Everything is not for everyone. Some things are rightly exclusive, limited, and special. And certain aspects of love fall into this category as well. There are special expressions of love not meant for everybody.
Of course, we are called to love everyone, including our enemies. And all too often we play favorites, or simply remain selfish, and fail to love the many different people God has placed in our path. There’s a dignity and respect we owe to everyone – whether they’re the stranger walking down the street or our political rival with whom we passionately disagree.
But this general love does not eliminate or replace the special love we have toward our family and close friends, for example. And our wife and kids then get even more access to us, with our wife also having exclusive privileges to our body and soul that’s not granted to anyone else.
To be sure, a special love for certain others doesn’t mean we stop loving everyone else. They both remain true at the same time. We seek the good of everyone while still showing up in a special way for those closest to us.
There’s tension here, but not a point of guilt. We don’t have to feel bad for wanting a love that is all our own. And it’s not selfish to desire such.
Selfishness kicks in when this special love is placed on an idol to the neglect of general love.
For instance, as much as our marriage should be a priority, life is not just about the two of us and our relational happiness. We still have a responsibility to love well in our larger communities. All the same, there are exclusive joys that remain just for the two of us.
In the end, continue to love your neighbors, your enemies, and everyone God puts in your path. And remember also to protect that special love you have with certain others. This reminds us we’re personally chosen and uniquely valued.