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Which of These Six Kinds of Love Do You Practice in Your Life and Marriage?

By February 4, 2022No Comments
different kinds of Love

Almost 30 years ago, Tina Turner released a single, “What’s Love Got to Do with It ?” It’s a catchy tune but not the greatest lyrics. The songwriter’s theme is that love is a second-hand emotion based on the physical attraction between a boy and a girl. In other words, it’s purely physical.

If that’s true, then love is nothing more than a physical act.

That’s quite an assumption. To me, it reveals perhaps some woundedness in the songwriter’s past. And my heart hurts for them.

When your husband’s porn addiction has hurt you, you could become cynical. You probably doubt whether your husband ever loved you, if you are worthy of love, or if you know what love is.

The Greeks gave us six words for love

❤ Philautia (self-love)

❤ Philia (deep friendship)

❤ Ludus (playful love like between children)

❤ Pragma (longstanding love)

❤ Eros (sexual passion)

❤ Agape (selfless love)

The Bible talks to us about love as well:

1. Self-love.

We’re told in many passages in the Bible to love others as we love ourselves. (James 2:8; Galatians 5:13-15; Romans 13:8-10) Self-love means taking care of our needs, understanding how God creates us, and being confident in who we are in Christ. Specifically, we can focus on nourishing our minds and souls through daily Bible reading, adequate sleep, nutritious food, appropriate exercise, and Godly relationships. God wants us to be the best person we can be in Him.

2. Friend-love.

Jesus taught his disciples to love each other in the way He loved them. That’s a tall order. However, Jesus treated each person He met with respect and honor. Read through the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to discover what this love, respect, and honor look like. It’s the deep knowledge you have that your friend understands the worst about you and sticks with you anyway.

3. Playful love.

Nothing is more fun than playing with your spouse. Remember back to when you started dating. What did you do together that brought laughter and fun? You can probably think of many memories of activities you did together in the early part of your relationship. However, after a few years of marriage, we can get bogged down in the grittiness of life, the mundane. If we aren’t careful, we become roommates but not friends. The best way I know to keep this playfulness going is to play together. It’s not rocket science. Create space in your life to have fun together. God tells us to rejoice in each other. Laughter lightens your heart and soul. Feast on playful times.

4. Long-lasting love.

There’s no better example of this type of love than that between a husband and wife who’ve been married for decades. In Ephesians 5:21-31, God tells us what this type of love looks like. It is selfless and serving. Look at a couple you know who’s been in a healthy relationship for 40, 50, or 60 years. Often, they begin to look like each other. Crazy! But you’ll likely see respect, a deep understanding of each other. They exhibit patience with the other person that younger couples haven’t learned yet. This long-lasting love is especially evident, for instance, when one spouse suffers from an illness. It is truly a beautiful thing to observe.

5. Sexual love.

God invented sex and marriage and delights in the monogamous union of one man and one woman for life. Starting with the creation of Adam and Eve to today, God’s best for those who marry is a healthy relationship punctuated by sexual purity. Moreover, healthy sexual love creates a spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional intimacy with your spouse. Read the Song of Solomon together. What do you learn about sexual love?

6. Selfless love.

In the same John 15 passage mentioned under friend-love, Jesus tells us we exemplify this type of love when we willingly sacrifice our life for another. We see it in battlefield situations where one soldier pushes another out of the way and takes the bullet. Perhaps someone might choose to die for someone especially good, but that’s an extreme case. When the disciples argued about who would be the greatest in God’s Kingdom, Jesus told them the first would be last and the last first. Further, he took the time to model servanthood to His disciples. This selfless, servanthood love is Godly love. It is the love that Jesus exhibited when He willingly died on the cross for our sins.

Today, our culture equates love most often with sexual passion.

We talk about “falling in love” or “falling out of love.” Listen to songs, watch romance movies, pick up any romance book, and what do you find? First, boy meets girl. Then, there are butterflies in their stomach. After that, boy sweeps girl off her feet. And then they live happily ever after. However, we rarely see the entirety of the story.

Life hurts sometimes. There may be a lot of difficult times that boy and girl have to endure.

And, if the only way you look at love is through butterflies-in-the-stomach-lenses, you can quickly become disillusioned and start to agree with Tina Turner: “What’s love got to do with it?”

But if you are willing to go beyond Eros to Agape, you discover the richness of different kinds of love in your relationship with your spouse.

When Dave and I fought through the destruction of our marriage from his porn addiction, lies we told each other, and my suicidal depression, we discovered how long-lasting love brought a new richness. However, God’s love for us, His presence in our suffering, and the truths we found in the Bible about redemption provided the impetus to pursue a different way to do marriage.

Because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, we have everything we need to forgive each other and pursue a Godly marriage.

What’s love got to do with it?

Everything. God’s love redeems our souls. We get to live in a deep relationship with Him here on earth and for eternity. In addition, selfless love provides what we need to forgive the other person. After all, if Jesus’ death paid for ALL sins, then nothing prevents us from healing. He paves the way for us to work through every issue, change our habits and attitudes, and discover the freedom to be authentic. Is it hard work? Absolutely. Will we do it perfectly? No. However, the goal is reconciliation and progress, not perfection.

As you look at your relationship with your spouse, which types of love do you see? Which ones are missing?

With God’s help, you can enjoy each type of love in healthy ways in your life and marriage. Not sure how to overcome the wounds in your marriage? Reach out.

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.