritual phenomenon having to do with how the spirit or mind is animated.


But the individual does not think of the spiritual aspect but of the corporeal aspect—the excitement, the sensations, the emotions, the fascination, the surprise, the scare, the sensory information or vista, etc. These are corporeal events and bring consciousness down to that level. The rationality drops away because it is considered to be in the way. People enjoy sitting in the dark in a theater or nightclub and becoming absorbed in another world that does not require rationality, salvation, and God. It’s almost as if they declare Time Out from reality that is heavy and disturbing. They want to forget for awhile the worries and the realities. It is felt like a relief. And so on. These are the reasons we learn to give for why we are consumers of entertainment.


I observed that when I get absorbed in a scene on TV, even for a minute or two, the event or dialog later replays itself over and over in my mind, and I get involved in modifying, enriching, expanding, or continuing some scene in various ways. I asked myself what drives these compulsive imagings and memories? It seems that the explanation may have something to do with being “absorbed” a word that means


to take in and make part of an existent whole; to suck up or take up  (a sponge absorbs water); to engage or engross wholly (absorbed in thought)


Almost all, if not all, entertainment is filled with portrayals of evil things, regardless whether it also portrays virtuous things. When we are absorbed in a book, movie, or song our mind sucks up the negative content that portrays infernal loves and falsities. Once these are in, they “make part of an existent whole” and this the natural self. The natural self is unregenerate and contains evil things and good things, though in separate layers for the Lord will not allow them to be mixed (DP 16). The evil things and the good things become part of the “existent whole.” Now the evil things with their falsities start having their deleterious effects in the natural mind by stimulating certain thoughts, expectations, and attitudes that multiply quickly into enormous stumbling blocks, so that our spiritual state after the absorption is worse than before. We now have more impediments to beginning our reformation and getting on with our regeneration. It is very common for people to remain in their hereditary evils and to acquire new ones on their own (TCR 469; SE 2424). Absorption in entertainment and physical pleasures make it harder for the New Church mind to be formed in us. There is a better way of watching TV and being a consumer of cultural content.


The more rational way of watching, reading, or being a consumer of entertainment is to be aware of the content as it comes in, and to assess its status in relation to your formulated standards. Processing all incoming information needs to go through an evaluation filter that involves two parallel levels of thinking, one above the other. There is a dual activity going on: one is the self being absorbed in the content, that is, being unconsciously entertained; the other is the self above who acts as the critic or commentator. The self who consumes the content and is delighted by it, is corporeal. The self who filters, identifies, and evaluates the incoming content is rational. The Writings reveal the existence of these two levels of the natural self (AC 1914).


A name for this way of consuming entertainment or cultural content might be “metanoid watching” or “metanoid reading,” and even “metanoid participation” (as in parties and games). The word metanoid is constructed from Greek and means "to stand beside oneself." I saw this word in R. D. Laing (The Politics of Experience. New York: Ballantine Books, 1967), before I found the Writings in 1981. Nevertheless, I think it’s appropriate to use it. It’s not possible that Laing could have thought of it in the same way as the New Church mind, nevertheless we can make use of his concept in the context of the what the New Church mind knows from the Writings. “Metanoid perception” is another way of discussing self-witnessing or self-examination (see Chapter 8; see also Note 20 at end).).


I later saw that my earlier idea of metanoid perception was a reduced version of what the Writings describe as follows:


The interior can perceive what takes place in the exterior, or what is the same, that the higher can see what is in the lower; but not the reverse. Moreover they who have conscience can do this and are accustomed to do it, for when anything contrary to the truth of conscience flows into the thought, or into the endeavor of the will, they not only perceive it, but also find fault with it; and it even grieves them to be of such a character. (AC 1914)


Clearly this type of internal self-monitoring is quite common and is part of the normal repertoire of mental skills people can perform. Since childhood we learn to internalize the authority that comes from the command of others—their orders, exhortations, expectations, orientation, philosophy, ethics, and political attitudes and values. Once these mental systems are internalized, they run themselves off in our mind and constitute our own daily mental life. The things that are called “standards, principles, or rules” have motivational value that we strive to achieve in our actions and conduct. When we talk about conscience, we are referring to these internalized standards or rules. These activities in our mind are higher than those involving corporeal things of pleasure, delight, popularity, power, and consumption.


