In my life I have loved many people: family, friends, colleagues, men I’ve dated, and random people who spark a special energy in me or reflect something I am or hope to be. As Christians we know that there are levels to this thing we call love:
- Philia- Brotherly Love
- Eros- Romantic Love
- Storge- Familial Love
- Agape- Selfless Love
There are people who do not factor all of this into the equation when you say that you love someone. For the purpose of this post I am going to talk about how we love people as our mates, husbands/wives, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.
For most people when they say that they love someone they are referring to eros love. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. As the relationship evolves people will begin to say “I am so IN-love with ___________.” What in the world does that mean? I’ve said it myself, and when someone said to me once, “I love you Olivia. But I’m not IN-love with you.” I had to really sit back and think on what he meant.
As I evaluated my relationships up until that point compared to the 4 types of love mentioned above, I fully understood what had been said to me. Though it hurt I was glad to have clarity. From my perspective when you’re in-love with someone you love them in all 4 ways. The love for a spouse/mate is the only love that encourages all 4 to be combined into 1 experience or relationship.
When you are in-love with someone you usually begin with a love for them as you do your friends. At some point you create a connection that includes intimacies and sharings that are only meant for romantic relationships. And very soon you will find yourselves loving one another as you do your family. And as Christians, I am sure that the selfless, supernatural love we are to have for all was in it from the start ;)!
Why dear Olivia Are you talking about all of this? Because I think that quite a few people consider all of this. Not everyone takes time to think about how and why we love people, and what that converts to in our actions and words. This is in no way meant to admonish a lack of loving expressions. Even though we should all consider how we treat and express our love to our mates based on what space we are loving them from. But I am looking from the other side.
I could talk all day about what we should and could do for our mates. Most of us reading this already know these things. We may not always do those things, or do them the best when we do. When we don’t we often beat ourselves up to a point of immobility. Remorse is a natural response when we disappoint someone we love. But it should not hold us or our relationship hostage. What I want to challenge is for us to look from your mate’s heart at you in those moments.
You know they are in-love with you, right? If the answer is yes, then why don’t you trust them to love you through your errors, faults, and shortcomings? That’s what we are to do as Christians. I could just leave that right there. But listen, that’s how we are to love our family and friends too. So, why in the world do we think that the 1 person in the world who has godly love for us, endears us as a friend, cares for us as family, and is romantically involved with us would not be willing to look beyond your flaws and have forgiveness and compassion for you…and STILL love you?
There are “deal breakers” for some people, and I understand that. I am not talking about those things. When you are completely loved by someone as Christ intends mates to; at some point you have to trust that they will love you over the potholes and speed bumps. “Yeah, you made my head jerk and may have scratched my new rims a bit. But I still love you.” Too many of us have missed out on sincere love because of this.
We basically think that people only love our goodness. Nah son! If I’m in-love with you I love all of you. We aren’t perfect. You may irritate me. But that’s okay. I’m sure I irritate you too, and you still love me! The things we are scared to share usually are 1. not so bad, and 2. what has shaped our character. Many people have to move from the fear of shame and criticism and trust in God’s work and love in our mate to be like Him in times of pain or frustration.
This is one storm that many couples do not get past. It can be painful to watch. I implore you all to trust the God in your mate. Trust the love they have for you. Trust that with those things plus sincerity, prayer, and communication you will be loved perpetually without reservation.