The English language has only one word for ‘love’. This one word has to encompass all types of love – passionate love, the love of family, long standing love etc. How limiting it is to attempt to define such different emotions by one limiting word?
I was talking with my sister about this recently and she told me about the six different words for love as defined by the ancient Greeks. I found this article and I am determined to no longer attempt to define love by one word, when it is so much more.
I will never forget how I felt the first time I saw him. It was the first time I had felt philia, true comradeship love, though we were not even friends yet. Yes, I thought he was good looking, really good looking – but my draw to him was not motivated by that. He had this easy, soft, clean and kind vibe. This gentleness that you just want to hang out close to. This unassuming, simple ability to just be that drew me in. Something told me I could trust him, I could grow with him, I could love him in a different way than I had known love before.
I had experienced relationships motivated by “eros” (passionate) love in the past. Talk about a roller coaster they were! For me, it was driven by the need to ‘fix’ someone else. This dug up deep passion within me, because I am in fact deeply passionate about ‘fixing’ the world. Then, that passion was confused and targeted to one person, now I realize that passion is meant to blanket this entire universe. And it is not at all about ‘fixing’, rather it is about helping others have the confidence to shed their fake layers and be real, to love – their selves, To help others experience philautia, the good kind of love of ones self.
Over the years (we have had 15 so far) there have been times that it was easy to want to be together and times it was easy to want to be apart. So often people grow apart and it would have been so easy to do at times for us too. I do not think either of us really knew who we were when we met, much less who we were meant to become. The easier thing would have been to grow in separate directions as we have both changed so much over the years. But somehow, someway we have managed to do the opposite. We have actually grown together and in doing so we have began our journey of building pragma love (longstanding love) and I am finding it to be the most captivating love of all.
I feel forever grateful to have been able to recognize the draw to something different, when it was so easy to be blinded by the shallow eros that our culture deems so prized. I do not take credit, I feel certain both of my daughters were hovered over each shoulder saying, “that one – that is my Daddy – pick him Momma, pick him!” I certainly know, that ‘knowing’ that this soul was different from the rest, it came from a different place than any knowing that had come before. I feel so thankful, and so humbled by the infinite wisdom of our universe, to have heard and to have listened.
The below image of our oldest daughter drawing a picture of her and her Daddy is the best image I can share to express the love I feel for my partner. It has nothing to do with his physical beauty (though he is beautiful) It has nothing to do with eros passionate love, though we dibble in that too 😉
No, this image has nothing to do with anything driven by passion. Passion is that thing that temporarily blinds you, it dominates you, it possesses you. No, this image is far from that. This image sums up every type of love that eros is not.
This is the type of love I want my daughter to search for as she seeks her life partner. A love expressed by a desire to walk in life together, as companions, friends, helpers. A love that has nothing to do with the physical and everything to do with the feel.
A love that is more than one shallow definition of love, a love that is filled with the ancient wisdom of the Greeks. A love that is filled with life, life together. That is our love. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I encourage you to read this article about the Greek definitions of love.
with agape, MMJ