Sunday, June 21, 2009

Becoming a Better Lover (marital focus)

We will look at three Greek words meaning love used in the scriptures: Eros, Agape, Philia
(we could name others - the Greeks had more than 10 words for love, but these three will cover the concept)

#1. Eros (need love) - the natural desire to fill (fulfill) self by receiving.
This is generally associated with romantic love. Eros tends to be emotional, intense, stimulating, exciting; it is heartfelt, passionate - maybe sexual, always sensual.
Eros is characterized by: need, desire, longing, hunger.
Eros says: "I want, I need, I desire. I gotta have..... Therefore, I seek, I accept, I receive, I demand, I take......"

Notes about eros:
This is not all bad!!!
1. We are created needy. Gen. 2:18 (physically, spiritually, emotionally, relationally)
2. if we don't receive (what's needed), we do not thrive, and may not survive.

BUT, (because of fallen nature)
We struggle to obtain not only what we need, but also what we think we need!!! (ie: what we want...) - which leads to distortion and perversion of "need love'. Phil. 3:18 & 19

#2. Agape (gift love) - characterized by giving --- meeting needs without thought of return or recompense.
Illustration: a mother's love for her newborn child. She gives and gives out of love expecting and receiving nothing in return.
Christians have expanded the classical usage to describe God's love.
a. God's love toward us. John 3:16, Rom. 5:8
Therefore, b. our love for one another 1 Cor. 13:4-8
and therefore, c. marital/spousal love Eph. 5:25

A Comparison of Eros (need love) and Agape (gift love)

focus is on getting, receiving focus is on giving
seeks self fulfillment seeks mates fulfillment
says "I want, I need" says "what do you want? need?
wants the other person wants the other person's well being
something we fall into (natural, inherent) something we choose (intentional)
we feel we act
mainly of the heart of the head and hands
we marry the one we love we love the one we marry
about passion (my well being) about compassion (other's well being)
strives to dominate strives to cultivate
loves because loves although
comes easily (fall into) must work at it (rise up to)

Note: this does not mean that all eros is wrong!! Therefore, the problem is that it is so easily distorted and perverted.
Also, we are not capable of perfect agape Rom. 3:23

#3. Philia (companion love)
devoted comaraderie, solid, mature friendship, comfortable presence.
A. equals the fulfillment of Gen. 2:24 - "one flesh"
B. equals the consequences of a healthy balance of eros and agape.
C. equals God's intent (plan) for a married couple.

NOTE: philia will develop even in a bad marriage, BUT it won't bear sweet fruit.

General observations on this lesson.

Christian marriage is to be a healthy balance of these three.

#2. to achieve balance you must examine and adjust

Eros A. recognition of legitimate needs
B. control of unnecessary and illegitimate desires

Agape A. understand (God's love, plan, method of love)
B. Pursue it
and C. Do it

Philia A. Desire we do not pursue what we don't value
B. develop - take time, it's a process. also equals result of effort - "leave and cleave" are active verbs.

#3. it takes 2 to adjust a relationship
Therefore: communicate and cooperate

#4. it begins with you

#5. This is God's plan -- it works best with Him in the middle of it!!!

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