Our conscience, or the standards and rules we hold, looks down upon the corporeal activities and evaluates them in terms of the standards and rules it has. The usefulness of conscience is its metanoid functioning. It is like light from above that illumines with a rational light. Seeing things from principles and standards is to see them more rationally, more deeply, more realistically. Those who systematically destroy their conscience also destroy their rationality. They still appear rational to others, but only when they are in their external self and socializing or working with others as a team. But inside, they are raving mad (xx). This they hide from others. But when they arrive in the afterlife, they cannot hide it (xx).


1. Teaching The Metanoid Self-Witnessing Technique


I teach the metanoid self-witnessing technique to college students who take my psychology courses at the university. The latest application of it was in regard to watching television with a notebook and keeping a record of scenes that portray a rapid alternation between rage against others (blame, violence, revenge) and against self (depression, cynicism, self-deprecation). I call this the “emotional flip flop” to which we are conditioned unconsciously and which we practice in our daily life. The students find it enlightening to watch their favorite programs from a metanoid perspective. They are surprised that they unconsciously consume such extreme forms of deceit and violence on a daily basis. In an earlier course the technique was successful applied to driving behavior. Students were instructed to keep a record of driving scenes while watching TV or movies, and to create several rating scales called “DBB Ratings” (Drivers Behaving Badly). Students found it surprising to realize how much dangerous and illegal driving behaviors and aggressive emotions that they are exposed to on a daily basis. Both sets of reports are available on the Web—see Note 17 at end).


The content of entertainment TV, movies, and novels is hostile to the New Church mind if absorbed unconsciously. Since this is a universal cultural activity for Americans and others, it is not practical to try to exclude all forms of television and entertainment from our life and the life of our children. We would remain uncultured and appear less intelligent than the societal norm requires. This could interfere with our jobs and our effectiveness and use as an active citizen. But it is practical and necessary, in my view, to always assume the metanoid perspective while being a consumer of culture, art, and entertainment.


Every scene we watch or read must be classified as “this is from hell” or “this is from heaven.” The categorical dualism of the Divine Doctrine we have in our mind needs to be applied to the content of incoming information moment by moment. We need to label each evil thing and put it, with its falsities, into the hell-bin (or category), so that each good thing, with its truths, could be let into the heaven-bin (or category). No scene we watch or read can be left unclassified regarding their origin as infernal or celestial. I observed that when scenes succeed each other that portray violence, vengeance, deceit, adultery I cease to enjoy them. My metanoid criticisms of them spoil the fun for the corporeal self that wants to get involved unchaperoned by the rational and the moral. And so it loses interest and fascination. Great—I can change the channel. And then repetitions of this take the fun out of watching and reading. Great—I can do something more productive and rationally more interesting. In this way the religious discipline of entertainment and reading keeps our involvement with corporeal evils to a minimum. We can still be informed and cultured, but not defiled and overwhelmed.


A person's purification is accomplished, moreover, wholly through truths that are matters of wisdom. And a person's pollution is brought about wholly through falsities that are opposed to truths of wisdom. (DLW 420)


It stands to reason that we ought to teach our children to watch, read, and participate in this rational way. The cumulative unconscious defilement of hours every day for years takes a tremendous spiritual toll, retarding regeneration and impeding it, turning it into a heavy burden instead of light (xx).


At the present day too those belonging to the Church who have filled their minds with worldly and also earthly ideas and have acted in such a way that the truths of faith have become tied up with them are sent down to the lower earth, where they likewise have battles to fight. These battles continue until their worldly and earthly ideas have been separated from the truths of faith and other notions have been introduced, of such a nature that they cannot be linked together any longer.


