3 loves to equal happily ever after

I have had a conversation with several people lately about the difference between love and being in-love with someone.  For that reason, I decided to re-publish this post I wrote about 3 years ago.  While after 3 years, the way that I would have written it differs slightly, but the ideals are the same and thus I stand by it (basically, I didn’t edit what I previously wrote).  The best part, after an additional 3 years of marriage, the addition of one child (currently 16 months) and a second on the way, the love I feel for my husband has only grown stronger and deeper and I can stand by this assessment that much more. 🙂



>Due to a conversation I had with my mom about a week ago, I have been stewing over how to verbally explain the difference between “love” and being “in love.” Some would argue that the line is too faint and there is too much gray to be able to adequately distinguish the two, but I beg to differ, greatly.

I know that there are probably millions of definitions that someone could give, and to their credit, I believe them (or most of them) to be fairly accurate. The reason is that love expresses itself in many different manifestations along the path of one’s lifetime. There is such thing as puppy love (think elementary kids who are starting to notice that there is a difference between boys and girls and thinking that it is a good thing). There are crushes (mostly in and out in the teen years, noticing a boy or girl in a new light and becoming infatuated with hanging out with them). I also know that there are times when love in its first part of development causes a person to think that they are in the relationship that will last forever only to find that they are irritated with that same person incessantly.) So what is the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone.

I love and am in love with my husband. That being said, I would say that there have been 2 others in my past that I have loved, but was never truly in love with them–making all of the difference in the world. Some would flip my definitions, but as it stands I consider being in love the key to a true and lasting love.

In the Greek, there are 3 words that describe love. Philio, Aeros, and Agape. Most people have heard of them and know their differences (in order, friendship, sexual, and sacrificial). That being said, I believe that having one of these expresses love. It is genuine, but it is everything. To be in love, to know that you are with the person that you should share the rest of your life with, you need all three. For example, my husband is my best friend. I love hanging out with him and developing that friendship through laughter and fun. But likewise, I am also incredibly sexually attracted to him. I find him appealing to all senses and I look forward to our time together in that light. But more than both of those (which are usually the 2 that you find people in when they say that they love someone), is agape. I love my husband. If there was a situation where I had to choose to save my life in turn for his, or loose my life so he would be saved, I wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice myself for him. How often does a teenager really mean it when they say they would rather die than live without their current interest (in my experience, not many and many who did say that are on to their next interest in a fairly short amount of time.)?

Most people will love someone in their lifetime…it would be very sad if they didn’t. But how many are in love to the point of sacrificial understanding of that love. I think that it is very sad that most marriages are not built on this love, but rather aeros or even philio. People believe that because they have one part (or even two) that it is enough. It isn’t. To have a successful marriage you have to understand sacrifice. And the ultimate example of that is found in the Bible through Jesus Christ. Without that, I have to take a pessimistic point of view and think the worst only because it has been proven true. But when Christ is the center and all three “loves” are included, the impossible becomes a reality and there really is such thing as “happily ever after.”


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