Love

According to the Encarta Dictionary, love is an intense feeling of tender affection and compassion; a passionate feeling or romantic desire and sexual attraction. Erich Fromm made these comments:

Immature love says: I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.'

In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.

Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self.

In the classic book, The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm writes that "To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern-and to take the jump and stake everything on these values."

In Forrest Gump, the movie, Forrest expresses this in the famous line, "Jenny, I may be stupid, but I know what love is."

So what is love?

In my mind, love is a marriage union between souls. It is profound positive feelings actualized in affectionate behaviors toward the love object. Note the Bible passage on love, 1 Corinthians 13.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Though discussing love, this scriptural pericope does not refer to feelings or emotions. Instead, it talks about attitudes, such as patience, and actions, such as not boasting. It describes the result of love. When you love, you are inspired to behave in certain caring ways. For example, if you love your partner, you will be motivated to do everything possible to promote his or her well being. If he or she is unusually weary some night, out of love, you may volunteer to perform a duty that he or she would otherwise be responsible for.

For all intent and purposes, there are three forms of love. The first is the Greek Eros and is used to designate erotic, romantic, physical love. It can be one of the peak pleasures in human experience if not abused and misused.

The Greeks also has a second definition of love, and that is Philia which is where the word philanthropy is derived. Philia means brotherly love. We all know Philadelphia as the city of brotherly love. Philia does not contain romantic love. Philia is the love you and I have for our parents, siblings, friends, family members, and so forth. It does not contain Eros.

The third definition of love is called Agape. Agape means unconditional love for someone. It means loving someone without expecting love in return. Parents can relate to this, especially a mother. Perhaps this may be a difficult concept to comprehend in today's society because this type of love requires sacrifice and selflessness.

Agape is different from both Eros and Philia in that inherent in agape love is an overflowing altruism that seeks nothing in return. The end of agape is not the well-being of the self, but the well-being of the other. It is the type of love that characterized the non-violent philosophies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

In my experience, the one common mistake that many couples make is equating "true" love with Eros love only. Real love, I believe, requires all three types of love. Far too many relationships today are based on one type of love. If your relationship fails to include all three types of love, you may be mixing a recipe for disaster. When the first few years are past, one or two children have entered the scene, daily living becomes more difficult (and believe me, it will); and Eros love loses a little bit of its spice, most people bail out of relationships. So I hope you can appreciate the value of applying all three types of love in your relationship and marriage.

Eros love is essential to every relationship; philia love is equally important, and of course, agape love binds all three.

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available soon.

You are welcome to visit AMEN Ministries: Your Soul's Service Station for spiritual refreshing, soul edification or to browse our newly expanded mini shopping mall.

Blessings to all!

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


?ello? ?ello? ?ello? Is that the Wedding, then?

You hear them at champagne-flowing parties. You hear them in... Read More

A Promise Ring- More Than Just a Pre-Engagement Ring

When one thinks of a promise ring it is common... Read More

The Perfect Wedding Budget

Creating a wedding budget is one of the first things... Read More

11 Things to Remember in Planning Your Wedding

Every woman dreams of her own wedding. May it be... Read More

Las Vegas Wedding Receptions

Las Vegas wedding receptions are where people tend to go... Read More

How You Answer This Question Can Change Your Marriage

Imagine the following scenario. Your spouse has given you an... Read More

Are Wedding Decorations Waiting in Your Future?

If there are wedding bells in your future, then surely... Read More

Building Your Marriage: Some Thoughts From St. Paul

These verses of Scripture from St. Paul are commonly used... Read More

How to Choose the Perfect Headpiece and Veil for Your Facial and Body Features

All brides want to be beautiful on their wedding day,... Read More

Design Your Own Beautiful Wedding Ring

It used to be that if you wanted to buy... Read More

Balance - Wedding Budget Blues

Let's think about what goes into your wedding budget. Your... Read More

10 Valentines Day Tips for Spouses Who Want to Improve Their Marriage

The best and most valuable gifts are often not material... Read More

How to Select a Wedding Photographer

Selecting a wedding photographer can be a daunting task. Not... Read More

Are American Women Driving Their Men Away?

Recently, I stumbled across something on the internet. A particular... Read More

Hey, Where Do I Put My Speakers? Unique Venues Require Unique DJs

If your wedding or party is being held in a... Read More

Wedding Tips

Weddings are made in heaven, they say, but they have... Read More

Unique Wedding Invitations

Today's tech savvy couples are plugging in and creating unique... Read More

Wedding Cake - Bakery Tips

Wedding cake bakeries will have a cake portfolio to look... Read More

Wedding Flowers and Arrangements?Best Advice from the Experts

Now that you are planning your wedding, you've got to... Read More

Celtic Diamond Rings ? A Combination of History And Romance

The symbolism of Celtic Diamond Rings is relevant to all... Read More

The Wedding Dress Revealed

Fashion Trends and Popular Styles and ColorsThe Wedding Dress ?... Read More

7 Stupid Wedding Mistakes Even Smart Couples Make

"What in the world could they have been thinking?"Definitely words... Read More

Make Sure You Do: Before You Say ?I Do?

Tina Turner asked an important question in the title of... Read More

Wedding Receiving Line Etiquette?Greeting Your Guests with Style

Even though it's a great tradition with a long history,... Read More

The Second Time - Another White Wedding?

That first wedding was a dream, a gorgeous long white... Read More

Wedding Web Site Design - How to Design a Wedding Site That Others Will Rave About

If you are in the process of design a wedding... Read More

Wedding Planning: Benefits of Online Wedding RSVPs

Want to manage your wedding guests with style and ease?... Read More

Shopping For Elegant Mother Of The Bride Dresses

There are many places to shop for elegant mother of... Read More

Butterfly Releases

Butterfly Releases offer the viewer the chance to see beauty... Read More

Las Vegas Elvis Weddings

Got a yen for Elvis? Lots of people do. There... Read More

Maui Honeymoon Resorts

Each of the dozens of Maui honeymoon resorts can be... Read More

Wedding Planning 101: Create a Wedding Planner

Did your wonderful husband-to-be recently "pop the question" and now... Read More

Beyond Her Grasp

I am a woman, 42, who three years ago married... Read More