What is Love?

Chris De Burgh in the song The Words I Love You sings:

“There are those who think that love comes with a lifetime guarantee.
But we know from those around us that this may not always be.”

But let us make it a lifetime guarantee.

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Agape love is the the purest unconditional and unselfish love.

We understand the word “love” differently depending on context.

What is love?
Is infatuation love?
Is lust love?
We are told to love our neighbour, but is that the same love as the love we have for our children, or our partner?

In the Greek language there are four words to describe love. Each one should be a facet in a mature love between partners in a marriage.


Eros (ἔρως) love is the sensual, physical, passionate, erotic love. When we say we “fall in love” this is the love we feel. Eros love is what we feel when we are infatuated and dating. Of these different words eros is most like our modern idea of romantic love. Eros is about attraction, and wanting, as compared to the fourth one, Agape, which is unconditionally giving

The name comes from the Greek word ἔρως, meaning “desire.”

The Greeks did not considered the eros love in the positive light of modern romantic culture. They saw it as an irrational form of love that that took over your rational self and the passion and desire would posses you.


Philia (φιλία). This is a higher form of love than the sexuality of eros because it is about our feelings rather than my feelings as in eros. This form of love means friendship, or to be fond of, usually between equals. It describes the loyalty and emotional bond seen in deep friendships (brotherly love) and family, built on trust. The word describes the powerful emotional bond seen in deep friendships

Philia is far deeper than “Facebook Friends” and “Twitter followers.”

An eros love can mature into a philia love, from the intense, but superficial, selfish possessive eros to the calmer, deeper sharing philia. From the “me” to “we.” This is where the deeper relationship really starts and the partners learn about each other’s defects and become real friends.

A healthy relationship at this stage benefits from the strength of both philia giving depth to the eros, which in turn strengthens the philia.

Friendships founded on philia are associated not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability, and trust.


Storge (στοργή) is the love within a family, the empathy and affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children, and between siblings. While it is usually restricted to relationships within the family, its use can be extended to an “extended family” concept such as a chariot team supporters love for their favourite charioteer team and love for one’s country.

As a rule storge is the fondness that comes from closeness or dependency and is not dependent on the other person’s personal qualities.

Lovers in the development of feelings in the early stages of a romantic relationship experience the possessiveness of eros in themselves while expecting to get storge from their partner. As the relationship matures, more of philia emerges, which in turn matures further into a storge love.


Agape (ἀγάπη) is the purest love. It is a selfless unconditional love where the love is given without expecting anything in return. Agape has an altruistic, selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional component, with concern for the welfare of others. The love of God for man and of our desires for doing good for others, even strangers, without expecting anything in return.

Agape love is active. It demonstrates love through actions. Feelings, emotions and sentiment are not primary, but can be the motivation behind the action of agape love.

This is the “love” referred to in the Bible where we are to “love one another” and to “love your neighbour.” The agape concept is found in Buddism as Mettā (Pali) or maitrī (Sanskrit) means benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, good will, and active interest in others.

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Agape Aid is dedicated to improving relationships, saving marriages, restoring broken relationships, and helping to create healthy relationships.