There’s probably no more important word to define marriage than this one: love. But what is love, really? Is it simply an emotion we feel, or is it something deeper?
In some ways, you can’t fault most of us in the English-speaking world for being confused. The word love has itself become something of a generic term in American culture. The richness of its meaning has been lost.
Ancient Greek had four different words for love, each of them conveying a very particular nuance. But English is a different story. There’s just one word, and it carries a variety of different meanings depending on the context. We say, “I love my spouse,” and in the next breath utter something like, “I love potato chips.” One word. Two very different meanings.
“Love” has nearly been reduced to slang rather than respected as a word that communicates something powerful about relationships and marriage. Its deeper significance has been too easily forgotten.
God designed love to be experienced in a much richer and meaningful way than the good feelings we enjoy while we’re dating that motivate us to step toward marriage in the first place. Love is a commitment to action first and foremost. It requires thoughtfulness, sacrifice, patient listening, and affirmation. A happy and deeply satisfying marriage comes from giving yourselves to one another sacrificially.
World-renowned Christian apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias described it this way to an audience of college students:
“Marriage means handing over yourself, your body, your future, your keeping, to the one whom you dearly love, although this person may, in many ways, remain a stranger. This tremendous act of faith is something that can unlock in each lover powers of compassion, generosity, joy, passion, fidelity and hope that no one guessed was even there. That is why the confidence of young lovers is not foolish or arrogant, but an expression of a basic fact in human experience, that the greatest of human gifts are set to work only when people are prepared to risk everything.”
Over the past couple of days, we’ve been airing a classic recorded message delivered to college students by Dr. Zacharias titled, “I, Isaac, Take You, Rebekah” (part I and part II). Drawing from Genesis 24:10-27, the story of Isaac’s pursuit of Rebekah, Dr. Zacharias will deepen your biblical understanding of dating and of love and commitment in marriage.
Early in a relationship, it’s easy to believe the warm feelings will never fade, but lasting love gets to something richer and more meaningful than feelings alone. Join us on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app. Dr. Zacharias’ book “I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah” is available in our online bookstore.