We all got branded with our “first love” during those teen years. It is based on strong feelings toward another. This type of love is called Eros love – known as “erotic love”. This first stage of love is when a person’s body is aroused by the presence of their lover. The heart beats fast, tingling occurs and the body reacts to the touch of your idea romance. This love is based more on physical traits. The weakness with this type of love is obvious. It is based more on “self-benefit”, of what can benefit you rather than the other person. This is “I love you because it feels good, and makes ME happy loving you.” This type of love is self- absorbed. It is ME that is the beneficiary. When that person doesn’t “feel happy” anymore in loving that person, she/he is led to believe that she/he has “fallen out of love”. Actually, there was never “true love” in the first place. The fact is, love by feelings alone cannot be called “true love” simply because they do not know each other that much yet. Two people feel this strong emotional attraction towards one another, though they barely really know about each other’s personalities. A person usually puts her/his best foot forward, showing only her/his good side. In order to be sure if “true love” exists, two people must know and accept each others’ good and bad traits and most of the time a break up occurs before the next love comes along. What we need to be careful of is assuming a relationship must be “real love” just because it is romantic, because all we feel is happiness. As with most anything in life, we must learn to use both our heart and mind to judge if something is real. To prove love, people must have go through a lot of time with each other, with joys and sorrows, pains and pleasures, and still end up together. A lot of sacrifice towards each other is essential to confirm a real love. Lasting love is tested by hardships, and therefore may or may not last in the long-term if it is based on sexual stimuli. Eros love can only succeed in the long-term if it progresses into a higher form of love. Otherwise, it will not last. This is why most teenagers make the mistake of having sex with their partners because they are branded by this type of false love. Of course we can all talk till we are blue in the face in trying to get teens not fall for this “in love” stage and make mistakes they will regret. Yet, their emotions and feelings are very real and to satisfy this hunger, the choice is not good because of the feel good love. The romantic feeling common in “eros love” is natural, and an important part of a relationship between a man and a woman. Romance also plays a role in strengthening the bonds, especially at the start of a relationship. This is part of God’s plan but only in the concept of marriage should the eros love be expressed sexually. To force such a love to perform in this manner, the controller is concerned more with the “self” rather than the partner. Over-relying on pure emotion without the balance of logic is a recipe for failure. With eros love, you see only each others strengths/good side, everything is rosy, mushy feeling of happiness, etc. Again, you cannot judge “real love” between two people based on strong emotions alone.
The next brand of love is the Friendship love, which is side-by-side kind of love. This kind of love sometimes starts a relationship. You love spending time with that person, have things in common and enjoy long walks and talks. This love is great but is not complete. Friendship is the foundation of a successful relationship. However, both the friendship love and the exotic love is a must to have in a relationship, even if practiced daily will eventually fade away unless the third type of love is brought into the relationship. Friendship love should be the first to grow and is to your advantage before the erotic love is practiced. It is true that two lovers that start out by being friends first before becoming partners usually are the relationships that last more, long-term. Philos love is a love based on “give-and-take”, where two people benefit each other in a mutual way. One partner is still concerned with what she/he can take, but at the same time is also concerned with her/his partner’s benefit and therefore gives back in return. Therefore, philos is a higher type of love than eros. Philos love is a mutual, “give-and take” relationship, while eros love is a self-based.
The third and highest type of love is “agape”, or unconditional love. Agape love is above philos love and eros love. It is a love that is totally selfless, where a person gives out love to another person even if this act does not benefit her/him in any way. Whether the love given is returned or not, the person continues to love (even without any self-benefit). This highest type of agape love is not human at all, but divine – God’s unconditional love for us, His children. In essence, eros love is “physical”, philos love is “mental”, and agape love is “spiritual”. Thus, it is made up of the three fundamental elements of man: physical, mental and spiritual. This love is where God is the center of both partners. The agape love is totally giving to the other person. Surrendering motives, attitudes, actions and serving to please your spouse is agape love. Now some of you may be thinking, “No way am I going to be that submissive.” However, when a person gives up their life to please the other, the spouse in return will do the same and the relationship becomes partnered and balanced. People rarely reach this point because they get exhausted in the process or build up resentment for not feeling happy. Love is a choice.
Anyone can choose to love or how to love. Branded by love three times. You can have physical love which doesn’t last if you don’t grow past selfishness, or you can have mental love and be best friends over a long period of time which may end up in heartache or you can finally be branded by spiritual love. The love of God is far more complete and can create a relationship of a ‘soul mate’ in a marriage. You however have the choice to choose which love you wish to be identified by. Selfishness, friendship or true love that never fails, it’s your choice.