Theories of Love


While humans are more dependent on adults than many animals, they also have a longer childhood period and rely on their parents and siblings for years on end. As such, love is extremely important for human evolution. Interestingly, studies of the brain show that romantic love causes a marked activation of reward-related brain regions – the same brain areas activated by drugs like cocaine. Regardless of the physiological basis of love, our capacity for loving a loved one may be directly related to how much time he or she spends with us.

Love has many definitions. Among its many meanings, love is the feeling of intense affection for another person. Some definitions of love include the feelings of sexual attraction and romantic attachment. In literature and film, lovers often describe their love for one another, e.g., Romeo and Juliet. Other examples of love include friendships, best friends, and boyfriends. But love also describes a less intense but still intense affection for a person, place, or thing.

Theories of love generally fall into four categories. Some of these overlap with each other, and there are many others. While they may not be mutually exclusive, the classification process involves a lot of pigeonholing and may even be counterproductive. Theories of love tend to be quasi-reductionistic, interpreting love primarily in terms of notions such as attachment, affection, and evaluation. But this approach has its limitations. For example, it may overlook a key aspect of love: the creative nature of love.

According to the Greeks, agape, a love that originates in the Triune Godhead, is defined as concern for another being. Love encompasses compassion, care, and self-sacrifice. In this way, agape is an expression of God’s love in all things. Agape love is the type of love we experience with others. In contrast, love may manifest itself in the form of affection, care, and concern. It can also be expressed as care for the wellbeing of another, such as a family pet.

While we may not be able to identify with all three types of love, the classical Greeks distinguished between different states of love. One was an altruistic state of affection, while another was a playful affection. Another was a long-term commitment between siblings. And finally, mania, an obsession, is the most common form of love. These differ in meanings, but they all refer to the same fundamental emotion: desire. Those who feel love will do whatever it takes to please that special person.

Although the idea of love is free and beautiful, it is also fraught with pitfalls. In the worst cases, it can lead to destructive behavior. In such cases, couples should seek help to save their relationship. This might be in the form of therapy or counseling. Even if a relationship has a troubled history, it is better to seek help than to live in a broken one. And if the couple is already in love, seeking help will not hurt the relationship.