The highest form of these types of love is AGAPE. Agape love is an unconditional love which loves when all other types of love quit and cares when there is no reason to care. This love comes from God into a person when he asked Jesus to come into his heart to be his Lord and Saviour. In other words, if you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, then you wouldn’t have experience the Real Love. God is our example. He “…demonstrates HIS OWN LOVE [agape] toward us, in that while we were STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US” (Romans 5:8). He likewise commands all husbands to “…love [agape] your wives AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER” (Ephesians 5:25).
People make friends with others according to the kind of car they drive or what kind of clothes they wear, or their status in society. The agape love of God goes past the surface, enabling us to look deep into our mate’s heart and love them for who God has made them to be despite their faults and shortcomings.
The Phileo love is the kind of love that makes agape love enjoyable. Phileo love is having tender affection toward your mate. Most friendships are built on phileo love. Phileo love is that “something” that you see in another person that draws you to be their friend. It’s one thing to unconditionally love (agape) someone who you don’t like to be around because they irritate you. It’s quite another thing to unconditionally love someone who is tenderly affectionate (phileo) toward you. THE TENDER AFFECTION OF PHILEO LOVE MAKES THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE OF AGAPE ENJOYABLE. It’s the joy of the friendship!
It has been said that phileo love is a human love. If that were the case, then why does God the Father, who is NOT a human, but a Spirit, phileo love Jesus His Son and us? Jesus said, “For the FATHER HIMSELF LOVES (phileo) YOU, because you have loved (phileo) Me…” John 16:27.
God’s desire for the husband and wife is that they tenderly love (phileo) each other while they overlook each other’s faults and failures (agape).
Another kind of love needed in a marriage is storge. Storge is a physical show of affection that results from a pure motive. It may be a hug, a kiss, or another expression of genuine affection. It is the natural bond between mother and children. The wife usually needs this kind of love more from her husband. It is important for the husband to set aside his need of companionship and meet his wife’s main need, which is affection.
Eros love is needed to make a marriage. Eros is the fulfilment of the physical sexual desire that a husband and wife show toward each other. It’s when “…the two …become ONE FLESH” (Matthew 19:5). This the love most associated with romance. It is that head-over-heals feeling we get when a relationship moves forward. Your world and mind circles about your loved one and they are always on your mind. You strive for time together romantically. It is manifested in poetry, words of affirmation, love making, that special look in the eyes… A feeling that you could not be happy in life without your companionship and love. Eros love is wholly emotional and cannot be summoned at will. Sadly while most of us have experience Eros love in our lives it is not sustainable. Most experts estimate that it will only last 18 – 24 months in the best of relationship before the relationship moves on to another form of love. While Eros love is not sustainable, it can cycle in and out of a relationship over its course.
When all the four types of love operate in a marriage, the marriage is complete. A picture of a complete marriage is a husband and wife who lay down their life for each other (agape love) no matter how many times the other offends them or causes them to have ill feelings. They both have tender affection toward each other (Phileo love). They enjoy each other’s company because they’re best friends and because they enjoy each other so much, they hug, kiss, hold hands and do nice things for their mate (storge love). Because their hearts are filled with agape, Phileo and storge, a warm passionate desire arises within both of them to enjoy each other sexually (Eros). Now, that kind of God-cantered marriage will withstand ANY storm.
We must nurture and protect ALL of these different kinds of love in our marriage. Negligence of any kind of love leaves a gaping hole in our relationship. To show you the significance and impact of this on our relationship, let’s remove one type of love at a time and see how incomplete the other three are alone.
The Missing Link
Let’s take out the highest form of love first, AGAPE. Since agape love is unselfish the thing that will be prevalent, is selfishness. Human nature in itself is very selfish. Agape love influences and dominates all the other types of love. Selfishness will dominate phileo love. The friendship of the relationship will have a predominate undertone of “how can the friendship satisfy ME.” “If I act a certain pleasing way, I can get this.” Storge, that physical show of affection will diminish because “self” does not see it as important unless IT wants something. Eros, the passionate desire for sex, becomes one sided.
When phileo love is missing, the caring and unconditional love will still be intact, but there will be a lack of friendship in the marriage. That show of affection of storge will not be as prevalent. The need for sex of eros love will be more out of honor.
Storge, that physical show of affection, is normal when phileo and agape love are intact. Storge love is usually missing because of emotional or psychological problems. The wounds that were inflected from trauma, neglect or some other issue of the past must be worked through; otherwise, one partner may feel a measure of rejection because they believe that their partner does not want to be affectionate to them. It’s not that they don’t want to, but that their heart will not give them the liberty to express it. This, of course will affect the eros love. The couple’s sex life will diminish. Most likely sex will be a result of need, rather than the passionate desire that arises from the affection of storge love.
Make up your mind to LOVE your spouse; let LOVE dominate your marriage. The acronyms of LOVE are “Let Offences Varnish Entirely”.
Love is patient,
Love is kind;
Love is not jealous or boastful;
It is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way;
It is not irritable or resentful;
It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things
Love believes all things
Love hopes all things
Love endures all things.
Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
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