Remember the 70s/80s when there were lots of “Love is…” quotes on the underground and everywhere you looked? Well according to my friend Tracey she has read lots of books on love and I am sure there are many out there. I mostly remember the one called “Four Loves” by CS Lewis which uses the four Greek words for love: storge (family love), agape (unconditional love), eros ( romantic love) and philos (friendship). There is also a popular book about the 5 languages of love, which suggests that different people like to receive love in different ways from each other e.g. by receiving presents (I do actually know someone who doesn’t like getting presents!) Or by someone giving them their time or affection or help etc. According to positive psychologists love is one of the ten positive emotions that we need to invite into our lives on a regular basis (see my other blog on this) in order to improve our mental and physical health.
The media tries to portray love as all-consuming and feverish, but many of us know that when that adorable toddler turns into a stroppy teenager, or when our partner/spouse of many years has irritated us with all their bad habits, that love does not feel like that! In brief my idea of love is: doing what the other person wants you to do (within reason), being kind, being interested in what that person says and does i.e. giving them your attention. For example really listening when they want to talk about their day, instead of thinking about something else! And also by being open – sharing with them all your character traits, including the not so pretty ones. After all St. Valentine did that for his God.