What does love really have to do with it?

I have to start off every post with this – just in case someone does a Google search for a Houston wedding photographer and comes across my post, let me say that I am indeed a Houston wedding photographer, but over the years that I have have the honor of shooting weddings, I have been saddened to see so many of the couples that have the joy, elation, excitement, bliss, etc. on their wedding day be shattered months or years later because they didn’t start their marriage on the proper foundation.  With that in mind, I sometimes posts on relationship topics to help couples prepare for the road ahead because, as they used to say in the cartoon PSA’s that I watched as a kid, “knowing is half the battle”.

So let’s talk a little about love.  The couples I meet with seem SO happy during the wedding planning process, the smiles on their faces and the looks in their eyes when I am shooting their engagement session or the joy the bride shares when I am shooting her bridal photo tell me that love is in the air, but getting it to last beyond the wedding is key.

While I am looking at this from a Christian perspective, it applies across the board regardless of your belief.  I will deal with three different words that are often translated “love” and what they mean and how it affects your relationship.  What do people want in a marriage?  A friend, a lover, a companion, a protector, a supporter, an encourager, or all of the above?  By looking closely at the types of love displayed in relationships, you can determine which of these you will find and keep in your marriage.

Agape – This is a sacrificial love, one that seeks what is best for the other person over yourself.  Understand, agape does not require you to become a doormat because there are boundaries in every relationship, but Agape is ‘choosing to love” and not expecting anything in return.  This is difficult in most relationships because we often feel used or mistreated when our love is not acknowledged, but Agape chooses to continue to love anyway.  We Christians believe that it is the love Christ had for us when He gave his life on our behalf.  so in a marriage, you have to carefully consider how much you are willing to sacrifice for the other person’s well being.  Ask yourself, “What am I willing to give up for my spouse?”

Eros – This is the emotional and often physical side of the relationship.  during the dating and engagement phase of the relationship, there is rarely a problem with this type of love.  Eros is the love at first site.  Eros is the romance, Hallmark cards, candlelight dinners, 40 text messages a day, “I can’t wait to see you again”,  hand holding, passion, etc.  that makes the relationship exciting and keeps you coming back for more.  Gary Chapman in his book “Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married”, says that this type of love often lasts less than two years and while it can cycle back and forth in the relationship, this is usually the cause of many breakups and affairs because couples don’t “feel in love” anymore and it’s because they base everything on Eros.

Phileo – This is the love of friendship and acceptance.  As a couple, what do you have in common?  what do you like to do together?  While you don’t have to be identical twins, it helps to share something in common to have a starting point.  As time progresses, you learn more about the other person and their likes and dislikes and learn more about yourself as well.  Phileo love is the love that shares the heart with confidence.  Confidence in the fact that the person will still be accepted no matter what.  Phileo allows you to communicate openly and share your deepest thoughts, desires, fears, etc.  The best thing to have in a marriage is to have your spouse as your best friend!

There are other words that are translated love that would make this post longer than I would like, so I will share them later and also share more about these three, but I would ask that you closely examine where you are currently in your relationship and where these three types of love are in your relationship as well so that you can not only build a strong foundation for your marriage, but maintain a healthy and affair-proof marriage as well.

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