Love in its Many Forms

Love isn’t simple. The ancient Greeks understood this so well that they had three different words to express it:

1)   Agape –  Perfect, unconditional love – Often characterized as the love of God. Most of us mere mortals have to work hard at achieving this.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. –  Leviticus 19:18, KJV

Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love.   –  St. Francis of Assisi

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It’s wonderful how love of one sort or another tracks throughout our lives.

Most of us first feel it from our parents and caregivers when we’re babies and children. This is selfless and embracing love. This is where we first learn the importance of trust and forgiveness. Sometimes these relationships follow and sustain us for many years.


2)   Philos – Brotherly love – the kind we feel for our friends and family, our daily companions throughout our lives. This is based on trust, community, and caring – and it can last a lifetime.

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.    “Yes, Piglet?”   “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”   ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Friendship,” said Christopher Robin, “is a very comforting thing to have.” – A.A. Milne

P1000145 (2)We develop friendships and alliances of many kinds that carry us through and sustain us – even in childhood, when we’re learning to get along, and in the strange years of adolescence.

Later, these are the friends we rely on to support and advise, or sometimes just comfort us. How would we survive without them?

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3)  Eros -Romantic (or sexual) love – An often temporary feeling based primarily on the physical. Throughout ages of literature, this is the type which often leads to irrational behavior and passionate, often physical expressions of devotion or desire.

At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. – Plato 

Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense. –  Helen Rowland

Rec_StefLee002_Haag_415As we enter adulthood, we begin to look for a different kind of companionship. Some would say mature; others might say a little crazy.

We feel a biological imperative to find our “other halves,” and complete ourselves through uniting with that one other, special person.


If we’re lucky, we find it in someone who can travel through the years with us, and help us begin our own families, coming full circle.

I’ll go out on a limb here, and suggest that truly successful marriages contain a little of each kind of love, to keep things going through the years as we grow and change.


“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’” asked Piglet.  “Even longer,” Pooh answered.  ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

 Now that’s love.


This post was written in response to the WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Love.  To learn more about this challenge, and to see other bloggers’ responses, click here.

This entry was posted in Photo Challenges, Ruminations and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Love in its Many Forms

  1. Pingback: How to Relate with People - ElevatedBlog : ElevatedBlog

  2. Pingback: She Let Go – janetkwest

  3. dearrosie says:

    Love the way you combined the ancient Greek wisdom with AA Milne quotes and your wonderful photos 😛


  4. Rick Diffley says:

    Very nice collections of images for the weekly challenge! Well thought out.


  5. Hi,
    I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and the Blog of the Year 2012 Award! Please check out the link for more information.


  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Love and Roses | My.Vivid.Visions

  7. longtooth says:

    That wasn’t too far out on a limb when you said that successful marriages have a bit of each of those forms of love. Not too far out at all. You made my day with the Milne quotes.


  8. pattisj says:

    I agree, we need all of them throughout our lives. Nicely written and illustrated.


  9. I like the way you put this one together. The mom and baby I think is my favourite, but it’s hard to pick a favourite. Love in it’s many forms, indeed.


  10. Amba Nair says:

    I just nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award 🙂


  11. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award « So You Think You Can Think

  12. This is beautiful, thoughtful and absolutely…filled with love!


  13. Marianne says:

    Loved sharing your journey 🙂


  14. Jo Bryant says:

    great series of photos and I love the Pooh quotes


  15. s1ngal says:

    I didn’t know I wasn’t following you 😦 Great post, greater definition… LOVEd it.


  16. I agree that to make a marriage last…perhaps we need a mixture of the different types of love! You’re a very good writer! Nice to meet you! ~Sherry~


  17. Madhu says:

    Beautifully expressed TRS 🙂


  18. You took me on a beautiful journey, filled with love – thank you for that. Precious moments captured in beautiful photos. And A.A. Milne’ s quote in the end – like an icing on a cake. For me. 🙂


  19. xpat92 says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog. These photos are wonderful! I love old paper photos and could spend hours with them. You have chosen some superb quotes to illustrate the different types of love.
    Well done!


    • Thanks for this lovely comment. I’m working on getting boxes of those old paper photos into electronic formats, so I can share them with my kids and other relatives! I enjoyed your post, photo, and quote as well. Glad you stopped by!


  20. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Love « KnowledgeKnut

  21. Loca Gringa says:

    Winnie the Pooh to Christopher Robin, “I want to live one day longer than you, so that I never have to live a day without you.”

    You’ve written a wonderful piece here. Especially the trust and forgiveness part. I recently experienced a betrayal. This betrayal caused me to think a lot about trust and forgiveness in my relationship. I consciously chose to forgive. I forgave because, if I truly love this person, that love should be unconditional. Yes, I was hurt, but life can hurt simply by participating. If not unconditional, then in my mind I have no business being in the relationship to begin with. Ergo, forgive, don’t issue reminders of transgressions, and carry on.


  22. fgassette says:

    Thank you for sharing the different types of love. Your photos are wonderful in connection with each type.



  23. adinparadise says:

    I really enjoyed your photos for the challenge. I agree that a successful relationship needs all three kinds of love. 🙂


  24. Life&Ink says:

    Absolutely lovely! I loved it! 🙂


  25. Peter S says:

    I like that last photo of the couple sharing the cake!


  26. I would say you’re correct. 🙂 A little bit of all of it.


  27. A balanced mixture of the 3 would make for a perfect world.


  28. Amy says:

    Beautiful love journey! Thanks, TRS!


  29. 2e0mca says:

    Excellent descriptive writing and great images 🙂 ps – great fan of St.Francis 😉


  30. What is love? – I am reflecting on this very question at the moment. Is it physical as in a oining of bodies and minds or is it something far less tangible. When people talk of love at first sight they have experienced neither mental or physical contact – just visual. So in the terms of a relationship what is it?


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