I could not even start to do justice to this topic but two men who speak very well on it are Voddie Baucham in chapter three of his book Family Driven Faith and Norm Wakefield in his fifth message in the Equipping Men Series called Equipped to Love. After hearing what these two men and others have had to say I've been thinking about it quite a bit. Here are a few thoughts.
I thought it would be interesting to start with how the world might define love.
Wikipedia: Love is any of a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure ("I loved that meal") to intense interpersonal attraction ("I love my husband"). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.
So what is the Biblical definition of love?
Deut. 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."
The three Hebrew words used here (translated heart, soul, and strength) provide a clear biblical definition of love:
love is an act of the will accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object.
Biblical love is a choice. While emotion is a large part of the love equation, it must not be the sum total. Although love is accompanied by emotion, biblical love is not led by emotion.
Love leads to action on behalf of its object. John 14:15 says "If you love Me, keep My commandments."
Therefore, if a man says he loves his wife you should be able to tell by his actions as well as his words.
Biblical love is not a random, overwhelming or an uncontrollable force. Neither is it sensual.
Biblical love keeps giving even when there is no return. This kind of love I've seen portrayed in a elderly man who must care for his sickly wife, and does so cheerfully, day in and out, with no breaks.
Mythical love won't endure hardship, overcome adversity, or triumph over disaster.
Often we use the word love with out thinking. If I say I love my car what do I mean? I love it because of what it gives me? I guess as soon as it stops giving I stop loving it? God forbid that this kind of love be applied in relationships!
Biblical love is volitional, transferable, secure, and it satisfies.
Think about what true love means. Watch how you use the word love.
My two cents. Thoughts?