Love is a special and complicated emotion which is quite difficult to understand. Although most people believe that love revolves around the heart, it actually occurs in the brain. Artists, poets and painters all epitomize the heart as the love symbol, but it’s the brain that generates chemical signals to make people understand love. There are different forms and styles of expressing love, and many different definitions of love for every culture. To describe these styles, the Ancient Greeks came up with four terms (Eros, storge, agape and philia) to symbolize their four types of love. Let us look at these four loves in details.
This is an unconditional love that sees beyond the outer surface and accepts the recipient for whom he/she is, regardless of their flaws, shortcomings or faults. It’s the type of love that everyone strives to have for their fellow human beings. Although you may not like someone, you decide to love them just as a human being. This kind of love is all about sacrifice as well as giving and expecting nothing in return. The translation of the word agape is love in the verb – form: it is the love demonstrated by your behavior towards another person. It is a committed and chosen love. [More: What is Agape Love?]
Philia love refers to an affectionate, warm and tender platonic love. It makes you desire friendship with someone. It’s the kind of love which livens up the Agape love. Although you may have an agape love for your enemies, you may not have a philia love for the same people.
It is a kind of family and friendship love. This is the love that parents naturally feel for their children; the love that member of the family have for each other; or the love that friends feel for each other. In some cases, this friendship love may turn into a romantic relationship, and the couple in such a relationship becomes best friends. Storge love is unconditional, accepts flaws or faults and ultimately drives you to forgive. It’s committed, sacrificial and makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe.
Eros love is a passionate and intense love that arouses romantic feelings; it is the kind that often triggers “high” feelings in a new relationship and makes you say, “I love him/her”. It is simply an emotional and sexual love. Although this romantic love is important in the beginning of a new relationship, it may not last unless it moves a notch higher because it focuses more on self instead of the other person. If the person “in love” does not feel good about their relationship anymore, they will stop loving their partner.
This just offers you a general understanding and description of the four types of love which promotes a good, healthy and progressive relationship. In any relationship, you should have all these four loves working together to enable it survive for a longer time. But in some cases, a relationship may be long-lasting if partners share the same style of love.