15.2 Love And Marriage.

15.2

Section Two: The Personal Characteristics of a Godly Life.

Our current theme: Characteristic Two: Being Love Motivated.                                   

Our reading for today: 1st Corinthians 7: 3-6 (MsgB)

It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.

I’m guessing there aren’t too many out there who are old enough to remember the Frank Sinatra hit song (1955), Love and Marriage.

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
Go together like a horse and carriage.
This I tell you brother,
You can’t have one without the other.

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
It’s an institute you can’t disparage.
Ask the local gentry,
And they will say it’s elementary.

Try, try, try to separate them.
It’s an illusion.
Try, try, try, and you will only come,
To this conclusion.

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
Go together like a horse and carriage.
Dad was told by mother,
You can’t have one without the other.

The lyrics of this golden oldie seem rather quaint by today’s standards, but the truth is…when human beings try their hand at marriage and not realize how much love is truly needed to make the whole thing work, there’s really not much hope that the relationship will actually make it.

In truth, a successful marriage takes a whole lot of lovin’…and as we discussed earlier, from a New Testament Greek perspective, there are a variety of different “loves” needed to make a relationship like marriage work.

First, of course, is eros love. We get our English word erotic from this ancient Greek word, but we mustn’t think that eros is referencing x-rated sexual activity alone. In truth, no marriage between a man and a woman can really be successful long-term without the God-given gift of eros love. Sadly, eros is often mis-understood and mis-used in a culture like ours which is driven by a type of sexuality that borders, at times, on the edge of bestiality, where sexual activity becomes so self-satisfying and self-consumed, it becomes all about getting rather than giving. True eros love, when understood as a gift from God to a husband and a wife, can become one of the biggest two-way blessings we human beings can have in this often heart-less, feeling-less world we live in. It’s our ability to control eros love that Paul is talking about in today’s passage from 1st Corinthians!

Next up is phileo love. The city of Philadelphia, PA takes it name from this ancient Greek word and is nicknamed “The City of Brotherly Love.” You see, the very best marriages begin and end with phileo love, where the couple becomes the best-est of friends to one another, sticking it out with each other, going through thick and thru thin long after eros love has become a distant memory!

That brings us now to the third kind of love needed to make our marriages a success. We’ve been referencing it for several blog sessions now. It’s name is agape love, and we’re defining it here as a God-breathed un-ending, un-relenting, un-conditional, un-limited, un-equaled, out-of-this-world type of love!

As I see it, the gift of agape love is the naturally-supernatural love that is given by our Creator to those who realize marriage just won’t work without the daily in-breaking of God’s love which enables us to love our spouse as Jesus loves them. Sadly, many marriages don’t make it because couples fail to access this type of love that is readily available for those who will humble themselves to ask. Pride and self-sufficiency, you see, are the enemies of agape love. Indeed, a great marriage is one where God is breathing His agape love into both the husband and the wife, enabling them to love beyond their human strength.

My prayer: Father, in today’s self-centered and self-seeking society, it’s easy to make marriage into a “what’s in it for me?” institution. Yet, Your Word states that I’m to become otherly in my motivations, allowing agape love to permeate my relationship with my spouse. I choose Your way, Jesus, not mine. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: Am I allowing all three types of human love (eros, phileo, and agape) to be utilized and blessed by God in my marriage? Which love is being over-emphasized and/or which love is being over-looked?

So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?

Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!

If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others! 

Click here to go onto the next session in the series…

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