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