A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~Mignon McLaughlin
Let's talk about LOVE.
"Love conquers all."
"All's fair in love and war."
"How sweet it is to be loved by you." ~ James Taylor
But, of course, it can't be that simple. Layers and layers of "stuff" get created as the calendars blow past us, and it gets tougher to rediscover each other. Marriage is a marathon not a sprint. There's going to be good months/years when you're sailing down a straightaway. Then there's going to be seasons when you're running up a hill that seems like it's never going to end. Just as much of a rush as it is to catch the top of that hill and then start running down the other side of it, so too can that feeling be to get back in touch with the love that brought you both together in the first place.
Here is triangle of love based on Greek words we find in marriage: Phileo/Friendship, Eros/Sexual, and Agape/Love.
PHILEO LOVE: Think of your best friend. This is when you just can’t help yourself but to be fond of someone with natural affection. This is the comfort that will sustain us when we are 75 years old and sitting in our rocking chairs on our porches.
There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage. ~Martin Luther
EROS LOVE is another kind of love that refers to a physical, sensual, sexual love between a husband and wife. We will be writing more on this in a future blog.
AGAPE LOVE means BIG LOVE. It is found in the New Testament more than any other of the love words. Agape is the highest form of love and describes motivation to love out of honor rather than by feelings or attraction. It is often undeserving. Consider the ability to demonstrate lavish goodness towards another person based on what is in their best interest. Here is Agape love:
1 Corinthians 13: 3-7 (MSG)
"If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end."
So, this begs the question: If most people marry to fulfill this triangle of love, what happens to 50% of them? And, why do we lose sight of love even more after the kids move out of the house?
The first thing we believe about longterm love is that forgiveness and grace must be a foundation for extended love. "Keeping a record of wrongs" is a love-killer. We also have discovered that the best way to feel love, is to give love. It's like a big ol' circle. Our fires got re-lit when we learned how to stop being selfish, fighting for our turf, and began trying to out-please our partner with simple acts of kindness. If one of us extends a loving, caring moment to the other, sometimes nothing more than a simple conversation, a hand hold, a gift, or even putting plates in the dishwasher, stimulates love. Hopefully the other one of us notices and feels compelled to extend the loving, caring moment back. This might be the clearest path to defining this elusive and most desirable emotion.
Bruce & Tracy Levinson - outsidethenest.net