I have been reading The Science of the Cross by Edith Stein. What follows are a few quotes from it, mostly of her quoting St. John of the Cross:
With the beginning of the Dark Night, however, something quite new enters a man’s life. He had been comfortably at home in the world, relished its enjoyments, desired them and indulged this desire. Now all this, which to the natural man means living in the bright light of day, is darkness in the eye of God and incompatible with the divine Light. If the soul is to have room for God all these dark desires must be pulled up by the roots. To meet this demand means to fight one’s own nature along the whole line, to take up the Cross and let oneself be crucified (32).
this union [with God] . . . is established only “when the will of the soul and the will of God are merged into one, so that there is nothing in the one that would resist the other.”] Hence, if the soul “is so completely stripped of all that is opposed to the divine will and is conformed to it, it is transformed into God by love. By this we not only understand every single action that is opposed to the divine will, but also every habit contrary to Him. . . . And because no creature and nothing a creature can achieve reaches the essence of God or corresponds to Him, the soul must rid itself of every creature and of all its works and faculties. . . . Only in this way does the transformation in God come to pass.” It is true, the divine light already dwells in the soul in a natural manner; but only if for the sake of God it rids itself of all that is not God–and love means just this–can it be enlightened and transformed into God. (41)
love frees the will from all things, since it is our duty to love God above all. This, however, we can do only when we have given up the desire for any creature. (42)
The principal obstacles to this [loving God] are the four passions of the soul: joy, hope, grief and fear. “If reason thus orders these passions to God that the soul rejoices only in what furthers the honour and glory of God, that it hopes for nothing else and that it grieves for nothing save what concerns God and fears nothing but God: then it is clear that all the strength and capacity of the soul are preserved for God. The more the soul rejoices in something else, the less will its joy be in God. . . .” (65)
If a man lets himself “be in no way attracted by the deceptive natural good things that appear to the eyes, he preserves his soul free and clear to love all reasonably and spiritually, as God commands it . . .; the more this love grows, the more grows also the love of God, and the more the love of God increases, the more grows also love for our neighbour” . . . If a man has gained some aptitude in this, impure things no longer make any impression on him. (69)
Stein, Edith. The Science of the Cross. Trans. Hilda Graef. Eds. Dr L. Gelber and Fr Romaeus Leuven, O.C.D. Chicago, Illinois: Henry Regnery Company, 1960. Print.
So, my question is, how can married people love God above all? The implication of the above quotes is that we must have no desire for another person. Marriage entails the desire for another person. Therefore, marriage is an obstacle to loving God. You married people out there probably have some insights on this, please enlighten us. For St. John of the Cross/Edith Stein were writing for contemplatives, and married people are not contemplatives. But, are they at a disadvantage nonetheless?