What is love? T. Tillis said, “To love and to be loved is everything.” Webster’s Dictionary defines love as, “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” For the ancient Greeks there were actually 4 words that could all be translated to the 1 English word love. The most intense of the 4 was the word agapeo. Today being Valentine’s Day, I would like to share with you 3 ways that my understanding of this word has shaped how I try to live my life:
Love is Selfless
To the Greeks, this word was used to describe how someone would love another even when that person did not deserve it. Parts of the Bible were originally written in Greek. There is a passage from Jesus Christ in the book of Matthew that uses this word. I’ve come to appreciate it over the years. It simply says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” His point there is that we would find more joy and make a greater mark on the world with our lives if we live as though others are more important than ourselves.
Love is an Action
When most people think of the meaning of love, we think of it as an emotion. We say things like, “the heart wants what the heart wants.” Consider the Webster’s definition above. To the Greeks however, love was not an emotion. It was much more. It was an action verb. They believed that to actively love (whether they felt like in the moment or not) would result in an emotional affinity. I’ve found this to be true with my wife, Lindsay. When I actively love her, somehow my heart and emotions lean in deeper.
Love is Relentless
I once heard someone say that marriage is a 50-50 endeavour. That’s not a bad paradigm. To love the way the Greeks did, however, would require 100% of me. Each day, I try to wring my life out for the sake of Lindsay and my 4 children. I try to be relentless in my love. When I love that way, they are happier and so am I.
How could it change your life and level of happiness if you loved the way the Greeks did? Sure it takes effort. I value those closest to me so much, it is worth it! That’s why I spend every day as a husband, dad, brother, son, friend, and attorney trying to do a little bit better at this than the day before.