Once this has been accomplished those people are raised from there into heaven; for until such ideas of theirs have been removed they cannot possibly be in the company of angels, since those ideas are full of darkness and defilement that do not accord with the light and purity of heaven. Those worldly and earthly ideas cannot be separated and removed except by means of battles against falsities, battles which take place in the following manner: Those on that lower earth are molested by illusions and by falsities based on them which emanate from inhabitants of the surrounding hells; but the Lord employs heaven to rebut those illusions and falsities and at the same time to introduce truths. These truths seem to reside with those undergoing the conflicts. (AC 7090)


We should take this warning seriously. We should not allow our mind to absorb unclassified raw content because it mixes and commingles with the dualities of our Doctrine. Note the method that must be employed to pry apart this commingling. We are kept in the lower earth, which is near hell, and are “molested by illusions and by falsities” from the hells below. Note the method of overcoming: heaven in our mind “rebuts those illusions and falsities.” This is an image of metanoid perception as discussed above. When we do it as-of self while on this earth it is far less painful and invasive than if we wait till the afterlife for cleaning out the pollution in our mind.


Start monitoring your mental activities and you will see. I noticed that years of naïve and “absorption” watching and reading instilled in me the wrong standards and expectations in many recurrent daily situations:


q       How long things take (like getting over things, or getting to know one another, or learning to do something, etc.)

q       How much fun is normal to have, and when (like at parties, or fornication, or gaining recognition, etc.)

q       When to laugh at something (like jokes, wit, scortation, malice, etc.)

q       How to walk, stand, wear clothes, smoke, cuss, etc.

q       What emotions to hide and what to simulate

q       What pretenses to make and how to maintain them

q       How to collude with others in falsities, lies, and bullying

q       How to influence others by projecting status, worth, authority

q       Etc.


These distortions of reality were induced upon my mind by absorption of cultural content, that is, by automatic modeling and imitation. They made me to be an inauthentic person from which I suffered and was impeded in getting to my reformation, which only started when I was already a man of 40. The culture of entertainment is inherently exploitative and hostile to the individual’s spiritual welfare. There are two specific dangers. One comes from the distortions and the other from its content. The distortions are inherent to the medium of presentation that is filtered through editing. Real time fixed camera documentaries of events and biographies would be interminable and impossible to use for instruction and entertainment.


This is why what we are watching are inherently distorted from reality. Now if we allow ourselves to get absorbed we imbibe the distortions and we now have in our mind all sorts of ‘irrealities’ that clash with reality and cause us to stumble, to impede our regeneration. These impediments are in the threefold self: affective (in the affections and lusts), cognitive (in the thought sequences, imaginings, and reasonings), and the sensorimotor (facial expression, pace and style of movement, non-verbal style of interaction). This threefold self is an inauthentic personality—full of irrealities, deceptions, insincerities, self-involved affectations and poses). Spiritual paralingusitics and spiritual psycholinguistics may be important new directions for theistic science (see Note 1 at end).


“Metanoid watching” may be a skill well worth teaching in New Church schools and homes. You can watch TV together or read out loud and make a continual running commentary on what you see and observe. “This is a bad thing to say.” “That man is very dishonest.” “They’re not really driving.” “How do they create that visual effect, do you know?” “That must be a stuntman double.” “They’re not really feeling that way, just an actor simulating.” Etc. etc. This will prevent absorption and teaches filtering skills in what we admit into our mind. (See Note 25 at end)


In terms of content the effect of absorbed involvement is devastating to the New Church mind—like the armies of the Philistines sent by Jehovah to overrun the lands of the Israelites and to steal the Holy Ark of their Church. But this was only an appearance in accordance with the delusions of the Israelites—a kind of a movie or Real TV reality show image they had of life and their God. The reality is that Jehovah never sends falsities to overrun us. The lusts we hold on to send for the falsities they desire to consummate the infernal marriage in our mind (HH 377). We inherit many evil lusts but they do not stick to us in the afterlife except for those that we confirm, and thereby appropriate to our self (CL 202). Being absorbed in entertainment that portrays violence, adultery, hypocrisy, cruelty, hatreds, etc., become confirmed in our mind unless we observe them and reject them. But this cannot be done when we are absorbed, but only when we maintain metanoid perception.


