Here’s some insight on love, partially gleaned from David Gray, that I shared with my church recently.

The love your husbands are to give you is not lollipop love, all sweetness and no substance. Love isnít romanceódates, dinner, dancing, and dressing up. Love isnít giftsóroses, rings, sewing machines, and new shoes. It isnít the scripted words of David Decoveny (?), Brad Pitt, or Mel Gibson. God and your husband offer much more than romance, gifts, and scripts.

David Gray, perhaps the 21st century James Taylor, is an incredible song-writer and musician. His latest album, Life in Slow Motion, contains a song that articulates exactly what love is without God.

ďAinít No LoveĒ goes:

Maybe that it would do me good
If I believed there were a god
Cut in the starry firmament
But as it is thatís just a lie
And I’m here eating up the boredom
On an island of cement
Give me your ecstasy I’ll feel it
Open window and I’ll steal it
Baby like itís heaven sent

This ainít no love thatís guiding me
This ainít no love thatís guiding me

Some days i’m bursting at the seams
with all my half remembered dreams
and then it shoots me down again
i feel the dampness as it creeps
I hear you coughing in your sleep
beneath a broken window pane
tomorrow girl i’ll buy you chips
a lollipop to stain your lips
and itíll all be right as rain

This ainít no love thatís guiding me

In case you dont know it, David Gray is an atheist, an honest atheist as far as I can tell. His brutal honesty exposes love for what it is apart from God. If our wives are not made in the image of God and loved with the love of Christ, they are reduced to relational, sexual, and emotional objects, wells for male “ecstasy.” No sacrifice, just satisfaction. No substance, just sweetnessó-lollipop love.

But, in Jesus, love is more than romance, gifts, and scripts, than buying chips and lollipops for the one you love. More than a relational, emotional, or sexual hight. In Christ, thereís more than lollipop love.

It has been said that love is as strong as death. So it was with Christ. His love led to his death. Your love for your wife should be that strong. Death to your perceived rights and desires in order to promote the holiness and happiness of your wife. Death to your right to not do the dishes because you worked all day. Death to your desire to not change another diaper. Death to your spiritual sloth which makes excuses to not pray with and for your wife. Death to your desire to be right, to win the argument, to hurt her with harsh and angry words. Self-dying love gives life.

We can give life–love–to our wives by loving them according to their love language. Stay with me. Do you know how to love your wife? What communicates love to her? Time, Gift, Service, Communication, Touch? All of these are important for everyone, whether they acknowledge it or not, but some tend to communicate love more strongly than others. My wife likes to receive gift love. Early in marriage I confused this with money love. Robie does not feel love from gifts based on how much they cost, but on the fact that I took the time, thought and energy to think of her and express it concretely. I give her love she can hold when I buy her something. It took me a while to catch onto this. And its not my natural inclination to buy Robie something. Gift love is not my love language, so I donít naturally think this way. Plus, I tend to be pretty cheap, unless of course, it comes to buying a computer. Early on I thought it my duty to ďprotectĒ her from materialism. Thatís not what was going on. The point is that love thinks the way others think. We get into our wivesí mindset, we know them, we affectionately study them. Peter says it like this: ďhusbands, live with your wives in an understanding wayÖ.Ē (1 Pet 3.7). Literally, live with them according to knowledge. Study, know and love your wife. Husbands, love your wives.