The kind of love that is discussed here is the love that Christ has for us – the love that we're supposed to show our spouse every day. If, as Paul said in Ephesians 5:1-2, we are to "be imitators…and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God," what does that look like for me in my marriage and you in yours?
Christ's love for me goes beyond my love for ice cream, sports or even friends and family. His love is a giving love. It is a sacrificing and selfless love. It is a love that shows itself in action. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus loves us, not because we are attractive or share some interest with Him, but simply because He loves us. So, He made the ultimate sacrifice, giving up everything – all his glory, His life – to serve us.
The Greek word for this sacrificial love is agape. I like this definition of agape love:
"Unconditional love that is always giving
and impossible to take or be a taker.
It devotes total commitment to seek your
highest best no matter how anyone may respond.
This form of love is totally selfless and does not change
whether the love given is returned or not."1
Sacrificial, unconditional, agape love doesn't keep score. It doesn't matter how your spouse responds; if you want to love like Jesus loves, you have to put yourself aside. In a sermon entitled "What is Christian Marriage," Coty Pinckney said, "Agape is a love that gives, a love that does not demand or hold onto rights, but has the good of the other at heart. This is the love we need to work on in our marriage in order for our spouse to feel like he or she is married to Jesus."2