What is Love? Some people say it’s a feeling, others would say its an emotion, and to some it’s just a chemical reaction in the brain. While we can all describe love differently, deep down everyone has a desire to love and to be loved, in fact we were made for love.
But its hard for us to define what love is, because the word love has so many different meanings in the English language. For example we can say that we love someone, but we can also say we love pizza, or that we love football or music. Basically theres a lot of things that we can love in our day to day lives, but obviously not in the same way. The Greeks get round this by using 4 different words for love:
The first Greek word for love is Storge which describes the love between families.
Storge love is an affectionate love between family members, it can even extend to their pets! Its a love that has a special bond and familiarity.
The next one is Filia and this is the love that’s in friendship.
This is the kind of love that you can have for close friends, but not acquaintances. You feel that you can tell them your private thoughts and ask for their advice. These are the friendships that help build both people up, they are not superficial friendships. You may not have seen these friends for ages, but you can pick up right where you left off every time you see them.
After that, we have Eros which is romantic love.
Eros Love is the state of being in love. Its very dependant on emotions and feelings and can easily become infatuation. You can fall into eros love very easily, but you can also fall out of eros love just as easily. It smooths over your beloved’s faults and enhances their good qualities. It is like seeing everything through a pair of rose coloured glasses. They make everything more beautiful, but you’re not seeing clearly.
And finally we have Agape and this is sacrificial love.
Agape is often seen as the highest form of love. We see it in Gods unconditional love for us. The best example is given with Jesus death on the cross where he lays down his life for love of us. This type of love is all about putting the other person first. It is to will the good of another, so we can say that this love is a decision, because we consciously decide to put the other persons needs before our own. It’s not dependant on feelings or emotions which can always change over time. Many would say that this is true love. For Eros love to mature it must become Agape love.
False Perception of True Love
But often our perception of true love comes from what we see in movies or tv. We see this perfect idea of love in these film romances and we are always trying to find it in reality. But often what we find never seems to match up to this standard and we’re left feeling disappointed. That’s because this type of love seems to be based on intense feelings or emotions. In reality we’re not going to have these feelings of euphoria about the person we love everyday because real life isn’t like that. Nobody is perfect and when we are close to someone after a while we see their faults, and eventually, the intense feelings will fade and then we will see if we really love them or not. Often when the intense feelings fade people say that they aren’t in love anymore and the relationship ends, and in these cases maybe their love was really just an infatuation all along.
What are the Opposites of Love?
Just as there are many different meanings for the word love so too are there also many opposites to love. Hatred is the most obvious one, but there are more. Since love involves caring about someone we can also say the opposite is not to care, a kind of feeling like I’m not really bothered. This is Indifference. Whereas love is actively caring and considerate, indifference is sluggish and selfish, a kind of apathy. For Agape love, where we put the other person first before ourselves, the opposite is to use someone for what we want, and there are lots of ways we can do this. We can use someone emotionally so that we feel better about ourselves. We can also use people physically when we use a person’s body to satisfy our sexual desires. This is lust. In this instance, the other person becomes a means to an end for our satisfaction. When they no longer excite us we discard them, and people get hurt. They can feel worthless and then start to believe that about themselves and then they can fall into one bad relationship after another.
Love & Chastity
By living Chastity and saving sex for marriage we can decide if the person we are seeing is really right for us. It saves us from being blinded by the intense emotions and feelings that come from a physical relationship and we can get to know the person for who they are, while also allowing them to see us for who we are. Chastity also allows us to live the Agape love in our relationships where we respect the other person and place their needs before ours, while at the same time it help us to determine if the other person loves us enough to put our needs before their own.