This is a series that we have done in our weekly bible study. The material is excellent and we wanted to make sure the whole thing is available to the reader. The material we are using is from Ed. Wheats book called, "Love Life For Every Married Couple." Although we are not including the entire text, we are creating a Reader's Digest Version-trying to include and cover the primary thoughts. It is practical, sound, biblical advice for both struggling marriages and good marriages, and also for those christians who will be getting married .The words in italics are directly from the book.

For the current study, go to our Bible Study Page

Chapt One; A Love Affair-It Can Happen To You!

Most people think of a love affair as a passionate interlude between a man and woman that are not married- atleast not to each other. The world has tried to convince people for centuries that the secretive, adulterous love in more exciting than the love that is in a marriage. But, this study will show biblical principles that contrast with that notion.

The particular concern is with the wonderful love life affair that God designed for husband and wife. He has provided all the pleasures { emotionally, spiritually and physically} known to man in their normal, healthy, satisifying form, and it is designed for every married couple, not just a favored few.

Of course, it is up to each couple to discover their design for marriage through carefully searching the bible and practical application.

We must remember that God's principles do not change, human nature does. So, it is not the intent of this study or the book's author to offer sympathy for struggling marriages or relationships. But, to offer tools to lighten or lift that struggle.

The following is a check list, and you can check it off mentally as it applies.

Let me encourage you now by saying, the relationship you would like to have, you can have, but not by accident. I have no easy overnight cure or pills to transform your marriage. You will learn to love your partner in such a way, that he or she will respond. A renewed love can come at any age and in any stage in your marriage. Even if you are trying to save your marriage enitirely on your own, it can happen. There is a chapter in this book devoted for the person who is saving his or her marriage on their own.

Allison is just one example

She has been married for 30 years, and although a devote christian, she struggles with the temptation to divorce her husband because of a long outstanding problem. He has ignored financial responsiblity. And, one above all things, is in all the years they have been married, she has never lived in a complete house. As she describes it," there are always building materials in every corner and against walls. It is frustrating to try to keep the house clean, and it is humiliating. I no longer invite guest to my home. I have lost hope. When you mentioned making our bedroom a love nest, it hurt {Remember, Allison is speaking to her marriage counsellor, Ed Wheaton} because I have always pictured something like that. But how can I with unfinished floors and everything is makeshift?"

After Allison encountered the love -life concepts that I communicate at every opportunity, she was led by the Lord to love her husband. The process began as a choice, more than her will. Each step involved another decision to do things God's way. In time, Allison's husband responded and many doors are being opened in their hearts, and are being built around the home.

My encouragment to you is this; I see miracles working in ALL marriages all the time. You and your partner can have a wonderful love affair. You can make it happen.

Check off the list we have given you. Then either mentally or better still, in a notebook, jot down what you feel is God's will for every marriage-where you think your spouse {or future mate}can improve. Now throw that way, and most important, write down where you think YOU can improve as a spouse. If you are both doing this,{focusing on how you can improve insteadof the other} you can't go wrong.

The Discovery! The faulse and the true

As a math major in college says, Prof. Wheat, I learned that if you do not start with the right premise in problem solving, there is no way that you can come up with the right answer. So, when I became a christian, I studied the bible like a mathematician. The outcome, when dealing with a topic like marriage can be more wonderful than you expect!
Of course, in order to establish an approach to marriage based on Genesis truth, we have to sometime UNlearn some concepts developed. We know this, the truth can be depended upon, and again, Godly principles do not change, human nature does.

EXAMPLE; Dean and Carol had to come to a place, after being active in the church for many years, that they were "comfortable." Carol saw Dean as a wonderful person, a good father, and a gentle man. If the thrill was gone from their marriage, Carol attributed it to the fact that they had been married for over 20 years, and their age a bit past forty.

Then her world was shaken off it's foundation when Dean admitted to an affair with someone in the church. Dean assured her that the affair had ended, but a friend of Carol's counseled her to divorce him without delay. She warned that adultery kills a marriage and Carol should not allow herself to be used as a doormat. Now, we know that adultery is a biblical cause for divorce, but it does not say we must divorce

Feeling bewildered and betrayed, Carol withdrew from Dean and the young woman kept pursueing Dean. Dean had met with the deacons of the church and confessed his wrong-doing, but then became reluctant to attend church with his wife and sons, which is exaclty where he should be. The church leaders regarded this as proof of his insincerity, and they predicted to Carol that the marriage could not be saved. They also said that Dean just wasn't right with God.

Dean became deeply depressed and considered a job transfer that would take him out of the area for 10 months. He told Carol that this separation would show them if they really loved each other other not. Carol's friend reacted with, "Just pack his bags and leave them on the front steps."

Before you continue reading, mentally, or jot down in your notebook, what you see wrong with this picture.

The author continues; When Carol told me her story, I was impressed by the fact that all the people involved in this painful situation claimed to be believers in Christ, who recognized His word as truth. Yet, each of these people displayed a lack of knowledge that could perserve and heal this marriage. The principles of love, forgiveness and restoration were violated or ignored. No wonder this couple felt frozen and helpless to do anything. Everyone went right past the healing principles and directly to just cause for divorce. Unfortunately this is a typical story.

