It has occurred to me recently that when I say "I love you" to my husband, it doesn't really convey all that I want it to mean.
Have you ever noticed this with your spouse and other loved ones?
Sometimes it means "I think you're fantastic for what you just did." "I appreciate you a lot." "I am so attracted to you." "I am crazy about you." "I have this inexpressible warm feeling in my heart that needs to be expressed some way, so this is what I'm saying." Or maybe that last one is just me...
Anyway, sometimes I feel like "love" can be expressed better in actions than in words. The English language just doesn't always cut it. Of course, if I knew Greek, I would be very familiar with several other variations of the word, each with a very specific meaning denoting a relationship between two people. The four main ones are, in my own words (thanks to Wikipedia for the reminder):
Agape: A selfless love, the kind that God has for us, and that he expressed by sending his Son Jesus to live, die and rise for us. This kind of love--the kind that gives up everything for someone else--is the love discussed in 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 3, among others.
Eros: Passionate, sexual love and attraction. This kind of love is intended to only be expressed between a husband and wife. When perverted, Eros turns into lust.
Philia: A loyal, friendly love, the kind of affection expressed between friends.
Storge: A natural affection, most specifically the love between parents and children.
In marriage, the three kinds of love that are most expressed are Agape, Eros and Philia. These three in combination create the full, maturing, growing love that God designed marriage to have.
Marriage isn't just passion. It isn't only friendship, although a marriage wouldn't be complete without those two beautiful elements. The kind of love in a marriage is one that says, "I'm sticking with you for life, no matter what happens, and I'd do anything for you, even when you drive me bonkers. Nobody can ever get between you and me, and I'll feel the same way about you in fifty years as I do now."
So should I go through that litany with my husband every day? Well, I could. It would probably be a good thing. But it's expressed in our actions (not perfectly but we do try).
Every day, I get up and make breakfast for my husband and me.
He gets up and gets ready to go to class and work, so that he can provide for our family.
I take care of cleaning the bathroom and doing other things around the house, whether I feel like it or not.
He takes care of doing the taxes, paying bills, taking care of the car, and other things, whether he likes doing it or not.
We are kind and considerate toward each other (almost always), and when we mess up with each other, we work through the problem and forgive each other, because we don't want a disagreement to build up and fester.
We have each other's backs, and support and defend one another.
We encourage each other, praise each other's good qualities, and point out (kindly) when the other is sinning or at fault.
These and many other things my husband and I do because we love each other. Passion isn't necessarily part of what I listed, although it is that kind of love that helps drive our desire to serve each other.
We're best friends, partners, a team, and lovers.
Love is all of that. And sometimes, I have found, that is best expressed in actions, especially when those actions are combined with words.
So tell me: How do you express love for your spouse and those around you? What do you say? What do you do?
Linking with Time-Warp Wife, Far Above Rubies, To Love, Honor and Vacuum