Report 1: The Unity Model of Marriage

Brandon Nacapoy, Rebecca Alexander, Allison Ozaki, Nicole Salviejo

Psy 409b, Spring 2008, Generation 27

Dr. Leon James, Instructor, University of Hawai´i

Link to Class homepage



SECTION 1. Lecture

The Lecture covered many important concepts all relating to marriage and the challenges that marriages pose for many couples.  Concepts covered in the lecture include: the idea of soulmates, the Unity Model of Marriage and its three phases, and spiritual vs. natural marriage.  Most of our knowledge gained from the lecture is based on the teachings of Dr. Emanuel Swedenborg from his Swedenborg Reports that discuss marriage and the afterlife.    The following is a summary of the concepts discussed during lecture. 


Discovery of the Swedenborg Reports:

          Professor Leon James and his wife discovered what is known as the Swedenborg Reports in the year 1981 at the Hamilton library on the University of Hawai´i at Manoa campus.  Fascinated that all of the volumes were written by the same author, they both felt intrigued to read through them.  These reports were written by a well established Swedish scientist named Emanuel Swedenborg (1668-1772).  At age 57 in the year 1745, Swedenborg suddenly became conscious in his spiritual mind.  He was allowed to view and observe consciously the natural world where time and space exists and the spiritual world of eternity, where no time and space exists, simultaneously.  From this new consciousness in both worlds, he was allowed to view selves, the spiritual and natural selves, and both worlds to see how they function in relation to one another.  He stated that he had been prepared by God to let the human race know about marriage and the afterlife and how couples are to reach spiritual marriages.  He recorded his findings into 30 volumes until his death and these findings became known as the Swedenborg Reports.  He believed that every human being was born in both the natural world from the physical sun and also in the spiritual world from the spiritual sun.  In the spiritual world all of our thoughts, sensations, and feelings are stored and felt.  A person would only be conscious in the natural world and unconscious in the spiritual world but upon death, humans lose their connection with the physical body and gradually lose connection to the natural mind and become conscious in their spiritual mind and body in the spiritual world.



Reductionism and the Positive and Negative Biases for Observation:

            The concept Reductionism refers to reducing the mind as the same as the body.  Psychology uses this method and connects all thoughts and feelings to “epiphenomena” of the physical brain in the natural world.  Therefore thoughts and feelings are just a result of electro-chemical brain activity.  On the other hand, Swedenborg finds the mind as an activity of the spiritual world and our thoughts and feelings do not occur in the natural world and natural body.  Swedenborg observed that approximately a few hours after death, resuscitation occurs and a person becomes conscious in his or her spiritual body.  He observed this occurrence in hundreds of people whom he observed before death and then after resuscitation.  He recorded that some people are shocked when they see their natural body at the funeral and they don’t understand yet what actually happened to them.  The negative bias refers to not allowing one’s mind to be open to Swedenborg’s concepts and findings and following reductionism.  Those who follow the negative bias may at first find Swedenborg’s findings as pure fantasy and fiction due to our socialization and education in this type of thinking.  The positive bias refers to allowing one’s mind to observe Swedenborg’s findings and to empirically test and decipher for one’s own self, whether the concepts and findings can be scientific facts and existing in one’s own life.


The Swedenborg Reports as Empirical Proof of the Afterlife:

            Prior to Swedenborg’s study in both the natural world and spiritual world, it was not possible to combine the terms “heaven” and “hell” into scientific study.  Swedenborg was able to use the unity model as empirical evidence because he gathered the information from both worlds through observation and interviews of couples in the two eternal zones, heaven and hell. This allows Dr. James to separate the study of Swedenborg’s reports from religion and study the data scientifically as empirical and observational evidence for us.  Swedenborg introduces the idea that what one person loves is eternal and that is why love never dies.  We as humans are born both mortal in the natural world and immortal in the spiritual world.  When one reaches true affective conjunction at the unity level, the love between couples cannot be separated and remains together for all eternity.  In the spiritual world, our sensations and feelings are more pure and intense.  Youth continues and couples in the spiritual world of eternity don’t age and their youth lives on forever.


A Person Lives On As a Person After Death:

This concept has been given authority by Swedenborg through his reports. His experiences have given us empirical evidence that there is life after death and that we are fully human in the spiritual world.

