BlodgettAndrea Blodgett English 1335S. Figueroa What exactly is love? Webster’s dictionary has several definitions, but the most generalized definition is that love is a strong affection for another. There are other definitions of course, all the way from affection to copulation. But if you throw romance in there, it would say a love affair (which is the general definition of romance). When you think about romantic love and marriage, you think that romantic love isn’t a good basis for marriage or a solid foundation for marriage. Romantic love is a good foundation for marriage, but it is not the only foundation for marriage.Because God is the very definition of love, (1 John 4:8) and the picture of Song of Solomon is a “love story” if you will, romantic love is partially essential in marriage, but as I stated above, it’s not the only foundation for marriage. Without love in a marriage, it wouldn’t be a good marriage. It would be very dry, and it wouldn’t be solid. You need love in a marriage and without love, a marriage would not survive. Biblically speaking, the definition of biblical marriage is that it is a covenant that is made between a man and a woman, and this marriage is a sanctified bond that is made before God. There are five basic principles of biblical marriage. The first is that marriage is meant to be permanent, because, it was established by God. When a man and woman are married, they become one. Matthew 19:6 says, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.” Marriage is also a sacred commitment to one another. The second principle is that marriage is not only a human agreement, but it is a relationship that is God centered and it should not be entered into lightly and unadvised. In Genesis 2:22 God takes a rib from Adam and creates a woman, and therefore the marriage should be a God-centered relationship and the union between a man and a woman should only be centered around God. The marriage is a bond with God in the middle. Intimacy is also a part of marriage, and it’s not just physical intimacy, but emotional intimacy. The third principle is that marriage is the uttermost intimate of all of the human relationships. Listening to a podcast about marriage, the speaker had said that intimacy basically means “into me you see.” Intimacy is seeing the very core of someone else. This unites a man and a woman into one flesh and in Genesis 2:23-25, God institutes the first marriage ever in the bible. Marriage is when you leave your family and unite with your spouse, and “one flesh” usually signifies having sexual intercourse with your spouse and eventually having children, intimacy is the very heart of marriage. Biblical marriage is also about mutual agreements.The fourth principle talks about how mutuality in a marriage is important. Marriage is a relationship that is to be freely self-giving. Ephesians 5:25-30 talks about how husbands need to love their wives just as Christ has loved the church. Verse 28 says, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” Wives are to submit themselves to their husbands. When you get married, you are to be concerned for your spouse’s well being. Doing this involves a need for forgiveness, and restoration in the relationship in the case of sin. The final principle talks about being exclusive.The fifth and final principle talks about how marriage is exclusive. Not only is it a sacred bond between a man and a woman, it means that there is no other relationship that needs to interfere with the marriage. This is why Jesus treated sexual immorality so heavily and with seriousness, and this includes lustful thoughts, adultery and premarital sex. Premarital sex violates the exclusive claim on any future spouse (it can be forgiven, however. It does not taint the relationship). Now, worldly marriage is vastly different. The world views love as a feeling. And people believe that love lasts as long as there is romance. No romance equals no love. This is why people think that love is not a solid foundation for marriage, because once the romance dies, then love dies too. The world believes that to commit yourselves to someone for the rest of your lives is simply unrealistic. Also, worldly love and marriage is based on the “as long as my needs are met, I am going to love you” theory. If one’s needs aren’t met, then why should you love them? It all circles back to love being a feeling, not an action. Worldly love is a conditional love. Another point is that the world believes marriage is 50/50, but in a biblical marriage, it’s giving 100% on both spouses. Biblical love is not conditional, it’s unconditional. Meaning, the spouses love each other without any condition. The expectation of marriage has risen, people are now seeking marriage to satisfy their every single need from finance needs to spiritual needs. Marriage is not a give and taken, marriage is a complete effort from both parties. The more spouses spend working on the marriage individually, the more the marriage tends to deteriorate and slowly decay. One picture of biblical marriage is the bride of Christ. Biblical marriage should be centered around this concept. We love because God first loved us, and believers need to follow the example of the union between Jesus and His people when they are considering marriage. In the world, that is not the basis of marriage. It’s an infatuation, a feeling, not a sacred bond as was stated earlier in this essay. There is also a pattern of marriage, and it can be found in the book of Ephesians.The pattern for biblical marriage is best seen in a close observation of Ephesians 5:21-33 and this particular scripture is the pinnacle of biblical marriage. It does talk about how wives and husbands should love each other, but it also gives note to submitting to one another. It’s important to understand how love works. Love is not the emotion, it’s the action, it’s the laying down of your life for your spouse. A second picture of Biblical marriage can be found in the New Testament, and this teaches that the original design for marriage which is in Christ is included in God’s desire to have all things realigned under Him and His lordship and authority. Specifically looking in the book of Ephesians, there can be found that God’s purpose is to ultimately bring all things under heaven and on earth together under one head. Verse 1:10 of Ephesians says, “That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and are on earth — in Him.” The truth is this; yes, love is important and an essential foundation for marriage, and without love, there can’t be a good marriage. And the argument is, romantic love is a poor foundation for marriage. But the examples I gave above give an understanding that love is a good foundation for marriage but it shouldn’t be the only foundation for marriage. It’s like that in the book of Matthew, where Jesus gives the parable about one man who builds his house on the rock and the other man who builds his house on the sand. When the one man built his house on the rock it withstood the storm, but the one who built their house on the sand did not withstand the storm. Looking at the fruit of the spirit, in Galatians 5:22-23 it talks about the fruit of the spirit being a single fruit. It says, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such their is no law.” Out of love bears the joy, it bears the peace, etc. Without love, there will be no joy, there will be no peace, there will be no kindness and there will be nothing else. Picture biblical love and marriage as building your house on the rock and worldly love and marriage on the sand. Then you will see which house will fall, and which house will not. The foundation for marriage is not built on love alone and shouldn’t be built on love alone. But without love, marriage will not stand solid. Understanding that love is needed for the foundation is crucial. It’s something that a marriage cannot go without. Looking back at all the research that has been done, and all of the articles that have been read, the conclusion that has been drawn is this; marriage regardless of whether it is biblical or wordly, should not be based on love alone. And the argument was that love is a poor foundation for marriage. That being said, my belief is that it is not a poor basis for marriage if the couple were to focus on other things besides romance. Likewise, it is possible that romance can be kept alive in either a worldly marriage or a biblical marriage. In conclusion, based on all the truth and all of the facts, romance should be included in a marriage because romance is not dead. Biblically speaking, the picture of love in the book of Song of Solomon is the very definition of romance and has quite a romantic air to it. You can’t get anymore romantic than that. Romantic love is a good foundation for marriage, but it is not the only foundation for marriage.