As I worked with Carol, she began to take a long look at her own thinking and behavior. Were her choices during this crisis shaped by faulty human advice, or the eternal counsel of God?

Then something very interesting happened. She decided to turn to the word of God and follow His counsel and leave the results to Him. She also learned that when men and women reacted according to their natural inclinations, they will usually make the wrong choice.

We have a society that accepts divorce in a very matter of fact way. The webmaster of this bible study is the product of divorce, both me and my wonderful husband.. Our Ex-spouses made the choice to leave for other loves and they are ones who filed for divorce. So we know beyond a doubt how rough it can be, even when you do apply biblical principles. But, now, in a marriage that is most certainly God-centered, we are seeing the overwhelming contrast and are eternally grateful for it.We have seen the very bad, and are blessed wtih something very good now, later in our life.

We will begin here with the beginning of the man and woman.;

1: So God made man in his own image and He then created woman bcause Man was not complete without her. It may be too obvious to mention, but the creation of two kinds of people was not a dark conspiracy to thwart the ambition of the women's liberation movement. It wa scarcely a put down of woman. Creation and Man was not complete without Woman. It is a testimonial. In a loving ,amazing, creative act, God conceived the wonderful mysteries of male and female.The person who refuses to see and rejoices in this difference will never taste the divine goodness God planned for marriage.

2: Marriage was designed to meet the first problem of mankind, loneliness. He said," It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a help meet."

Picture one man in a perfect enviroment, but alone. God observed that it was not good.Adam had God, but was not complete without woman.

HELPER-see Psalm 46:1

3:Marriage was planned and decreed to bring happiness. Thoughts expressed in Gen 2:23 can be thought of as the first love song. Adam was expressing some deep emotion."I have finally found someone who will be as dear to me as my own flesh."

4: Marriage must begin by leaving and cleaving, and be followed by becoming one.Gen. 2:24-leave and cleave God gave this three part commandment at the very beginning as He ordained marriage.We must first understand that it begins with leaving all other relationships. Leaving mother and father and certainly any lesser relationships. It doesn't mean those relationships will be ground under the heel of the newly married couple. It doesn't mean we cut off all other people or stop nuturing those relationships. It means we must make that marital relationship first priority.Of course, a parental bond is a lasting one. But those ties must change in character, and hopefully Mom and Dad will be ready to make those changes while understanding biblical principles. That couple, although respectful of their parents, are no longer under their parent's authority. Their relationship changes to an adult to adult basis, and it CAN be a very supportive one that is a blessing on both parts.
Leaving must occur. How many times have marriages been rocked because the leaving has not happened? Either one or the other is still dependent in many way on their parents, and it is a wedge between husband and wife. How many parents have demanded to keep the authoritive position? It is not an uncommon problem, and parents become their children's worst enemy when this happens. Perhap it is a problem in your own marriage.

But this doesn't just refer to leaving parental relationships, it means not allowing anyone and anything to be a priority above the marriage. It can even include your activities in the church.

5: Marriage requires joining/ cleaving. The term "cleave" in the Anglo-Saxon means to adhere, stick, to be attached to with a strong tie..There is nothing passive about the word cleave.A whole heart commitment can be seen in these passages. Duet.10:20, 13:4, 30:20 This refers to our relationship with God, but we know that he likens marriage unto the relationship with God and the church. A commitment spilling over into every aspect of our being.

6: Marriage means oneness. This does not simply apply to the physical relations in marriage, but again to every aspect of living. A merging of mind, body and soul. We know a couple who have been married for 30 years or more and everything is referred to as "we." If he has an appointment, he will say,"We" have an appointment, and it is really dear!

Now, as we close this week's study, we will leave you with this little exercise.
1;Will this bring us closer or drive us apart?
2;Will it build our relationship up or tear it down?
3;Will it bring about a positive reponse from my spouse or a negative one?
4;Does this express my love ans loyalty to my mate, or my self-centeredness?

Remember, God's plan for you and your partner is an inseparable union and that is why He mandates that you leave,cleave and join as one.

Chapter Three/does The Plan Still work?

More than One Million marriages will end in divorce this year. About 75% of family units in American will need some kind of counsel. About 40% of all marriages will end in divorce eventually. Does this mean that the Creator's design doesn't work? Or does God take into account that things have changed since Gen.2:24?

No, as was said in a previous chapter, God's principles do not change, human hearts do.

An Example; A woman says," Just because I married the wrong man for all the wrong reasons, does that mean we have to stay together to make it right? We prayed for four years for our feeling to change, for our marriage to change. We saw counselors and went to a mariage encounter group. Still we found we disliked each other more and more. Rather than continue to tear each other down, we decided to get divorced. It was the lesser of two evils and I feel God understands."

We must face this issue squarely. Does God expect people who live in a sin-filled world to carry the marriage ordinance given in the perfect enviroment of the Garden? The Lord himself answered this question. In Mark 10;2-12 and in a parellel passage in Matt.19:2;12, Jesus communicates the Divine viewpoint of marriage. As you read His words, you will meet the truth in a pure form untarnished by the hardness of men's hearts.

