I -Thou and We-Thou
Continuing our plunge into the heart of the Trinity, Spitzer writes that the first two of its Persons, Father and Son, "form a unity of interpersonal love through the one unrestricted power" (which we have compared to "beyond-being").
In turn, the Holy Spirit is "not simply the beloved of either the Father or the Son," but rather, the "beloved of the union between Father and Son."
That won't be clear until we flesh it out a bit. If the relation between Father and Son is that of "I-Thou," then you might say that the Spirit introduces a kind of "We-Thou" relation, with the We being the Father-Son "couple" -- as in how the child is welcomed into the marital-we (which goes to the intrinsic ontological defect of willed single parenthood, divorce, and newly invented caricatures of marriage; or in other words it is the denial of the gift of a healthy and natural We to the child).
As Spitzer describes it, love "need not be only an outpouring of self," but "can also be an outpouring of an us" -- that is, a gift of the union of the two; or, it is the two welcoming a third into its union of love. We fall in love with another person, but the love we give a child isn't only of a dyadic nature, especially from the child's point of view.
Is this a subtle point, or is it obvious? I'll just speak from my own experience. My parents rarely got along. Either it was a cold war or they were bickering about God-knows-what. I remember this lack of harmony causing a kind of familiar but nameless pain in me.
However, there were moments of harmony, in which they were kind and affectionate to one another, and for me, it was as if a light from above were penetrating the darkness below. There was a great sense of relief, and everything felt "right" in that moment. I remember one time in particular, when they were walking ahead of me, holding hands. The feeling of peace was very distinct -- as if all was right with the world -- but obviously different from merely being loved by one's individual parent.
To the contrary, I never doubted that my mother and father loved me. But that is in the I-Thou realm. The problem was in the We-Thou realm. I knew they would never divorce, but nevertheless, it was a rocky we they bequeathed to me.
I think this is why, to this day, I can't stand any kind of Disturbance in the Force in my house. I have a peculiar need to avoid interpersonal stress and conflict around here. As a result, my son is having a very different experience of the We than I had. Rather, his background environment is one of a harmonious and loving We, and the effect on him is obvious. He has to visit other homes in order to get the sense of a distressed and unhappy We.
The point is, just as we can trace the love between persons back to the Trinity, so too can we trace the love between two persons and a third: just as there is a loving space between the I and Thou, there is a new loving space between the We and Thou.
Here is how Spitzer describes it: "This occurs in marriage where a couple can give its 'us' (its collective self) to another person by welcoming that person into the relationship. One can generally tell when a couple has this loving quality as a relational whole because their invitation is harmonious and welcoming."
Of note, it's not just children who are so welcomed, but anyone else who enters the relational orbit. We have a couple of married friends who are passionately devoted to one another, but at the same time, extremely extroverted, such that to be around them is to enter a... I hate to sound corny, but it is a very palpable We of love.
Conversely, according to Spitzer, "If this quality of the 'us' is not there, or if there is a problem causing a disruption in the relationship, it is immediately discernible." As in the case of my parents. Or, think of the uniquely dysfunctional nature of the We between Bill and Hillary Clinton. I use the word "unique" advisedly, because I've never seen anything like it -- a seemingly loveless political crime family rooted in a cunning will to power. What a perverse We!
In any event, "when Christians say that God is love, they do not mean only that the attribute of love belongs to the one infinite nature of God." Rather, "that there is real interpersonal love (gift of self and gift of the 'us') taking place through three perfect acts of self-consciousness..."