            For centuries Christians have believed in an after life where there is a heaven and a hell and once they die they will remain in their graves until the day of the Last Judgment arrives. This conflicts with the Swedenborg Reports as well as the actions of Christians today. Does not a husband or wife say to each other and their family that they will see them after they die? They do no say after the Last Judgment day passes. Furthermore, people instinctively have the “influence of heaven on the inner levels of their minds, which causes him to have an inward perception of truths…” (CL 27)These truths are about heaven and hell and allow him to understand the concept that a person continues to live on as a person after death. Therefore, it is written on people’s souls and hearts that after death we will remain intact and human as opposed to the common belief of rising to heaven as a spiritual body after the Last Judgment.

            When a person is no longer in the natural world and passes on into the spiritual world they also shed their natural bodies and embrace a more pure, more complete spiritual body that looks identical to the previous. His body, face, speech and senses are exactly the same which cause the person to become unaware that the are no longer alive. They can only see those who are also spiritual (dead), but remain in the world nonetheless.

            Since a person does not change forms after death it is also true that they do not change genders either. After we pass, we become the definition of true masculinity and true femininity. A man’s core is love, which is enveloped in wisdom and a woman’s core is the male’s wisdom, which is enveloped in love for it. Because of this there is “implanted in each from creation a love of being joined into one”. (CL 32) This is because a woman and is taken out of a man and therefore develops a will to always be united as one, whereas a male is born with a desire to learn and gain knowledge. In a sense, everything about men and women are different, but the details are magnets towards union.


Love After Death:

People know about the existence of love in a natural sense, but in reality love is the heat of a person’s life. (CL 34) It is the reason our blood is red, it gives us our unique faces and it’s what brings life to our emotions and sensations. The manifestation of love is our physical body. Our faces are the expressions of our love; therefore nobody has the same love. This also means that our love is carried over into the spiritual world with us. For love is what determines our thoughts, speech and actions. (CL 36) After death we do not do anything that does not fall in line with our unique love and heaven and hell are arranged around this concept.

The highest state of love in the natural world is sexual love and the highest state of love in the spiritual world is conjugial love. Sexual love is the passion and desire for sex with your partner. Conjugial love is the when there is a reciprocal union of the marriage. It is beginning physically and mentally intimate; almost as if you were one person. It is the unification of the three-fold self that governs your decisions, beliefs and behavior. We can have both in either world though. Once we die and if we pass into heaven then our sexual love remains. This is because we remain male and female with the desire to still be joined into one. Consequently that is exactly what happens in the spiritual world. Each married couple becomes, in a sense, half a person and forever they enjoy the manifestation of a combined soul through their conjugial love.

Once a married couple in the natural world has decided to move from a natural marriage (which is either the dominance male model or equity model) to a spiritual marriage with conjugial love then they will remained married in the after life. One account of Swedenborg provides evidence of this. In this account Swedenborg was contemplating on conjugial love and when he looked up into the heavens he saw the levels of heaven open up to him. Then a voice spoke informing him that it pleased the Lord to show him a married couple in the highest level of heaven. The married couple came down from heaven in a chariot with turtle doves in their hands and said told him not to come too close for the “fiery radiance” will give him knowledge, but is inexpressible in the world now. They were dressed in their affections and reflected their conjugial love. When they spoke, they spoke as one, so closely bonded it could not be separated. This shows that in heaven you remain married and reflect your love. In is confirmation of the conjugial love and understanding of it.


Marriage By Model:

The model we are using in this class as the epiphany of marriage is the Unity Model of Marriage. This includes conjugial love as discussed above. The model will be defined by the lecture notes is,

 to refer to the principles, beliefs, and attitudes that husbands and

wives use or practice to govern their behavior in the marriage relationship.

This covers both the principles and attitudes they are aware of, as well as those

they acquired without awareness. Both types govern the values, emotions, thoughts,

and actions during their interactions.” (1 Part )


This model is specific to this class and will remain confined to the models discussed in order for us to understand more fully the material and accept the ideas presented.


