Question: I often ask my husband if he loves me. I am not sure why I feel that love is lacking in our relationship. He seems at times very passionate and then the next minute, it’s like I don’t exist. I really doubt at times that he sincerely does love me.
Answer: That is a good question. All of us at times in our lives have asked that same question. Maybe we could look to the Ancient Greeks to help us understand love. In the same breath we say we love caramel chocolates, and we love the cool breeze on a hot day and we love our spouse. So, do we love caramel the same as, or more than our spouse?
Love is a complicated emotion and it plays on our deepest fear if we don’t understand it. And it is very difficult to understand.
The Greeks divided this word and emotion into at least four different loves: Agape, Phileo, Storge, and Eros.
Agape – is an unconditional love that goes beyond the surface. This describes those who love regardless of their flaws, shortcomings or faults. And is the type of love that every person would like to have for the human race. Even if you do not “love” a person, you can still have for love for them. You can still sacrifice expecting nothing in return. This form of love is considered a verb. This is where a person chooses to be committed. C.S Lewis calls this stage “Do you want my cake?”
Phileo – is more of a brotherly love. It is an affectionate, and tender platonic love. This describes the love between two people who have common interests and experiences. This word is translated as a noun. It is also a chosen and a committed love. C.S Lewis calls this stage “The punch on the side”
Storge – is a love between parents and their children; the love that members of the family or a strong friendship has. It is one of the stronger loves, because it involves a commitment that relies on a dependent. This is unconditional love and makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe. And is a type of love that is toxic to a marriage if it is more like the relationship of mother and son, or a father and daughter. C.S. Lewis calls this stage “The frosting on the cake”
Eros – is a passionate and intense love that arouses romantic feelings. This love gives you a chemical high. It is simply emotional and a sexual love. Eros love is that insatiable desire to be near your loved one. This is more like, “I love how you make me feel.” C.S Lewis calls this stage “My cake!” And is a type of love may not last unless a commitment is kept long enough to allow it to evolve to the other loves previously mentioned. If the love does not transfer, we often easily to give up on a commitment and just say I don’t love them anymore. If a commitment is kept, the love journey can evolve to have all of the types of love, which is required to keep a relationship for a longer time. Most relationships start in Eros alone and only evolves to more when a commitment is kept.
Here are some rules to help build your love:
- Never take each other for granted.
- To take someone for granted means that you are not appreciating the ways the person contributes to the quality of your life or the relationship.
- Not being considerate to your partner’s feelings indicates a lack of appreciation.
- Feeling fear in yourself that you are not worthy of love can leave both sides feeling empty.
- Never shy away from positive criticism.
- There is nothing pleasant about criticism. Yet given and taken in the spirit of love and trust it can build more meaning between you.
- Let go of your ego or your fear of appearing weak.
- Remember that you are each other’s best friend in that you can help each other rise to become better people.
- Learn from the criticism and learn to give it in a loving manner.
- Be the shoulder to lean on.
- We all need someone to lean on.
- We don’t have to agree with all they say; yet we can listen.
Love is many things to many people. Real love does not come with boundaries or stipulations. It cannot be bought or sold; yet it comes only with work and commitment. Love comes to those who believe in it.