Our New Church mind can be overrun by the content of the media we consume in a state of absorption. Every idea is from nonduality—lust seeking its concubine of falsity (NJHD 17). The falsities portrayed in the content of entertainment sit in waiting in the back row of our mental conferences with our many voices of ourselves. Swedenborg has witnessed many of these conferences in the spiritual world (xx). Now with the new media generations entering the spiritual world every day I can only wonder what kind of “movie world” their spirit-bodies project unto each other, consequently what kind of “movie irrealities” they are living in.


Clearly it becomes crucial that we watch and consume entertainment and culture with a metanoid monitoring mechanism in place all the time. Which means: to act like you’re making a documentary of the movie or show you’re watching, or the book you’re reading.


Chapter 2, Section 17


18. Summary of anti-absorption techniques


For every characteristic which parents have acquired from frequent practice and conduct, that is, which they have taken into themselves by their own actions in life until with them they have become so habitual as to appear natural, is passed on to their children and becomes hereditary (AC 3469)


When we absorb the entertainment culture we are creating many mental habits that become routine in our life. These media based scripts and mental maps of human interaction have appearances of good but within, there is only evil and falsity (AC 3469). All affectional and cognitive products that issue from the unregenerate media minds must necessarily have evil and falsity within. Absorbing them creates delight in a multiplicity of evils and falsities. These become fixed spiritual fibers in the organs of our will and understanding. We will pass it on as a spiritual inheritance to our children, and we will be inexorably tied to them in the afterlife. It makes sense therefore to make use of anti-absorption techniques or disciplines. The following I discovered in my self-witnessing practice (see Note 20 at end). Undoubtedly this is a small sample.


1. Metanoid TV watching


q       Carry on a commentary of what you see with others present

q       Turn off the sound when violence or sex is portrayed (they’re not real in any event, increasing their delusional power over you)

q       Turn off the sound during commercials

q       Channel hop without the sound

q       When you’re watching because you’re trying to relax and fend off pressure, you can watch without the sound on—it still occupies the mind, giving you the relief, but in a different way. You’re trying to figure out what’s being said rather than getting absorbed in what is being said when the sound is on.


2. Watching TV with your children


Watch with your children and get them involved in metanoid perception by asking questions about what’s going on: Do you think that man is really driving? Do you think that man is really on fire? How do you like the way that actor acts like he is in pain? Isn’t that a very bad thing to do—to lie to your Mom? They’re not really drinking alcohol, you know, other wise they couldn’t continue their part on the show. Etc.


3. Reading novels, etc.


Have a pen in your hand when you read a novel or other reading material, and use it as you turn the pages. You can write in the margins, on top and at the bottom. You can underline various ways: words only, entire line, straight line, wavy line. Marginal notes can be question marks, exclamation points, check marks, double checks, double question marks, etc. These markings represent various comments and reactions you have as a reader. This is metanoid reading.


4. Games and sports


When you play games instruct your metanoid self (called the “external rational”) to whisper counter-absorption prompts to your sensuous self that is tempted to get absorbed: “The Lord wants me to love my neighbor. If my neighbor wins instead of me, I will be content.” Or, “Why is it so important for me to win this play thing? Is this desire from heaven or from hell?” Or, “Am I increasing risk for my neighbor by the way I play? Am I being arrogant about my neighbor?” The purpose of these prompts is to prevent mental absorption, or what is commonly referred to as “getting into it.”


