There has been a tendency to mix romantic and spiritual love, with the 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 the objective of creating an enjoyable and serene atmosphere, there is a clear distinction between them.
Romantic love is conditional; spiritual love is unconditional.
Blurring the lines allows 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 variations 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.
Purely spiritual love 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 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 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 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 that codified the meaning of love as an act of self-sacrifice and pronounced sex 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 that 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 it is perceived as more noble than 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.