An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Education of Love: Love and Responsibility Series (Post #16)


Mature Love is Learned:
Young people may scoff, Wojtyla notes in this section of Love and Responsibility, at the idea that love must be educated, or learned. But the love that a scoffer is are thinking of is the psychological aspect of love, its emotions and desires, not the mature love on which a marriage should be based. Desire and emotion are not learned, but just happen; Mature love is learned and worked on. “For love is never something ready made, something merely ‘given’ to man and woman,” Wojtyla writes, “It is always at the same time a ‘task’ which they are set.”[1] Love is like a mission, “Should you choose to accept it” (Mission Impossible). Wojtyla writes that love is always “only ‘becoming’,”[2] not complete. The couple can never brush their hands together and declare, “Okay, now we love each other perfectly! What shall we do next?”

Creators of Love:
Man and woman must continually be creators of their love. They may be given, by God, their past experience, and their natural inclinations, the raw material of attraction or infatuation, but they must make their love by choosing it, over and over. Love takes work and it is not easy. “Such a great love can only be the work of persons and… the work of Divine Grace.”[3] Wojtyla notes that sometimes love “follows tortuous ways,” but, “Grace has the power to make straight the paths of human love.”[4] This is the hope that couples can cling to in difficult times. God is with them.

Wojtyla concludes his “Ethical Analysis of Love” here by noting that there is, in the relationship and man and woman, “an insidious possibility of disintegration”[5] (i.e. separation of the desires and emotions from the real choice of the person) which must be countered by developing the virtue of chastity. This is the topic of the next chapter.

[1] Wojtyla, Karol. Love and Responsibility (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993), p. 139.

[2] Ibid, p. 139.

[3] Ibid, p. 140.

[4] Ibid, p. 140.

[5] Ibid, p. 140.

One response to “The Education of Love: Love and Responsibility Series (Post #16)”

  1. Fidel says:

    Great article! I really like those quotes: “Love takes work and is not easy” and love is always “only becoming.'”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.