It is necessary to consider both the warmth of passionate love and its enduring nature. The love of young people, though warm, has no power of endurance. Hence, many young people change from one affection to another. I term this the love of divided personalities. How can any such love bring pleasure?
For love to endure, it is necessary that it be maintained by strength of will. It is not for this reason that I maintain that love must be given a moral quality. If we are masters of single personalities, then at any given period it follows that we can have but one single affection; and this affection must continue as long as the personality lasts. Herein is the uniqueness of love. It is what may be called puremindedness, and the power which maintains this puremindedness is simply one’s strength of will.
Marriage is a social relation achieved by the unificative effort of matured personalities. In marriage love is first accorded its social recognition; upon it is bestowed the great guarantee of social approval. Society is blessed through marriage, and marriage is blessed through society. Since love is essentially social, society desires to recognize marriage. Of course, since society today is in a transition period, many social phenomena are exceedingly confused.
In such a transition period there are numerous instances of people who, awakened ethically to a holy love, are forced to contravene certain restrictions. There are certain forms of marriage which experience extraordinary difficulty in gaining social recognition. But that is only because this is a period of transition. In an ethical society every marriage ought to receive society’s benediction. Love is higher than sexual desire. Essentially, love signifies the creation of personality.
The new creation of personality includes also the potential children of the union. We have heard the saying, “Children are the links which bind parents together,” but only when we actually have children born to us do we realize poignantly that the love of husband and wife is something above sexual desire.
In my own experience, before our children were born I knew well that the love of husband and wife is sacred; yet after the birth of our children I realized this more keenly, and I came to consider that to the fact of the superiority of love over sexual desire must be further added the personalities of the children. I think that the stronger my love for my children becomes, the more I must love the mother of my children. It is no mere question of sexual desire. There is here a truly mysterious design; and as I view the unfolding of the new order, I am amazed at its grandeur. The love revealed through marriage is a triune existence, not a twofold one; it is creation of a new order rooted in love.
There are men who frequently praise their wives extravagantly, love their children, and appear to be satisfied. Yet they become infatuated with some strange woman, and abruptly abandon wife and children. I am unable to understand the feelings of such men. They are utter bankrupts in personality; they have no unity of self. Their love is consequently bankrupt. In cases of the separation of couples who have children, I do not necessarily oppose the divorce; but I maintain that for one to abandon the wife or husband with whom one has been satisfied, whom one has loved, is a disgrace against oneself.
How is it possible for one who disgraces oneself to have a sacred affection? Such a one lies to oneself. Of course, I do not mean to include here those who have been compelled to be parties to a match, or who have been coerced into marriage. Yet even in cases of marriage by coercion, where in the married life love has grown up between the two and a fusion of personalities has been achieved, if on the appearance of a third person one of them pretends that the marriage was not based upon a real romantic love and tears to pieces the love that has developed, disregards the children and deserts the home, then I count that one also to have disgraced himself. In a case where the marriage did not at first depend on love, but love afterward developed, and finally grew cold, I cannot necessarily approve of such a passion. I will say rather that the love was deficient in moral discipline.