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Love seeks the good of the other. And in this sense, love is love whether it’s directed toward our wife, children, friends, or neighbors. But more nuance is often needed in our daily lives, as there are different kinds of love, each to be honored in its own right.

On the one hand, this is easy to see. The love we have for our wife is clearly not the same love we have for our children, though we care deeply for them both. And while not always the case, the natural parent-child dynamic generally helps to keep both of these intense loves from feeling like they rival each other.

We can also see, at least intellectually, the difference between loving our neighbors and those in our extended communities from the priority we give those in our very homes. We’re to love both, but we have a special duty to those in our household. And we’ve neglected this duty when we extend more care for those on the outside than those on the inside.

And perhaps most difficult to sort through is the different kinds of love even within our inner circle. For example, the love we have for our wife is different from the love we have for our friends, though both would be peers of sorts.

Whatever it looks like, it helps to make various distinctions in our types of love for each other. This allows us to know how to show up and prioritize each, without also expecting one type to be our everything. For instance, while our wife will always hold an exclusive priority in our life, we still need a village of many kinds of love around us. And it’s not fair to expect her to meet all our emotional and relational needs.

In the end, continue to love and bring good to all. But learn the value of different kinds of love as well – freeing you to show up and prioritize each accordingly.

Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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