Love can be in any shape, form, color, and size; Lovers can love each other uniquely. Even the way we define love can be depicted in many different ways.
In this article we explore the different concepts of love from how they were understood by the Greek society and transcribed in the Bible to how they are understood today.
As the New testament was translated from Greek, different forms of love have been described through the usage of the Greek language. The article elaborates on what each type of love signifies.
Moreover, the article discusses the Triangular theory of love and how that gave birth to the 7 forms of love.
Explore these types of love and learn how you can apply this love in your life today.
What does love actually mean?
It is difficult to define love because everyone’s perception of real love can be dramatically different. People often get confused between lust, attraction, and companionship.
Hence, there is no one best definition of love.
However, what does love mean can be summarised as an intense feeling of euphoria and deep affection for someone or something.
Love is the glue that keeps a relationship strong and solid. It is deeply biological and often considered to be unconditional.
“Unconditional” implies that there are no desires or limitations. To genuinely and unconditionally love someone is difficult for most human beings as we aren’t good at that. Be that as it may, genuine love truly cherishes without attempting to change the other individual.
As per Dr. Strernberg’s theories of love,love is a triangle that is made up of three components:
Intimacy – Intimacy can be defined as the feeling of closeness and connectedness in a personal relationship. Intimacy plays a significant role in creating strong bonds between two individuals.
Passion – Associated with both emotional stimulus and physical desires, passion is a feeling of intense enthusiasm towards or compelling desire for someone or something.
Decision/Commitment – Commitment is a promise or agreement to give a lot of your time and attention to something or someone.
Also watch: Sternberg’s theory of love: Intimacy, commitment, passion
What is a love catalyst?
A catalyst is defined as an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action. Hence a love catalyst is that agent that amplifies your feelings of a certain type of love.
Different types of love as per ancient Greek
Love can be in any shape, form, color, and size; Lovers can love each other uniquely.
But, what is it like to love according to ancient Greek myth? Does everyone love alike, or everyone embodies a separate style of loving? What are the different types of love Greeks believed in?
Today we are going to unfold one of the ancient myths related to types of love in Greek mythology. According to Greeks of the older times, only 8 types of love exist.
1. Family love – Storge
Have you ever heard the word storge before? Pronounced STOR-jay, this Geek work describes the kind of love shared within the family unit.
Ask any parent and they will tell you that the loving bond between parent and child is like nothing they had ever felt before.
The Bible highlights the role that both parent and child are to play in the family unit. Family love is the type of love in the Bible that is of prime importance.
Deuteronomy 6:6 says “These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart and you must inculcate them in your sons [and daughters] and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.”
Studies show thatchildren learn by observing those around them, and since you and your spouse are the first examples of love, marriage, and Christian faith that they will see in their lives, it’s important for couples to set a good example about living according to God’s law.
Not only by verbally teaching your children about God but by setting a fine example in your conduct.
Parents deserve all the love that you can give them, there is a great emphasis on this type of love in the Bible
Love Catalyst: Causal (Memories)
Ways to show Storge:
Express what you feel
Encourage and compliment them
Help them when they need it
Invest your time with them
2. Marital love – Eros
The second form of love we will consider is Eros (AIR-ohs). This Greek word refers to the romantic love that is often associated with new relationships. Butterflies in your stomach, intense physical attraction, and general excitement to see your partner. This may not seem like it, but it is a very important type of love in the Bible too.
While eros may mean temptation for unmarried ones, studies show that those who are united in marriage can keep eros from fading by practicing aweekly date night. Not only does this help keep passionate love burning, but a weekly date night has also been shown to boost communication and marital friendship.
Another way husbands and wives can strengthen their marriage is by heeding the beneficial advice for couples found in the book of Ephesians, chapter five.
The chapter encourages women to have a deep respect for their husbands, while Ephesians 5:28 says “in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself” (NWT.)
If you love your own body, that means you would take care of it, cherish it, and do things for the good of it. This is the same way a husband is to treat his wife – with love and compassion.
Love Catalyst: Physical body (Hormones)
Ways to show Eros:
Express love through thoughtful actions
Find out your partner’s preferred Love Language
Spend time being present with your partner
Acknowledge their efforts
3. Love by principle – Agape
The word love, as found in 1 Peter 4:8, is a reference to the Greek word agape, pronounced Uh-Gah-Pay. This unselfish love is based on principles, not feelings. You can’t force yourself to love someone, but you can follow a principle of love, which is why Peter was able to command the people to “have an intense love for one another” in this instance.
In astudy of agape love, Professor William Barclay says that this love has to do with the mind, not necessarily the heart. It is a principle that you live in. He goes on to say that agape “is, in fact, the power to love the unlovable, to love people whom we do not like.”
We have already learned how family, parents, marital spouses, and children can show love for one another. But what about those around us?
At Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus says that the second greatest commandment was “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (NASB)
This type of love in the Bible has great significance in Christian belief.
Jesus set a fine example in showing love to the neighbor when he gave his life on behalf of all mankind in order that they might be saved.
As God’s son, it would have been easy for Jesus to escape the persecution he was facing. But because his love for the human race was deep and based on principle, he gladly accepted his assignment as a ransom sacrifice.