5. At parties and celebrations


When you’re at parties or group celebrations let your metanoid conscience perform a running commentary on what you’re feeling and thinking, minute by second. Let your metanoid self be your Angelic Witness “make a movie” of your sensorimotor self and make it to obey its dictates in every detail—like a good soldier or stage player:


q       What should my eyes be doing, and not doing?


q       What should my face look like?


q       How far should I stand? What is appropriate? What is too close?


q       Should I hug or not? How should I hug? How should I not hug?


q       If kissing is expected as greeting among social acquaintances, do I really need to follow that norm? What alternative could I substitute?


q       Am I dancing and moving appropriately? What would my judgment be if I saw a video of me doing this?


q       Am I laughing and making jokes and having great fun? Do I overdo it? Is it really necessary for me to do it? What’s behind it—is it from heaven or from hell?


q       Am I sitting in a corner detached? What is the appropriate thing for me to be doing? If I’m going to enact loving my neighbor, what am I to do here and now?


q       Keep track and remember each time you express verbal disagreement with someone—Ask yourself if you can become more skilled at expressing yourself so that you withhold yourself from expressing disagreement in most situations.


I’ve been ignoring for years my wife’s observation that my disagreeing transactions are numerous in each encounter episode I have with people and her. The reputation I had of myself is that of someone who is affable and rarely feels the need to express disagreement. At last I compelled myself to monitor my verbal exchanges and to keep track of how often I would disagree with someone. Within just a few hours I knew the answer—and it convicted me. I realized that the way I expressed disagreement was different from the way I saw my father do it. Him I judged in my mind, and I told myself many times I’m not going to be like him. Little did I suspect that I was only sinking into a more subtle and more terrible form of performing disagreement, one that comes from my being with deeper darker evil spirits. I allowed myself to take credit for being a congenial person who does not feel the need to express disagreements But my wife could easily perceive that the opposite was the case.


And so I felt I should re-tool my conversational style, acknowledging first that I am a type of guy called “in your face person” which we’re told in the Writings is a personality trait represented by the quarrel between Ishmael and Isaac (AC 1889). The mind is composed of spiritual levels of willing and thinking. In accordance with progress in our regeneration, we go through stages of humanizing, rationalizing, and feminizing ourselves from birth to the angelic state.


(9) The intelligence of women is by nature modest, gracious, peaceable, compliant, soft and gentle, while the intelligence of men is by nature critical, rough, resistant, argumentative, and given to intemperance. (CL 218)


Lower levels of willing and thinking are evil from heredity (not creation). Reformation is the struggle to make the lower level obey the higher level. Regeneration is the building up of a new positive or angelic personality that performs its willing and thinking from conscience or rational principles. The Ishmael phase is our state when we are in our own self-intelligence. The Isaac phase into which we step next, begins at reformation, namely, when we become motivated to let the Writings define what is rational, not our natural-rational. To the extent we compel ourselves to do this, to that extent the Lord can proceed with opening our spiritual mind, which begins the long arduous process of character regeneration.


Be it known that in every man there is an internal man, a rational man which is intermediate, and an external man, and that these are most distinct from one another. (Concerning this subject see what was said above, n. 978.) (AC 1889)


He [Ishmael] shall be a wild-ass [onager] man. That this signifies rational truth, which is described, is evident from the signification of "a wild-ass," as being rational truth. In the Word there is frequent mention of horses, horsemen, mules, and asses; and as yet no one has known that these signify things of the intellect, of the reason, and of memory-knowledge. …


[2] It seems incredible that rational truth when separated from good should be of such a character, neither should I have known this to be the case unless I had been instructed by living experience. …


The man whose rational is of such a character that he is solely in truth-even though it be the truth of faith-and who is not at the same time in the good of charity, is altogether of such a character. He is a morose man, will bear nothing, is against all, regards everybody as being in falsity, is ready to rebuke, to chastise, and to punish; has no pity, and does not apply or adapt himself to others and study to bend their minds; for he looks at everything from truth, and at nothing from good. Hence it is that Ishmael was driven out, and afterwards dwelt in the wilderness, and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt (Gen. 21:9-21); all of which things are representative of one who is endowed with such a rational. (AC 1949)


