One of the most said words and most difficult to define is love. Many times love has been mistaken for infatuation or lust. Can we really create a definition for love or does our ability to understand what love is lie in illustrations and examples. What is the meaning of love?

To better understand what love is, it is important to look at its usage in different contexts. You have heard of men who tell ladies they love them and all they end up doing is to break their hearts. You've also heard of relationships or marriages where one partner falls from his or her rich status to a poor one due to a certain calamity, and the other partner divorces him or her. Obviously, they had 'fallen in love' before getting married to each other. And you have heard of marriages in which the partners seek each other's welfare unselfishly no matter the calamities that befall them.

These are three scenarios that will help us better understand what love really is and help us differentiate love from infatuation and lust. Looking at the circumstances through which the partners in the three scenarios came together, we can deduce that each couple "fell in love" with each other, but we can also observe a difference in how each of the abandoning partners in the first two scenarios and the faithful partners in the third scenario define love.

This is the problem we are met with when trying to define love: one says "I want to have sex with you because I love you" (eros). The other says "I want us to get married because I love you, but when you lose your wealth and become poor, or when you lose your beauty and charm, or when you acquire an incurable disease, I will divorce you" (philia). Then the final person says "I love you for no other reason than for who you are" (agape).

The First Scenario (Eros)
In the first scenario, we find that the offending partner is interested in his satisfaction. He does not consider the interests of the other partner. His attitude is "give it to me now. I don't care what happens to you." Christian women should be wary of men who appear in sheep's clothing only to take advantage of them at the least opportunity. If you are dating a Christian guy who insists on pre-marital sex, it's time to call it quits. If your boyfriend tells you "Prove your love for me by giving me sex", respond by saying, "Prove your love for me by respecting my chastity."

The Second Scenario (Philia)
In this scenario, there is a "give and take" affair. The offending partner will hold on to the relationship or marriage as long as the other partner plays his/her role. When a partner fails to play his/her role whether intentionally or unintentionally (as a result of sickness, unemployment, etc), the relationship collapses.

The Third Scenario (Agape)
Here are two people who have each other's interests at heart. In sickness or health, in poverty or riches, in sorrow or joy, their love for each other remains. Their love is built on Christ, who laid down His life as a ransom for all. To graduate to this kind of love, you need to allow Jesus Christ into your life and He will fill you with everlasting love.

Examine your relationship and marriage life; in which of these three scenarios do you fall?

Author's Bio: 

Michael Okyere Asante is former General Secretary of the University of Ghana Coordinating Branch of the National Union of Presbyterian Students-Ghana. A youth leader, writer and teacher, he calls Christians to draw more closely to God, and lukewarm and backsliding Christians to return to their first love. Michael writes for the "NUPS-G Observer", a publication of the National Union of Presbyterian Students-Ghana. For more on how to live your life before you enter into a Christian relationship, visit