Our society, so over sexualized, wants to limit what it means to “fall in love” to the sexual sphere. This is a mistake.
In Christ, we can fall in love and should allow ourselves to fall in love with God’s creations, who were made in His image and likeness.
And so, we can fall in love with our spouses, with our children, with our parents, with our siblings, with our friends, and, even with strangers (“friends we just hadn’t met before,” as there is no stranger in Christ). But, because of our overly sexualized culture, we are afraid to admit this love before not only others but our very selves.
I believe this is especially the case with female/female and male/male friendships. When they are “too close” according to society, they need to take on a sexual label: they have a “girl crush” on one another or they have a “bromance.” And if the joke turns into a confusing tug in your heart, you start believing that because “yes, I truly am in love with this person” it needs to be sexual since only this expression of “being in love” is legitimized by society.
If we are to be spiritual mothers (and spiritual fathers) to one another, we need to embrace each other! You need only meditate on the icon of Mary and Elizabeth or Peter and Paul to understand falling in love in, with, and through Christ.
Our bodies are not the prison of our souls. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are good. Affection is good. In Christ, may God transform and purify our affections. May we not fear falling in love with one another and expressing this love both spiritually and physically without believing the twisted perversion secularism wants us to believe.
We can have intimacy that is not sexual and we most certainly can and should allow ourselves to fall in love with God’s icons, the men and the women in our lives who reveal to us the Face of God.