One of Dalrock’s recent posts examines the consequences of the elevation of romantic love to a moral force:
The simple fact is the moment you attribute moral value to romantic love you are creating a rival to biblical sexual morality. In biblical sexual morality it is marriage that creates a moral space for sex and romantic love (with romantic love not separated from sexual passion). We have overturned God’s order here, and are now claiming that romantic love is the moral space for marriage and sex. This is deceptively subtle, and at the same time demolishes the moral meaning of marriage.
Passionless duty sex was for marriage, and passion was for adultery. Courtly love built upon this idea with a twist. It added a new concept of romantic love, separating out the emotional aspect of sexual passion. This newly separated concept of romantic love was worshiped and seen as sanctifying. CS Lewis summed up the concept of courtly love as (emphasis mine):
“The sentiment, of course, is love, but love of a highly specialized sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, Adultery, and the Religion of Love.”
What Dalrock is examining here is a situation where Eros has been split in two. As a reminder/refresher, the ancient Greeks believed in several different concepts of “love.” The three principal loves were:
- Eros- sensual love associated with the body
- Philos- love in the form of friendship that is associated with the soul
- Agapos- the self-sacrificing love that comes from God and is thus associated with the Spirit
Now, Eros is a bodily love. However, emotions are as much of the body as the actual “rubbing together of bodyparts.” Which is my way of saying that Eros properly contains both Romance as well as the actual physical acts of intercourse. Passion and Romance go hand in hand, if you will. Dalrock is making a mistake by calling it “Romantic love.” It is really just the emotional aspect of the love we know as Eros. It is not something separate.
What has unfortunately been going on for centuries now is an attempt to split Eros up into a “dirty” part, sex, and a “pure” part, “romance.” However, no matter how many games you play with this, it cannot be done. Eros encompasses both. Any attempt to separate the two is inherently insane. We should expect that craziness will follow from it. Thus, to me it is no surprise that efforts to separate Eros have helped “break” marriage in the west. We have gone against God’s plan for human beings- disaster is to be expected.
God created Man as a union of body, soul and spirit. Marriage, as an institution/sacrament coming from God, relies on a healthy state of that union. If they are unhealthy, or there is discord, then marriage will suffer accordingly. Marriage encompasses each of these loves, because marriage affects and is affected by all parts of that union. Trying to remove the physical component of Eros from marriage effectively breaks that unity and creates disorder in that man or woman- and thereby brings disorder into the marriage. It affects both husband and wife because in marriage the two become one.
Remember, Man was made for marriage. And by marriage I mean what God intends by marriage. Trying to fit man into anything other than what God intended is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It doesn’t work. Alas, we are seeing the proof of that all around us in the West right now.
Update: I should make it clear that the mistake that I think Dalrock was mistaking was calling it “Romantic Love.” I don’t think he failed to grasp the other parts of my post. One of his older posts in fact notes that courtly love is always sexual.