April 1, 2023

Valentine’s Day Rumination: What is Love?

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones from Healthy Happy NJ. Do I have any philosophical nerds in the crowd? In case you’ve ever pondered… ahh… what IS love? The Ancient  Greeks thought about it and wrote about it. Here’s a breakdown of types of love and its evolution.

What is Love – 4 Types of Love

As dizzying and blissful as love can be… it can also be confusing. Who do you love? Who loves you? Why does love sometimes feel like attraction, romance and commitment to one person, but simple platonic friendship to the other? Aren’t friends the ideal type of lover? Is friendship not love? Or is it simply a different type of love?

If you’re the analytical kind who enjoys thinking about esoteric concepts such as love, then wrap your brain around the different types of love as described by the ancient Greek philosophers.

Philial love is love based on friendship. Your “bestie” (same sex, opposite sex) and you may know this type of love which is the sheer enjoyment of each other’s company, pleasure of conversing and joking with one another, and enjoying activities together.

Stroge love refers to the type of familiar love that a mother has for her child, or family members have for each other. This is a tolerant, accepting and forgiving kind of love that grows from being around someone all the time and knowing them personally. Stroge love encompasses the various roles that family members play in their relationships with each other.

Erotic love comes from Eros, the Greek god of love. Some people confuse erotic love with lust, but these two feelings are not the same. Lust refers to sexual feelings or urges that can apply to any person at any time… just raw attraction and the urge to mate. Erotic love is attraction and passionate feelings that are exclusive to one person.

Agape describes the most universal and unselfish form of love. It is the type of love that perseveres against all odds – love that knows no ego, forgives all, and never gives up. Agape love is the most challenging, yet highest form of love to aspire to in relationships, particularly marriage.

Which of the 4 Types of Love Make the Best Marriage?

Which of the four types of love signal that you would make a good love match with that special someone? Well… if you’re just getting to know them, then you may be in the Philial phase of love. This is where you’re discovering your common ground with this person – likes, dislikes, ways of being and thinking, and enjoying each other’s company.

Later, as your love grows, the fires of passion ignite and then you have Erotic love sparking between you. Not everyone feels erotically toward their friends whom they feel a brotherly, Philial kind of love for. But if you and your amor feel strongly attracted and can’t get enough of kissing, hugging and being intimate with one another, then it’s safe to say you’re moving toward a more permanent kind of love relationship. And if you think that erotic love results in babies being born, you’d be right. Which brings us to the third kind of love…

Stroge love. If you’re married and/or raising a family together, then stroge love likely abounds, especially during the years when the children are young. Stroge refers to the loving bond of family life – mother and father, son and daughter, mother and son, father and daughter, and all the ways we’re intimately connected and how that love plays out in our everyday lives and family roles. As stroge love strengthens, erotic love between partners tends to ebb… practical family matters take front and center while the passionate attraction and need to always be touching, talking and kissing is replaced with a more cozy, family nest kind of feeling.

Finally, if your marriage goes through a rough patch but you manage to forgive each other and work through the hurt, then you will have moved on to a stronger and more enduring phase of love – Agape love. This is the love that perseveres against all odds and keeps you faithful to your loved ones even through perceived hurts and misgivings. It is also the most difficult love state to achieve, as it means being able to sacrifice your own selves for each other in order to achieve a stronger bond and higher and more universal kind of love.

So to answer the question as to which type of love makes the best marriage… probably a little of each.

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