What Is Love? Unraveling the 5 Types and Their Significance

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What is love, and what do you make of it? Is it a myth or a reality, especially for the people who have suffered untold pain and heartache in the name of love? And what differentiates one type from another?

If you have been looking for answers to these and more questions, you are in the right place. We’ll answer your various questions in this article.

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Undeniably, love is a complex mixture of emotions that has intrigued not only philosophers and great thinkers from the past but also individuals across cultures and centuries. 

At the same time, it manifests in various forms, each unique in its expression and significance, perhaps adding to the confusion that makes people seek answers to the question, What is love

This article sheds light on the five types of affection and their characteristics and explores their profound impact on human relationships and well-being.

#1. Eros: Passion and Romance

The Greeks had a god of love called Eros, hence the naming of this type of affection after him. It is a love that represents passionate, sensual, and romantic emotions.

Intense emotions, desire, and physical attraction are chiefly the main features. Eros is often associated with the initial stages of a romantic relationship, where infatuation and the thrill of discovery play a central role. It is common for teenagers and youngsters to experience this adoration.

The adoration that a husband has for his wife also falls into this classification. Take the case of the Bible’s institution of marriage. Indeed, God advocates for deep, exclusive love for partners. Albeit without referring to it as Eros, the inference is well-relatable.

The book of the Song of Solomon goes a step further, without shying away from the subject of sex, and openly mentions parts like breasts, equating them with clusters of grapes! Sol 7:6-8

Consequently, Eros stands out from other forms of love because of its intensity. To summarize the concept, it swallows and captivates the heart; it’s more about lust, passion, and romance.

Examples of Eros include teenage romance and husband-wife relationships.

#2. Agape: Unconditional and Selfless Love

While much of Eros’s is based on physical attraction (thereby seeming selfish), agape is a selfless and unconditional form of love. 

This is a pure form of affection, significantly rooted in compassion and altruism. God’s love for man and, equally, man’s love for his creator summarize agape.

It transcends personal gain and acts of kindness, empathy, and unconditional support associate with it. As an illustration of these acts of sacrifice, God shows kindness in giving his only son, Jesus, to bear our sins on our behalf (John 3:16).

Additionally, agape is foundational to familial ties and true friendships. By the same token, we encourage you to eventually extend agape love to even your enemies. And in summary, these then are the tenets of agape:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

#3. Philia: Deep Friendship 

Philia depicts a deep friendship and has no romanticism involved. It includes a close bond and unity of friendship, and while it is basically platonic in nature, we can expand it to include the self-love type as well.

Philia goes beyond casual acquaintanceship, involving mutual respect, loyalty, and shared values. Strong friendships and tightly knit groups frequently exhibit it, as it is essential for maintaining enduring relationships.

In some circles, it is equated with brotherly affection. A strong sense of empathy for one another’s problems and a desire to help them are some of its indicators.

The Bible exemplifies forms of philia love in:

i) Romans 12:10- Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

ii) 1 Thessalonians 4:9- Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another

#4. Storge: Familial and Protective Love

The instinctive love of parents for their children is called storge. In other words, it is familial and is characterized by a deep sense of affection, care, and protectiveness from parents toward their offspring.

At the same time, storge is the bond that forms between other family members, fostering a sense of belonging and security. 

Therefore, storge is crucial for the healthy development of individuals within a family unit.

Are there Biblical examples of storge? Certainly! Take the case of Isaac and Jacob. It clearly demonstrates a fatherly care for his son, even to the point of blessing him when his time to join his ancestors approached.

Then we have the case of Martha and Mary’s adoration for their brother Lazarus when he died. Out of it, they pleaded with Jesus to bring him back to life, a wish he granted them.

Lastly, we have the case of Noah, who showed affection to his three sons and their wives when he took them into the ark to save them from floods. Thereafter, God used them to repopulate the earth.

In summary, these words manifest familial love, though not referred to as storge in the Bible:

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” –1 John 3:16

#5. Pragma

Pragma is a pragmatic and enduring form of affection that emphasizes practicality and long-term compatibility. It basically evolves from Eros.  

The distinction of this type of love is a committment where individuals work together to build a lasting connection based on mutual goals and understanding.

I think you’ll agree with me that there are elderly couples who appear smitten with affection for each other just as the first day they met eons ago. They’ll go out together on all their engagements and outings. If you spot one at a function, the other one will be hanging around, not too far away.

Indeed, as stated above, this can be Eros that has matured, in like manner to old wine.

Takeaway

In conclusion, we hope your question “What is love?” has been answered. We also hope that this article detailing the types of love has given you more insights the variuos types provide. 

Each sort of love, from Agape’s selfless character to Eros’ intense passion, adds something special to the fabric of the human experience. 

Understanding and valuing these various types of love can improve our interpersonal connections. They also deepen our understanding of one another and the human experience in general.

By accepting the intricacy of love, we set out on a path of self-exploration and social development.

What are your thoughts?


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