This makes it obvious that it is forbidden for me to continue in the natural-rational of my self-made intelligence called my Ishmael state. First, I had to trust my wife—not something easy to do for the husband prior to his reformation. The only way I was able to do this is to realize that she is the Divinely designated wife for me and that the Lord is giving her an interior perception of my affections which He does not give to me (CL 166). Things then started happening dynamically to the extent that I was not backing out or backsliding on my sacred resolution—which I did, many times as my poor wife had to endure. But persistence and sincerity led to a visible upward trend, even if slower than it should have been to save my poor wife from so much daily hassles. To live with a wild-ass is a terrible fate that wives must endure for the sake of the conjugial, like the pain and discomforts of pregnancy and childbirth. Women graciously endure it and do not complain because they are animated by conjugial love for their husband.


The actual meaning of regeneration is the taking charge of our willing and thinking in daily life, that they should comply with the Heavenly Doctrine in our understanding.



End Notes and References


Note 1


A directory of all my publications, with full text access to most of them, is available on the Web at


Leon James. “Substantive Dualism: Swedenborg's Integration of Biological Theology and Rational Psychology”


Leon James. “Scientific Dualism.”


Leon James. “Religious Psychology or Theistic Science: A Guide to Spiritual Self-examination”


Leon James. “Swedenborg Glossary of Theistic Science”


Leon James. “Do the Writings Contain Scientific Revelations?” New Church Life , July 1995, 115(7), 325-330.

Also available on the Web at


Leon James. “Dualist Science and the Writings of Swedenborg” New Church Life , June 1995, 115(6), 264-270.


Leon James. “Overcoming Objections to Swedenborg's Writings Through the Development of Scientific Dualism” New Philosophy 2001 v.CIV n.3 & 4 pp. 153-217. Available online at:


Leon James. “The Fourteen Scientific Fallacies in AC5084: Implications for Science Education.” New Philosophy, July-December, 1996, XCIX(3 & 4), 439-450


Examples of promoting dualism in science in New Church literature include:


Gregory L. Baker, Religion and Science: From Swedenborg to Chaotic Dynamics (New York: The Solomon Press, 1992)


Linda Simonetti Odhner, The Bread of Life With Honey From the Rock: A Chaste Union of religion and science New Church Life March 1989, pp. 117-122


Leon James, Swedenborg's Religious Psychology: The Marriage of Good and Truth as Mental Health Studia Swedenborgiana December 1993, Vol.8, No-3, pp. 13-42


Ian Thompson, Foundations of the Theory of Spirit, Mind and Nature from Theism


Note 2


W. F. Pendleton Topics From the Writings (Academy, 1928)


Note 3


Leon James. “My Pre-Swedenborgian Discoveries and Inventions (1960-1980)”


Note 4


Mark Carlson. “Evolution, the Limbus, and Hereditary Evil (Part 2)” New Church Life June 1990, pp.259-275.


Note 5


Barry C. Halterman. “Swedenborg's Influence on Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1883)”


Jane K. Williams-Hogan. Swedenborg: A Biography Available online here:


Leon James “Swedenborg Revolution in the Social Sciences”


Leon James “Spiritual Psychology”


Note 6


Wilson Van Dusen, The Distinctiveness of the Church of the New Jerusalem New Church Life March 1994, 112-114.


Peter Rhodes, Gurdijeff’s and Swedenborg General Church Sound Recording Library, Bryn Athyn, 1976.


Leonard Fox, Gurdijeff’s: Guide to Heaven or Hell? New Church Life June 1993; (see also his reply in the October 1993 issue.)


