Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Temporary Resident of Earth Lord Only Knows Where Next
The Five Kinds of Love
In a few posts over the last few months I have spoken about a couple kinds of love. Eros and agape. I thought I would give a quick review of the five kinds of love relationships move in and out of. Yes, love changes over time, that is inevitable but each kind of love carries properties with it that can strengthen the bonds between a couple. This post is heavily based on a chapter from Dr. Ed Wheat’s “Love Life for Every Married Couple”. The book is very faith based and draws from many Biblical sources but also applies many useful theories and practices in sustaining a healthy marriage or recovering one. I found it to give me some strong tools in both.
Epithumia: Is of Greek origin and is a love based on a strong desire of many sorts. Many times it is associated with lust or sometimes to covet. While epithumia love can draw couples closer together it can also be divisive as it can lead to an uncontrollable desire to have or to own. We often hear on this forum from people who desperately try and draw a spouse back after they have become detached from the marriage. The efforts can be overwhelming to the retreating spouse as epithumia love can be seen as controlling. Epithumia love can also nurture strong bonds in a couple if they both experience it especially in a sexual context. To mutually desire each other sexually and to engross themselves in love making that is driven both by desire and selflessness in pleasing each other. Epithumia love is a double edged sword and is most likely manifested in a positive manner in the early stages of a relationship.
Eros: This the love most associated with romance. It is that head-over-heals feeling we get when a relationship moves forward. Your world and mind circles about your loved one and they are always on your mind. You strive for time together romantically. It is manifested in poetry, words of affirmation, love making, that special look in the eyes.…. A feeling that you could not be happy in life without their companionship and love. Eros love is wholly emotional and cannot be summoned at will. Sadly while most of us have experience eros love in our lives it is not sustainable. Most experts estimate that it will only last 18 – 24 months in the best of relationship before the relationship moves on to another form of love. While eros love is not sustainable, it can cycle in and out of a relationship over its course.
Storge: (Also Greek) Storge love is often described as a comfortable old shoe relationship comprised of natural affection and a sense of belonging to each other. Storge love represents a safe haven for couples as it is a place of acceptance, mutual respect and shelter. Many couple dwell in storge love for years and misunderstand it as mundane or boring. But in effect it is a very safe place but can simply lack that spark we seek. It can also serve as the moat around your marriage protecting it from outside forces and allow the other types of loves to dwell and flourish. Storge love can co-exist with other types of love and can be likened to a foundation made up of trust and safety.
Phileo: This love cherishes and has tender affection for the beloved but it expects a response. It is a love of relationship, comradeship, sharing, communication and friendship. While eros makes lovers phileo makes a close companionship that is all trusting. They share each other’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, plans and dreams. They confide in each other the most intimate secrets, fears and needs that they would not share with another. A marriage without phileo will be unsatisfactory no matter the passion in the bedroom.
Agape: Many have heard me speak of agape love in several posts over the last year. Agape love is of particular significance to marriages in troubled waters, especially if one partner has disconnected. To love agapely is to love your spouse completely, love them wholly, but expect nothing in return from them at the current time. Agape love is different from eros love in that it is not sexual, nor romantic in nature. Its nature is that of self sacrifice but is not unconditional. You can love your spouse completely and still have boundaries and maintain your self respect. Agape love is also different from the other kinds of love in that you can choose it. You can elect to love your spouse this way because it is what is best for your family and marriage. It is a giving of yourself for the betterment of the marriage. Agape love can help you to “protect” yourself emotionally during difficult times as you love your spouse but expect nothing in return. Many I talk to have difficulty in trying to apply this type of love but if the marriage is in trouble and the detached spouse still cares for you but is in danger of leaving agape love can do wonders both for you and the marriage.
These loves can come and go in a marriage. I would venture to say I have experienced them all in my 20+ year marriage. They can also intertwine with each other to form a stronger bond. By understanding the kinds of love that can exist might help in determining where you are in your relationship and where you might want to be. Hopefully this will give some insight into how they might get there.
Confidence – Love – Patience – Faith Are the tools to help heal a marriage.
"Some of the greatest lessons life has taught me came from my darkest days in it" -Amp
Last edited by Amplexor; 08-05-2009 at 02:23 PM.