Lost That Lovin' Feelin'

What if I no longer feel love for my spouse?

There are four words used to describe love in the Greek language. There is storge love which is a naturally-bonded love between family members. Philia love is the love we have for friends. The romantic love that began our relationship is eros love. It is normal for eros love to rise and fall in a relationship. But, what do we do when we no longer feel eros love toward our spouse? That’s when we must fall back on the fourth type of love, agape.

Agape love is a self-sacrificing love given without demands, expectations of repayment, or ulterior motives. It is not given out of pride, for a pat on the back, for personal gain and no condition must be met by the receiver. Agape love has little to do with the feeling of love and much to do with self-denial for the sake of another, with another’s best interest in mind. It’s the acts of service given not only to those easy-to-love but to the obnoxious, intolerable, unlovable, and those who don’t deserve love. The second greatest commandment (after the first which is to love God with everything in us) is to love others, all of them.

Agape love is awakened when we realize God’s agape love for us. We only understand agape love because He agape loved us first. (1 John 4:19) We will never be able to truly agape love someone until we have grasped how wide, long, high, and deep is God’s love and sacrifice for us. When we experience His love and comprehend our worth, we have so much more agape love to give, not from our broken, empty hearts but from hearts completely repaired and filled to their brims by Him.

What does agape love look like in a marriage?

  • Serving our spouse even after our hearts were broken by them.
  • Not bringing up past wrongs.
  • Loving with no strings attached – strings like doing the dishes for the purpose of getting some action in bed or giving in bed with intentions to get them to work on that honey-do list.
  • Giving a back rub with no expectation for a returned massage.
  • Offering grace when they were late and gave no notice or apologies.
  • Turning down a high-paying job that comes with status but requires much time away from home and, instead, choosing the job that meets a minimum budget but renders plenty of time for family and connection.
  • Running to the store in the middle of the night to get medicine or that food they’re craving.
  • Letting go of “being right” and “I told you so.”
  • Listening without interjecting our own opinions and advice.
  • Asking for their advice, even when we really don’t care.
  • Cheering them on even though our own dreams weren’t supported.
  • Protecting their reputation even when they’ve hurt us.
  • Cheerfully allowing them to spend a little extra on their hobby, though their hobby brings us no pleasure.
  • Showing respect through our words and tone even when we don’t admire their recent decisions.
  • Serving them with gratitude instead of grumbling.
  • Remaining humble, open, and teachable rather than defensive.
  • Continuing to serve them when no appreciation has been given.
  • Praying good things for their life.

If we ask ourselves, Am I doing this to get something in return? and our answer is, Yes, we have ulterior motives and our spouse has become a business transaction instead of a lifelong companion. I believe in most cases, when eros love is lost, falling back on agape love will eventually reawaken eros love.

This is pure love. This is our calling.

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