I've had a really hectic week so I'm a bit behind on my blogging schedule! Here is something that has been on my mind for 'Living the Life' and specifically for wives.
Different kinds of love in the Bible
I’ve been studying some of the different Greek words for love in the Bible this week. A lot of Christians talk about the different kinds of love – phileo as an affectionate love, and agapao as an unconditional love.
When I looked up the words in a Greek dictionary I also found that phileo is a word for when you ‘feel’ love for someone, whereas agape is when you make a decision to love someone. So it is like the contrast between your head and your heart.
Strong’s dictionary says that phileo is denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while agapao is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety.
The word used for God’s love for us in sending His son, and for Christ’s love for us in giving up His life is agape – they decided to love us regardless of how sinful and unloveable we are. And in the same way we are then called to ‘agape’ love one another and make a decision to love others regardless of how unloveable they are as well.
The love of wives for husbands
Then it crossed my mind, ‘I wonder which kind of love the one in Titus 2:4 is, where wives are told to ‘love’ their husbands’? So I looked it up and found yet another Greek word, although it is from the same root as phileo so in a sense it's not that different!
It is the word philandros and it comes from two different words – philos, which means dear, a friend, or actively fond, and aner which means man or husband. So literally it means ‘fond of man, affectionate as a wife’.
I loved finding this because we are called to love everyone with the love defined in 1 Cor 13 (if you haven't read this chapter on love you really should!). But as wives we are not only to love our husbands in that sense, we are to be fond of them.
I remember my daughter a few times when she was younger saying to me, ‘I like you’ and being surprised because it’s a bit different from the usual, ‘I love you’ but also pleased because you can love someone in the way the Bible tells us to without actually liking them. So being liked is an extra!
I think in the same sort of way for us to be tenderly affectionate to our husbands on top of everything else is a bit like the icing on the cake, but also really necessary for a great marriage.
How to help your affection grow
How could you cultivate this if you don’t feel that way right now?
I just have a few thoughts:
- Have compassion for where he comes from, that he is a sinner like everyone else and he may be busy, have lots on his mind and so on.
- Seek to overlook his failings for ‘love covers a multitude of sins’.
- Do nice things for him – often this will create in us a feeling of fondness even if it wasn’t there before
- Remember that he chose you over everyone else to be married to and knows you more than anyone else, so he could easily be your best friend.
- Remember your first feelings for him when you were dating.
- Make enough time in your day to be flexible for when he needs you.
- Don’t be so busy and preoccupied that you neglect kisses, cuddles and hugs!
I have been encouraged by this to make sure I have this kind of love as well agape love for my husband, because I know God has good reason for using that word for us as wives.
Linking up to Faith Filled Friday
Linking up to Faith Filled Friday