Tag Archives: dating

What Is Love?

What is love? Valentine’s Day makes this a pertinent question.  My favorite writer on the subject didn’t get married until he was 58, and even then it was for charitable, not romantic, reasons. 

C. S. Lewis married Joy Gresham in a government office to provide her with British citizenship.  A few months later Joy was diagnosed with cancer, and her condition deteriorated rapidly.  Jack, as Lewis was known by his friends, chose to love and care for Joy.  The feeling between them grew, and nearly a year after the marriage of convenience there was a hospital wedding presided over by a clergyman from the Church of England.  “Till death do we part” was a potent reality.  Joy left the hospital to convalesce.  It was not until this point that she moved in with Jack.  God worked and Joy’s cancer went into remission.  Jack and Joy lived happily for three more years, until the cancer returned and she died.  Jack wept.

C. S. Lewis understood love as no one else whom I’ve read on the subject.  At first this understanding was philosophical and academic.  He wrote The Four Loves, a magnificent work describing the different types of love and their corresponding relationships.  Lewis used Greek words to define each love.  “Agape’ “ is God’s unconditional gift love, exemplified in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.  “Philos” is the love between family and friends, called “the milk of human kindness” by Plato.  “Eros” is erotic or sexual love, designed by God to exist between one man and one woman for life.  Finally, “storge’ “ is what we would call “affection”.  It is found in each of the previous three loves, expressing itself appropriately in different relationships.

Lewis’s relationship with Joy demonstrated the truth of his philosophical approach to love. Follow the progression through these Four Loves. Lewis began by showing Joy Gresham God’s kind of love (agape’). His actions were not based on passion or feeling. His decision to marry was something he did for her benefit, not his own. When she became sicker, Lewis continued to show compassion by helping her. The friendship (philos) between Jack and Joy deepened, affection grew (storge’), feelings became stronger. Even though Joy was at the point of death, Jack wanted to marry her “in the eyes of God.” They had arrived at a point in their relationship where they wanted nothing and no one else but each other (eros). They lived together as man and wife and presumably enjoyed intimacy until Joy died.

What is love?  It is indeed a “many splendored thing,” but fundamentally love is a genuine concern for another person.  Love is the commitment to act in the best interest of the beloved, regardless of self-interest.  So, the next time you are attracted to someone, ask yourself:  is this really love?  Then don’t act on the basis of your desire or feeling.  Do what is right, and what is best, for the one you love.

Give Them Space and Time


People need space, time to make their own decisions. God grants each of us freedom; we must do the same for one another.

If you are in a relationship. You need to trust the other person. Don’t automatically assume the worst. If she hasn’t called or texted in the last hour, it doesn’t mean she’s cheating on you! If you cannot trust each other, why are you in the relationship?

Give him space to have his own friends. You don’t have to be together every free waking moment! When you give each other space, the relationship will mature and improve. If your partner is cheating, it’s a heart problem, which wouldn’t have been solved by keeping them on a short leash. In fact, untrusting relationships breed duplicity. If he’s going to cheat, he’s going to cheat. Give him space and you’ll discover it soon enough. Then end the relationship and give him all the space he needs.

When you are in a position of authority, it is important to seek to understand and maintain sensitivity to those under your leadership.

As a parent, you must lead your child, not dominate her. Teach, direct, punish when necessary, but give her increasing amounts of space to be her own person. This child is not your “mini-me.” He is a unique individual, created in God’s image. God grants people freedom, so you must allow your child to be free. The number and types of choices you offer a child should correspond to the amount of responsibility they demonstrate. 

You must allow a child to make mistakes, then let them deal with the consequences. If your student is not doing well in school, don’t jump to the conclusion that the teacher is doing a poor job. Discover if your student is making an effort to learn. Is he behaving respectfully? Is he doing the work assigned? is he listening in class? If so, find out if he has a learning disability. Does he need glasses? Does he have a hearing problem? Work WITH the teacher. Don’t fall for the common excuse, “That teacher doesn’t like me.” Find out from the teacher, apart from your student, if there is a personality conflict. If the teacher is frustrated with your student, they may need to express it more objectively, rather than letting feelings determine their actions. Either way, find out WHY this teacher doesn’t like your angel? Your student may be responding to the teacher with disrespect, which should never be acceptable.

If your teen shoplifts, take him back to the store and make him give the item back. If he is arrested, it is not the end of the world. If he sits in jail for awhile, he may be able to better understand that what he did should never be repeated. If you run to the rescue, the teenager may only feel that they are impervious to consequences. Most teens believe they are invulnerable any way, don’t reinforce this delusion.

If you are an employer or a manager, don’t try to resolve every dispute between your employees. They need to work things out for themselves. If a conflict persists, advise them, offer a range of options. Show your employees that you trust them to do the job for which they were hired. If you micromanage their work, refuse their suggestions, and act officiously rather than judiciously, then you are not treating them with respect. Even though you are the boss, you are not above them, they are co-workers and partners. They have a job and so do you. As the boss, you are not there simply to tell them what to do, but to equip, empower and enable them to do the work for which you have made them responsible. When they make mistakes, correct them, teach them. If they are incorrigible, fire them. They will learn from this too.

People deserve respect because they are made in the image of God. People respond best when you give them space and time to learn and grow and be who God created them to be.