And the pharisees came to Him and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
And he answered unto them saying, What did Moses command you?
And they said, Moses suffered a man to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered," For the hardness of your heart he wrote you the precept. But from the beginning He made male and female. for this cause a a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. and the two shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain/two, but one. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man pull apart."

The Pharisees had come to Him hoping to drag him into a stormy issue. But we must remember that the Old Testament punishment for adultery was stoning and death! So, Moses set a precedent for divorce. And in Matt. 19:8 Christ's answer is this," Moses, because of the hardness of your heart suffered you to put away your wife; BUT FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO." This is not what marriage was designed for.

We find that an individual who attempts to tear apart what God joined, acts in arrogant defiance. We have to interject at this time that there are circumstances when one partner divorces the other and in the end, there isn't much that the offended party can do. Unfortunately this is the case quite often.

What the author of showing us is that divorce should never be an escape clause. Thinking, if things aren't going well, we can get divorced. This would make a total 100% effort obsolete, would it not?

We go on to see that the fundamental cause for marital disharmony is when one or both parties fail to obey God. The problem in the pre-mentioned example is that this couple waited for "something to change." They did not take that step of faith by making a choice to be obedient to God's plan for marriage. And this is the mine field that many christians step in to. Years pass and since the person has been praying all that time and the marriage has not measured up, they jump into that escape clause.

In Chapter Two, we mentioned Dean and Carol who dealt with onslaughts from all angles. Let's analyze some some of the pitfalls they encountered.
1: They failed to cleave to each other through the years-going in their own directions. the fell into a comfort zone. A marriage must be in constant repair and growing.
2; This left a vacuum that the other woman happily filled.
3: Dean's subsequent sin of adultery attacked their one-flesh relationship.
4; Carol mistakenly opened her marriage to outside discussion with a friend who did not support the marriage principles.
5; Carol's physical and emotional withdrawal during critical time played into the hands of the other woman.
6; The church leaders failed to counsel Dean properly. 7: As a result he was entrapped in guilt which hindered him from taking steps to restore the marriage..
8; This also affected his ability to go on in his own christian growth. 9: Understandably Dean felt conspicious in the church and stayed away.
10: Some of the church leaders made the mistake of predicting divorce, which added confsuion for Carol.
11: Carol failed to forgive and leave the past in the past. This is not to say that this is easy, because it is not. But through God, it can happen.
12: All of these factors with the emotional pain involved prompted Dean to flee, putting a distance between him and his wife. But separation seldom enhances a troubled marriage. If you are a leader in the church, friend or family, and you know someone who is in this situtation, you had better make sure your advice is biblical.

When your eyes are on Jesus, your mind is shaped by His word, and you can make a new life with your partner. We trust you will approach your marriage with new resolve to overcome outside influences. We can discover the thrills and wonders of His plan.


Love; Solving the Mystery

We start out with another example from Prof. Wheat. The couple sitting across from me had come from another part of the country for counsel. Hal, a good-looking young man, who had already had success in his chosen profession, spoke for both of them.

As we talked for a period of hours, I noticed how seldom Hal looked at his wife. And Genie, a pretty blond with a sweet smile seemed subdued in his presence. At times I detected a sparkle in her eyes, but it was never directed towards her husband. They were like courteous strangers. They seemed to have everything going for them. Both attractive, financially comfortable, well-educated, and more importantly, they both knew and loved the Lord.

Here they were, very unhappy and struggling to get through the day with each other. "We thought it was God's will for our marriage," they said. " We have studied the bible together and we know that divorce is not an option for us? What are we going to do? We just don't love each other." Further conversation suggested that they respected and admired each other, but the "FEELING" was not there. The emotion of the thrill was absent. They didn't fight, but they didn't love each other.

All too often when the thrill wears off, couples view this as no longer being in love. Good feelings are important for a marriage, and most certainly enriches a marital life, but like every step in a marriage it too becomes a choice. When the bubbly splendor of courtship turns into the day to day grind of living with each other in marriage is when the real marriage begins. Each of the following principles can help you restore your love and build a stronger foundation.

1; I can learn what love is from God's word. It is the rational, not irrational. I can undersand love and grow in understanding of it throughout my entire lifetime. Perhaps you have not thought of it in this way. but, the entire bible is a love story that we can learn from. It is pursuing, unfailing love for often times, an unlovable people-God's people. Throughout the scripture we find God loving, nurturing and caring for His people. And so, this is what we should do for each other in our earthly relationships.

2; Love is not easy or simple. It is an art that I must learn and pour my life into. This principle corrects a common misconception of love, prevent among many teens and young adults who think love is the simpliest thing in the world. The fact is love is costly. It requires much. It doesn't just happen. It is an art-like music tha takes a disciplined life and regeme to maintain and perfect.

3; Love is an active power that I control by my own will. I am not a helpless slave of love. I can choose to love my mate. If you are a child of God and have His love in your heart, youcan intelligently choose to love, and eventually the emotions DO follow. 4;Love is the powe that will produce love as I learn to give it rather than strain to get it. READ THAT AGAIN-it is a SELFLESS act. God's word tells us that the secret to being lovable and desirable to your mate is love that mate unconditionally and not worry about what comes back to you. How does it make you feel to have a person in your life that lights up at the sight of you, who gives you 100% of his or her attention, and who openly shows that he or she loves to be in your company? It makes you want to love them that way too!

