Marriage Mistake #10 – Believed Love was Only a Feeling

Love not a feelingWhen I was first married I felt that my love for my husband was completely.

I woke up thinking about him and didn’t stop until I laid down at night. But even then he invaded my sleep as my “dream guy!”

I felt those sweet butterflies when he walked into the room. I swooned when he kissed me. And the stronger those feelings became, the more I was convinced of my love for him . . . until he started acting not so lovely.

Of course, it wasn’t as if all of a sudden that he started acting unlovely. But this wasn’t really about him at all. I think I just started to love him less. In other words . . .
[Tweet “I allowed myself to believe a lie—that love is only a feeling. #loveismore”]

I have to admit, I was raised in church and learned all about the many types of love that the Greek translation of the New Testament describes.

Greek Words for Love:

  • Agape which means unconditional, sacrificial, Christ-like love.
  • Eros is a passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. In fact the word, “erotic” comes from this word.
  • Philia or Phileo means friendship or brotherly love.
  • Storge means a natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.

In contrast, the English language uses the same word to describe the love we have for a spouse as the love we have for a McDonalds Cheeseburger! (Not even in the same ballpark!) In effect, the English language makes no distinction between unconditional or sacrificial love and feelings of pleasure or affection that we often associate with love.

Now, I’m not blaming the English language for my lapse in truly loving my spouse. And I’m not even blaming my spouse for my lack of love due to his sometimes “unlovely” actions.

I’m blaming myself for believing the lie that love shouldn’t take effort—that I simply was a conduit for a blissful wave of feelings from my mate that I considered to be evidence of true love.

Yeah, right!

Okay, let me back up just a bit. I don’t think I realized, at that time, that my intellectual understanding of biblical or “agape love” was being trumped by my . . . (gasp!) self-love. 😉

Don’t know if there’s a Greek word for that . . . Uh, maybe narcissistic? Busted! (Boy, those Greeks really do have every base covered, don’t they?!)

Here’s my point:
Love, especially in marriage, takes a strong commitment to give even when we feel like we have nothing left to give. It requires a power that reaches beyond who we are. It requires a power that can only be found in Jesus Christ. It does not hinge on feelings, because feelings come and go.

It hinges on the Everlasting One.

I also want to make it clear that I still fall prey to this deception. I’m more aware of it when it occurs now, but it’s still so tempting to rely on my feelings. It may take me a moment or even a day or two to realize it, but when I do, I make a different choice now.

I “agape” my husband! How about you?

“Love . . . always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13:7-8

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