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Title: Ehe aus der Sicht christlicher Anthropologie
Author(s): SPLETT, Jörg
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 1    Issue: 1   Date: Autumn 1995   
Pages: 42-52
DOI: 10.2143/INT.1.1.2014885

Abstract :
Marriage as seen by christian anthropology
In the christian understanding God created humankind out of pure generosity, only for one’s own sake and not as a means to an end. However, human beings themselves are looking for a meaning for their existence. As man and woman they detect the biological difference of gender as a fundamental indication of other basic human differences and as a kind of “natural destiny” in whatever manner it may be culturally determined. “Procreation” remains therefore their common natural destiny – not in the sense of “preservation of the species”, but in the way Saint-Exupéry described friendship as “helping to live”.
Help, however, comes about through a “Thou” rather than through a doubling of the self: thus the
encounter of man and woman is, first and foremost, the miracle of an astonishing and deeply affecting, all-pervading difference between two human beings.
Compared with strategies of merging or incorporating the I-Thou-relationship into a larger unit, or with ideas of “I-am-you”, personal love means that the self starts out to meet the other. The other person is not merely an entrancing, delightful gift which fulfills the partner, but at the same time, also, a responsibility which demands self-realisation and fulfillment. Personal love preserves the distance and the duality of I and Thou for the sake of the unity of love and togetherness of a mutual I-am-Yours. This discernment between I and Thou is the task of modestyrespecting the partner’s mystery. It is the only way in which freedom can really be free: its decision means that it has promised to give itself to someone; and active compliance with this promiseis only possible if it is done freely: in faithfulness, as the identity of freedom in time. That is why freedom requires trust and needs belief, because
giving oneself totally and without reservation can never objectively be grasped: one can only grasp the gift, but not the act of giving and its accompanying freedom.
If the existential meeting between man and woman is a trusting and thankful togetherness, it can open up a relationship that goes beyond the two individuals and reaches out to the Wholly (=Non) Other. The I-Thou-relationship needs the joint We in relation to a Third one in order to become perfect.

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