So what have we learned so far?

  • Real love in not mysterious or irrational.
  • Real love is not simple, easy,doing what comes naturally.
  • Real love is not an uncontrollable feeling.
  • Real love is not produced by trying to attract.
  • I can understand what real love is through the word of God.
  • I can learn the art of loving.
  • I can choose to love.
  • I can produce love by giving it first.
  • Love recognizes a unique value in that beloved.
  • Loves chooses to affirm the value in the beloved.
  • Love does the best for that beloved.
  • Love is an active power controlled by the will.
  • Love is a choice backed u pwith action.
  • Love is often times costly.

Getting back to Hal and Genie. When they came in for counsel they said they wanted to build a life together. But as you may have figured out, the same area of sin entered in. Hal admitted that he assumed that Genie was just not the girl for him. He found out during the session that he had some faulty ideas about love that dated back to his pre-christian life and many romantic affairs. In those affairs, when the infatuation wore off, he moved on to another woman.{Today's view of dating} when he married Genie, he wanted a wife tothrill him, but did not want to go through the process to bring that about-in another word-his part. but he decided to do his part now.

Once that choice in made in marriage, God has a triggering action that will stir up romance. If you learn to love biblically, the rest will follow..

Join us next week in chapter five as we look at the five ways of loving.


The Five Ways of Loving

We will get into the book right away as we break down the different facets of love. All unique and important in there own way.
The english word love has to be one of the most unusual words in our language. It is supposedly packed with meaning, yet it seems inadequate when we really want to say something. The word is overworked. Some dictionaries list as many as twenty-five meanings, and we're apt to use them all in our everyday life.

Just having one words for everything leads us to confusion. For example; We love our lifelong sweetheart, but we also love fried chicken. We love our parents and children, but we also love football. So for the purpose of this study, we will look at the biblical prospective of marital love. A lot of the information gathered in this text is from the Greek New Testament.

Let's begin with epithumia. It describes a very important aspect of the love between a husband and wife. It is what first pops up when you meet that special someone for the first time. It means a strong desire-sometimes good-sometimes bad. It can mean to covet. When used in a positive way it translates as desire. In a marriage, a husband and wife should have a strong desire for the other. This is healthy. The itimate part of your relationship is not the most important aspect, but it is a definitely an indicator of the health of your marriage. This facet of marital love should never go ignored.

The next is the word eros. Eros isn't always sensual, but it includes a strong yearning. It is sentimental. It is the sweet songs and poetry. But eros has it's problems. It lingers in infatuation and cannot keep promises on it's own.
At this point we need to draw a line between the foolish infatuation and true love found in a God-designed marriage. Eros is an emotional and fleshy response. It is important, yes, but is only one member in the overall makeup of love that lasts.

The third, and part of the nitty-gritty, is the wordStorge. It can be described as the comfortable old shoe. This love is comprised of a natural affection and a sense of belonging to the other. We all need this in our life-to belong. And, for couples, the marriage is the best way to accomplish this. It is refuge-a dwelling place. It is the roof over the marital head.

The fourth is Phileo. This aspect of love cherishes the other. It is comradeship, sharing, communication, friendship. You share thoughts, hopes, feelings, attitudes, and plans. Obviously it takes two to share this, but if you are seeking to restore your marriage without much cooperation from your spouse, you can aim phileo on your part-looking forward to the eventual response. A marriage without phileo is unsatisfactory, even if there is plenty of passion. Without it, you are strangers.

And, the best is last! Agape Agape values and serves in contrast to phileo which cherishes and enjoys. This is the totally unselfish love that has the capacity to give and keep giving without expecting anything in return. The New Testament speaks of this love quite often. It is this love that prompted Christ to come to earth on our behalf. God loves His people with this agape love and has given us the ability to love others in such a way.

AGape love has a particular significance to those of you who and trying save and restore your marriage. Of all love, agape is the one that you can bring to your marriage immediately because it is a choice and does not depend on feelings. It's the super glue that will hold you together. It is a love of action, not emotion. C.S. Lewis showed us the picture of agape love by using a garden. He describes natural loves as a garden that would be soon run down if left alone. This is enevitable because of self-centeredness. Agape love acts as the rake, hoe, shears, plant food and weed killer employed by the gardner to keep the garden thriving. God sets our WILL to tend to it and watch over it as a wise gardner should. This operation of the will is agape love-a knowledgeable and skillful love always concerned with the other and what is best for him/her.

A marriage with agape love can survive anything after those exciting natural loves are gone. We remember 'Gone With The Wind.' When the story came to it's close after a thrilling, intense romance, we remember old Rhett at the doorway and his famous parting line, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a d***." Although we might not care for his language, we do undertand his meaning. This natural love comes to an end and then what is left?

Agape loves no matter how unloveable that person is-no matter how much indifference or rejection you face. It is an attitude based on a choice you have made to have a confidence in the fundamental truth of this.

