What Love Looks Like: A Biblical Perspective On Romantic Relationships

One day during my teaching career, a student came to visit during my office hours. This particular student had been struggling with more than her fair share of life issues, and it left her seriously questioning her identity and value. She had returned to self-harming as a result of the stresses in her life, and she was very angry at the people she said she loved. As she shared with me the depth of hurt and anger she is battling through, I felt God whisper in my heart: “How much love is enough love?”
I encouraged her to pour love, grace, and patience into the relationships challenging her–especially to the person she was most angry about. Then I felt the conviction myself.
In God’s eyes, there is no limit, no end, to love. Could I say I had been as forgiving, patient, or kind with my love? Probably not. I found myself looking at love in a whole new way.
The Dream and the Lie
Most of my youth was spent wishing for a handsome prince who would see me and pursue me like a precious prize to be won and treasured. I imagined him on a white horse in a suit of shining armor riding up to my front door. Then I imagined him in a long dark cloak blaring love songs from a boombox outside my window–total John Cusack 80’s style. When a man puts his heart on his sleeve and is brave enough to make his feelings known to a woman–when he risks public rejection and heartbreak to win her–it is a beautiful and powerful thing. I always dreamed of a love like this and never appreciated it when I had it.
Women today are more likely to cripple a man than to give him an opportunity to shine. We dumb down our standards and dress like dime store whores because we think that if we show more and ask for less, we will attract the Prince Charming of our dreams. We don’t just holler from street corners either; we go out seeking him. We chase men down and lure them in with deceptive double-talk and sensuality like we think a real man will want to be played more than he wants pure honesty.
Don’t Play Games
Real men don’t play games. Real men are honest and tender with hearts that crumble when they are lied to or cheated on. Real men have standards and attach like glue to a good woman when they find one. If their hearts are ever broken, they are twice as hard as a woman’s to rebuild because it is harder for them to trust again. Real men have a dream to be someone’s hero, but they doubt they will ever really meet the mark. They tell themselves they are losers more than any woman ever will. Real men have real physical needs; they might fall for a cheap whore for a moment, but the idea of marrying her and having kids with her repulses them. Real men need time with other real men. They juggle responsibilities to their jobs, their homes, and their hobbies, and they hope a woman will understand their need for downtime without being clingy or feeling ignored.
Treat a Woman as Treasure Divine
When a man gets the opportunity to love a woman the way she deserves to be loved and the woman reciprocates that love to him, the result is a love like what we see in Proverbs 31. The Proverbs 31 woman was greatly respected in the town. She was known for being wise, resourceful, and trust-worthy. The Bible says that her husband had full confidence in her–he trusted her–and he talked highly about her to everyone in town. When a woman gives a man the room to be a man, it unlocks a part of him he didn’t even know he had. Her encouragement inspires him to believe in himself and do more to provide for himself and for her. That’s what happened when Ruth gave herself to Boaz on the threshing floor. The love of a good woman gives a man wings to be the best version of himself. When he can rest in her love–when he can truly trust his love found a home with her–he will feel less like a loser and more like a hero in his own world.
Women Need to Nurture Superheroes
There is a reason why little boys dress like superheroes, cowboys, and sheriffs; they are hard-wired to fight for and defend something important. Little girls dress up as princesses not to be damsels-in-distress, but to be ladies encouraging princes to have something important to fight for and defend. Parents, let your little ones dream big dreams and pretend to be superheroes. Encourage their belief in themselves and in their importance in the world because they really ARE the key to saving the world. The very hope of the world–the message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone–rests on us. Boys and girls are meant to grow up and become real superheroes. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is making his appeal to all mankind through us Christians (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). Furthermore, the love God has for each of us individually shows its fullest expression on Earth in the marriage of men to women.
Love Like Jesus
When I am closest to Christ through reading the Bible, prayer, and worship, I feel his presence wrap around me in tangible ways. He brings me flowers and chocolate and we sit and enjoy a sunset together. He brings me rain and cuddles up to sleep in with me. He pulls back my hair and whispers how beautiful I am in my ear. He helps me make the bed and encourages me that I can finish that quilt to make it up next time. He encourages me to try new things and challenge myself. He tells me a joke to hear me laugh. He shows me an array of colors to remind me that he is an artist too. He knows my deepest thoughts and longings. He holds me when I cry, and he’s brave enough to love me when all I have for him are shouts of “why?!” Christ loves me with a never-ending, patience. His love is a love that can’t get enough of me. He sees beyond me to what I will become, and he loves me despite all my failings. His love is the love I took for granted and never appreciated when I had it. The good news is that this love was ready and waiting for me when I turned back to it.
I believe that Christ loves me–and all who accept him as Lord–like this so I will have a tangible example of how to show his love to others. It was his idea that I made my apartment into a honeymoon suite for my sister and brother-in-law when they were first married and too poor to get away anywhere. It was his idea to leave special gifts in the mailboxes of my co-workers at Christmas. It was his idea to talk about love today because someone somewhere needed to hear these very words: God sees you, He knows you, and He loves you right where you are right now.
Dear single hearts, I challenge you to begin to celebrate the love of Christ in your life. Let him fill your heart with the wealth of his great love for you and teach you to be a whole person and happy in Him. My friend Bill Rose Jr. is writing about and teaching on this in his sermon series, “Vows”. I found it very helpful. You can check it out here.
Dear coupled hearts, I challenge you to begin to celebrate the love of Christ in your relationship. Let him fill your heart with the wealth of his great love for you and show you how to treat your mate like a treasure. Nurture goodness and virtue in your mate and see how that returns blessings to you as well.
Dear parenting and teaching hearts, I challenge you to begin to celebrate the love of Christ in your relationships with your children and/or students. Let him fill your heart with the wealth of his great love for you and show you ways to share that love with them. Let him show you ways to nurture greatness in them because your influence is far greater than you know or can see right now.
Dear lost hearts, if it’s been a while since you felt Christ in your life–or if you have never made that first step of commitment–I challenge you to begin your journey today. We live in a sinful world, but God chose to redeem those that believe in him through the death of his one and only son (John 3:16-17). We have all messed up and fallen short of the perfection and glory that is in God, but if you believe and confess that Jesus Christ is the one and only son of God, that he died to save you from your sins, and that he was raised to life again, then you will be saved (John 3:16-17; Romans 3:23; Romans 10:9). Let someone know about this new commitment! I encourage you to find a good Bible-teaching church where you can grow in your faith walk with Christ and find encouragement to leave your old ways in the past. If you need help finding a place to connect, or you want more information about Christianity, comment your concerns below.
Thanks for reading!

8 thoughts on “What Love Looks Like: A Biblical Perspective On Romantic Relationships

  1. Love Is One Thing That Everybody Looks For And “How Much Love Is Enough Love” Explain Every Aspect Of Love That A Man And Women Look For In Each Other And How Hard There Love Is For One Person.

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  2. I can relate to the whole self-harming thing. It was something I used to do frequently. My self-esteem was extremely low when I hit puberty and I think this made me vulnerable. My longest relationship was abusive and I couldn’t see any love for myself; just constant forgiveness and excuses for him. It was to the point I attempted suicide. It wasn’t until I broke away that I was able to learn any self-love. I think God can encourage self-love. 🙂

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    • Thank you for sharing this on this blog. I applaud you for overcoming that moment. May you go on to be an inspiration and a light to others in their moments of darkness as well.

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  3. The love of God, and the love of man are two different things. I believe that God is love. So in order to have love you must know who God is. Too much love is never enough, but at the same time you have to know when it is the right time to express it.

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