The End of Love? – Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

A CERTAIN essayist makes this appalling statement: "What a 
sad age this is in which one makes his First Holy Communion 
to be through with religion, receives his bachelor's degree to 
be through with studying, and marries to be through with 

Let us omit the first two statements from this consideration 
and take up the third.

Is it true that for some, marriage is the end of love?

That statement can be taken in different ways.

Some think that before marriage one can play at love. Then 
when the senses have been dulled, one shall try to find a 
companion for himself. "Youth must pass," people say 
condescendingly on observing the looseness of young men. 
There are even certain pseudo-moralists who advise young 
girls not to marry before "deliberately having their fling as 
well as the boys"--advice which unfortunately some of them 
do not fail to follow.

This is an odious concept of love and marriage or of 
preparation for it. I certainly want none of it.

Again there are those who think that love is all well and good 
before marriage. As for marriage itself, it is first and foremost 
an investment. The problem is not so much to marry someone 
for whom one experiences a strong attraction, but rather to 
realize a good business deal. It is not the person one seeks, 
but the name, the status, the fortune. There is nothing of love 
in this. No, indeed, it is all a matter of interest: a concept 
equally as odious as the first, equally repellent.

What the author of the statement probably meant is that 
before marriage, the young man and woman are all fire and 
flame, and perhaps for a short time after marriage. Soon, or at 
least comparatively soon after marriage, they no longer speak 
of love. They have become two under the yoke--two bearing 
the necessary restraints of their united existences. Gone is 
the enchantment of betrothal days or of the early days of 
married life. There is nothing left but the grayish prose of 
humdrum existence with an individual of whom one has 
made a god or a goddess--a person who is after all only a poor 

--A man, "a poor man who eats, drinks, wears shirts and 
drawers, and who loses his buttons," as someone jokingly 
described him. Picture2"A man who will never be able to find 
anything in a dresser or clothes closet; who will never 
appreciate the cooking or the menu; who at night throws his 
clothes in a heap on a chair and the next morning complains 
that the creases in his trousers are not pressed in well 
enough; a man who formerly seemed like a knight, a 
magician, a prince charming, and whose bold gestures so 
commanding yet so delicate thrilled the heart and stirred 
one's whole being, causing one's imagination to crown him 
with the aureola of perfection," and who now . . .

--A woman, a poor creature indeed, perpetually thirsting for 
caresses even at the most inappropriate times; a woman who 
has foolish notions, headaches, fits of humor; who manifests 
a flare for spending which can never resist the appeal of any 
show window, particularly if there is an interesting clearance 
sale on; a woman who wants a wardrobe capable of ruining 
the most industrious man, the wealthiest husband--a poor 
sort of woman, indeed!

Is it not because of all these things, at least partially because 
of them, that Our Lord wanted to make marriage a rite giving 
divine graces--a sacrament?

Perhaps we have exaggerated the poetry of conjugal life; let 
us not now exaggerate the prose of life together.

As a preparation for this prose, which is always possible and 
often very real even in the most successful marriages, I shall 
aim to sanctify myself in the practice of charity and patience.


"LOVE seeks to escape through a single being from the 
mediocrity of all others." This is the definition one author 
gives of love.

It is not a matter of reviewing all human beings with whom 
one comes into contact as if they were on parade, so that with 
methodical, rational, and cold discernment one might pick 
out the chosen man or woman. It is not a selection; the object 
of one's desire attracts at once; it is just he or she; all the rest 
do not exist. As one writer put it, "Love is monotheistic." There 
is no need at all of overthrowing idols; one pedestal alone 
stands, bearing the holy representation that the eyes feast 
upon and toward which the heart turns with an irresistible 

Oh, the incomprehensible power of the heart in love promptly 
to divinize the poor reality it has chosen! Nothing else exists 
for it any longer! In the play "Asmodee," by Mauriac, the 
heroine Emmanuelle, who had thought of religious life until 
she met Harry with whom she fell deeply in love at first sight, 
goes so far as to declare:

"You know when I used to hear a person say of someone, "He 
is everything for me," I did not know what that meant. I know 
now. Our pastor tells me that husbands and wives love each 
other in God. I can't understand that. It seems to me that if 
Harry were some day to be everything for me, then there 
would no longer be any room in my heart or in my life for 
anyone, not even for God."

Aside from this particular example of Emmanuelle, there is 
some truth in those words; they emphasize a well-known fact.

How many young girls during their engagement period, how 
many young wives in the months following upon their 
marriage, neglect the spiritual, overwhelmed as they are with 
human happiness! Previous to that time, all their love, all the 
need they felt for giving themselves was directed to divine 
realities. Their capacity for tenderness was showered upon 
Jesus and Mary; it was fed in Holy Communion.

Now another object engages all their concern. They must be 
vigilant that their piety does not diminish. Their needs have 
increased; it is not the time to decrease their cultivation of 
holiness. Doubtless, and above all in the case of a married 
woman, some spiritual exercises will not be possible; for 
example, daily Holy Mass and Holy Communion in certain 
cases will have to be sacrificed through fidelity to duty in 
their new state. But piety itself must not diminish as it so 
often does in a period of human happiness.

It is essential in the midst of marital joys, and above all in the 
joys preceding marriage or following immediately upon it, to 
strive to preserve a sense of balance and of true values. Love 
of God does not operate exactly as the attraction of creatures. 
In the one case, it is a question of an invisible reality; in the 
other, of a sensible reality. This last, even though closer and 
more accessible, never eclipses the first. Esteem as divine 
what is divine, and do not knowingly divinize or, more 
correctly speaking, transfigure to excess a creature, no matter 
how rich its gifts.

Remain if possible always in truth. Realize that God alone is 
God, and that every created being has its limitations. Strive to 
make your limitations and your mediocrity as little felt as 
possible and generously pardon the limitations and 
mediocrity of your companion for life.

The earth shall never be anything but the earth; it is untimely 
to try to make it heaven.

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