This week, read through Song of Solomon. Not only beautiful, it is evidence of agape love, leaving and cleaving, and an active pursuance. Beyond personal blessings, we should realize that God designed marriage to portray the eternal, wonderful love relationship. You will also notice that your children will benefit from this security.
Join us next week as we put these five ways of loving into action.

As we continue our study, we will briefly include both chapters six and seven of this book-the first two facets of love. We will be dealing with Epithumia and Eros-the physical and thrill facet of love/marriage. So we do issue a parental guidance warning.
When I use the term love life, Says Prof. Wheat there are some who usually assume we will be talking about sex. In our culture, love and sex are often confused, though they are not interchangeable terms. Love is the ingredient that brings true pleasure to physical intimacy. That intimacy without the love and devotion can and will bring harm and resentment to the people involved.

First of all, this aspect of your marital relationship is God given. Heb.13:4 proclaims that the marriage bed is undefiled and is honorable. The scripture tells us clearly that the joyous physical expression between a husband and wife is part of God's plan. It is neither sinful or soiled. It is pure and undefiled-a celebration of love.

But there is more to it than the act itself. A couple should be physically intwined beyond the bedroom. There should be handholding, hugs, admiring glances and affectionate pats. Everyone desires that touch and it does not always have to be sexual in nature. In fact, one without the other is not complete. All other aspects of the marital relationship will have an effect on this intimacy. A wife who doesn't fully trust her husband or feels him distance himself at other times, will not be a willing partner, and a husband who doesn't feel respected will lose his interest too.

This chapter is an excellent chapter for married couples, but due to the nature of the material and the purpose of this web site to be family oriented, we would suggest at this time that you buy the book.

Moving on to Eros. This is the thrill factor that even a 30 year marriage can have. As a physician, I have seen that romantic love is good medicine for fears, anxiety and low self esteem! It brings out the best in us and the relationship. In this chapter we will suggest ways that you can revitalize your relationship by adding eros love to your marriage.

We can start by using the gift of imagination that the Creator created in us. Imagine a time when you were first married or dating and how that partner made your feel. Concentrate on that positive moment and bring it to the present. Daydream about that spouse.

Maintain a respect for that partner

Never allow others to tear him or her down. Not your parents, children, friends or co-workers.
Practice saying good things about your partner to others.
Show your adoration in public.
Think about how much your mate means to you and dwell on the positive.
Under no circumstances, NAG!
These acts of love on your part will bring out the best in your partner-thus enhancing the marriage.

The Gift of Belonging

The New Testament commands a storge love. In Romans 12:10 which tells us,"Be kindly affectionate to one another-other translations say, " be devoted or love warmly." An ominous conformation of th last days, described in II Timothy 3, will be a lack of storge love. People will be without natural affection. Applying these biblical principles to your marriage relationship specifically, you can see that treating your partner without this warm, kind, devoted affection is unnatural. Why? Because you do belong together. Storge is love that belongs within the family, whether it be husband and wife, parents, brothers or sisters. With the husband and wife that are bonded together in a practical oneness that has its roots in Gen 2:24.
Because this is an unspectacular, down to earth form of love in marriage, its importance may be underestimated. As someone has observed, " Familiarity breeds comfort and comfort is like bread-necessary for nourishing, but taken for granted and unexciting. We all need a place to call home, not just brick and mortar, where we feel comfortable with each other in a safe enviroment. John Powell captured the essence of this love when he said," We need the heart of another as a home for our heart."
Example of a Domestic Crisis/lacking storge.
Husband stops by house on his lunch hour and discovers wife in a panic. Luncheon guests will be there soon; the dishwasher has leaked soapy water all over , and Johnny got sick and had to be brought home from school. Some husband might say, "What do you expect me to do about it? Why aren't you better organized, while heading back out the door.
But in contrast, a loving husband with storge love is going to support his wife, grab a mop and speak in soothing tones. This senario can be reversed. Husband has a bad day at work and wife tunes him out as he talks about it over the supper table. He is hurt by her lack of interest.
So we see, the love of belonging is compounded of many qualities.
Practical Husband and wifes develop a couple of viewpoint. What hurts one hurts the other. What dimishes ones harms the other. Personal growth enhances both. So competition is avoided and petty fighting is eliminated. Supportive Loyalty One wife said, "My husband is such a realistic person-he probably sees my faults more clearly than I do. but, he is always for me." Mutual Trust This has been described as a bond of mutual reliance so deep it is unconscious. There is security and an expression of confidence in your mate. During trouble time, partners never lose faith in the other.Emotional Refuge If you feel you must hide your hurts from your partner, there is definitely something wrong. Storge was meant to be soothing and healing in a marriage. Each partner should be to the other- a haven in the middle of a harsh world. We all need sympathy and empathy. This love should be a shoulder to cry on. Comfortable Familiarity This means you enjoy being with the other and can be yourself. It is courteous and kind and this courteousy and kindness should be even greater than what you show to any others.

It is possible to begin this love now. It doesn't have to take years, and one partner can initiate it. This type of love is appealing to all of us and rarely goes without a response from the other. So if you are fighting for your marriage, you can begin with having this type of love for your mate. Show him or her that they are safe with you.
Join us next week as we discover how to become friends.

