Theologian Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul says that we can love one’s soul—our own and that of others—by simply taking interest in it—finding what makes it excited, getting to know it and see its inner core:
Taking an interest in the soul is a way of loving it. The ultimate cure, as many ancient and modern psychologies of depth have asserted, comes from love and not from logic. Understanding doesn’t take us very far in this work, but love, expressed in patient and careful attention, draws the soul in from dispersion in problems and fascinations. It has been noted that most, if not all, problems brought to therapists are issues of love. It makes sense then that the cure is also love.
Think of how one interacts with their child, who simply wants to have that moment of eye-to-eye contact where they know they really are being listening to. That’s at the heart of what Moore is saying. This ultimate cure to be known comes not from a logical plan but from a wild and infecting love. Perhaps this is why true intimacy for our culture—and that of many others—is so hard to accept. To be known and accepted as I truly am does not make sense. In fact, many of us would reject this notion logically. “How can she love me?” one asks. Moore is right in his suggestion that love cannot be fully understood as there is a part of it that we quickly want to reject. More rightly, with patience and care, we begin to see that our own varied problems fade and make way for sharing, for relationship, and for being known.
Just as this is true for in a parent-child relationship, we also see this in marriage. This kind of love and intimacy was at the heart of the love relationship shared between Sheldon Van Auken and Jean Davis, better known as Van and Davy, who wrote A Severe Mercy. Van writes that…
…total sharing, we felt, was the ultimate secret of a love that would last forever. And of course we could learn to like anything if we wanted to. Through sharing we would not only make a bond of incredible friendship, but through sharing we would keep the magic of inloveness.
For Van and Davy, their marriage relationship grew more in love as they saw value in the things shared in which the other was—at first—more interested. Sailing, convertibles, Christianity, England and dying well were all things one of them like more originally. But, because of the intimacy in their relationship, they saw that there would be something worthwhile in the likes of the other, which lead to a greater “inloveness,” their word for keeping the marriage fires burning, even during some of the very cold times they endured.
How do you see inloveness and intimacy in your own relationships? I’d be interested to know how you keep things going in our busy and disconnected world.
Want to work on this love and intimacy in your own marriage? You may be interested in an upcoming seminar on intimacy in one’s marriage. We hold our inaugural Creating Oneness marriage retreat on the evening of September 18th on “Intimacy with the Other: God and Your Spouse.” For more info, to register and for future retreat info, click here. We hope to see you there.