What Is Love?

This is going to be talking about love mainly in relation to marriage. Please note that this will not be an exhaustive look at the nature of love. It will be enough though to state my position on the matter. I also do have in mind that the Greeks knew four types of love.

Storge, which would be affection and the kind of love we all expect from everyone, even strangers.

Phileo, which is the love of friends.

Eros, which would be sexual love.

Agape, which the NT quickly took to refer to the love of God.

I believe all four are present in marriage. Storge is the general love that they have for each other as they are now family. Phileo is that each one is now the best friend of the other. Eros is in, well, I think if I have to tell you where eros is you’re better off reading some books on human anatomy and biology first. Agape is the blessing of God on the couple living in submission to him.

A misnomer thrown out right away though is that love is an emotion. Let it be clear that love can produce strong emotions, but love itself is not an emotion. It is much deeper. Love is looking at a person and that includes not just when you have deep emotional feelings. Otherwise, you are simply loving that other person because of the feelings.

Emotions as we have them are reactionary. That means you have an emotion in response to something outside of you. Love is not meant to be reactionary though. It is proactive. It is meant to go on and act regardless of the emotions. The person who loves only when the emotion is there is not in love with the person but in love with love, and if one is loving a person only for the sake of love and not for the sake of the person, then they are using that person.

This also gets us into the idea of cohabitation in marriage. Some couples will say “Well would you drive a car without test driving it?” Well, no. I wouldn’t. However, there is one major difference that is being overlooked that must be pointed out.

People are not cars.

Yeah. I know that’s hard for some people to accept, but they’re not. If you want to use the test drive theory, then let it simply be asked to the couple. This is one question I would love to ask the two of them together and have both of them answer. Which one of the couple is the driver and which one of them is the car? I can imagine the chaos that would result.

It is an insult to either person to say “I will be with you only if you please me sexually.” Now granted there are sometimes biological problems, but these are few and far between. You don’t want to build a habit based on the rarities in the world.

People are to be loved regardless. A woman is meant to sexually please a man and a man a woman, but that is as a person and not as an object. In fact, for the two people truly in love, they should be focusing on the pleasure of the other. Love seeks the good of the other after all. True love will not want to know how the spouse can please them but how they can please the spouse.

So what is love then? It is a true commitment and joy regardless of the emotions at the time. While it can show emotions, it does not rely on the emotions. Instead, it looks at what objectively the other person is instead of at a subjective experience. Again, I do not deny the emotions. They are a good part and enjoyable part, but they are not all and part of our problem in understanding love today is that we’ve confused the emotions love produces at times with the reality itself.