Becoming Best Friends

Let us first consider what the bible has to show us about Phileo Love We find that this type of love is one that cherishes a friend of either gender. Christ has this type of love for His disciples. John 13:23 Peter had this Phileo Love for Christ. In John 21:17 he expresses this by saying," Lord, You know that I love You-that I have a deep personal, instinctive affection for you as for a friend. And, Jonathon and David provide an Old Testament example in I Sam 18:1 The soul of Jonathon was knit with the soul of David. Other translations say that Jonathon love David as himself or his own life.

Beyond that, we find the Father loving His people in this way, John 16:27 and we find this to be a part of christian love. Biblical evidence tells us;
1; Phileo Love is emotional in nature and cannot be commanded, but can be developed.
2; It is a selective love based on qualities in another person.
It is fellowship love requiring enjoyable interaction.
3;It is the manifestation of a living, growing relationship between two friends.

The same Phileo Love is the cherishing love within your marriage. This fond friendship takes on an added intensity as a multi-facted bond between husband and wife. There is, or should be, a mutual rapport or comradship. None of the loves in a marriage offers a more consistant pleasure than phileo. Friendship can reach its zenith in marriage because the other loves in this relationship can enhance it. The bond is closer.

Perhaps the saying,"to have a good friend, you have to be one," is a good place to start. Consider these three ingredients of friendship; comradship, companionship, and communication. Each word begins with COM and in the Latin this means " together." Now in friendship we must remember the three Rs too: relaxation, rapport, and revelation. Begin with uncomplicated time together. Find things you can do together-side by side. Refinish old furniture, play tennis, take the dog for a walk every evening-whatever interests the two of you. The rapport comes when you are ready to share your vunerablity. This is a deliberate act of giving oneself to the other. Keep your mates confidence. Do not share their deep feelings with others. Give your mate your complete attention and really listen when he/she is speaking to you or sharing. Do not let disagreement sound like disapproval. Feeling accepted is a necessary part of this rapport.
Revelation is the phase of sure and steadfast understanding. Married couples will usually agree that this understanding is life-long process. It requires a constant sensitivity to be aware of your partners whole being. You will recognize his/her uniqueness and will discern your mates needs. Don't be indifferent. Think of your love as a house, and if neglected it will become run down. This loving friendship must be nourished.
Any marriage will benefit form more Phileo Love since friendship is a living entity. It won't happen over night, but the two of you together-cooperating can bring this cherishing about, slowly, beautifully, like an unfolding flower.
And for those of you who are alone in your quest, your act of Phileo Love will be responsed too...


A note from the webmaster; Agape love is one that has stood out in a very significant way in my own mind and heart through the years. And, with this particular study, the reader will understand why. Agape love, and unconditonal love is seen in parental love for their children, a spouses love for their mate, and God's love for His people. It is a love that loves even though sometimes that person is undeserving and gives nothing in return. And so, our Father's love-His unconditional love is beyond any boundaries our minds could witness in this life...
"But, Dr. Wheat, what do you think of a marriage that is not emotionally real?" The wife posing this question had a really good reason to ask. Barbara, who at the age of thirty and as lovely as a model, spends her days at home with two children, with a husband who, a high living executive, crisscrosses the continents on business and pleasure, often times with a mistress.
I can think of others that are commited to an emotionally barren marriage and devoid of the wonderful feelings of love that we have been describing. I am reminded of Eric, whose wife, caught up in the sophisticated trappings of a new job, thinks she no longer wants what he can offer, and wants a divorce.
Of Fran, whose husband pours all his affection and attention on thoroughbred horses and tells her, " to get a hobby."
Of Quentin whose wife has shown personality changes that have lead to her arrest and she refuses to come home.
Of Iris who has stood alone in rearing her children, maintaining the home, and coping with finances without any word of approval or encouragement from her husband-a brilliant, but self-centered scientist.
Of John, whose wife coldly rejects him as a friend and lover.
And, of Una, whose husbands spends his free time at home in a drunken stupor.
What is the answer for marriages like these and others who have noreason to love their partners? Two verses amongst hundreds in the bible will suffice to illustrate this agape love.
John 3:16
Recite with me, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that howsoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 5:8- but God commendeth His love toward us,in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
From this we can make these observations.
  • Agape love means action, not just a benign attitude.
  • Agape love means involvement, not a comfortable detachment.
  • Agape love means unconditionally loving the unloveable and unresponsive.
  • Agape love means permanent commitment.
  • Agape love means constructive, pureposeful giving based not on blind sentiment, but based on what is best for that person.
  • Agape love means consistency of behavior.
  • Agape love is the chief means and best way to love your partner.

You will both benefit from this type of unconditional love. First, your partner's self image will be greatly enhanced. The better a person feels about themself, the better they can function within a relationship. One who feels loved at the all times, knowing it is not based on performance is immeasureably easier to work with. To feel like you are accepted today but not might be tomorrow is of little value to a relationship.
Here are some practical ways to put agape love at the center force of your marriage.
  • Choose with your will to love your mate unconditionally and permanently though attitude, words and action.
  • Develop the knowledge you need in order to do the very best for the object of your love.
  • Apply everything you know about agape love. Pour your life into it.

