On Jan 22nd, 2011 I said these words “I, Peter, take you Chanel, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. The officiate asked me something and I said “I do”. When I said those words, I meant them. On that day I thought I loved my new wife. It’s been six years and I’m still learning what love is. When we got married we thought “true love ” was what we had. The truth is we were wildly infatuated with each other.
According to the Greek language and renowned authors such as C.S. Lewis there are 4 types of love.
1. Agape. Love in a “spiritual” sense, unconditional and selfless.
2. Eros. Physical love. Passion, sensuality, and longing.
3. Philia. Love in a mental sense. Family and long lasting friendships, as well as lovers.
4. Storge. Natural affectionate love. The love new parents immediately have for their infant child.
When we got married we had a LOT of Eros love. Eros love, however, does not last forever. There is a point in time where you must have Agape love for your marriage to last. We got to that point around October 2011, 9 months after we got married. Luckily for us we started plugging into some mind blowing training on communication and relationships that quite frankly saved our marriage. My wife comes from a divorced home and no one ever sat me down and gave me steps 1 through 10 on how to stay married for a long time. However, my parents have been married 24+ years, my grandparents married for 49+ years and my great grandparents were married for 67 years before they died within months of each other. Marriage is a commitment in my family.
Now here’s the thing that no one tells you; it’s not just about “staying married”, any fool can stay married. It’s about having a relationship with that person that is unconditional and selfless. You put their needs before yours. You wake up wanting to make their day better, not the other way around. When you’ve been working all day long and you just want to sit down and complain but you don’t. THAT, is agape love. Agape love stands by your side while you go through chemotherapy, or when you’ve been blinded by a roadside attack in Iraq, or when you can’t pay the bills, or when your business is failing or when you’ve just simply made a mistake. Agape love will be there for you. Agape love will help you carry your cross. Agape love remains until death forces a treacherous departure.
There is one day in my life that I fear more than anything and that’s the day that my wife will no longer live on this Earth but will move on to spending eternity in Heaven. It quite honestly scares me to think about having to go through this life without her. She’s my rock. She is my encourager when I’ve had a bad day at work. She is my hope when all else is failing. She’s my joy when nothing is funny. She’s the mother to our son and of the other child on the way. When I married her she was a 19 year old college student who worked part time at Forever 21. In the last 4 years since I met her she has come so far! I’ve grown too, definitely, but my wife? Wow. I often wonder who this beautiful woman is. The fact that God has blessed me with her BLOWS MY MIND. I can’t comprehend it.
“I do” becomes “I can’t” or “I won’t” or “I don’t” because YOU make a choice. It’s a choice to have a long and prosperous marriage with your best friend. It is absolutely a choice to cheat on your spouse. It’s a choice to stay “really good friends” with your ex girlfriend or ex boyfriend and it’s a choice to make your spouse the one and only desire of your heart and mind. Agape love makes that choice everyday. Agape love chooses to work on it’s marriage. Agape love remains faithful to the end.
There needs to be an environment of honor and respect. YOU have to be the one that makes the change. Start acting like the spouse you want to have and watch what happens. Your marriage will completely transform, not overnight, but overtime, because Eros is temporary, but Agape is forever.