Love in Marriage


What is love?

A lot of people don't really understand what love is. It is a common word yet seems to be used very lightly. Home situations are in difficulty with families splitting up, endless strife, divorce, broken engagements and with people being severely hurt after a relationship breaks up.

If we are born again we have God's love in our heart by the Holy Spirit. Love cannot be assumed. When we look at families, we assume or take for granted that they must love one another, but love is not automatic. For our relationship to work we cannot drum up love in our own strength otherwise it will be here today gone tomorrow. We need to give our hearts to Father God and allow the Holy Spirit to love through us. 

Genesis 2:18, we see that God puts families as a priority. Family life is important.

In English, the word "love" can mean many different things. The Greeks had four different words for "love" with four different meanings of love:


The New Testament writers chose this word (pronounced A-GAP-AY) to describe the highest kind of love. Agape means a love which comes from realizing and understanding the value and preciousness of a person. The quality of this love is determined by the one who loves the person loved. It is the "God kind" of love. He realises and understands how precious we are. The character and quality of this love is determined by the character of God. It is a love that is determined by the character of the one who loves and not the person who is being loved. That means where our own character is lacking in this love, His character makes up the difference. This is the love that led Jesus Christ to accept death by crucifixion, showing the ultimate sacrifice of true love.


This means sexual love. The world would have us think or believe that this is the highest kind of love, or the highest level of love. Eros is found both within and outside of marriage, but it can only take on its true meaning when it is combined with agape in the marriage relationship. It is only in the marriage relationship that you can have the full combination of agape and eros, because you can only fully see a person as valuable and precious in a sexual relationship from within the security of marriage.


This means a friend or mate, perhaps someone who is part of a brotherhood or sisterhood. Philia is a love consisting of whatever we see in a person that leads to us enjoying each other's company. Philia's quality is determined by the character of the one who loves and the one loved; but it is extended on the basis of enjoyment, not character. Thus, we can have bad friends as well as good friends. Two people can get together and be friends, but that friendship may not help either one of them - or other people.


(pronounced STORG-AY). This means affection. It is the kind of love most often shown by the world to children, the elderly and to each other. Storge may or may not take any account of the individual and may be little more than a pat on the head, a smile, a handshake, a hug, or even a kiss. It is the type of love that is often seen in a family.

See also What Jesus said about love