Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Elements of Love

For today's Three Things Thursday, I'm going to talk about three elements of love.  These elements are also found in friendship, because friendship is a type of love.

1. Love is self-giving.  In love or friendship, what you can give is more important than what you can get.  If someone is friends with you because they want to get something from you, it is a false friendship.  For example, if Lily only spends time with me because I have a lifetime supply of free chocolate, she is not really my friend.

2. Love is mutual.  Love that is unrequited or one-sided is not really love.  If I love Lily with all my heart, but she can't stand to be around me, then there is no love between us.

3. Love implies equality.  As the Latin saying goes, friendship either finds, or makes, men equals.  In order for two people to be friends, there must be some equality between them, some common bond of likeness, some shared quality.  Two people with absolutely nothing in common cannot be friends.

Fortunately, it's impossible for two people to have nothing in common.  If they are both people, they must have "being a person" in common.  Our shared humanity is what connects us to every other person in existence.

To put "love implies equality" another way, you can love your dog, and you can love your spouse. But you don't love your dog in the same way you love your spouse.  That's because the difference between humans and dogs is too great; you have more in common with your spouse than you have with your dog.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Our shared humanity is what connects us to every other person in existence".
I really like this sentence. It is so true. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Well put, well put. :)

Donita said...

As always you put forward a succinct and interesting argument. I totally agree but I also think that the issue of conditional vs unconditional love comes into it. Call me a cynic, but human love is more often than not, conditional. (Conditional on the two parties remaining equal) A dog will still love you without judgement or condition if you become a hopeless dropout. I'd be interested in your opinion on this.

Marlene said...

Donita - However, a dog will not love you if you beat the crap out of it - the dog does not choose to love, like we humans do. The dog will reciprocate the love if it is given love, and it will reciprocate hate if that is what it is given.

With humans, we have the choice to practice unconditional love or not to. I know that if I were a huge failure in life, my parents would still love me, but that is their choice. Many people fail in practicing this love, but unconditional love is the goal. God has this unconditional love for us, and we can try to imitate that love by loving everyone around us.

I'm not an expert, or anything - those are just my personal thoughts, and I've been ruminating on them for a couple of days.