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6 Responses

  1. ron says:

    Stendal developed the concept of crystallization and used it in his novels. Stated simply this is a process of imputing to one you think you are in love with the ideals and values that are rooted in your own idea of the “perfect” other. Those ideals and values are often rooted in the mystical notions and fairy tales of childhood and then extended in adolescent day dreams about “living happily ever after.” The danger is three fold. First, they can blind you to issues that would normally terminate a relationship. Two, and perhaps most regrettable, they can blind you to the real character and quality of the other and close off opportunities for those qualities to become normative for you and the other as well. That means failing to understand the character of the image of God in the other (my words) or the essence of who they really are. That in turns means failing to apprehend the single most important asset that a couple has in one another. Third, as Stendhal says, crystallization works in reverse when a relationship ends with less than good terms. It results then in forming an idea of the other that places emphasis on everything negative and the polar opposite of those images of “happily ever after.” Doing that can result in transferring those negative ideas to “every man” or “every woman” destroying part of all of one’s own ability to relate to the other in a wholesome manner from that point on. If expectations are focused on one’s own interest rather than the task of working with the other in developing a unique “love language” that can only be shared by them as a unique couple then what can be expected is less than what is desired and certainly less than love’s real potential.

    • Jill says:

      In 1822, French writer Marie-Henri Beyle, better-known by his pseudonym Stendhal, penned On Love (public library) — a timeless treatise attempting to rationally analyze the highest human emotion, rediscovered through a passing mention in the diaries of Susan Sontag (who famously and perhaps ironically wrote, “Nothing is mysterious, no human relation. Except love.”) http://Www.brainpickings.org

      Thanks, Ron, you always add something to think about!

  2. Mom says:

    You continue to astound me! Write on!

  3. ron says:

    part of the crystallization process for those of us in churches is the assumption that if he or she is a Christian then it is okay. The divorce rate among Christians and especially conservative Christians suggests a real problem here. Being unequally yoked is about more than just saved and not saved. It is also about the character of His creative purpose for each individual and whether there is resonance with His creative purpose for both together. It is my consideration that we have failed in ever moving effectively from a time when marriages were arranged to our contemporary context. I see an essential absence in effective teaching that is perhaps 200 years behind times. Love is a choice but how it functions is related to its specific historical context. A movie that illustrates some of the tensions in this idea is Fiddler on the Roof where the lead asks his wife a simple question based on what the young people are saying, “Do you love me?” The question and the answer meant they understood something they had not quite seen before.

    • Jill says:

      I don’t have a single rational thought on marriage at this point, I’ll have to watch that movie/play again.

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