Conjugial Love #49

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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49. 5. If it is possible for married partners to live together, they remain partners. But if it is not possible, they separate, the husband sometimes separating from the wife, the wife sometimes from the husband, and both of them sometimes from each other. The reason separations occur after death is that unions formed on earth are seldom formed on the basis of any internal perception of love, but as the result of an external perception which conceals the internal one.

An external perception of love takes its cause and origin from such things as have to do with love of the world and love of one's own person. Love of the world is concerned primarily with wealth and possessions, and love of one's own person with positions of rank and honor. In addition to these, there are also various other attractions that entice into marriage, such as good looks and a pretended elegance of manners. Sometimes even a lack of chastity attracts.

Furthermore, marriages are also contracted in the area, city or town of one's birth or residence, where the only choice possible is confined and limited to the households one knows, and there only with people of a station matching one's own.

As a result, marriages entered into in the world are for the most part external marriages, and not at the same time internal, even though it is the internal union or union of souls that makes a real marriage. And that internal union is not discernible until a person has put off his external character and taken on his internal character, which happens after death.

That, now, is why separations then occur, followed by new unions formed with partners of a similar and compatible nature - unless unions like this were provided on earth, which happens in the case of people who from their youth had loved, desired and sought from the Lord a lawful and lovely partnership with one, and who spurn and reject roving lusts as an offense to the nostrils.

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Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation. The full title of this translation is "DELIGHTS OF WISDOM RELATING TO CONJUGIAL LOVE".