Love Catalyst: Spirit
Ways to show Agape:
Listen and respect your differences
ask for an opinion, don’t make assumptions, and be honest if there is a problem
don’t grumble about them behind their backs
be humble, teachable, and show affection that they like
forgive even when reconciliation isn’t possible
4. Brotherly love – Phileo/Philia
This is a unique and wonderful form of love found in the scriptures. Phileo, pronounced Fill-eh-oh, is not romantic or similar to that of family love but is a form of affection and warmth toward another person. Unlike agape love, which God commanded us to have for our enemies, phileo love is reserved for those close to us.
This type of love in the Bible refers to a brotherly love only.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes (NWT) “But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.”
Therefore, we can show phileo love toward those in our community or congregation by being kind and forgiving toward one another.
Love Catalyst: The mind
Ways to show phileo:
enjoy doing things together and comment and share similar interests
Maintain balance and equality
Be compassionate and empathetic
5. Obsessive Love – Mania
Mania is a situation when people find themselves unable to grow. They’re addicted to one person or one way to love that person. They can’t figure out that they’re not in love, but they’re sickly obsessed.
People who’re desperate to love and be loved are looking around for some wild adventure in life. This is no healthy form of love.
Love Catalyst: Survival instinct
How to avoid obsessive love:
Understand the difference between genuine and artificial love
Try to relax
Find ways to love yourself
6. Enduring Love – Pragma
Couples in a committed long-term relationship or couples married for years are often found enduring this type of love.
Pragma makes you feel comfortable in your own skin while in a relationship. You’re not ecstatic but content with what you have.
You have made enough compromises to make your relationship/marriage work, and hence you are bearing the fruit.
The first two verses of Psalm 136 in the Bible shares how God’s enduring love is integral to who He is and how It motivates Him to work on behalf of His people.
Love Catalyst: Etheric (Subconscious)
Ways to show Pragma:
Build a long-lasting relationship
Express yourself without criticizing or putting down your partner
Empathize with your partner
7. Playful Love – Ludus
It can also be named young love or first sight love. It’s when you tease each other when you can hear the heartbeat loud and clear when you find out the entire world is conspiring to set you two together.
It’s a special time some people experience once in life, and some people experience it countless times. This type of love has a specified time, and it expires after it.
Ludus or playful love in the Bible can be found between King Solomon and his maiden. The book of Solomon has multiple references of playful acts of love between them.
Love Catalyst: Astral (Emotion)
Ways to show Ludus:
Flirting and Teasing
share playful love notes or stories
Be spontaneous and fun
Do fun activities together
8. Self Love – Philautia
The ancient Greeks have suggested that self-love, self-awareness, and self-appreciation are equally important. Before loving anyone else, you need to learn to love yourself.
A person who doesn’t love himself cannot love others, true to a tee. Philautia is all about self-compassion and self-gratification.
If you’re happy with yourself, and you enjoy your own accompaniment, you’re struck with philautia.
An example of Philautia in the bible is when Daniel and his friends Hanainah, Mishael, and Azariah were captured and taken to the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace.
There Daniel convinced his friends to not eat the gourmet food and wine offered by the king and asked to be only served vegetables and water.
Even Though Daniel was honoring God, his self-love or Philautia kept them healthier than other captives so that he can withstand the trials in Babylon.
“ As for these young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel has understanding in all visions and dreams.”
Love Catalyst: Soul
Ways to show Philautia:
Deepen your consciousness or awareness
Reconsider your old beliefs and adopt new ones
List down all your positive qualities
Accept yourself just as you are
The other types of love that we experience
Stepping aside from Greek words for love as described in the Bible, now we take a look at the different types of love that we experience nowadays.
In this section, we dive even further into the Triangular theory of love by Robert Sternberg and using the three components of love we find different combinations of 7 forms of love.
Friendship – Based only on intimacy such type of love does not have any passion or commitment and includes friends and acquaintances.
Infatuated love – This type of love is passion without intimacy or commitment. The beginning of many romantic relationships experiences such type of love but over time it either develops intimacy or commitment or else it disappears suddenly.
Empty love – Empty love is commitment without intimacy or passion. Usually considered as the end of a long- term relationship, it does serve as the beginning for others.
Romantic love – From a one-night stand to a romantic affair, this type of love consists of intimacy and passion but has no commitment.
Compassionate love – Experienced in long-term relationships and marriages, this type of love os based on intimacy and long-term commitment but lacks passion.
Fatuous love – Build with passion and commitment such a relationship lacks intimacy. Considered to be impulsive, relationships based on fatuous love usually don’t work and if they do are deemed lucky.
Consummate love – Such type of love represents an ideal relationship that constitutes all three components of love. These couples will continue to have great sex even after years, would not be able to imagine being with someone else for the long-term, would resolve conflicts amicably, and bring joy in each other’s lives.
Non-love – Described as the absence of all three components of love.
What love means can be interpreted in many different ways but what is constant that love must have intimacy (be it physical, emotional, or spiritual), passion, and commitment.
The Bible interprets love in different forms and explores the Greek language to signify them. The ancient Greeks were smart and sophisticated people and were able to decipher the addiction that love brings to our lives. The Greek types of love exist even today, and we might know them by different names.
Knowing what type of love you have and what type you need can help people avoid making mistakes that could have been avoided.
Now that you know the ancient Greek types of love and the type of love we experience nowadays, you can understand what you need and make the necessary improvements.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.