Note 7


Leon James “Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg, or Ritual, Faith, and Theistic Science: The Three Phases of Religious Behavior”


Leon James “Religious Behaviorism”


Note 8


Leon James “De Hemelsche Leer--Part 1--Degrees of Consciousness”


Leon James “Spiritual Geography--Graphic Maps of Consciousness for Regeneration”


Note 9


Leon James “Overcoming Objections to Swedenborg's Writings Through the Development of Scientific Dualism” New Philosophy 2001 v.CIV n.3 & 4 pp. 153-217.  Available online here:


Note 10


Dr. James’ Student Reports on Swedenborg are listed in this directory:


Note 11


Leon James, “Genes of Consciousness: Spiritual Genetics for Regeneration”


Note 12


Ian Thompson, Foundations of Theistic Science The Theory of Spirit, Mind and Nature from Theism (containing several articles)


Note 13


Leon James, “Vertical Community”


Note 14


Leon James, “The Will and the Understanding or The Affective and the Cognitive or Good and Faith or Heart and Lungs or Internal and External Mind”


Note 15


Leon James, “Affective and Cognitive Resistance to a More Healthy Lifestyle


Note 16


Leon James, “Notes on the Doctrine of the Wife:


Note 17


See our Web site at


List of Media Interviews with Leon James and Diane Nahl


Articles on Driving Psychology by Leon James and Diane Nahl


Leon James and Diane Nahl. Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare (Prometheus Books: New York, 2000).


Leon James and Diane Nahl. Heaven on Wheels: Principles of Christian Driving Psychology


Leon James. “Drivers Behaving Badly: DBB Ratings”


Note 18


Hatfield, E., & Rapson, R. (1996). Love and sex: Cross-cultural perspectives. New York: Allyn and Bacon.


Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Note 19


Leon James “The Universal Modes of Enactment in Human Experience: A Self-Witnessing Account of the Discovery of Sudden Memory and My Interpretation of Its Significance for the Human Race”


Leon James “Autobiography: Sudden Memory as the Integrating Mechanism on the Daily Round”


Leon James “Objective Autobiography: Sudden Memory”


Leon James “Radicalist Empiricism. The Universal Modes of Enactment in Human Experience. A Self-Witnessing Account of the Discovery of Sudden Memory and My Interpretation of Its Significance for the Human Race”


Leon James “The Hexagram of Sudden Memory “


Leon James “Discoveries and Inventions--Sudden Memory”


Leon James “The Hexagram of Sudden Memory” (excerpts)


Leon James “Pre-Swedenborgian Discoveries and Inventions (1960-1980)”


Leon James and Diane Nahl “Workbook for the Study of Social Psychology”


Leon James “The Analysis of Transactional Engineering Competence”


Leon James “Community Archives in Social Psychology”


Leon James “Understanding Discourse: From Ethnosemantics to Transactional Engineering”


Leon James “Genetic Culture: Primacy of the Affective over the Cognitive”


Leon James “Lectures in Social Psychology (directory of chapters)”


Leon James “Lecture Notes on The Psychology of Knowledge: The Discovery of Sudden Memory“


Note 20


Leon James “The Method of Self-Witnessing”


Leon James “Religious Psychology or Theistic Science: A Guide to Spiritual Self-examination”


Leon James “Self-witnessing our emotions in daily life”


Leon James “General Instructions for Your Research Project: The Four Options--Customizing My Daily Emotional Spin Cycle”


Leon James “Temptations entry in the Swedenborg Glossary”


Leon James “Self-Witnessing the Threefold Self”


Note 21


Rev. Ray Silverman teaches at the New Church Academy in Bryn Athyn. He and his wife Star are the authors of a successful book Rise Above It! – “a curriculum for spiritual growth based on the Ten Commandments.” A seminar program is based on the book and is called Touchstone Seminars: A Life-changing Experience. See Web site at


Note 22


Harrie G.D. Groeneveld “The Second Coming of the Lord in the Doctrine of the Church” De Hemelsche Leer, First Fascicle, 38-43, 1930 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8) Available online at See also its reprint version in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague)


Rev. Ernst Pfeiffer “Elucidation of Mr. Groeneveld's Address” De Hemelsche Leer, First Fascicle, p.82-95; 127-131, 1930 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8) Available online at See also its reprint version in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague)


Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The second Education” De Hemelsche Leer, Third Fascicle, p.22. 1935 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8; Chapter 8 Section 3) (Available online at )


Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The Internal Sense of the Chapter on Ecclesiastical and Civil government in “The New Jerusalem And Its Heavenly Doctrine. (March 1930)”  Discovered recently and published in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, pp. 83-91. Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague) (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8 and 9; Chapter 8 Section 3)


James, Leon (2002) “The Substitution Technique: A Method for Extracting What the Writings Say About Themselves as the Word” De Hemelse Leer, Vol. XIV No. 2 (April 2002), 103-109.


