What is Love Anyway???
I’m taking a break from our study to honor Valentine’s Day with a post about the different types of love. Next week we will get back to our study from the Wise Woman Build Her House workbook. This week, let’s take a break and learn about LOVE for Valentine’s day.
Types of Love
When I Think of Love…
When I think about love, I think about God’s love. After all, He is the author of Love. He IS love. God’s love is kind, gentle, compassionate, etc., He loved us SO much that He sent His one and only Son to live the perfect life we cannot live and die a death that we deserve so that we might be able to spend eternity in Heaven with them. This type of love is a giving love, a benevolent love. In the Greek, it is agape or agapao. It gives even when the recipient doesn’t deserve it.
What Most People Call Love…
What most people call love is a love that’s tied to how the other person makes them feel – physically or emotionally. Physical love is called Eros in the Greek. It is a romantic, sexual love. It is where we get the word “erotica.” It is part of marriage, but not the main type of love.
Then there’s the friendship type of love. This is a “give and take” type of love. The Greek word is Phileo. While some spouses say they are best friends – and that is great – this type of love is not the main type of love in marriage, either.
Then There’s a Family Type of Love
There is also a type of love that is not usually talked about. The Greek word is Storgay. This is loving your family members – including your church “family.” In Scripture, it is compounded with Phileo. The new word is Philostrogos. Let the Word define it: “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; ” (Romans 12:10).
Love in Action
How we love others depends on our relationship with that person. Of course, we aren’t going to love our neighbor next door the same way we love our spouse, our parents, or our children. There should be a clear delineation in our minds and heart how we love others.
Loving in General
In general, Jesus tells us “to love God with all our hearts and love our neighbors as ourselves” (Mark 12:31-31). In both instances, this is the Agape love I mentioned above. It is a love that gives. It is compassionate. It is forgiving. It doesn’t ever take into account what that person does for us, or how they treat us. It just lovingly gives.
What About Those Who treated me Wrong?
What About the Truly Wicked?
Well, that was addressed a few times as well. In LK 6:35 Jesus states: “love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again.” What kind of love is this? The same kind as above, Agape. I think we can all use some help in this area. I’ve heard it said to love the sinner and hate the sin. It’s another thing entirely to walk that out. If someone is abusing you physically, mentally, or emotionally, it’s hard to separate the sin from the person and just continue to love them, isn’t it? Hard as it is, it’s what we’re told to do.
Sometimes Love is Disciplining
God sometimes shows His love by disciplining us as His children. This discipline is not to hurt us, it is to correct us, correct our course, bring us out of sin. This is the type of love parents must often show to their children. It isn’t harsh, it just has clear guidelines and consequences. It is correcting repeatedly when a negative character trait is rearing its ugly head.
While this is a type of love that a parent shows a child and our Heavenly Father shows us as His children, it is NOT the type of love that a wife is to have for her husband. Our husbands are not ours to discipline or change. That’s God’s job. Remember, he is your husband, not your child. He is the authority, the head, in your home.
So…How Am I Supposed to Love my Husband?
We love our husbands first and foremost with Agape love. It’s the love that gives without expecting anything in return. It’s the love that thinks of that person above yourself, above your needs, above your wants, above your preferences. It’s the love that throws all their past wrongs in the Sea of Forgiveness and starts each day fresh. It’s the love that believes the best about him. It’s the love that endures anything that goes wrong – lost jobs, him blowing the money needed for the kids on his pleasures, loss of health that creates work and hardship for you. It the type of love that endures without wavering, without worry, feeling sad or jilted – all the way to the end of your life.
What About Me?
I hear you! You’re saying, “but what about MY needs? I have needs, too. What about MY love tank, it’s empty right now! All I do is give and give and give.” Let me clue you in on a little secret. As long as you’re expecting someone else to fulfill your needs, you’re always setting yourself up for disappointment. If you’re feeling like your love tank is empty or you’re not getting your needs met, it’s time to change your focus. Take it off yourself and turn it outward. Learn to be content in serving others. Learn to find joy in serving others. When you can turn it around and learn to enjoy giving without expecting anything in return, THEN you will find true contentment and joy.
Can you see that if you don’t have any expectations you won’t be disappointed? Isn’t that freeing for the both you and the other person? I believe that oftentimes spouses push back and don’t give us what we want just because we are being pushy or demanding. When they learn to trust that we don’t have an ulterior motive, that we are truly content with just going with their flow, THEN most often they will ask, “What do you want?” Or, “What will make you happy?” IF that happens, be ready to clearly and concisely say, “I’d really enjoy such and such.” Don’t hedge, don’t keep them guessing. IF they asked, state your desire plain and simple. But again, don’t expect them to jump and do what you want. They may just say, “no, I’m not in the mood for that” and dismiss what you want.
Love doesn’t put our desires above theirs.
Love isn’t pushy.
Love is gentle, kind, giving, etc.
Does that Mean Eros and Phileo types of Love are Wrong?
No!! They are great in a marriage – as long as they aren’t the main thing. They must come under and be a servant to Agape love.
We all know that passion and desire run hot and cold in a marriage. You can’t just say, well, we don’t love each other anymore so we’re calling it quits. No, that’s just a natural rhythm of marriage. Enjoy it when it happens. God made passion and desire for enjoyment between a husband and wife – but in their place and time.
Being a friend to your spouse also has its ebb and flow. When your husband is having a rough time at work and the car breaks down and then the money runs out before the next paycheck is coming in, he’s probably not going to feel much like being friendly. It’s in those times that the Agape love is really the love to lean on. It’s the time to say, “How can I best help you right now?” and then forget about what you want, what you need.
If your needs become too great, turn to our Creator. He knows what we need. Ask Him to send a ray of hope, a blessing in disguise, a spark of joy, or whatever else you need. Then sing, laugh, find a task in your house that will bring you joy (for me, it’s washing and waxing the floors. Nothing like clean shiny floors to lift the spirit!!).
What Builds Agape Love?
I tell women this all the time. Make a list of the things that you love about your husband. Put a copy in your prayer book, another in a kitchen cabinet your husband never goes in, another in your calendar. Put copies in places that only you will see.
Read it often – multiple times a day. Speak it out loud. Renew your mind with these things.
Then when things happen that you don’t like, your mind will be so full of what you DO love about him that love will truly cover a multitude of sins.
What Should I Write?
Here are a few from my list…
I love the way Scott rubs the palm of my hand when we hold hands.
I love that Scott cares about me so much that he fixes our cars no matter how hot it is or how bitter cold.
I love the way Scott plays with children. He truly enjoys children in a way that I don’t know how.
I love the way…
I think my list has about 40 items on it. Some are very personal. ALL are truthful statements that I don’t have to qualify. It has gotten me through so very rough times.
I can truly say that I love him more today than when our marriage was new and the passion was high. Repeating the things I love about him has caused me to forget the bad times. And I truly mean forget. It has softened his heart because I was no longer judging, pushing or demanding. Maybe that’s why we are told to think on the good things, not the bad in Scripture. I’ve renewed my mind.
I hope this has been helpful to you. I hope this encourages you. It encouraged me and I am the one writing! I created a little graphic that you might want to print. I hope you enjoy that, too.