When God created us, He gave us not only emotions to feel ,but a mind to think. He gave us free will and with it we want and choose. When our will exercises it's power of choice, it acts for our total person and the rest falls into line. Thus, we choose to apply biblical principles and we choose to love our mates without limit.
To love your mate meaningfully, you combine these principles with personal knowledge. Study that mate and discover what makes him or her feel loved and act on it. What makes him/her tick? One person might put the emphasis on loyalty and another is more concerned with the support given to their personal growth. If they are not loved in the way they need to be loved, they will not feel loved. { If you are sharing this study together, be sure to discuss what makes each of you feel loved.}
Do not begin loving in the agape way simply because you want to reform your mate. This is not agape at all. Agape accepts that person with or without change. The rest is accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
It may interest you to know that the examples given faced with non-response had only two options. Give up or learn to love unconditionally Some gave up, others had their marriage tranformed and for some it was a personal growth that made their situation more bearable..
Join us next week as we explore the secrets of staying in love!

The Secret of Staying In Love {especially for newlyweds}

It is remarkable that millions of men and women have no trouble falling in love, but atleast half, if not more, of them have difficulty staying in love. This chapter offers the secret of staying in love. Although anyone of any age, at any stage in their marriage can use this, we are speaking directly to the newlywed.

Couples come to me for pre-marital counsel and they are very confident of what is ahead in their future. Sadly, I see many of these couples later under very different circumstance. Buried under a load of problems, they welcome any word that will help them out of their marital grief. This stems from unrealistic goals and hopes from their marriage, which is very common.

Building intimacy from the beginning is very important. No, we're not talking about physical intimacy, though that certainly is part of it. An intimate relationship acts as a buffer, providing shelter from the pressures and tension of daily life. Without this type of intimacy a person will quickly slip into loneliness and depression. Without it, the effects rang from dull dismal to devastating.
But, here are some guidelines for establishing intimacy in a marriage.

Physical touching of a non-sexual nature.
Closeness without inhibition
Shared feeling
Open communication
Intellectual agreement on major issues
Spiritual harmony
Sensative appreciation of the mate's physical and emotional needs.
Similar values held
Imparted secrets
Genuine understanding
Mutual confidnce
A sense of warmth, safety, and relaxation when you are together
Senuous nearness
Signs of love freely given
Abiding trust
Mutual responsibility and caring

Couples have their own expression or token of love. One wife described it as understanding without jokes you don't have to explain and a warm back in wide bed. In general, intimacy consists of blending the facets of love. It does not happen easily in a marriage, and it will never happen automatically.
Consider this principles as a newly married couple.
  • Nothing is more important than they health of your marriage.
  • To concentrate on each other and building an intimate relationship is pleasing to the Lord.
  • It takes time spent together to lay the foundation of marriage.
  • It is essential for the husband to learn how to meet his wife's needs.
  • Knowledge of one's mate is necessary in order to live according to biblical principles.
  • Marriage mates are meant to be teammates.
  • The first year is crucial, because it sets good habits or bad habits that are difficult to break.

This is the pattern for endurance, and if both the husband and wife have this committment, they will build a strong foundation that will be tested many times through the years, but Lord willing, never defeated.

Join us next week as we continue in our serie, Love Life!

Prescription for a Suberb Marriage

If you have read and absorbed the love-life principles so far, you are ready for the perscription for a superb marriage. The prescription involves the practical course of action that is both uncomplicated and effective. If necessary, they can be impletemented by either partner alone.

  • B lessing
  • E difying
  • S haring
  • T ouching

1} Perhaps you have never thought of blessing as a practical element to be introduced in a marriage. This is a biblical principle. The word blessing in the Greek means well word. The first way of blessing your marriage is to speak well of your mate, and to respond with goodwords even when your mate is speaking harshly.
2}Edifying, a biblical term often used in the New Testament refers to building up of that individual. Building up, cheering on, and increasing their self worth. That mate can feel love and cherished. Who doesn't want to come home to this? Practice dwelling on the things that attract you to your spouse. Phil. 4:8
3} Sharing demands giving of yourself-listening to your partner and developing sense of awareness of moments that offer possiblities for deepening the love between you.
4} Touching is a valuable and pleasurable tool So is it so necessary to remind couples to do this? Our culture frowns on touching apart from sex.This can be particularly true for men. But those of you who practice touching apart from the sensual will find a deeper connection that will enhance the deeper intimacy.
And here are some ways to bring about Blessing, Edifying, Sharing and Touching.
    Li>Make a choice never to be critcal of your mate.
  • Study your partner and know his/her ways.
  • Verbally praise your mate and recognize their talents.
  • Do good, seek peace.
  • Put pride away.
  • Do kind things.
  • Be a haven for that partner.
  • Pray
  • pray

Join us next week as we look at removing the barriers. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Removing The Barriers

As we come to the final chapters-Removing the barriers and next week, Saving your marriage alone, we hope you have benefited from this study.
This week we must take a realistic look. If you do not remove the hidden barriers, you will not be able to apply what you have learned here.

