Most of us grew up watching the typical romantic movie where Prince Charming saves a Princess, the two marry and live an amazing life in a fully furnished castle forever.
This would be fantastic if it wasn’t a fantasy because in reality, love goes beyond the catalytic excitement embedded in emotion. It’s not as cheap as a Hollywood advert or smsing 35050 to find your “true love”. It’s also important to note that a relationship status does not determine the worthiness of a person”
“Love is not only a feeling but an important commitment, it’s a choice with consequence”.
I dare propose a statistic that 99% of relationships we have with people are purely platonic, the remaining 1% represents romantic relationships. Our expectations are usually formed by perceptions drawn from movies, books, music even cartoons that influence our views on love and romance. Our ideal types or wishlist of a desired partner often becomes an idol “the someone we place above God”, and love that is founded on anything else other than God is like a builder who built his house on the sand, when the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. Mathew 7:24-27.
“Love is given one word in English but branches into four different types in Greek”.
Agape – Unconditional "God" love
He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27
Storge – Empathy or parental bond.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord Ephesians 6:1-4
Philia – Friend bond.
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother Proverbs 18:24
Eros – Romantic love.
As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women Songs of Solomon 2:2
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 1 Corinthians 13:4
What does defining different kinds of love have to do with romantic relationships? The relationship between God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit is centered around the unity they share and God desires us to also share this with him “let us make man in our own image Genesis 1:26, and so shall a man leave his mother and father and join with his wife and the two shall become one” Genesis 2:24
The pursuit of love begins with Christ. The church is His bride and the Word beautifully illustrates how intentional He is with her, how He takes care of her, teaches her, while ushering her in a beautiful love relationship with Himself. “Christ loved the church and he gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish“. Ephesians 5:25-27
There’s a season for everything and the decisions we make even in relationships can affect us for a lifetime. When it comes to love, we can be challenged in discerning the motive of our pursuit of love “The heart is deceitful above all things And it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?”Jeremiah 17:9 . Whether we are ready for a relationship or not, love is a beautiful emotion to have and a wonderful gift to share with someone when it’s awoken at the right time. Song of Solomon 8:4. It’s important to understand that our point of departure is loving Jesus first. Our identity is not found in other people, but stems from Christ, therefore we need not seek validation, affirmation even security in other places because in Him alone can we find all these things.
Romantic relationships show us that when we decide to love a person enough to marry them and a holy covenant has been made, we can rely on God to keep teaching and showing us how to love well even when difficulties arise. In the words of the late Ravi Zacharais, “marriage is the most sacred relationship that we will enter into. Marriage is the only relationship that pulls all four types of love together. The Bible gives to us the sacredness of marriage as Christ is to the church. This is shown in the singular commitment to the vow, when saying I do to one thing it means you‘re saying no to everything else”. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21
Commitment usually isn’t tried and found wanting. It often is found difficult and left untried. Being intentional with someone takes a mutual decision to choose each other regardless of circumstances, it’s choosing to take the risk to be found flawed, and imperfect yet desired and loved unconditionally. Love is about giving, God showed us this through Jesus, Jesus modeled this for us and expressed it to His bride. As the church our first love is Christ! All other relationships start from him, He sustains and protects but most importantly He takes care and continues to show us how to love beyond ourselves . The love story looks different for every person, but the standard remains, that to love a person well requires patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Galatians 5:22-23. Therefore, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."1John 4:7-8