Give Yourself to Others …

Love in Marriage

Posted on: 2007/02/20

For the past several months, my wife, Linda and I have been mentoring young married couples as well as a few engaged couples. In the next few months, I expect to have the opportunity to officiate at a wedding. So, I’ve been reflecting some on marriage.

If you start with the premise that Christians should be loving others the way Jesus loved us, then how can love in marriage be something special or different?

That’s the question I’ve been contemplating.

It’s my nature to try to find the most fundamental principle — the principle upon which all others are based. And I’ve found one I think worth pursuing:

There are three different Greek words which are translated as “love” in the New Testament:

  • eros — from which the word, erotic, comes. It’s a reference to romantic love. It is a kind of love that makes you feel good.
  • phileo — which is the word at the beginning of Philadelphia (the city of brotherly love). And that’s what phileo is are reference to: the love of a brother or a friend. It’s a kind of love that is reciprocated.
  • agape — this is the word which I’ve defined as “giving yourself to others for their good, expecting or requiring nothing in return.” This is the type of love Jesus has towards us.

Agape is our obligation towards every other human being.

Phileo is not an obligation, but certainly represents our relationship with others who reciprocate our care, concern, friendship.

Eros is the special feelings we have towards certain others — something none of us understand, but most us of recognize.

The light bulb that came on as I reflected on these matters is that marriage is where all three forms of love come together in a single relationship.

I won’t pretend I’ve completely explored all the implications of this premise, but so far, I like what I think!!

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