It’s nearly a rite of passage to have watched the 2003 Christmas classic Love Actually. The comedic and relatable tales of eight very different couples through the frantic month of December reflects an awful lot of love, and all the emotions surrounding it.
And it made me think… We shouldn’t need a time of the year to show our love. Even if it is just through an empty greeting in a Christmas card. Love shouldn’t just be festive, should it?
So I took it upon myself to have a little look into this whole ‘love’ thing. I mean, countless times recently I’ve heard “Mummy, I love this toy, can I have it?” or “Awhhhh, please! Why not? I just love it!” Well, do these kids even know the meaning of love? Actually, they do, sort of, and I’ve found out precisely what.
In our humble English language, we have only one word for love. But that’s no good when there’s love for your partner, your dog and for some apple crumble. It’s all love, but in different amounts, and in different ways.
The Greek’s were a little more clued up about all this amour stuff, and had four words for the emotion, which could all be found in the New Testament, which is what I’ve been investigating.
Storge love – This is natural bond between mother and infant, father, children, and kin. It’s the first love you experience, and it’s selfish as you know nothing else. As you get a bit older, you could liken it to the feeling you get when you’re poorly, and you just want your mum or dad.
Agape love – This is God’s type of love. If you’re feeling this kind of love towards another, you would seek the welfare and betterment of another individual, regardless of your own feelings. It doesn’t have the primary meaning of feelings of affection, unlike the other kinds of love. A great example of Jesus demonstrating this love was dying on the cross for us, regardless of how it would make him feel in pain.
Phileo love – This is the love of affections, and feeling of happiness and delight whilst being in the presence of someone or something. It’s a sort of warm, fuzzy feeling that comes and goes. It was encouraged in the Bible, but God himself operated more in agape towards us.
Eros love – This is the most common love felt between partners- it is the physical passion and wanting for another. It encapsulates gratification and fulfilment. Interestingly, this word was not used in the Bible, and this was most likely down to its origin. It came from the mythical god of love, Eros. In many scriptures, it’s inferred that it’s the only type of love that restricts to a one-man, one-woman relationship within the bounds of marriage.
(This can get us into many controversial discussions regarding gay marriage, which is very prevalent in today’s political and social landscape. Just putting it out there- I’m all for gay marriage, jus’ sayin’.)
So there we have it. I’ve always known there’s more than one type of love, and now I know what they mean. We all go through these different types of loving emotions, from birth when we expect selfish loving from parents, then progress on to the others as we mature.
But love, in its broadest sense, is the affection to and/or from someone or thing. It’s sharing that emotion and being happy to do so. I love Christmas, but I love all my friends and family too. And I think I should make sure that I keep that love going all year, not just when I see these people around Christmas time…