Do You Have Agape Love?

Why do you love your spouse? Because he is a good provider or has an amazing sense of humor? Because she is talented, kindhearted or generous? If your love is attached to some behavior or personality characteristic, it is a conditional love, not agape love, which is unconditional.

Many writers have written about agape love, said to be the highest, truest, most all-consuming love. Whereas the types of love called phileo (friendship) or eros (sexual) are important to a great marriage, its foundation should be the unconditional agape love, according to the book The Love Dare. In fact, the romantic and friendship aspects of a marriage are able to be enjoyed at a deeper level when agape love is present.

Unconditional, unselfish agape love is a difficult thing to strive for. It doesn’t mean you allow yourself to be mistreated or abused, or even that you shouldn’t speak up if your needs are not being met. It means you can love your spouse even when he or she is acting unlovable, or is sick, unemployed or depressed. When you are not “getting” as much as you’re “giving” (if you are keeping score as many couples unconsciously do), it’s agape love that keeps you committed to the relationship nonetheless.

Agape love isn’t destroyed by time or temperament, by rough patches or seasons of sadness, by old age or illness. Agape love is a choice to be committed come what may. Is that the kind of love you possess? Do you love your spouse, or do you love what you get from your spouse?

7 responses to “Do You Have Agape Love?

  1. I often hear people say, “I’ve fallen into love,” or “I’ve fallen out of love,” kind of like love is something you accidentally step in and get stuck on your shoe.

    Agape love is a “choice” love, meaning you choose to love your spouse. That makes it impossible to “fall in” or “out of” love, but you choose to do one of those two things.

    Agape is a powerful word, thanks for writing about it. I do enjoy your blog. 🙂

  2. Agape love is the ideal… and p0ssessed ONLY by God. We, at best, may aspire to agape, but we kid ourselves to believe that we love anyone without condition. In practice, we each do have stipulations as to who we will love and how we will treat whom we love. Each one of us has biases and we discriminate against people whom we deem to be unworthy of our love and kindness. True fact, we do not love every person that we meet, nor do we genuinely care about their well-being or even who they are.

    In marriage, the ideal again is agape, but it is not the reality. The condition that we put upon our spouses is that they behave! Common deal breakers of our professed “agape” toward our spouses include rape, infidelity, incest, DV, and other such acts committed by our spouses. While these may be isolated acts with extenuating circumstances that you could forgive in light of who your spouse is, but what if these or other moral failings began to characterize that person? What if that spouse is no longer the person that you married? I could only conjecture what would be your deal breaker, but I submit that the extent of your love, even for your spouse, does have implicit conditions!

    To have completely unconditional love may be noble, but it is neither practical nor honest with oneself. Really consider, what could my spouse do as a matter of lifestyle, that would ultimately drive me away from him/her? I believe that we each have a breaking point to where our love will fail, even if we are not aware of that point. I believe that none of us is so altruistic that we can pour of ourselves into another person in perpetuity and not expect some satisfying reciprocation.

    It is no disgrace to have conditional love. Marriage itself is a form of conditional love– under the condition that you love your spouse exclusively and above all others, you commit to the person who reciprocates that love and commitment. There are social, moral, and legal priviledges to the “condition” of being married to one other person.

    Agape–“unconditional love” may be ideal, but it is not practical.

    • Concerned Mother in NC

      I couldn’t agree MORE! I trust in the Lord and his teachings…the scripture as it is presented in The Holy Bible. I do believe in forgiveness…a second chance, if you will. However, is a spouse is cheating…and not only that, but also exhibits plans to continue deceiving their partner by continuing to cheat, is not something a Christian man or woman should live with. I appreciate your post and I would love to know what pastors would say about your post. I will follow this blog and hope to gain some insight regarding what is expected by the aggrieved spouse. Doe they just lay down like a door mat and have their cheating spouse continue to treat them that way, without no recourse at all?

      • Of course not. Discuss with a professional counselor or pastor what your next steps should be. The cheating spouse needs to show remorse and and stop the offending behavior if you have the chance of rebuilding trust. Best to you.

  3. I believe Agape Love can be found here on earth and is not just by GOD alone. I say this because a parents love for their children is Agape. No matter what your child does no matter how wrong you still love them. I can see where Agape love can be difficult to see in a relationship. Especially one where you have been hurt or continue to be hurt. But if we value the fact that GODs love for us conquers all then shouldn’t we love the same to a spouse or significant other?
    I’m a hard person to love at times. Like anyone else I have my moments. But recently after a dispute with the woman I love, I was challenged to study Agape love. My first reaction was “I’m already doing this.” but as I searched further I realized that maybe I was missing something in the meaning. After reading the blog and the remarks that followed I feel I have a better understanding and am working to implementing Agape love more into my life. Will I get it right all the time…probably not, as I am human. But just knowing I am striving to have Agape love brings me closer to GOD and isn’t that what LIFE in CHRIST all about?
    GOD give me the strength to be more like you and lead me to your will.

  4. I believe Agape Love does exist in us here on earth and not just in GOD alone. I say this because parents love their children with Agape love. No matter how bad a child’s actions are we as parents still love them. This can also be held true in the reverse as children may “hate” their parents at times deep down we still love them. I feel we can love our significant other using Agape love. As Christians we are taught to be more like GOD. It is hard at times and yes sometimes our other half hurts us deeply. But if we are striving to be true Christians than we will seek help and work through that tough time. It does take two to make it work. Yet even if it is GODs will for the relationship to dissolve it will not change how we love that person. That is what Agape love is all about.
    Recently I hurt the one I love. I reached out and asked for guidance both earthly and Godly. I was encouraged and even challenged to study Agape love. Which is what has brought me here. With GODs will she will forgive me and we will work through this. If GODs will is otherwise then I already know my love for her will remain.
    GOD give me the strength to be more like you. GOD give me patience and understanding. GOD teach me to love like you.

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