In the sixth chapter of my book, Becoming Two in Love, there are three first-person narrative/poetic pieces in which I attempt to give more personal voice to the argument I am making. Here is the piece on self-love in the relationship between man and woman in (their undefinable) difference.
To be alive in the world is, invariably, to find myself at a loss—to find myself displaced and exiled. And very often I have searched for a rescuer, for someone to palliate my experience of homelessness and exile. Too often, I have required her/woman to provide that sense of home and security and belonging.
I have put her in service of my self-love. I have defined her in terms of my need—someone to comfort, and caress, and provide, and nurture. But defining her in this way, putting her in service of my self-love in this way, has cut her off from her own becoming as woman and human. Who is she? I do not know. She is there, for me.
To set her free in her becoming requires that I confront and dwell with my own displacement and exile. This is not to cut myself off from the community of those who love and support me—but it is to acknowledge that a denial of her independent being and becoming is a denial of her and of the human. As long as she serves my self-love, and is not free in her own self-love, I deny the human that I am, too.
Where to root this self-love that would set me free, and would set her free, too? In the one who would draw all people (including me) to himself—the one who gives me being and to whom I am infinitely indebted. This Christ sets me free to become the one I am—in him I acknowledge who I am and have been, and become free to imagine new possibilities for who I might become. In him I find myself at home.
She and I may come close in greeting and encounter—might go so far as to make a home together—but she is never a home for me. Any such nostalgia must be relinquished, for her sake and mine. Our covenant-making must be ever dynamic, never final or settled. We are each in quest of the self, in relation to the one who draws us to himself—we will only ever be at home with him, and find our Life in him.