The Secret To Love, And How To Do It Right

Last month I wrote a post on Ephesians 5:33 and how the verse can be misused to say the Bible teaches husbands primarily need respect while wives primarily need love. The preacher I’d recently heard then presented this as the only biblical model for marriage. “Some people can’t accept this teaching,” he said, “but it’s in God’s word.” (It’s not what the verse really means when you read the whole passage in context, as you can see here: Men Need Love And Women Need Respect.)

In response to a link to the post on Twitter one person tweeted, “the point of this is when women show respect, the man feels loved & in turn loves. Causing women to show love and the Man respect.”

I’ve heard that before. I reject it.

I don’t reject it because it never happens that way. I reject it because the Bible is not a set of formulaic principles and, even more, love is not a formula. Do people really expect a religion that teaches “If she respects me, that will prompt me to love her” and “If he doesn’t see my respect as love, he is not a godly man” to be considered a faith of good news?

Love can take many forms, but it is never formulaic.


It’s Love that Makes it Love

Love is for more than just people who are married, of course. No matter who you are and who you find God has put in your life today, make love the measure of all you do.*
It's Love that Makes it Love

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. … And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13.)

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8.)


*Slide text:

You can:
Love with compassion
Love with respect
Love with enthusiasm
Love with grace
Love with laughter
Love with tears
Love with words
Love with deeds
But it’s not the compassion, respect, enthusiasm, grace, laughter, tears, words or deeds that makes it love.

It’s love that makes it love.


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10 Responses to The Secret To Love, And How To Do It Right

  1. I saw the slide you’d put up earlier in the day, Tim, but I like it even better with the paragraphs you’ve added. I agree; love is not a formula or a set of rules: “respect me, and I’ll love you.”

    • Tim says:

      I got to thinking about it more and those extra ideas came to mind so I thought I’d add them in. Glad they work. Otherwise I’d have to delete them and go back to the slide alone. Then again, blogging should not be formulaic. 😉

  2. Nancy2 says:

    Every time I hear (or read) the “men need respect, women need love” baloney, Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-PE-C-T” starts going around and around in my head.
    Sometimes certain words in secular music make more sense than the way some people “interpret” the Bible.

    • Tim says:

      That song made its way into the post I linked on Eph 5. Why anyone thinks women aren’t wired for respect as much as men is beyond me. To rely on that passage is just plain taking a single verse and trying to make a doctrine out of something that’s not there.

    • Alice Liddell says:

      Nancy, I LOVE that song! Go Aretha!

  3. Pastor Bob says:

    It builds upon itself, it grows by being fed with all of what you listed above and more.
    Agape = no short simple definition.

    • Tim says:

      Love that expresses itself in those and other ways grows. Those actions without love (if that were possible) aren’t love at all.

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