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What is Love?

A minister preached about romantic love. He held a master’s degree in math … logic. He said we don’t fall in and out of love. We chooseto love … or not. You may want to ponder that for a bit.

Merriam-Webster says love is a strong affection for another person rising out of kinship or personal ties. Love is affection and tenderness felt by lovers. Affection is based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests.

C. S. Lewis wrote of the four loves: affection, friendship, Eros and charity. Affection, he said, is the humblest love. “It is Affection that creates this taste, teaching us first to notice, then to endure, then to smile at, then to enjoy, and finally to appreciate, the people who happen to be there.”

He went on to say that, “Affection does not expect too much, turns a blind eye to faults, revives easily after quarrels…Affection opens our eyes to goodness we could not have seen, or should not have appreciated without it.”

So, it looks like love needs to include affection, but that is not all there is to love.

To the Ancients, Lewis wrote, “friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves, the crown of life and school of virtue … few value it because few experience it … a relationship between men [and women] at their highest level of individuality.”

Eros is the being in love. It is the desire “to go on thinking of her.” Genuine – real – love comes from the heart. It is being sympathetic to the other, concerned for that other, able to understand and share her or his feelings. It is being able to forgive and move forward.

Let me compare love to the garden. For a garden to be lush and beautiful, to grow and produce well, it needs a great deal of care. Putting in the time and effort of keeping the garden healthy and alive is well worth the effort when the harvest time comes along. Fruits and vegetables, herbs and flowers are pleasing to the eye, sweetening to a life. And when it has been properly preserved, the produce taste wonderful in the winter time. To spell it out, you get back what you put into it. One can clearly see the difference between a garden that is well-tended and one that is neglected.

Divorce Magazine published an article last summer, “5 Surprisingly common causes of divorce.”

1.) Lack of support in good times. Her husband went to her college graduation but she could see he didn’t really want to be there. In fact, he had sabotaged her at every opportunity.

2.) Incompatibility with finances. It isn’t just about how much money the couple has. It’s about how they manage the money and resources they have. Both need to be on the same financial page, working toward the same goals.

3.) Communication issues. If a couple can’t talk about the issues they face, they can’t fix anything.

4.) Addiction. Addiction is about the usual things you think of when you see that word: alcohol, drugs, prescription medications. It also includes pornography, gambling and social media.

5.) Adultery. If one partner is straying – for whatever reason they might say – there are problems in the relationship.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, maybe you have a few things to think about, fences to mend, gardens to tend or the definition of love to amend.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way Services of Northern Columbiana County.

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