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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in marriage (16)


Virginity and the Virgin Birth Part 2

In part two of this series Lawson discusses why virginity is important and what it looks like on a spiritual level. Lawson adapted these articles for New Church Perspective from one of his sermons. -Editor.

Why was it necessary for the Lord to be born of a virgin? Because the father’s soul and image is in his seed. In a working marriage, the Lord provides that the husband’s seed is received by the wife and adds itself to her life. In this way, a wife leads a life that is more and more of one mind with her husband. The union of souls and joining of minds comes right down into ultimate effects (Conjugial Love 172). If Joseph or any other man had been Jesus’ father, Jesus could only have been an ordinary man like his father. His soul would then have been a finite receptacle of life, like all of ours, instead of the Divine life itself. The Lord put on an ordinary, mortal, human body from Mary, the mother, but His soul was Divine, the Everlasting Father.

For a woman to give up her virginity is the deepest sign of love and commitment. The cleanness, purity and holiness of conjugial love makes one with her virginity. With it she promises to love her man to eternity, so she cannot rationally make this promise except in the security of a holy marriage covenant. And no man should ask her to give him this crown of her honor unless he is her husband, praying to the Lord to draw them together forever (Conjugial Love 460).

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Virginity and the Virgin Birth Part 1

This week Lawson paints a picture of what it must have been like to be Joseph learning about and then dealing with the reality that Mary was pregnant before they were married. In this two part article adapted from a sermon Lawson looks at the significance of marriage and virginity. -Editor.

Think how Joseph must have felt, when he first realized that Mary was expecting a baby. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced to her that she would be blessed to be the mother of the Lord, she did not tell Joseph, but “arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste” (Luke 1:39), to share this wonderful news with Elizabeth, her cousin. Elizabeth was the one person in the world she could share such astonishing news with. Since she was to be the mother of John the Baptist, who would prepare the Lord’s way, she knew that the birth of the Lord Himself was imminent, and must have been wondering who would be so highly favored as to be His mother. Anyone else, probably including Joseph, Mary’s fiancé, could not have believed her. So Mary went straight to Elizabeth, and remained with her about three months, almost to the time when John was born.

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Empathy in Marriage: Gender Differences in Communication Part 2

Carrying on with the ideas from last week, Micah breaks down some of the spiritual differences between men and women as described by Swedenborg. What is innate and what can we change? Looking at the changeable nature of mirror neurons, Micah suggests we can develop quite a bit. -Editor

As discussed last week, neuroscientist Schulte-Rüther’s study lent support to the issue of whether or not there are gender differences in the human mirror neuron system while also reframing behavioral research as it relates to empathy. This research concluded that men and women have statistically equal ability to provide empathic support, but that particular types of empathy come more naturally to each gender on a biological level. This has some interesting interactions with New Church thought.

What are the Gender Differences at a Spiritual Level?

In general, men and women appear to be spiritually similar. They both have freedom (the ability to choose between good and evil, and live accordingly) and rationality (the ability to think about truth), which are the qualities that make a human truly human (Divine Providence 98). Further, Emanuel Swedenborg, author of the Writings for the New Church, claims that both men and women have an intellect (the ability to have higher cognitive thoughts so as to think about truth objectively) and will (the loves that inspire people to act), though he qualifies by explaining that for men the intellect leads and for women the will leads; “and people are characterized by what is in control” (Heaven and Hell 369). Men therefore, are spiritually distinguished by their intellect—their ability to think, rationalize, and explain abstract ideas objectively. Women are spiritually distinguished by their will—their ability to act according to their intuitions, loves, and inspire people to act through shared loves.

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Empathy in Marriage: Gender Differences in Communication Part 1

Women and men are different. Their bodies are different in obvious ways, but also in less apparent ways—like the structure of the brain. Emotions are processed in the inner workings of the brain, and Micah examines the ways that men and women's brain neurons differ when feeling empathy. -Editor

You don’t understand. You don’t know how I’m feeling. How often do these ideas come up in relationships? These ideas often stem from a basic miscommunication, or failure to empathize.

Good communication, particularly in an intimate relationship, depends upon how two people perceive one another through empathy. Miscommunication, which seems to be a common issue in marriages, therefore indicates a lack of empathy between spouses. Who is at fault? Is either partner at fault? It turns out that there are gender specific approaches to empathy that lead to miscommunications in relationships, but, with conscious effort men and women can improve their non-dominant approach to empathy and thus communication with their spouse.

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People Swedenborg Knew While on Earth Part 2

Sometimes helpful and uplifting teachings are found in unlikely places. Helen continues to look at some of the famous people that Swedenborg described meeting in the spiritual world. Helen finds it hopeful and uplifting to read the story of a couple that meets and marries in heaven - both as proof that all find true married love in heaven and that those relationships are similar to those on earth. -Editor

Empress Elizabeth (1709 - 1761) of Russia was the daughter of Peter the Great. It is said that she "grew up to be a beautiful, charming, intelligent and vivacious young woman." (Encyclopedia Britannica) Elizabeth was very popular among the guards, often visiting them on special occasions and acting as godmother to their children. At 32, when she was threatened with banishment to a convent upon the death of the Russian ruler, she staged a coup d'etat with the help of the guards, and was proclaimed Empress of Russia.

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People Swedenborg Knew While on Earth Part 1

At various points in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg he discusses people he knew on earth who he interacts with again in the spiritual world. This week Helen shares one story about love and marriage in the spiritual world that Swedenborg documented about one of the former queens of Sweden. -Editor

Swedenborg had a lot of friends and acquaintances when he lived on earth, and he met a large number of them during his explorations of the spiritual world. These people had recently died, or died years before, and for all of them he had some form of recognition, not only of whom they had been on earth, but also some deep-seated insights into their character. Needless to say, many of these people were in the throes of unfinished regeneration, and the evils they had been succumbing to during their life on earth were still plaguing them. There are many lessons to be garnered from their stories, but right now I'd like to tell you about two people, one of them a queen of Sweden who Swedenborg knew while on earth, and the other a Russian Empress who lived during his time here. Both had the kind of experience that fairy tales are made of, including riding in a horse and carriage with a spiritually handsome man whom they really loved. In other words, the stories are insights in how marriages come to be in heaven.

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