How a man truly loves a woman
A heart has to be taught to love, and its first lesson, however well learned, no more makes it perfect in love, than the A B C makes a philosopher. The man who loves most will love best.
The man who thoroughly loves God and his neighbor is the only man who will love a woman ideally -- who can love her with the love God thought of between them when he made man male and female. The man, I repeat, who loves God with his very life, and his neighbor as Christ loves him, is the man who alone is capable of grand, perfect, glorious love to any woman.
Because his love was towards everything human, he was able to love her as others were not able to love her. To that of the most passionate of unbelieving lovers, his love was as the fire of a sun to that of a forest. The fullness of a world of love-ways and love-thoughts was his. In sweet affairs of loving-kindness, he was in his own kingdom, and sat upon its throne.
And it was this essential love, acknowledging and embracing, as a necessity of its being, everything that could be loved, which now concentrated its rays on the individual's individual. His love to her stood like a growing thicket of aromatic shrubs, until her confession set the fire of heaven to it, and the flame that consumes not, but gives life, arose and shot homeward. He had never imagined, never hoped, never desired she should love him like that. Only from her own lips could he have come to believe that she would view him more than a nobody, a mere burning heart running about in tattered garments.
His devotion to her had forestalled every pain with its antidote of perfect love, had negated every lack, had precluded every desire, had shut all avenues of entrance against self. Even if "a little thought unsound" should have chanced upon an entrance, it would have found no soil to root and grow in: the soil for the harvest of pain is that brought down from the peaks of pride by the torrents of desire.
Immeasurably the greater therefore was his delight, when the warmth and scent of the love that had been from time to him immemorial passing out from him in virtue of consolation and healing, came back upon him in the softest and sweetest of flower-waking spring-winds. Then indeed was his heart a bliss worth God's making. The sum of happiness in the land, if gathered that night into one wave, could not have reached half-way to the crest of the mighty billow tossing itself heavenward as it rushed along the ocean of his spirit!
George MacDonald, The Baronet's Song.