Love is a complex and powerful force, one that plays out in a number of emotional, cognitive and social ways.
When we love a person, we feel emotional arousal in their presence. We will also have a set of thoughts (or cognitions) about that person, and our previous experiences can shape our ideas about what we expect in our relationships. For example, if you believe in love at first sight, then you are more likely to experience it.
But we use love in many different contexts. You might say that you love your partner, or your family, or your best friend, your job or even your car. Clearly, you’re using the term in different ways that highlight the various dimensions of love.
It is good to keep in mind that although these love styles can be thought of as “types”, we are not necessarily locked into only one. We might have a predominant love style, but we will also have some elements of the other styles.
Similarly, our love style might change over time based on our experiences and interactions with our partners.
This style is typically experienced as a romantic, fairytale-type love. Physical beauty is important to this love style. Attraction is intense and immediate (“head over heels”), and the Eros lover feels an urgent drive to deepen the relationship emotionally and physically.
Because these individuals love the feeling of being in love, they tend to be serial monogamists, staying in a relationship as long as it feels fresh and compelling, then moving on so they can experience those same feelings again with someone new.
Storgic types tend to be stable and committed in their relationships. They value companionship, psychological closeness and trust. For these individuals, love relationships can sometimes grow out of friendships, so that love sneaks up on the pair. This love style is enduring, and these individuals are in it for the long haul.
People with a ludic style view love as a game that they are playing to win. Often this can be a multiplayer game! Ludic individuals are comfortable with deception and manipulation in their relationships. They tend to be low on commitment and are often emotionally distant.
Because ludic individuals are more focused on the short term, they tend to place greater importance on the physical characteristics of their mate than do the other love styles. They are also more likely to engage in sexual hookups.
Practicality rules for this type. Logic is used to determine compatibility and future prospects. This doesn’t mean that these individuals use an emotionless, Spock-like approach to their relationships, rather they a place a high importance on whether a potential mate will be suited to meeting their needs.
These needs might be social or financial. Pragmatists might wonder if their prospective partner would be accepted by family and friends, or whether they’re good with money. The might also evaluate their emotional assets; for example, does a would-be partner have the skills to be calm in times of stress?
This refers to an obsessive love style. These individuals tend to be emotionally dependent and to need fairly constant reassurance in a relationship. Someone with this love style is likely to experience peaks of joy and troughs of sorrow, depending on the extent to which their partner can accommodate their needs.
Because of the possessiveness associated with this style, jealousy can be an issue for these individuals.
Agapic individuals are giving and caring, and are centred on their partner’s needs. This is largely a selfless and unconditional love. An agapic partner will love you just as you are. But they will also be particularly appreciative of acts of care and kindness that they receive back from their partner.
Perhaps because these individuals are so accepting, they tend to have very high levels of relationship satisfaction.
The truth about love
The kind of love that we feel towards our significant other is likely to change over time. At the start of a relationship we feel anticipation about seeing our partner and we are excited every time we see them.
These are the heady feelings we associate with being in love, and are very characteristic of romantic love. But in almost all relationships, these intense emotions are not sustainable, and will fade over months to a couple of years.
Those passionate feelings will then be replaced by deeper connection as the people in the partnership grow to truly know each other. This stage is “companionate love” and can last a lifetime (or beyond).
Unfortunately, many people do not realise that the evolution from romantic love to companionate love is a normal – and indeed healthy – transition. Because the ardent feelings of adoration subside, sometimes people will think that they have fallen out of love, when in fact the intimacy and closeness of companionate love can be extremely powerful, if only given the chance.
This is a shame, as these individuals might never experience the life satisfaction that is associated with companionate love.
About The Author
Rachel Grieve, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Tasmania
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Studio: LifeWay Press
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The letters of 1, 2, & 3 John were written to encourage followers of Jesus to remain faithful to the truth. Believers are challenged to look at contrasting themes such as walking in the light instead of darkness, truth versus lies and deception, loving God more than loving the world, and the meaning of true fellowship and community rather than shallowness. This study reveals not only the heart of John but also the heart of Jesus.
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Kelly Minter is an author, speaker, songwriter, and singer. She is passionate about women discovering Jesus Christ through the pages of Scripture. So whether it’s through a song, study, or spoken word, Kelly’s desire is to authentically express Christ to the women of this generation. In a culture where so many are hurting and broken, she loves to share about the healing and strength of Christ through the Bible’s truth. Kelly writes extensively and speaks and leads worship at women’s conferences, retreats, and events.
- Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Brand: Katie, Byron/ Mitchell, Stephen
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In the midst of a normal life, Katie became increasingly depressed, and over a ten-year period sank further into rage, despair, and thoughts of suicide. Then one morning, she woke up in a state of absolute joy, filled with the realization of how her own suffering had ended. The freedom of that realization has never left her, and now in Loving What Is you can discover the same freedom through The Work.
The Work is simply four questions that, when applied to a specific problem, enable you to see what is troubling you in an entirely different light. As Katie says, “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.” Contrary to popular belief, trying to let go of a painful thought never works; instead, once we have done The Work, the thought lets go of us. At that point, we can truly love what is, just as it is.
Loving What Is will show you step-by-step, through clear and vivid examples, exactly how to use this revolutionary process for yourself. You’ll see people do The Work with Katie on a broad range of human problems, from a wife ready to leave her husband because he wants more sex, to a Manhattan worker paralyzed by fear of terrorism, to a woman suffering over a death in her family. Many people have discovered The Work’s power to solve problems; in addition, they say that through The Work they experience a sense of lasting peace and find the clarity and energy to act, even in situations that had previously seemed impossible.
If you continue to do The Work, you may discover, as many people have, that the questioning flows into every aspect of your life, effortlessly undoing the stressful thoughts that keep you from experiencing peace. Loving What Is offers everything you need to learn and live this remarkable process, and to find happiness as what Katie calls “a lover of reality.”
- Basic Books
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