Two Main Views on Marriage:

          In class we discussed the two different views on marriage.  The first view is the Materialistic view and the other is the Spiritual view.  The materialistic view is that marriage is only while we are here on earth, the union between partners ends at death like the saying “till death do us part.”  Life ends upon one’s death in the natural world and life therefore continues no more.  This type of marriage can be known as natural marriages.  On the other hand, in the spiritual view, marriages are termed Spiritual marriages and both partners believe their bond together will continue even after death.  If one partner dies before the other, it is viewed as just a temporary separation until the two partners are rejoined in union forever when the latter passes on.  Death here in the natural world is just the beginning of life together in what’s known as the spiritual world of eternity.


Distinction of Marriages in the Two Worlds:

In the natural world, marriages are known as conjugal love.  In the spiritual world, Swedenborg coined the term conjugial love.  When a couple has been joined together in conjugial love, they are connected in the spiritual world for eternity.  The couple must establish the natural marriage before the spiritual marriage can be properly established.


The Unity Model of Marriage:

            Swedenborg’s findings culminate to his study on marriages in both the natural world and in the spiritual world.  These findings can be found in what’s known today as the Unity Model of Marriage.  This idea is that both partners in a marriage or a long-term committed relationship become conjoined in their natural bodies which are only temporary and also joined in their spiritual bodies which is permanent and for eternity.  Doctor James has studied Swedenborg’s findings on the unity model empirically and found the findings to be occurring in his life with his wife and the term Theistic psychology was developed for this specific type of study.


The Three Phases of the Unity Model:

            The first phase of the unity model is called the male dominance phase.  Due to upbringing and societal factors, men are in control of the relationship.  They interrupt their women and do as they feel and ignore the woman’s wants, desires, and feelings.  Men expect that the woman should serve him and adhere to his every desire.  They also disrespect their women and share these thoughts with their other male friend’s.   

            The second phase is known as the equity phase.  In this phase men acknowledge that they must also share in the tasks of the relationship and shouldn’t just dominate their wife or partner and is open to the idea of reaching heavenly happiness.  Both partners essentially become equal and share in the tasks and desires of both partners.

            When the man realizes that there is life in the afterlife or spiritual world and see the possibility of being with their wife in this world and after death for eternity, he becomes spiritually enlightened.  He will then be able to realize that in this equity phase it is impossible to give his wife true heavenly happiness.

            Women naturally feel that they deserve to be treated at a higher place in the relationship.  It is a woman’s natural nature to want and become in heavenly conjunction with her partner to reach the unity phase.  In this phase, both partners function and work together however, it is the male that tries to please his wife’s desires and by both accepting to do so, they live in unity and become spiritually and mentally united.  Males will continue to try and pull away feeling that the wife is invading his mental space and freedom but the women will continue to fight for the continued mental unification.


The Three levels of Unity:

            The “three-fold self” explains the three levels of human activity.  In terms of how this concept relates to the unity model can be understood through the following example: The first level of unity is known as sensorimotor consociation which is what the couple does together externally or socially.  The next level is known as cognitive affiliation which is how the couple thinks and what they agree upon in their definitions and beliefs.  The third and final level is known as affective conjunction which is what the couple feels for each other, whether their intentions match, and whether they enjoy the company of one another and are trying to reach the same mutual goals.  Both partners strive to make their unification the most important thing in their lives above all other things such as their children, work, sports, etc.  Affective conjunction is always viewed as less important to the male than the female.


Thoughts and Feelings and its Existence:


Allison Ozaki:

             In my opinion, the models and concepts presented here are reasonable to accept, but without experience for myself or support from other sources it is difficult to internalize and manifest it in my own life. I believe a person has a choice to choose how to live out there own convictions and share their experiences so that others may not miss out on. Therefore it brings me joy to learn about other people’s beliefs and meditate on their significant to my life. It is especially invigorating to see similarities between mine and others beliefs and find the truth together. However compromising or ridged a person’s beliefs are, there should always be respectful to the presentation of ideas.

            With that said, I see truth in the differences between genders here and also in the ways we can connect with the others spouse, but without any experience of my own I cannot fully accept the idea of marriages in heaven nor Swedenborg’s vision. Until that changes I will remain to confront the model with a positive bias and soak in any information I can get.


