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10 Unromantic Bible Verses That Describe Real Love

Photo of Daniel McCoyDaniel McCoy | Bio

Daniel McCoy

Daniel is happily married to Susanna, and they have 3 daughters and 2 sons. He is the editorial director for as well as an online adjunct instructor for Ozark Christian College. He has a bachelor’s in theology (Ozark Christian College), master of arts in apologetics (Veritas International University), and PhD in theology (North-West University, South Africa). His books include the Popular Handbook of World Religions (general editor), Real Life Theology: Fuel for Effective and Faithful Disciple Making (co-general editor), Mirage: 5 Things People Want From God That Don't Exist, and The Atheist's Fatal Flaw (co-authored with Norman Geisler).

Love can be celebrated in sappy ways. (That seems to be what Valentine’s Day is for.) Yes, the Bible celebrates romantic love and all that comes with it (have you ever read the Song of Songs?!). But the love described most often in the Bible isn’t sappy or sensual. It is real and dependable. This is because it comes from God (1 John 4:7).

Marriages built on this biblical kind of love go the distance and end up being the relationships worth celebrating—whether over a candlelit dinner or at a golden wedding anniversary celebration with dozens of friends and family.

The Bible verses below aren’t the NLT half-verse snippets that make it into Christian Valentine’s Day cards. Even still, if you want your marriage to be built on real love, you’ll want to spend time reflecting on these verses and the principles they teach:

1. Real love forgives quickly:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” (Lev. 19:18, NIV)

2. Real love loves based on commitment, not lovability:

“The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors.” (Deut. 7:7-8a, NIV)

3. Real love protects and provides:

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” (Deut. 10:18, NIV)

4. Real love endures:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chron. 16:34, NIV)

5. Real love cares and cultivates:

“He also built towers in the wilderness and dug many cisterns, because he had much livestock in the foothills and in the plain. He had people working his fields and vineyards in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil.” (2 Chron. 26:10, NIV)

6. Real love has a long fuse:

“They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.” (Neh. 9:17, NIV)

7. Real love creates safety and belonging:

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” (Ps. 13:5, NIV)

8. Real love is content to out-love someone.

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matt. 5:46, NIV)

9. Real love hates what destroys what it loves:

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Rom. 12:9, NIV)

10. Real love gives:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV)