COR THOUGHTS 230: Surface-Love v. Heart-Love

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This weekend’s first reading provides important insight into the difference between what we might call “surface-love” and “heart-love.” Addressed to men, Proverbs presents this just warning: “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Our culture today is fixated on the deceptive and the fleeting, molding us to prize a person’s outward charm and beauty above all, but it’s a failing prize. While it’s true that such “surface-love” can mature into a deeper “heart-love,” if love stops at outward charm and beauty, it too will be deceptive and fleeting. Only the inner values of the person can sustain a stable relationship. To get to those inner values, lovers have to learn how to entrust their hearts to one another; they have to learn how to take their walls down, let their masks fall, and entrust their real humanity, warts and all, to each other. The value of a wife who loves her husband in this way is “far beyond pearls,” Proverbs tells us. “Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.”