Editor’s Note: November 22, 2013, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of C. S. Lewis’s death. On that day, he will be given a place in Westminster Abbey’s renowned Poet’s Corner. In commemoration of this event, all this week Christ and Pop Culture contributors will be writing about the works by C. S. Lewis that have been most personally significant to them.
There are numerous dating and marriage books on the shelves these days, but I wonder how often The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis is picked up and read as that kind of book. For Christians entering into dating relationships with the intent of marriage (and even couples years into marriage), there is wisdom to be found within these pages. Lewis walks through the four different expressions of love, recognizing their place in relationships, all the while understanding where this love ultimately comes from and how it manifests itself in the contexts of relationships.
For Lewis, the love he deems “Affection” is the love shared and expressed between seemingly unlikely individuals. I find this line to beautifully communicate Lewis’s thought on this: “Affection almost slinks or seeps through our lives. It lives with humble, un-dress, private things; soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor, the sound of a sewing-machine, a gollywog left on the lawn.” Moving on from Affection, Lewis begins his dialogue on the love of “Friendship.” He makes the distinction between the posture of “lovers” and the posture of “friends”—how lovers are face-to-face and how friends remain side-by-side. Lewis feels that “Friendship” love defies the normal sets of boundaries surrounding different groups of people, almost expressing that the love expressed within friendship can and often does go against societies standards.
There’s risk involved in relationships, in choosing to love someone with our whole being forever, in saying every day, “I do.” It takes work, hard work. But there’s grace all the more:
We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.
Photo via Barnes and Noble.