“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them, and God said to them,
“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.”
Book of Genesis 1:27-28
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother
and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Book of Genesis 2:24
One can see from the Bible and the very biology of the human body that it is natural for a man and a woman to be together. God created woman because “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). From the beginning of time, as recorded in the Book of Genesis, God planned for man and woman to unite in love and harmony for continuity of his creation, the human race.
True love between a man and a woman leads to marriage. Marriage brings mutual comfort and a family. Children are the fruit and bond of a marriage. The family provides a framework for each family member to grow as a person in love and security.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Gospel of Matthew 22:37-39
“The aim of our charge is love
that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.”
First Letter of Timothy 1:5
Love is the favorite subject of artists and poets throughout the ages. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare’s story about two star-crossed lovers, is one of the most moving plays ever written. The loving kindness of Jesus and Mary’s love for the Christ child are evident on paintings throughout the West. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote impassioned love poems to her husband Robert Browning. We are familiar with Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famous line, “Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” The poet Kahlil Gibran wrote “Love is to know the pain of too much tenderness,” and “Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” A Severe Mercy, the 1980 National Book Award winner by Sheldon Vanauken, is a romantic novel about love. Popular music is filled with the subject of love, such as the number one song Love is a Many Splendored Thing by the Four Aces in 1955; the 1929 classic Stardust, the last popular rendition by Spanky and Our Gang in 1968; My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, the theme song from the 1997 movie Titanic; and the number one country song by Josh Turner, Would You Go With Me, one of the most popular on Valentine’s Day, 2006. The beautiful love song Home by Philip Philips in 2012 is the only recording to ever make the top ten three times in one year. Love makes the world go round! 4-13
Loving someone and being loved brings happiness. There are many loves in one’s life, such as your spouse or sweetheart, your parents, your family and children, or your best friend. We all want and need love. This is essential to the human race. We need to help each other, cooperate with each other, and reaffirm each other.
Mystery and a kind of mysticism surround love. Why do people fall in love? The heart is the seat of the emotions, one of the three spiritual centers of the person, along with the intellect and the will. It was the French writer Blaise Pascal in his Pensées who said “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point” – “the heart has its reasons of which the mind knows nothing.” The higher emotions, such as love, joy, sorrow, or contrition, cannot be willed, but suddenly well up in a person, and pervade his whole being.
God is important to your love relationship! Love of God grows as you mature in life. We become grateful for all his gifts, such as the beauty of creation and our family. And we become especially grateful for his forgiveness when we fall. His gifts to us are so plentiful that it is only just that we love him. We begin to appreciate that “God is love!” (I John 4:8). He is a wonderful example of love, because His love is unconditional. We are the happiest when we are living in harmony with God and nature. Someone who loves God will strive to be good, honest, and faithful, and develop all the values necessary to sustain a love relationship through the years. Loving God means you are both trying to live His way and that you are being fair and true to each other.
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) stresses this important point in Works of Love: “Worldly wisdom thinks that love is a relationship between man and woman. Christianity teaches that love is a relationship between man-God-woman, that is, that God is the middle term.” He then contrasts this with romantic love: “when love ceases, people say these two have a ‘falling out.’ The bond is broken. When a relationship is only between two, one always has the upper hand in the relationship by being able to break it, for as soon as one has broken away, the relationship is broken. But when there are three, one person cannot do this. The third, as mentioned, is love itself, which the innocent sufferer can hold to in the break, and then the break has no power over him.”
Love gives one a sense of immortality. The existentialist Kierkegaard described love as uniting the temporal with the eternal. This is best understood when you lose someone you love, such as your mother or father. Even though your loved one has died and is no longer with you on earth, your love lives on for the one you cherish.
Karol Wojtyla, who became our beloved Pope John Paul II, wrote about the development of love in his book Love and Responsibility in 1960. In true love between a man and woman, there is an evolution from attraction and desire to a feeling of good will towards the other person. A healthy integration of sensuality, sentiment, and loving kindness takes place, so that one looks at the other with love, and treasures the other person. Chastity is important, for each person moderates desire and sexuality to allow friendship, tenderness, and a spiritual bond to grow. If you truly love someone, you feel responsible for them. Love finds its natural and proper expression in the union of two persons. Respect for the dignity of the beloved is given in union through marriage. Both man and woman affirm each other, until a commitment of the will and union through marriage takes place, a self-surrender of each for the other.
C. S. Lewis in his book The Four Loves describes four kinds of human love: affection, romantic love, friendship, and the love of God. Storge, or affection, is the natural love a parent has for a child. Eros, or romantic love, is the desire two have for each other. Plato considered eros something like poetic rapture upon seeing the beauty of another. Eros is the longing for the beauty and company of the beloved when two persons fall in love. This is in contrast to someone who has sexual desire without being in love, who wants to use the other strictly for selfish pleasure. A utilitarian relationship, in which the sexual partner becomes an object for use, holds no long-term possibility for joy, fulfillment, or happiness, but rather leaves one empty, disappointed, and ultimately alone. Philia is the love of friendship, but may have conditions. It gives, but may expect something equal in return. Agape is true, unconditional love, a generosity of spirit which gives and expects nothing in return. It is the love that God has for us. It is love at the highest level. The more true love there is between a man and a woman, or among family and friends, the more successful the relationship.
The following are some famous Biblical passages about love and choosing a husband or wife.
“Place me as a seal upon your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its ardor endures to the grave.
It burns with blazing flame,
a raging fire.
Torrents of rain cannot quench love;
nor floods sweep it away.
Song of Songs 8:6-7
Love is patient,
love is kind;
love is not jealous or boastful;
it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 13:4-8
For this is the will of God, your sanctification:
that you abstain from sexual immorality;
that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor,
not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God.
First Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians 4:3-5.