A friend sent a text to me after reading my last blog finishing the love story God gave me. She asked, "What will you write about now?" It's a good question too. I've pondered that as well many times as I neared the end of our love story. Then I began to think about all GOD has taught me over the years and all that HE still has to teach me, and I realized there's no way I'm going to run out of things to write about! While I may not write every day or even every week, I know there will not be a shortage of stories that GOD will give me to convey. Some will be about marriage, some about children, some about life in general, but all will be written to glorify GOD, for that is the only purpose I have in writing. Without further ado, here is the first lesson I learned as a newlywed and it's of the utmost importance to every believer. While I'd like to end the story of our whirlwind engagement and wedding with...and they lived happily ever after....the truth is that hasn't been the case. Marriage is hard work. It takes time and energy and if you're not going to work at it just like you would your job or your exercise regimen, then you'll most assuredly fail. Love isn't enough. especially the love we as humans know. Jesus asked Peter three different times, "Peter, do you love me?" And every time Peter without hesitation said, "Of course LORD! YOU know I love you!!!" You see though, Jesus was talking about Agape love.
In the English language, all we know is love. All love is love, we may mean somewhat different things with the word, but we don't have another way to describe it so we pull out our go to word, LOVE. However, in the Greek language, there were specific types of love, Agape, Philia, Eros, and Storge (which if merely a fondness or love exhibited in a family setting that I won't discuss on this blog). Each one had a different meaning.
Let's first look at Eros. It's where we derive our word erotic from. It's a sexual love or perhaps the most fitting definition...lust. Most people know this love quite well. Unfortunately, it's foundation of most relationships when they begin; which is another reason there's no lasting power behind them. If they don't develop the other two as they journey on it's destined to fail. For example, Bob sees Sue, she's gorgeous, they date, they fall in "eros". Then they have a few arguments here and there, a very unsatisfying experience for both of them. All of the sudden Sally and Tim walk by, both as equally attractive as the first couple and and bam, just like that Bob is now "eros" with Sally and Sue is now "eros" with Tim. You get the idea. Desirability can NEVER be the basis of a relationship. Don't get me wrong, it's a vital factor in marriage, but can't be the main "attraction".
Philia, perhaps the most common of the three loves, is that warm fuzzy feeling, a brotherly love. Those closest to you, of course they are important to you. What they do matters. You'll "philia" them to the end. But would you die for them? Would you give up all you had to fight for their freedom? Would move Heaven and Earth to see that all the world knows how special they are to you? Probably not, it mimics Agape in many ways. It's so close they are almost the same, but in reality they're not. It's important in marriage too, because this person has to be your best friend and know you better than anyone else if you want to make it. If you're aren't friends, then you either strangers or enemies. Neither of which I think you'd want to live with. This type of love is exactly what Peter mean when he answered JESUS. "Of course I "philia" you LORD!!" You see CHRIST knew where Peter's heart and loyalty lie. This is why he kept asking Peter the same question over and over; and well we know how that ends, JESUS is on a cross and Peter is cursing HIS HOLY name. But the good news is, afterwards, Peter gets it. He realizes there is a difference. He knows what LOVE really is now, after all the MASTER was his example.
Now, on to Agape. It's a hard love to understand and even harder to really feel. I mean think about it, dying for someone. Letting others inflict pain on you for no reason than to keep the ones you "agape" safe and sound. We know that love mostly through our own children. I can't think of a parent one that wouldn't die for their child, but their spouse is another story. This being didn't come from you. They are their own person. They don't need you and sometimes they very well may not desire you, and that feeling is often mutual. However, it is by far the most necessary love to have in a marriage. GOD tells us when we join in matrimony, you ARE one, this person is like looking in the mirror (no matter how different your views). You have to love them as much as you love yourself, you have to ache for them the way you ache for yourself, they are you...it's true, when you walk out, you are leaving you behind. Let's be honest, you may hate your spouse sometimes, but you probably hate yourself sometimes as well, and most people aren't going to harm themselves, so why would you harm your spouse even if you don't like them at the moment? I urge you if you don't have agape love for your significant other, seek and ask GOD to teach you how, otherwise you'll never make
Now onto what I learned very early on in our marriage. I absolutely knew that all three of those loves existed in my marriage, but the demands of life started to make their way into our relationship. I worked overnights which almost made life not seem like it hadn't changed for Earl. He worked all day, sometimes leaving before I got home. Then we'd spend time together in the evenings, which usually meant I went and watched him play softball or we'd hang out with a group friends. Afterwards, we'd grab dinner, he'd head off to bed and I'd go in to work. Life was on repeat. I couldn't really see much change, other than the fact that we wore wedding bands and he was finally affectionate.
So I began to do what we humans do best...I had a pity party. Poor me. My husband was neglecting me and our relationship. I was lonely. He never had time for me. He was always making plans without me because I had sleep when everyone else was awake. Poor pitiful me. Here I was devoting so much of myself and time to him and I felt like he didn't care what I wanted. Poor pitiful, pitiful me.
As I wallowed in my misery and cried and complained, GOD spoke to me. I remember the moment I heard HIM. I was sitting in Earl's truck having another pity party. In my cries I explained to GOD how Earl wasn't really giving me the time I deserved as his wife and that it wasn't fair, I was supposed to come before others. I shouldn't be second to softball or anything. I was his wife. Then I realized something in that moment, despite all the love and devotion I had for CHRIST . Despite what HE'd done for me and how HE'd delivered me, I'd stopped spending time with HIM. I was so busy trying to be a wife, I'd forgotten the ONE who made me that wife. HE had given me what I had spent so much time praying and yearning for and now here I was complaining about the very gift I'd begged for. I was Peter. I had"philia" for JESUS, but I'd stopped having "agape" for my SAVIOR. Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 7:34 (There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.) that marriage can do that to you, but I hadn't taken heed to that warning. I'd allowed myself to get wrapped up in the cares of the world around me and I wasn't "feeding the MASTER's sheep."
Why bother to share this story with you? Because if we don't work on our marriages they'll never be a testament of the LOVE that CHRIST had and if don't work on our relationship with the LORD ALMIGHTY, we'll never have a marriage that can outlast the cares of this world.
About the Author: A small town girl, with big city dreams, Raquel Dunn’s love for writing propelled her to leave her hometown of Coeburn, Virginia, to pursue a career in television news. After spending five years in various newsrooms, Raquel realized her true passion lie elsewhere and and set out to find a more creative outlet in television. In September 2006 she became a producer for The 700 Club, a truly fulfilling and rewarding career move. After two wonderful years there, her husband was called to be a pastor and she stepped down to follow God's direction for their family. Raquel now resides in Knoxville, Tennessee where she stays at home with her three children and has now taken on the role of homeschooling mom. Since writing has always been a job for her, Raquel is excited to see where God will lead her as she allows Him to use her talent to share some of the amazing ways God has worked in her life. You can check out God-written love story and life lessons on her blog. http://www.myjavawithjesus.com/