I have been re-reading the book The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. I am not the type of person who usually re-reads books. In my mind, once is enough… and I’d usually rather experience something new than get board with a story I already know.
This book, however, is totally re-read worthy. If you are married, planning to become married, or have and interest in marriage whatsoever I HIGHLY recommend this book!
One concept that has stuck with me this week is the concept that there are two ways to view the love we have for one another in our marriages…
The first, and most common way to view love is this:
The feelings and passions you have for someone that make you want them. This form of “I love you” expresses the fact that “you make me happy” – ” you make me feel complete” – “I want to be around you” – “you are good to me” – “you fulfill my needs and wants” – “I like you” – “I like being around you” – “you make me laugh” ect.
The second, and least common way to view love is this:
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (1)
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (2)
WOW! In the first view we see what movies, books, and our human mindset tell us that love should be. In the second view, we see what the Bible says it actually is … contrary to popular belief, the love that you have for someone cannot be measured by how much you want the other person, but rather, how much you are willing to sacrifice for them.
The book The Meaning of Marriage puts it like this….
“How much are you willing to lose for the sake of this person? How much of your freedom are you willing to forsake? How much of your precious time, emotion, and resources are you willing to invest in this person? … In many cases, when one person says to another, ‘I love you, but let’s not ruin it by getting married,’ that person really means, ‘I don’t love you enough to give myself to you that thoroughly.’ to say ‘I don’t need a piece of paper to love you’ is basically to say, ‘My love for you has not reached the marriage level.'” (3)
What if we were all to take this view of love into our marriages? That our love for our spouses is to be expressed in the pouring out of our lives for them, making great sacrifices for them. That we would not allow our love to be calibrated by how well they are meeting our needs…. but by how much we are pouring out our lives.
Food for thought! What do you think of these opposing views of love? Have you seen a case in a friend’s life or maybe even your own where one or both people in a relationship isn’t willing to commit due to the great personal cost?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
(1) John 15:13
(2)1 John 3:16
(3) Keller, Timothy. The Meaning of Marriage. London: Dutton, 2011. Hardback.
Photo credit for ring photo: Dax Photography, Missoula MT