By: Cee Cee Michaela
There are four types of love that MUST be present at the same time in any marriage and love relationship to make a complete marriage. When ANY of these loves are missing, it leaves a gapping hole in the relationship. (Strive to keep these four types of love active in your marriage. It will keep it secure!)
A Complete Marriage
A marriage relationship is built over a lifetime. There are four kinds of “love” needed to make a marriage relationship complete. They are AGAPE, PHILEO, STORGE, and EROS. All are essential in a marriage.
The highest form of these types of love is agape. Agape love is an unconditional love. It loves when all other types of love quit, and cares when there is no apparent reason to care. This love comes from God into a person when they ask Jesus to come into their heart and to be their Lord and Savior. God is our example. He “…demonstrates HIS OWN LOVE [agape] toward us, in that while we were STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US” (Romans 5:8). He likewise commands all husbands to “…love [agape] your wives AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER” (Ephesians 5:25).
People make friends with others according to the kind of car they drive or what kind of clothes they wear, or their status in society. The agape love of God goes past the surface, enabling us to look deep into our mate’s heart and love them for who God has made them to be despite their faults and shortcomings.
Phileo love is the kind of love that makes agape love enjoyable. Phileo love is having tender affection toward your mate. Most friendships are built on phileo love. Phileo love is that “something” that you see in another person that draws you to be their friend. It’s one thing to unconditionally love (agape) someone who you don’t like to be around because they irritate you. It’s quite another thing to unconditionally love someone who is tenderly affectionate (phileo) toward you. THE TENDER AFFECTION OF PHILEO LOVE MAKES THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE OF AGAPE ENJOYABLE. It’s the joy of the friendship!
It has been said that phileo love is a human love. If that were the case, then why does God the Father, who is NOT a human, but a Spirit, phileo love Jesus His Son and us? Jesus said, “For the FATHER HIMSELF LOVES (phileo) YOU, because you have loved (phileo) Me…” (John 16:27).
God’s desire for the husband and wife is that they tenderly love (phileo) each other while they overlook each other’s faults and failures (agape).
Another kind of love needed in a marriage is storge. Storge is a physical show of affection that results from a pure motive. It may be a hug, a kiss, or another expression of genuine affection. Because males are different than females, the wife usually needs this kind of love more from her husband. It is important for the husband to set aside his need of companionship and meet his wife’s main need, which is affection.
Eros love is needed to make a marriage. Eros is the fulfillment of the physical sexual desire that a husband and wife show toward each other. It’s when “…the two …become ONE FLESH” (Matthew 19:5).
When all four types of love operate in a marriage, the marriage is complete. A picture of a complete marriage is a husband and wife who lay down their life for each other (agape love) no matter how many times the other offends them or causes them to have ill feelings. They both have tender affection toward each other (phileo love). They enjoy each other’s company because they’re best friends. Because they enjoy each other so much, they hug, kiss, hold hands and do nice things for their mate (storge love). Because their hearts are filled with agape, phileo and storge, a warm passionate desire arises within both of them to enjoy each other sexually (eros). Now, that kind of God-centered marriage will weather ANY storm.
We must nurture and protect ALL of these different kinds of love in our marriage. Negligence of any kind of love leaves a gaping hole in our relationship. To show you the significance and impact of this on our relationship, let’s remove one type of love at a time and see how incomplete the other three are alone.
The Missing Link
Let’s take out the highest form of love first, agape. Since agape love is unselfish the thing that will be prevalent, is selfishness. Human nature in itself is very selfish. Agape love influences and dominates all the other types of love. Selfishness will dominate phileo love. The friendship of the relationship will have a predominate undertone of “how can the friendship satisfy ME.” “If I act a certain pleasing way, I can get this.” Storge, that physical show of affection will diminish because “self” does not see it as important unless IT wants something. Eros, the passionate desire for sex, becomes one sided.
When phileo love is missing, the caring and unconditional love will still be intact, but there will be a lack of friendship in the marriage. That gooey show of affection of storge will not be as prevalent. The need for sex of eros love will be more out of honor or duty.
Storge, that physical show of affection, is normal when phileo and agape love are intact. Storge love is usually missing because of emotional or psychological problems. The wounds that were inflected from trauma, neglect or some other issue of the past must be worked through; otherwise, one partner may feel a measure of rejection because they believe that their partner does not want to be affectionate to them. It’s not that they don’t want to, but that their heart will not give them the liberty to express it. This, of course will affect the eros love. The couple’s sex life will diminish. Most likely sex will be a result of need, rather than the passionate desire that arises from the affection of storge love.