Love is a complicated thing. We think in terms of feelings. Hormones get the best of us. When the feelings flee, love vanishes. We respond by saying, "I don’t love her any more." Love is a lot more than palpitating hearts and flushed faces. The Bible defines love in terms of God. "The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:8).
A further definition is helpful. "This is love, that we walk according to His commandments" (2 John 1:6). God’s commandments are ten. They circumscribe the loving righteous life. Jesus Christ is the supreme demonstration. He kept the whole law perfectly. We come full circle. "The whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’" (Galatians 5:14).
Love respects parents. Love preserves life and wards off death. Love shuns affairs and is chaste. Love respects the property of others. Love values truth. Love is not greedy or lustful or jealous. This is concrete, objective, and measurable.
Young people with regular unmarried bed partners speak of making love. They fall far short of God. "Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:21). By the grace of God, couples working on marriage in terms of truthfulness, respect, and fidelity live much closer to God’s standard.