High fidelity: true love

The author unpacks the value of fidelity in marriage, as a manifestation of true love between spouses, for "the essence of fidelity consists in persevering in the word of love that I have given to someone".

José Miguel Granados-March 16, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes

Photo credit: Micheile Henderson / Unsplash

Maggie Tulliver is the main character of the story. The Floss Mill by the great English novelist Marian Evans (1828-1880, who signed under the pseudonym George Eliot). It tells the story of the young and beautiful daughter of the miller who, naively, falls into the wily nets of a handsome seducer, at the time the fiancé of her cousin. 

A trap

At the difficult moment when he takes her away in a small rowboat down the river, she -when she wakes up from a peaceful sleep, rocked by the swaying of the water- realizes that he has set a trap for her. If she secretly marries him, as he proposes, she could save the situation in the public eye, although she would be betraying her loved ones. If she refuses, from now on she will have to go against the current in her life, hard, to overcome at first the strong erotic passion of this sensual man without scruples and then to face incomprehension and social disgrace.

However, it is in this dramatic trance that she succeeds in dismantling the arguments of the imposing, manipulative lover, who only considers the intensity of the romantic attraction as the decisive factor that justifies everything. In a tense dialogue, Maggie lucidly refutes him from the wisdom of the heart: "Love is natural, but no doubt that piety and fidelity and memory are also natural."

Safeguarding moral greatness

This woman with a strong character and a delicate conscience understood that covenants and commitments are not merely external laws, but are the inner fabric of the dignity of the person and of right human relations. For this reason, it is essential to maintain them in difficult situations in order to safeguard moral greatness, and not to unravel the beautiful and delicate tapestry of interpersonal communions that make up the human family. 

The enjoyment of the instant cannot be the norm of conduct, but we must be governed by the truth of love for our loved ones and, ultimately, for God Himself. Maggie affirms: "We cannot choose the pursuit of happiness for ourselves or for another... We can only choose whether we will compromise on the craving of the present moment or whether we will give it up by obeying the divine voice within us, by being congruent with all that sanctifies our lives.".

A beautiful act

She knows that, despite all appearances and difficulties, fidelity to loved ones is a beautiful act that resembles the heart of God himself and will bring good to all, while betrayal is degrading. And he adds: "Faithfulness and steadfastness mean more than doing what is easy or pleasant for us. They mean giving up whatever is in opposition to the trust others have in us."

The vocation of spouses demands constancy in the love freely promised. For "the essence of fidelity consists in persevering in the word of love that I have given to someone." (Dietrich von Hildebrand). Thus the bride and groom declare on their wedding day: "I receive you and I give myself to you, and I promise to be faithful to you in joy and in sorrow, in prosperity and in adversity. And so, to love and respect you all the days of my life". These words of hope that they solemnly pronounce express the language of love and proclaim the program of life, which constitutes the maximum expansion of the capacity to give.

To love is to grow and walk together, to overcome together the difficulties and crises of life, to take care with care and firmness of the purpose realized. "Fidelity is freedom maintained and increased. It is the necessary increase of love... it is the actualization of the first love through the existential vicissitudes of my life." (Alejandro Llano). 

Inside the great mystery

Moreover, the Gospel of marriage consists in the insertion of the conjugal covenant of the baptized spouses into the "great mystery" of the new and eternal covenant of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, the Bridegroom of the Church, who gave his life on the Cross to redeem us. Through the sacrament of marriage Christian spouses receive the permanent help of divine blessing.

The grace of the Holy Spirit enables them to care for and nurture the love they have sealed, overcoming difficulties and obstacles and advancing towards conjugal holiness. He who has united them in one flesh will give them the strength they need to always renew their commitment. "Only if they participate in this 'great mystery' can spouses love 'to the extreme'." (John Paul II). For, in the end, God's fidelity makes the fidelity of spouses possible and joyful. 

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