O son, I have been reading and re-reading a profound chapter from one of Ibn Arabi's books - 'The Bezels of Wisdom', particularly on the subject why the Prophet s.a.w said: "Three things have been made beloved to me in this world of yours: women, perfume and prayer." As you know, Ibn Arabi's work is a tough read, so I am not sure how exactly to share it. I shall quote a few paragraphs, hopefully, not out of context. Bismillah.
He said men should love women with a divine love. "He whose love for them is limited to natural lust lacks all (true) knowledge of that desire. For such a one, she is mere form, devoid of spirit, and even though that form be indeed imbued with spirit, it is absent for one who approaches his wife or some other woman solely to have his pleasure of her, without realizing Whose the pleasure (really) is. Thus, he does not know himself (truly), just as a stranger does not know him until he reveals his identity to him. As they say, 'They are right in supposing that I am in love, only they know not with whom I am in love.'
Such a man is (really) in love with pleasure itself and, in consequence, loves its repository, which is woman, the real truth and meaning of the act being lost on him. If he knew the truth, he would know Whom it is he is enjoying and Who it is Who is the enjoyer; then he would be perfected."
And to the obvious question why a man loves a woman? This paragraph offers a brilliant answer.
"Then God drew forth from him a being in his own image, called woman, and because she appears in his own image, the man feels a deep longing for her, as something yearns for itself, while she feels longing for him as one longs for that place to which one belongs. Thus, women were made beloved to him, for God loves that which He has created in His own image, and to which He made His angels prostrate, in spite of their great power, rank and lofty nature."
"Love arises only for that form from which he has his being, which is the Reality, which is why he says [women, perfume and prayers] 'were made beloved to me' and not 'I love' directly from himself. His love is for his Lord in Whose image he is, this being so even as regards his love for his wife, since he loves her through God's love for him, after the divine manner. When a man loves a woman, he seeks union with her, that is to say the most complete union possible in love, and there is in the elemental sphere no greater union than that between the sexes. It is precisely because such desire pervades all his parts that man is commanded to perform the major ablution. Thus the purification is total. Just as his annihilation in her was total at the moment of consummation. God is jealous of his servant that he should find pleasure in any but Him, so He purifies him by the ablution, so that he might once again behold Him in the one in whom he was annihilated, since it is none other than He Whom he sees in her."
But people, please don't ask me to interpret or elaborate the above. Get the book, read the entire chapter (The Wisdom of Singularity in the Word of Muhammad) and contemplate on it yourself. I just hope more men out there are intelligent (areef) enough to understand what Ibn Arabi was saying; why they love women (so much); and more importantly, how they should love a woman.
Publisher credit: Paulist Press