(Ephesians 5:28) In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
When a person is asked what "love" is, nearly everyone I've ever spoken to seems to attempt to sum it up. In their attempt to define it, they usually attempt to label it in a single statement and say in some fashion or another say this is "love". The New Testament speaks of "love" quite often, but in different ways though. So to understand "love", we as Christians must understand what is meant when the New Testament speaks of it.
Here are the 3 forms of love mentioned in NT Scripture:
G25 "agapao" - i.e. - welcome and entertain
G26 "agape" - i.e. - affectionate, benevolent, of good will, charitable (of self and possessions)
G5368 "phileo" - i.e. - fond, having a strong preference for
"eros" refers to passionate sexual desire and is where the word "erotic" is derived from. It is a 4th form of love in the Greek, but is not used in the Bible and therefore won't be touched on here.
In order to have a strong relationship with your spouse, all three forms of "love" need to be active within your relationship. With even one of them missing, at least one person will find something missing in the relationship. For example:
1. If I welcome and entertain you (love - agapao) but have no benevolence or giving Spirit toward you (love - agape), then there is a sense of selfishness in the relationship and I will feel a lack of "love" (in the complete sense).
2. If I have a giving Spirit of benevolence (love - agape) and willing to share all that I have with you, but I'm not really willing to give you my time because I prefer to welcome and entertain (love - agapao) other things that I may prefer to do, or perhaps I prefer to welcome and entertain (love - agapao) friends by spending more time with them instead of my spouse, etc. then she will feel a lack of "love" (in the complete sense).
3. Phileo refers more to a fond affection and a strong preference for a person. It's rarely used in the Bible though. It's evident to me that God wants the "action" forms of love to take first place (agapao & agape). The feeling love will then either follow or not, though we all hope it reciprocates. In short, when it comes to "phileo", of course husbands and wives had a fond affection and a strong preference for one another. Otherwise, they wouldn't have gotten married in the first place.
So there can be many examples of the various forms of love interacting with one another, but the overall point is that when we love a person we are giving them many things, and in many ways.
A complete "love" for your husband or wife can be derived from the New Testament as such:
1. Your spouse is willing to spend time with you (G25 agapao - welcome and entertain)
2. Your spouse is willing to give you his/her all even down to self (G26 agape - affectionate, benevolent, of good will, charitable (of self and possessions)
3. Your spouse has a preference for you over all others (G5368 phileo - fond, having a strong preference for).
Agapao with agape, agapetos & Godspeed,
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