Where had there ever existed as spiritual a love—the second bond that St. Augustine sees in marriage after the mutual gift—as in St. Joseph’s marriage?
This love was most heavenly, for all its flames and all its desires were directed only at preserving their virginity, and it is easy to understand.
For tell us, O divine Joseph, what did you love in Mary? Oh, without a doubt it was not her mortal beauty but her hidden and interior beauty whose principal ornament was holy virginity. It was therefore Mary’s purity that was the chaste object of his flame; and the more he loved this purity, the more he wished to preserve it, first of all in his holy spouse, and secondly in himself, with a complete unity of heart; so much so that his conjugal love, turning away from its ordinary course, was entirely given and devoted to guarding Mary’s virginity.
O divine and spiritual love! Their promises were most pure, their love most virginal.
Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, First Panegyric of St. Joseph