C.S. Lewis wrote about four unique types of love we experience. Storge which is described as affection between family members; Philia, the love between friends; Eros, the sexual love shared by intimate partners; and Agape, or unconditional love. Though there are other ways to talk about love, I think simply looking at these four variations of the human emotion can be really useful for couples.
Love changes throughout our relationships
One of the challenges couples face is our shifting experience of love for our partner. The images most often seen of “happy couples” are those of passion and sexual connection. For many of us, this sexual attraction and desire predominate in the early phases of our relationship. If this blissful sensuality fades, many couples start to fear that their love is waning and perhaps even that the relationship isn’t the “right one.” I think, however, that an alternative way of looking at such a change is to see it as the opportunity for another form of love to take center stage. Perhaps a couple at this stage is searching for affection and familiarity rather than passion and pleasure. Or it could be a chance to express love through a deepening friendship. Maybe it’s a call to offer unconditional support and “for”ness for one’s partner, championing their best in whatever is most important to them.
For fun, take some time to look at your current relationship and identify the form of love that’s most prevalent as well as the form you’re experiencing least. What, if anything, would you like to change about your love and the kind of connection you’re creating with your beloved?
“Love must be as much a light as it is a flame.”
~ Henry David Thoreau