Nicole Salviejo:

God, heaven, hell, resuscitation, and the afterlife can all be scientific concepts rather than religious if people can begin thinking of those terms from a positive-bias rather than a materialistic negative-bias.  People must be open-minded to the possibility of all of those things being real and not just some religious fantasy.  Also, according to Dr. Swedenborg, there is empirical proof that all of these concepts exist. Swedenborg himself, through direct observation saw people resuscitated in the spirit world after their physical deaths in the material world.  The Swedenborg Reports even include actual data collected from interviews he conducted with married couples living in heaven and hell. With this understanding, I guess I should be more open-minded about all the material that Dr. Swedenborg wrote about in his reports.

Branden Nacapoy:

After reading through lecture 3, I feel that we should all accept the positive bias when analyzing the Swedenborg Reports.  There are a lot of fascinating pieces of information and until one observes the ideas for themselves, he or she shouldn’t just outright reject the theory.  I myself am also in a committed relationship and I see some of his observations occurring in my own relationship already and this is just the start.  This really fascinates me.  I want to be able to go through this semester with the positive bias so I can really try to apply this to my life and my relationship.  It is hard for me to think of a spiritual world and spiritual self and separating my own religious beliefs due to reductionism, but I think it is definitely possible.  Swedenborg wrote 30 volumes relating to the unity model so I do want learn about the best I can.


SECTION 2. Team Presentation on Readings

The team that presented Lecture 3 introduced the first chapter from each of our class books; The Lazy Husband, Gender Discourse and The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage. They did well in addressing the main topics in each book, and incorporating it into the lecture content.


Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage

Dr. Laura compared and contrasted males and females and what they like, dislike or would like to improve in relation to the opposite sex.

Marriages are not business arrangements of coworkers, or co-owners. Marriages are the joining of two minds, bodies, souls, spirits, hopes, dreams, needs, personalities and different genders” p. 12.

She asked us to adopt the positive bias as we read the survey questions and answers; therefore we would not jump to conclusions or find fault in the submitted text. Two people will be at their most satisfactory if they regard each others differences with appreciation and courtesy. The survey questions that Dr. Laura created are used to address your thoughts on the opposite sex, and by working on these qualities, couples may strive to work together and get past hardships.

Survey Questions:

1. What do you, as a man/woman, most admire about women/men in general?

2. What do you least admire about women/men in general?

3. What do you most fear in a relationship with a woman/man?

4. What is the single, most important expectation you have in a wife/husband?

5.  What is the most important thing you think modern women/men don’t get about being

                 a woman/man?

For questions 1 and 2, the group did a very thorough job in explaining how both men and woman contradicted themselves in what they liked and disliked about the opposite sex. Men tended to agree that they liked women who were nurturing, emotional and sensitivity, while these were the same traits that they listed that they did not like about women. They did not like women who were moody, demand validation and are emotional.

Women also were indecisive in the qualities that they liked and disliked in men. Women listed that they sought men who had mental toughness, leadership qualities and were simplistic, while their dislikes stated that they did not like men who had pride, are workaholics and did not talk discuss their feelings.

Dr. Laura addresses the faults that women have, discussing ways in which women should change and adapt to men’s wishes, while she does not do so for men. It seems as though she follows the male dominance model in the sense that women are to regard what men say and tell them to do, while women are not allowed to voice their opinions.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s website


Gender and Discourse by Deborah Tannen

This chapter by Deborah Tannen introduced us to the concept of Power and Solidarity in gender patterns and language.

Defining power and solidarity:

·         Power is defined as a nonreciprocal use of pronouns. 

This occurs when one addresses another person by using his or her first name which establishes an informal conversation between the two speakers. Such as a student- teacher relationship; the professor addresses his student by using their first name (Janice), while the student addresses the professor by their name and title (Professor Jones).


·         Solidarity is defined as a reciprocal use of pronouns where both people involved address each other by title followed by their first or last name. 

This occurs when both parties in the conversation address each other by their first or last name, such as a peer relationship. Janice addressing her peer by using her name (Amanda).

These two terms are often seen to be ambiguous and polysemous at the same time. It can be seen as ambiguous in the sense that power and solidarity can mean this or that, while it can be seen as polysemous in regard that they can mean the same thing at the same time.


5 Linguistic Strategies:

·         Indirectness- There are two benefits with indirectness; defensiveness and rapport. Defensiveness is the ability to not be on record so one can change his/her idea if a positive result does not occur.  Rapport is getting one’s way not through demanding it (power) but because the other person wanted it as well (solidarity).


