Conjugial Love #171

Po Emanuel Swedenborg

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171. 13. A wife is joined to her husband by the atmosphere of her life emanating from her love. From every person there emanates, indeed pours, a spiritual atmosphere from the affections of his love, and this atmosphere surrounds him. It also enters into the natural atmosphere arising from the body, and the two atmospheres combine together.

Everyone knows that a natural atmosphere continually emanates from the body, not only from human beings but also from animals - in fact, from trees, fruits, flowers, and also metals. So, too, in the spiritual world, except that the atmospheres emanating from things there are spiritual, and the atmospheres which emanate from spirits and angels are interiorly spiritual, because the affections of their love and their consequent perceptions and thoughts are interior. Every feeling of affinity or aversion has its origin from these atmospheres, and also all association or dissociation. Thus a person's presence or absence depends in that world on these atmospheres. For similarity or harmony in character causes association and presence, while dissimilarity or disharmony causes dissociation and absence. Consequently, it is these atmospheres which cause distances in that world.

Some people also know what effect these spiritual atmospheres have in the natural world. The dispositions of married partners toward each other come from this very origin. Harmonious and concordant atmospheres unite them, and contrary and discordant ones drive them apart; for concordant atmospheres are delightful and pleasant, while discordant ones are undelightful and unpleasant.

[2] Angels have a clear perception of these atmospheres, and I have heard from them that every single element in a person, both inside and out, renews itself, which it does through processes of dissolution and restoration; and this is what produces the atmosphere which is continually given off. Moreover, the angels said, this atmosphere is concentrated about a person's back and breast, but more lightly around the back, more densely around the breast, and the atmosphere which is about the breast combines itself with the breathing. That also is why two married partners who differ in their dispositions and are out of harmony in their affections, in bed lie turned away with their backs to each other, while conversely, two who are in harmony in their dispositions and affections lie turned toward each other.

[3] The angels said further that because atmospheres emanate from every part of a person and extend widely about him, these atmospheres not only join or drive apart two married partners outwardly, but also inwardly. And this, they said, is the reason for all the differences and diversities in conjugial love.

Lastly the angels said that the atmosphere of love emanating from a wife who is tenderly loved, in heaven is perceived as sweetly fragrant, considerably more delightful than the one which is perceived in the world by a newly married husband in the first days of marriage.

This makes plain the truth asserted, that a wife is joined to her husband by the atmosphere of her life emanating from her love.

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Many thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and to Rev. N.B. Rogers, translator, for the permission to use this translation.