Note 23


The following New Church ministers are quoted in this book:


Rev. Donald L. Rose, Sermon titled “The Colt Loosed For the Lord’s Service” General Church, Bryn Athyn. Undated (quoted above in the Introduction to Volume 1)


Rev. Erik E. Sandstrom, The New Age and the New Church (Part Two). New Church Life, June 2002, 251-260 (quoted above in the Introduction to Volume 1;  Introduction to Chapter 2;  Chapter 4 Section 6;  Chapter 6 Section 3;  Chapter 7 Section 2;  Introduction to Chapter 8)


Rev. Mark Carlson. “Evolution, the Limbus, and Hereditary Evil (Part 2)” New Church Life June 1990, pp.259-275. (quoted above in Chapter 3 Section 7).


Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman’s review of Henry James, Sr. in Arcana 1996 v.2 n.4 p.56 (quoted above in Chapter 4 Section 2 and Section 3)


Rev. Grant R. Schnarr “Swedenborg And The Near Death Experience” on the Web at Accessed June 2002 (quoted above in Chapter 4 Section 5)


Rev. Douglas M. Taylor “Self-Esteem” New Church Life March 2002 v.CXXII No.3 pp. 99-105 (quoted above in Chapter 6 Section 7)


Rev. Edward S. Hyatt, Sermons on the Word. Swedenborg Genootschap, 1935 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8)


Rev. Hugo Lj. Odhner, “The Transition from Human to Divine Philosophy” Written in 1921. Published in The New Philosophy 1974; 77:43-71. Available online at: )

(quoted in Chapter 7 Section 8)


Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The second Education” De Hemelsche Leer, Third Fascicle, p.22. 1935 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8; Chapter 8 Section 3) (Available online at )


The Letters and Memorials of Emanuel Swedenborg. Translated and Edited by Rev. Alfred Acton (Bryn Athyn, PA. Swedenborg Scientific Association, 1948) (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8)


Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard titled "The Transformation of a Man into a Husband and a Woman into a Wife through Marriage" appeared in New Church Life, June 2001 issue, pages 243-248. (quoted above in Chapter 9 Section 1)


Rev. Ernst Pfeiffer “Elucidation of Mr. Groeneveld's Address” De Hemelsche Leer, First Fascicle, p.82-95; 127-131, 1930 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8)






I wish to thank Dr. Ian Thompson for his invaluable editorial assistance with several drafts and for supplying many of the citations to the Writings (see Note 12 above ). I also wish to thank Rev./Dr. Ray Silverman who spent much appreciated effort reading and critiquing an earlier draft (see Note 21 above). Rev. Robert Junge made critical comments on several key issues in an exchange of correspondence that greatly improved my discussion of them. I am very grateful for their contribution. Their astute observations helped me to avoid critical errors and to strengthen the presentation in numerous places.



About the Author


The author, Dr. Leon James, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii. His Web site and information on his professional background is located here:


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The Web address of the latest version of this book (all 3 Volumes) is:



Titles for the Abbreviated Citations in the Book



Arcana Coelestia


Apocalypse Explained


Apocalypse Revealed


Brief Exposition


Conjugial Love




De Verbo


Divine Love and Wisdom


Divine Providence


Divine Wisdom


Earths in the Universe


Doctrine of Faith


Heaven and Hell


Invitation to the New Church




Doctrine of Life


Last Judgment


Last Judgment (Posthumous)


Doctrine of the Lord


New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine


Spiritual Experiences


Specimen and Sketch


True Christian Religion

TCR Additions

True Christian Religion (Additions)


White Horse


Nine Questions


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