Are there hostilities in your marriage? Occasionally I counsel couples where one of the parties does not admit to bad feelings. They claim to be indifferent. Often, after further consideration they find that the indifference is really buried anger. The amount of energy that it takes to conceal this can lead to depression and drained energy.
We have been comparing the joys experienced by couples who learn to love with the types of love we have described. Now, we must warn that this love cannot grow in the same heart with bad feelings of anger, bitterness, resentment and pride.. Facing these things is the first step in opening up the pathway to marital healing.
We are going to consentrate on your attitude. These barriers built by attitude are serious, but not impassable.
These attitudes go by different names. One wife told me she was so angry with her husband that she often imagined smothering him in his sleep. While another retreated into an icy resentment that made it impossible for her to respond even if he could be perfect.
A wife or husband may protest," But you don't know how I have been treated!" My answer is to that is that not the issue. Let me spell it out for you that you can make a conscious, rational choice. Otherwise you will slide into an unconscious choice, a decision based on emotion.

  • First, you do not have to be controlled by your feelings-AND- you are not the helpless prisoner of your past. These are the chief objections by those who will not forgive. They re picturing themselves as helpless slaves and a prisoner of past events. But Jesus says in John 8:32-36 that we have already been set free. So if we are in Christ, we have the power to forgive.
    We must choose to forgive.Hebrews 12:13-15 tells us; lest any root of bitterness spring up trouble, and thereby many be defiled. This passage tells us not to cling to an unforgiving spirit.
  • After forgiveness comes a change in our behaviour. Eph.4:31-32 tells us to release that bitterness and be kind to each other. Assume that positive attitude that God commands of us. Determine in your heart never to bring those offenses up again.
  • Renew your mind. Forget the past by filling those spaces with God's word, His goodness and His design for your marriage.

If you can not see yourself forgiving, the barriers will not be removed and you will not be able to apply these biblical truths to your marriage. Give yourself to some serious prayer and ask for God's help in doing what it right. He will bless the heart that seeks His will and to do the right thing....
Join us next week as we focus on a very special group. Those people we must save their marriage alone...

Saving Your Marriage Alone

In our final week in the marriage series, we will be speaking to a very special group of people. Those determined to save the marriage alone. In fact your partner may be actively pursuing divorce. If you are in this group, I do indeed consider you special. First, because of your commitment and secondly, because of the courage you have to face your own problems.
In your case, the moment of truth has come and your partner may already have ruled out any options to save the marriage. The stakes are high and the choice to try to save your marriage alone is not an easy choice or process.

The first thing you must remember to do is to keep yourself spiritually refreshed and stay in the word and prayer which brings us to the first step; Clarify your thoughts. Gird up the loins of your mind- I Pet.1:13.Take advantage of uninterrupted time to get alone with God and consider His plan for your life.
One young wife that I can remember was ready to dissolve her marriage when a friend from her garden club led her to the Lord. She could only remember two scriptures and she said they were exactly what she needed. Numbers 23:19-God is not man that He should lie, and Luke 1;37-With God nothing shall be impossible. With those truths she began to study and dig out God's purpose for the marriage.

The second step is to stabilize your emotions. Often times as a doctor I can tell when a marriage is in trouble when a patient comes to me for something to elleviate their highly nervous state. She thought she was losing her mind and even asked her inlaws to take the children if something were to happen to her.
Months later I was so impressed by the transformation. she seemed to posess a centrel core of peace and was a woman who was attractive because of her poise, well-balanced thoughts and speech. Her husband was so impressed about how she had changed, he began telling her that he loved her long before he returned home. Though things were not completely worked out, they were working on it together.

The third step is learning to love. We come now to the practical behaviour that can save your marriage. Your challenge here is to learn to love your mate in such a way that there will be a response of love. A person becomes loveable by loving. Loving in God's way does not mean clinging, complaining, or making demands. Moodiness, anger and tempermental displays will only hinder your efforts. Loving in God's way does not mean games, trying to inspire someone's jealousy or insecurity, taking petty revenge or playing hard to get. This behaviour is very inappropriate for a marrige.

One wife said that when she asked her husband what she could do to show him that she loved him was told, "You could be nice to me all the time, not just when you are in the mood." What a strong message for the Agape love! If you are trying to save your marriage on your own, love that mate the way you would want to beloved.

Prepare for the worst. Usually when a marriage is in trouble, the mate who wants to leave is either involved with another person or anticipates an involvement with someone else. You must be prepared for this. Prepare for it by realizing that infidelity is a sin like any sin and can be forgiven in the same why our Father forgives us. After you have forgiven you must be prepared to cope with the continuation of this affair and decide how you will handle it. It is not that you are condoning it or ignoring it. But early in the process of resolving your marriage problems you have come to the realization that you can not reform your mate. Your only options is to become the husband or wife that God would have you to be. You may save your marriage, but without question, you will enjoy God's blessings and favor.
It would be a very good idea to read the love story Hosea. A beautiful depiction of God's love for his people, and our love for our mate even when they become wayward.

God bless!

This concludes our Love Life Series. We hope this study has been benefical for you and your mate. Be sure to bookmark this page for your continued meditation on God's word and will for your marriage.