·         Interruption- interruption can be viewed as both a signal of power or solidarity.  One can interrupt the speaker by showing dominance (power) in the conversation, or add thoughtful comments (solidarity) in pauses of the speaker’s discussion.


·         Silence versus Volubility-   Although mainstream thought is that power refers to talking and solidarity is being silent, both are intertwined.  Power may reside in a conversation between two people by person(A) who is talking, and solidarity may reside in the person(B) who is silent and listening. This depends on the content of the speech; that if person(A) talks about himself then he exudes power while person(B) is silent and emits solidarity. If the content is directed at person(B), such as asking questions about person(B) the person(A) exudes solidarity because the conversation is about person(B). In this situation, if person(B) is silent their silence holds the power.


·         Topic Raising- The person who raises the most topics in a conversation, is not always considered dominant although most assume this is true. Two people may be immersed in a conversation, but one person continually asks questions about the other. Although the person is talking and asking questions, it is directed towards the other person and not themselves, which is not considered to be dominating the conversation.


·         Adversativeness: Conflict and Verbal Aggression- Men are seen to engage in conflict more than women, issuing demands and arguments, while women are seen to be more likely to be cooperative and avoid conflicts through support and agreement.


Deborah Tannen’s website


Dr. Joshua Coleman’s The Lazy Husband

Joshua Coleman presented concepts which surround the idea that children in former generations were told to be “seen and not heard,” while children of today are growing up in a contemporary society in which they are to be “seen and heard.” This concept corresponds to children have a greater say in family relationships now, and they in turn influence their parents in such things as activities or schedules.

Coleman explains that parents in society today are taking a proactive approach to parenting; that they are attempting to develop a connection with their family as opposed to the actions their parents made. Gender roles play a part in how men and women feel that they should raise their family. For instance, women viewed their mothers as models for how they should act; nurturing, does household chores, and looks after the children. Women regarded their fathers as those who were to support their family, while doing little else in the home.

Men also reflect what their fathers did in context to how they act as husbands and fathers. Men today feel that they contribute more to their families than their fathers did by spending more time with their children, and participating in household chores. While they are doing more than their fathers had, women today are also doing more than their mothers ever did, feeling that they as women should take care of the responsibilities due to their nurturing attitude.

Coleman recommends that both men and women should support one another, by both sharing responsibilities. This leads children to regard both parents as loving and caring, while strengthening the couple’s relationship as well.


Joshua Coleman, PhD’s website



My Reaction and Comments by Rebecca Alexander

               I agreed the most with Dr. Joshua Coleman’s The Lazy Husband. I felt as though his theories coincided with my values for families. I agree that men and women should play equal parts in supporting their families, by helping one another with their needs and concerns, and not relying on one person to address every issue in the family life.



SECTION 3. Team Presentation on Exercises

The following section evaluates the performance of the team presentation on the assigned exercises for Lecture 3.  Highlights of the presentation included the media examples they used to discus how the class material related to different television shows in America. 

(a) Summarize the main ideas presented by the team.

The exercises team briefly discussed the main ideas from Lecture 3 including the differences between spiritual and materialistic marriage, the Conjoined-self, and the Unity Model of Marriage and its phases.  The team also discussed the concept of the three-fold self and the three levels of human activity, which include: sensory-motor, cognitive, and affective. 


(b) Describe what they did and how they interpreted it.

The exercises team for this week gave a basic overview of the Lecture notes, then gave their personal opinions, as well as provided their personal experience to describe how the material from the readings and lecture notes related to their lives.  Most of the members admitted to being skeptical of some of the concepts being discussed in the Lecture notes—that they were coming from a negative bias, but after finishing the exercises, they became more open to the possibility of the unity model of marriage and some of its teachings.  They interpreted the material as something to be open-minded to, instead of something to be disregarded as “cult-ish” or religious. One member of the exercises team used media references to describe concepts from the lecture.  For example she described the Huxtables from the Cosby Show as having a marriage liken to the equity model of marriage, where both partners strived for equality in their marriage.


(c) Describe some of the ideas that needed a better justification or greater amplification.

