MarriageLike most Christian churches we believe that the marriage of a man and woman is ordained by God and should continue to the end of life in this world. We also believe in the unique and distinctive character of the male and female sexes and see them as created to be complementary. Indeed, we view the sexual union as most sacred and actually symbolic of the union of love and wisdom in God. So there is nothing inherently "impure" about it, though the proper use of the sense of touch requires great personal discipline.
Where we differ from traditional Christian thought on marriage is in our conviction that because men and women are created different (but equal), and because men are masculine and women are feminine in spirit and not just in body, therefore men and women retain their unique sexual characteristics even in the life after death, and marriages that have had a spiritual quality on earth can and do continue in the life after death.
Many of the New Church teachings on marriage may seem quaint to those who have grown accustomed to a more liberal view, but we believe they are deeply rooted in the symbolism of Scripture and in the real conditions of spiritual life. On the other hand, Swedenborg's discussion of extra-marital relations is exceptionally compassionate and far advanced for his time. You can read more about this topic in the sermon about marriage in the "Other Resources" section and in the books available from www.swedenborg.ca.