Love is such a powerful and misunderstood word. In so many relationships the word love is thrown around as a way to manipulate and get what you want from the other person. It is often thought of as a feeling or a strong emotion. Marriages come and go because they say that they just don't love each other any more. They grew apart.
The Bible has a very different view of what love is. There are several versions of the word love throughout scripture. Eros is a strong desire or physical attraction- used when speaking about lustful desires. Philos is a brotherly love like you would have for a friend- as in "dearly beloved." Agape love is the greatest of all. It is the unconditional love that God has for us. It is also the type of love that God commanded us to have for one another. It is not based on feelings or emotions. It is an action and a choice.
There are many times that I don't feel love for my husband. There are certain people who are very difficult to love- especially if I am trying to base love on my feelings. When you are in the midst of a conflict with your spouse or a Christian friend and you feel a need to "win" it's time to step back and look at your own heart. If you are the winner, it makes the other person the loser. In Christ we are one body, in God's eyes the relationship didn't win. You did not choose love. 1 Corinthians 13 is a beautiful description of what love truly is. It can be applied to our relationships with one another and with God.
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 GNB)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10 )
Love is not reserved to those who deserve it or are easy to love. God loved us while we were still sinners. Love is sacrifice and selflessness. If you are struggling in your marriage or a specific relationship I pray that you will look for tangible ways to show real love- even if or when it is not reciprocated or earned. I encourage you in this :
Do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV)