Excerpt from An online Course: Where God puts two hearts in a home
Storge love holds a marriage together as a couple goes through the ups and downs a marriage is destined to go through. It is not often the most exciting of the four loves, but it sees that the family is safe both within and without. It is wise for a couple to take time to invest storge in one’s family for it instills within a family a God-designed sense of belonging and security throughout life.
What does this Storge love ‘look like?’
Loyalty: In marriage, storge lovers will defend each other‘s reputation to outsiders and will not allow anyone, even their own parents, to say bad things about the spouse, or to treat him/her with disrespect. Storge love says, ―It‘s you and me against the world, so we need to stick together.
Storge‘s loyalty helps a couple through rough times. They will not fail to care for the best good of their partner. Storge love says no matter if you get fat, paralyzed, or senile, I am committed to you. Unlike mere duty, storge love will not complain or feel like a martyr. A storge lover, like Jesus Christ, will not leave you nor forsake you (Heb 13:5).
Safety and Security: Storge makes a secure place for the other types of love to grow. Sometimes a marriage counselor will advise a couple to be gracious and kind to each other—to treat each other as you would an important stranger.
Children raised in a home where storge is strong will not worry about their parents separating, no matter what is happening to the parents next door or down the block. Storge love between parents protects the home and creates bedrock safety for a child‘s emotional well-being.
Kindness and Comfort: Kindness is storge‘s currency. Kindness creates a safe harbor for the heart, a sweet sense of coming home, where you will be accepted and treated well. After her husband makes a mistake at work, a wife might draw her husband a hot bath, rub his neck, and sympathize as he describes what happened.
A husband who expresses storge for his wife for example will carry a heavy suitcase to the station for her; assure her that she will do well as he bids her goodbye for a ministry trip. When she comes home devastated because things did not go well, her husband puts his strong arms around her and pets her head like a child while she weeps on his shoulder. He encourages her that she did her best and the Lord was pleased.
Help, Not Condemnation: When a problem arises or a partner makes a mistake, storge will not condemn, but will do what it can to make the problem better. In storge, all blessings and problems are not yours or mine, they are ours, and we bear them together.
When the husband loses his job, for instance, the wife does not fly into a rage. She listens and soothes his pain, as well as researching places where a new job may be found, perhaps helping to pick out his clothing for his job interviews, and praying for his calm and peace as he goes.
When the wife has invited her friend for tea and the gas tank for cooking is empty, the storge husband does not berate her for not noticing the gauge, but quickly goes to fill it while the wife entertains her friend.
Acceptance: Storge allows a couple to adapt to each other‘s idiosyncrasies because he is my husband and I am his wife. Even though storge does not have a critical spirit, it sees the lover clearly. A storge lover notices that a husband does not have much hair or a wife has more wrinkles. But the lover is content because the beloved is ―all mine and therefore enjoyable to look at and touch.
When storge is betrayed, it is one of the hardest love to rebuild.
The outward focus of Storge is like a mother bear… potentially threatening to outsiders, but nurturing to its own family. It is important to know that storge‘s anger can also turn toward a beloved one. Storge will turn against its own if the beloved proves unfaithful or harms another family member. Since its main organizing principle is safety, if a partner seriously betrays the family—such as by having an affair, by gambling away the family‘s finances, or by abusing a child—storge will feel a deep sense of violation and can provoke a hatred that may be very extreme.
The possessive aspect of passionate love is described by a wife in Song of Solomon 8:6, but also by God as He describes His jealous outrage at His faithless wife, Israel, in Jeremiah 2:1-37. In Jeremiah 12:7-8 and Hosea 9:15, God says that even though He loves Israel, He has come to hate her because of her unfaithfulness.
This type of belonging love extends not only between husbands and wives but also between parents and children, sisters and brothers, grandparents and grandchildren, and, to a lesser degree, cousins and neighbors.
Storge is kept alive by a sense of safety, security, helpfulness, kindness, and loyalty. This type of love is largely a matter of choice by couples or individuals in a marital relationship.
How to keep Storge Love Alive
Storge both causes and is fed by a sense of safety, security, helpfulness, kindness, and loyalty. It is largely a matter of choice; and purposefully to keep storge healthy, one must choose:-
- How you speak
- Notice, appreciate, and speak kind and encouraging words to your spouse.
- Even in the midst of a disagreement, stick with the subject and refrain from personal attack, such as saying, ―You always … well, you never.
- Do not speak negatively about your spouse to your friends or relatives.
- Do not permit others to criticize your spouse.
- To protect
- Restrain anything or anyone that might harm your relationship, including your own thought life (Prov 3:5-20; 6:25; 23:7).
- This includes breaking off friendships with:
- Other friends of yours who encourage or condone flirtations or adultery
- Those who disrespect your spouse (Prov 1:11)
- A tempting or flattering person of the opposite sex (Prov 2:16)
- To be content and faithful
- Even if your spouse is unable or unwilling to meet your sexual needs.
- Even if your spouse does not look like or act like the knight or princess you had dreamed about.
- Do not secretly daydream about escaping to a different life.
- Do not compare your spouse unfavorably with someone else‘s spouse.
- Recognize and dwell on your spouse‘s good qualities.
- Flee the temptations of sexual entertainment, impure surroundings, and pastimes that lead to impure thoughts or relationships.
- To use self control
- Avoid selfishness and angry outbursts, which can destroy storge love‘s sense of safety quickly, and eventually leads to negative acts of the flesh …(Gal 5:20).
- Admit your own failures and shortcomings when they are revealed, and do not become defensive.
- Make wise decisions, especially of how you will spend time, energy, or money.
- Think of your spouse‘s needs before your own (Phil 2:3).
- To serve your spouse
- With kindness and joy
- Without complaint (Gal 5:13; James 5:9)
- By performing menial tasks when needed (Jn 13:4-5, 14; Lk 7:44).
Your spouse will respect you more, not less, for your sweet service.