When is the last time you let the words “I love you” cross your lips? Did you truly understand what those words meant when you said them? It is February and Valentine’s items are lining the store shelves. Yet once the candy has been eaten, the cards stored away and the fancy dinner digested what do you have? What remains? Love is a small word that is often overused. “I love this song!” “I love cookies and cream ice cream!” “O my word, I love that car!” Sound familiar? According to the Bible, there are three types of love. Now, psychology will add a few to that, but I have read them and believe that they are not God sanctioned love. Our world has become a vile place and sin has been allowed to run rampant. Sin can be wrapped up in a pretty package and called socially acceptable, but that does not make it right in the eyes of Almighty God.
The three types of love in the Bible are Philos, Eros, and Agape. We will look at each of these individually. For we need to once again look at things the way our Creator did. We need to learn to look at things clearly and then we will begin to understand the true meaning of that indescribable four letter word.
Philos is the Biblical word for love referred to as brotherly love. It is a love that remains for someone without wanting anything in return. It is a love that transcends blood relatives. It does not see gender, age, race or economic status. It is a bond that can never be completely severed. A mother who raises her children- protects and provides for them – does so out of this deep devotion for her young. If those same children decide to leave her the bond of love still remains in that parent’s heart. Philos is a kind of love that commands loyalty to the other person. No matter the miles, the deeds or the status of that loved-one they can always count on you.
Eros is the name of the Greek god of love, and the word for love between a man and a woman. It is where the word erotic came to be. It is a love that creates longing and desire. It is the kind of romantic love that God created between man and woman. He placed Adam and Eve in the garden and told them to procreate. Well, there had to be a longing to do so. A desire that causes one spouse to hunger for the other in order to calm that desire. This love is often what starts a romantic relationship.
Agape love. God’s love. The Almighty’s care for mankind. The love that caused Him to give up His only son to reconcile all people. Being sinners we could not stand before God, but after the sacrifice of His life that Jesus Christ gave we can be the Children of God. Heirs with Jesus Christ. Agape love will see you through no matter what. It is not a feeling, it is an action. You do not have to feel for others to do good to them. Agape is showing God’s devotion by acting in His manner. To follow the examples that Christ set, and to act accordingly. Feelings can often follow the actions but are not a requirement for showing God’s boundless love.
With all three of these in mind, now think about your marriage. What type of love do you show and share with your spouse? It has taken me years to understand this, but a good marriage must have all three kinds of love active to survive. You need a friend (Philo) who is loyal to a fault. Someone you can talk to about your hopes, dreams, and fears. Passion and yearning (Eros) are also key to your relationship. A spark is all that is needed to get that fire going again, and sometimes we need to stoke the fire too. Godly (Agape) love is also required for the survival of a marriage. Sometimes we must do what is right regardless. Out of that love that God has shared with us we must give to our partner daily. Of course, wanting those things reciprocated is only human, but when both people do for the other out of love it falls into perfect order.
I know what you are thinking. Sounds too perfect, and that is not real life. You are exactly right, my friend! Life is not perfect and neither are we! It takes practice. Like anything worth doing right!
I personally strive every day to love my wonderful husband the best I can. I believe he is a gift from God and I want to treat him as such. I want him to know how much he means to me even when it is not Valentine’s Day. I want him to know even when it is raining and the bills are behind, and the car won’t start that he is still immensely important to me. More important than stuff, or my pride or my need to be right. I want him to be proud to have me as his wife. I need to love in a way that goes beyond what other people have experienced. At least I aim to try. I desire to be able to explain to my children how I am finally experienced enough to give good relationship advice.
If you need help to love more and better, I encourage you to talk to the one who IS love. God is Love. He tells us in His Word that if we lack wisdom we should ask Him. That is my highest recommendation. Talk to the Father. He is not a liar. He will answer you and give you deeper love and understanding. All you have to do is ask, and make the effort. He won’t do the work for you, but he will guide you every step. Besides your relationship is a great deal more than some Valentine’s card.