Oh How I Love You!
The dictionary definition of romance is: a short lived attachment or enthusiasm. It further discourages us with terms like “imaginative or impractical, no based on fact,” or, even more discouraging, “dramatic and embroidered.” The conclusion, it would seem, is that romantic love is not for the life centered on God.
However, if we begin a search of the scriptures, we find that the word (ahab, ahabah) that was interpreted as love in the account of Isaac’s love for Rebekah, Jacob’s for Rachel, Shechem’s for Dinah, Samson’s for Deliah, and king Ahasuerus’ for Ester means a fond or tender feeling toward another. That sounds like romance to me. The law even made provision for a Israelite man who fell in love with (chashag) a captive woman so she would be treated fairly in the event that love didn’t replace infatuation in time.
Isaac grew up lonesome in a land whose people had no common ground to build to build a relationship with Isaac and his family on. Rebekah had the traits and characteristics that were valuable for his own good. She knew he would be an expression of her personal values because he was her “near-kinsman.” The heart of their love was a powerful involvement of flesh-and-blood disclosure of themselves to each other.
Jacob saw Rachel and became gentle and solicitous toward her. He was challenged to work seen years for her, then seven more, overcoming the difficulties with both intelligence and eagerness.
These two couples and the others mentioned above all seem to have had an intent, avid, spiritual, demonstrative, sexual attachment that reflected a high regard for the other’s person – a sensitive, gentle, considerate feeling for each other. Nathaniel Branden in his book, Psychology and Romantic Love defined romantic love in much the same way.
A further search of the Scriptures reveals twelve more words translated into our word “love”, either as a verb or as a noun. To list them all with all there definitions would be pointless but the meaning will help us understand the tremendous power love has in the life that seeks to honor God. These are the meanings: spiritual and sexual affection, tender friendship, to have pleasure or delight in, desire, amative words (very lovely, words that caress), have compassion and mercy, benevolence, brotherly love, fondness for mankind, a husband and wife being friends, fondness for one’s children, warm instinctive affection (has to do with choice or preference), an inclination to preform acts of kindness, and to love in a social or moral sense. The last word denotes the love of reason; esteem embracing judgment and deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty, or propriety.
All of the above are love. All are the same action verb described in the thirteenth chapter of the first letter to the church at Corinth in the Bible.
Love on Paper is not the same
As love in the heart
On paper a word is not a flame
It requires action for the flame to start.
Two people meet who see the sky with the same shade of blue. They think alike, value the same things, notice the same things, and respond to life in the same way. They are soul-mates with a deep passionate involvement that reveals their own and each other’s character traits and abilities. They share decisions, perspective, and effort; resulting in growth and strength for them as a whole. Confidence, integrity, and mutual honor controls their relationship and they are only right and strong together. They lead and follow each other – together they can accomplish anything. Romantic love is the only kind of love that requires two adults to nurture each other – submit to one another, as Paul put it. Romantic partners can communicate reliance in each other’s strengths and talents; and each one knows that he[i] is loved and cared for. They delight in each other and keep the fuels of love burning through the years.
To be continued
[i] The word “he” includes both sexes