Blog with AboutIslam

Faith Analysis of Love

Spiritual vs. Romantic Love

There has been a tendency to mix between romantic and spiritual love, with a mistaken belief that both are just two faces of the same coin. While I agree that both emanate from the same sacred fountain of life, with an objective of creating enjoyable and serene atmosphere, there is a clear distinction between them.

Romantic love is conditional, spiritual love is unconditional.  Blurring the lines allows for some to use the spiritual definition as leverage against a romantic partner. Romantic love is sexual, spiritual love is asexual.

Blurring those lines allows some to use the spiritual definition to induce guilt in a man for his innocent and healthy sexual desires.  Romantic love must be earned while spiritual love must be given freely.  Blurring the lines neglects the reality that man cannot respect that which he has not earned.

The point is this; there can be no blurring of lines between spiritual love and romantic love.  They are not a variation on the same theme. They are two completely different and opposite states. 

And the mixing of the two has led to a silent confusion as evidenced by the stockpile of loveless, sexless, meaningless unions between partners who are held together by the emotional blackmail of love’s spiritual definition.  Love as purely spiritual is the emptiest form of love possible between a man and a woman.

Can Love Be Conditional?

In romantic relationships love and intimacy are inseparable. If you have one you must have the other. If you destroy the meaning of one, you have destroyed the meaning of the other.

If you do not love your soul mate,  you are destroying your own appreciation of intimacy and reducing yourself to the fate of an animal. Whether this is done out of blind lust or done out of duty is irrelevant, for both will do equal violence to your soul.

When intimacy is granted the sacred status it deserves in society, then nothing could be a greater compliment to a man or a woman than to be the object of sexual pleasure in the eyes of a worthy lover. 

Romantic love is meaningful precisely because it is selfish. But romance has been destroyed by our historical fetish with the concept of love as being unconditional.

Romantic love is uncompromisingly conditional.  And its conditions are lofty.  But before we understand the conditions that make the feeling of romantic love possible, we need to understand why we have such a skewed definition of love to begin with.

Historically it was the Christian church which codified the meaning of love as an act of self-sacrifice and pronounced sex as a necessary evil.  And although most religions have rejected this definition in practice, they have subconsciously and completely internalized it in spirit.

The church espouses a radical love theology which does not place any conditions on love; it does not recognize love as a selfish need, but only as a religious value.

It does not recognize sex as the highest form of sacred pleasure possible to man,  but only as a capacity to be repressed or performed with the intent to procreate; Hence the laws against divorce, the institution of celibacy and the initial ban on birth control.

Love as an act of giving to those who do not deserve is perceived to be nobler than to giving to those you deem most deserving.   This is because the latter has an element of selfishness while the former requires sacrifice on your part.

Spiritual Love

Sacrifice is the fundamental feature of spiritual love. This is not to say that spiritual love is an evil. On the contrary, for love between mother and child is spiritual, but when applied to romantic relationships, it leads to its destruction for it has thus been reduced to an act of humility.  And sexual relations are not meant to be an exercise in humility, but an exercise in pride.

Let’s be clear.  It is not a choice, but a fact of nature that one cannot and is not experiencing romantic love if they have to compromise their needs in the process. 

This is not love, it’s rather a psychological coercion, manifesting itself as duty. And duty and sex cannot co-exist simply because it is not physically possible. Our bodies were designed to protest under those conditions and they will eventually not respond and become impotent.

Spiritual love demands that one should make love by making peace with the injustice of sexual repression. It pronounces those needs as weakness, thereby destroying a man’s self esteem, making the possibility of romantic love inaccessible to him. WHY? 

Because the most important condition to romantic love is self esteem. And a man without esteem is more inclined to break moral laws as a way of asserting the moral autonomy he lost when his desire for intimacy was damned. 

Pages: 1 2