I felt that they could have explained what the actual exercises for this week were, so that the audience could get a clear idea of what they were trying to achieve.  Because the team readings group already presented the material from the readings and lecture notes, I felt that the exercises group could have provided more personal insight/ experiences on the exercises portion than the reading and lecture parts. 


(d) What was the success of the approach they used?

Although most of their presentation was based on the lecture and readings, I did enjoy the few examples they used to describe how personal experience or media related to the unity model of marriage.  I especially enjoyed how one member of the group used examples from the media (i.e. TV shows such as the Brady Bunch and The Cosby Show) as a way for the audience to easily make connections to the material.

(e) What improvements are needed in the procedures or in the instructions?

I thought that the group could have explained the instructions of the assigned exercises a little better, as well as interacted with the audience a little more.  For example, they could have asked how the audience felt about the exercises and assigned reading material and how it related to their personal lives. 


(f) What are the limitations of these types of exercises?

Perhaps because this was the first week of presentations, maybe the groups weren’t  well informed of what they could do in terms of presenting the reading material and exercises.  Having students lecture on the assigned readings doesn’t really engage the audience.  I feel that the exercises group could come up with a better way to engage the student audience; maybe through an inclusive class discussion, where the presenters not only share their own thoughts, but also ask the audience of how they felt as well—all the while emphasizing the importance of how the students can relate the class material or even incorporate the class material in their everyday lives.


(g) Describe what happened when you did some of the steps of the exercises. 

Before doing the exercises, I was a bit skeptical of what I had read from the lecture notes and assigned readings.  I felt that most of the material had religious undertones and perpetuated gender stereotypes that focused more on the male-perspective, but after doing the exercises, I feel that I could be more open-minded to the class material instead of writing it off as something to not take so seriously.  One never truly knows what the cosmos has planned for them, and now I think it is better to be open to the unknown, than closed off to it.   


Section 4. Web Links

1) “90 minutes of death near death experience”: After colliding with a semi-truck, Don Piper died and went to heaven. Ninety minutes later he returned to life on earth. After years of silence, he is now sharing his life-changing story in which he talks about visiting heaven.  This video of Don Piper reminds me of Dr. Swedenborg and his experiences with the Spiritual World.  Perhaps both Don Piper and Dr. Swedenborg had similar experiences when they visited the afterlife.

2) “Emanuel Swedenborg”: This is a biography as found in wikipedia, a free encyclopedia that discusses Swedenborg and his reports.  It offers a biography of his life and allows us some insight on who Swedenborg was.


3) “Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)”:  This offers another author’s opinion on who Swedenborg was and what was the main purpose(s) of his study.  It allows a glimpse into his life and some of his most popular works.


4) “Gender Differences & Religion”: This shows the differences in genders in regards to religion.  This website offers a different point of view to theistic psychology in comparison to Dr. Swedeborg and his theistic-inspired writings. 

5) “How to get a man to open up”: Author, Kara Oh, talks about how to get a man to open up and share from his heart, creating more intimacy and love.  This video can serve as an example of the male dominance model where women want intimacy from their male partners, but men are unlikely to give the women what they want during this phase of the Unity model.

6) “Jesus on Marriage & the Afterlife”: This discusses marriage in the afterlife in light of the bible. It is skewed towards the beliefs of Swedenborg.

7) “Lazy Husband”: This video depicts standard gender roles that are reflected upon males and females. The husband has a task to complete but he    chooses to disregard it, while his wife becomes upset at him.  This is an example of the male dominance model phase under the Unity Model of Marriage by Dr. Swedenborg.

8) Soulmates”:  A musical poem about Soulmates.  This video can serve as an example of the last phase of the Unity model, where husband and wife have conjugial love for one another even in the afterlife.

9) “Soul Mates - - History of the Soul Mate Myth & Challenges in Soul Mate Marriages”: This is a website that discusses the concept of soulmates and its history in society.   Soulmates” is a crucial concept used in the Swedenborg Reports to explain the relationships between women and men.

10) “The Three levels of soul mates”:  I found this article interesting because it lists the three levels of soul mates.  We have the threefold self and the three levels of unity in the unity model.  I found this as just another idea about what a soul mate is and how two people become soul mates when Swedenborg also has his own contrasting ideas about who and what soul mates really are.