C.S. Lewis’ book The Four Loves breaks down each type of love we experience in life. In the Bible, four Greek words are translated as our English word “love,” each with a different layer of meaning. If you’re unfamiliar with these words, here is a brief overview of the four types of love that Lewis covers:
Eros: Refers to romantic love felt toward one’s spouse. This is Greek term from which the word “erotic” is derived. Within the covenant of marriage God has given men and women a beautiful, enjoyable, and romantic relationship to enjoy.
Philia: Refers to feelings one has toward close friends, i.e., “brotherly love.” This word was used in the New Testament to describe Jesus’ love for his disciples (John 20:2) and for Lazarus (John 11:3).
Storge: This Greek word refers to the love we have for our parents, siblings, children, and other members of our extended family. Peter used this word in the negative sense in Romans 1:31 when he described the pagans he was in contact with as being without “natural affection.”
Agape: This is the kind of love we should have for all people, and for our enemies as well. It is a selfless kind of love that Christians must have to act in the best interest of all human beings. “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44).
Each of these loves exists, in part, in a marriage. And each is like a candle. It’s important that each candle is burning brightly within your marriage. Some marriages might be high on Phileo (friendship) love, but the Eros (romantic) flame has gone out. Another marriage might have the Eros candle burning brightly, while the other three forms of love are all but dead.
Is any of these flames going out in your marriage? Maybe one is growing dim, or perhaps it has grown so cold that it is encased in a block of ice, waiting to be broken out.
Many of my closest friends know that my favorite name is now Logan Pantilla. Here’s why: I prayed so long for the man with whom my daughter would ultimately experience the “four loves”. So when she met this wonderful man, named Logan Pantila, God took two things that were unique and wonderful and mashed them together into one, right before my eyes.
The night before their wedding, my good friend Nate explained how in Japanese culture a ship is launched by using an axe to sever the rope that holds the ship in place. The axe is made specifically for the occasion and is never to be used again.
This axe symbolically releases the ship and sets it forth on its journey. Nate presented Logan’s father Rus and me each with an axe that we would use to cut a rope during the wedding ceremony, symbolizing the launch of our sweet children into marriage and letting go as they become one in this new covenant relationship.
Our family motto is this: “Enriching the lives of others through the richness of our own.” Danielle and I have always shared with our children that we’ve done our best to provide rich soil for them to grow in, with the purpose of one day launching them into the world so that they can share with others the blessings they’ve received. Marriage is about letting go. We must let go to see God make two people one.
Looking at the fresh, pure love in my daughter and new son-in-law’s eyes, it’s hard to imagine that one day there could be a time when they don’t feel love for each other. Of course, I hope they always love each other, but the reality is that we’re all sinners, and eventually somebody’s gonna have a bad day. So what happens when that flame starts to grow dim?
Continued in Part II…