16 March 2012

C. S. Lewis on 'Being in Love'

The trouble arises when poets and others set up this good thing as an absolute. Which many do. An innocent and well-intentioned emphasis on the importance of being-in-love with one's spouse (i.e. its superiority over lust or ambition as a basis for marriage) is in fact widely twisted into the doctrine that only being-in-love sanctifies marriage and that therefore as soon as you are tired of your spouse you get a divorce.

Thus the overpraising of a finite good, the pretense that it is absolute, defeats itself and corrupts the very good it set out to exalt, reducing marriage to mere concubinage.

Treat 'Love' as a god and you in fact make it a fiend.
--a 1942 letter to Daphne Harwood, in The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 511

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