As I've worked on this post, I've come to the conclusion that the love of a man and wife must be the greatest love on earth, even surpassing the love a mother has for her children. Why? Because the love between husband and wife encompasses three different types of love, and according to Ecclesiastes 4:12, "a three fold cord is not quickly broken."
What are the three types of love that should exist between a husband and wife?
The First Type of Love: Agape
First of all, we should love our husbands with agape love. Agape love is a sacrificial love that gives expecting nothing in return.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . .
We are commanded to love everyone, including our husbands, with this kind of love:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. ~ John 13:34-35
Agape love is a choice rather than a feeling and made possible only when the God of love is resident in our hearts, enabling us to love unconditionally.
The Second Type of Love: Phileo
We also love our husbands with phileo love, which is brotherly love. In Titus 2:3-4, the Greek word that is used to depict the type of love we are to have for our husbands is philandros, which literally means "love of man."
This type of love is best described as tender affection or kindness. We comprehend this love as the fond, affectionate feelings that we have towards our husbands. Apparently, this type of love can be learned, because in Titus 2:3-4, the older women are instructed to teach the younger women to love their husbands.
We experience this type of love when our hearts are moved with compassion for our husbands when they've had a long, hard day of work and come home to find out that the washer is broken, or when they have to go out in the wee hours of morning in sub-freezing temperatures to thaw out the well pump with a blow dryer! We also experience this type of love when our hearts are moved with affection when we see our husbands tenderly holding our newborn baby, playing sweetly with our little girl, helping our son learn to hit the baseball, or surprising us by cleaning up a kitchen full of dirty dishes. Another way we experience this love is when we simply relish spending time together, riding bikes, walking on the beach, going for a drive, sipping lattes and sharing our hearts at Starbucks, etc.
The Third Type of Love: Eros
Eros love is what sets apart the husband/wife relationship. This is the erotic, romantic love that makes movies and books top-sellers! It is the love that makes your heart go pitter-patter and sends tingles up your spine! :) However, it is much more than that. It is a love that grows deeper through the years as a man and wife grow in intimacy and understanding and unity.
It is the one-flesh relationship that is designed by God to be enjoyed by men and women only within the confines of marriage. While this love is obviously physical in nature, it is primarily an emotional bond. Furthermore, it is spiritual in nature, as it portrays a picture of Christ and the church in a mysterious way that is beyond our ability to fully grasp.
As you can see, the love between a husband and wife is far more than an "I love chocolate" type of love! It is a complex, all-encompassing emotional commitment that should include three types of biblical love intertwined in a cord that binds forever.
Your Turn to Share:
How have you learned to love your husband in all three of these ways? How do you think we can teach other women to love their husbands, as we are commanded to do in Titus 2? Please share so that we might all be encouraged!!!
Edited: A wise and observant reader (my Mom!) pointed out to me that the Greek word eros is not actually found in the Bible! So, I did a little research on this and here is what I learned: Although the word eros is not actually in the Scriptures, the sensual, romantic love that it signifies is powerfully portrayed in the Old Testament book The Song of Solomon. Also, while the Bible clearly condemns a physical, intimate relationship outside of marriage, God designed the "act of marriage" to be a part of a healthy marriage for the purposes of satisfying legitimate physical needs, for emotional and spiritual bonding, and for reproduction.
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