Monday, February 13, 2017

Expressing Love

Valentine's Day is dreaded by many people for different reasons. One of those reasons is it serves as a reminder that they do not a human professing romantic (eros) love. For some, February 14th is "National Singles Awareness Day." Some joke about it, some cry about, but the fact remains - our culture has made romantic expressions of love a priority, when in reality, it is just the surface!

Another reason is they feel it has become commercialized and the people benefiting the most are in the flower, card, chocolate, and jewelry businesses. They see Valentine's Day as an "industry."

A third reason has been raised - we should express love 365 days a year and not just one. That expressing love should always be our goal and by setting one day aside we excuse lazy expressions of love for 364 days.

WHAT IF.... We changed the way we view love?

There is more to love than eros! We have phileo, (friendship) love, as well as agape (commitment) love.

Of the three Greek words for love and their meanings, eros is the more selfish love ("I want you") compared to phileo ("I like you") and agape ("I love you unconditionally). There is nothing wrong with wanting (or having) all three but at the end of the day, I want to know my friends, including my husband, are committed to me and love me unconditionally; and that is what I want my friends, including my husband, to know. I will work on having and expressing that kind of love.

WHAT IF... We changed the way we expressed love?

Here are some ways we can express love deeper than eros.

Phileo - mutual love:

  • Spend time with people you love versus seeking their attention.
  • Give them companionship versus pleasure.
  • Instead of "wooing" them, work at improving areas of communication.
  • Show them you want to walk side-by-side; not wanting them by your side (mental shift of how you view them).  
Agape - unselfish love:
  • In addition to giving them time, give them your trust.
  • In addition to giving them companionship, give them yourself.
  • In addition to working at improving communication, see their worth, independent of anything they do (or don't do).
  • While being side-by-side, be on their side. 

Change begins with us, as individuals! Let's show phileo and agape love to those around us. We can make Valentine's Day more than a day for lovers. We can make it about showing the love of Jesus to those around us, family, friend, acquaintance, and stranger.

Jesus loves us with agape love. Take a moment and soak these lyrics in, "O, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus," written by Samuel Trevor Franics, arranged by Tom Fettke:

For my single family and friends, if this day reminds you of something/someone you don't have but want, I am sorry! My prayer is you are shown love by others in abundant ways that remind you of our Father's love. I pray people express their love to you in powerful ways that leave you cherishing those relationships. I love you.

For my family and friends in romantic relationships, I pray you are challenged to look beyond flowers, cards, chocolate, and jewelry and give the ones you love your time and trust. Find some chore you have put off and do it because it means something to your loved one. Tell them how much they mean to you and affirm their gifts. Remember, "love unexpressed is love unknown."

For my family and friends who mourn the loss of their lover, I grieve with you. Many widows and widowers impact my life and my marriage from your life experiences of love. Thank you. I love you.

#ValentinesDay #NationalSinglesAwarenessDay #Agape #Phileo #Eros

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