Love is deep
From the first part of this series, we've learnt that Love comes or is exhibited in different forms Agape (from God), Phileo (in friendship), Eros (from Romance), Storge (binded by blood). Not only this, we also discovered that in order to love, there must be a connection to the person we are loving. We cannot just spontaneously love anybody at anytime, even in madness, this is not possible.
So, this truth gave us the understanding that Love comes in two stages: The attraction first, then the love itself. We first get attracted to the persons we subsequently love. We took our time to elaborate the features of this attraction and what it really is. Now is the time to talk about the Love itself and if we can understand this and compare it with what we have already discussed in the attraction phase, we will appreciate and understand what love is, make it applicable to our relationships and be smarter when entering new relationships.
God Is Love
Once again, from wikipedia, Love is defined as the emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment. A virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion and affection. We can therefore say that Love is the soul-to-soul connection between lovers, binding strongly together as their personalities become more and more compatible. Love now is a deeper level of attraction and unlike attraction (from the first part of this series) which is superficial, love is not. So what is this love we talk about? Before we go there, let's get some points straight as a summary of what we previously talked about.
1. Attraction must be the first step to love irrespective of the form of attraction. In the previous episode of this series we discussed the various forms of attraction which are: Admiration, infatuation, likeness, crush or even lust and obsession. Now, for love to occur, we have to pass through these various forms of attraction irrespective of whether they are good or not . Now, no one is encouraging lust and other weird forms of attraction, but the main idea in this particular point is, even the bad ones can still be a stepping stone to loving someone. There are instances whereby a person crushes over another for the wrong reasons, but after having that connection, the soul-to-soul link begins to click and unconsciously love begins to manifests. There are instances also whereby a person crushes over another, even to the point of obsession, but by the time they get to know the person they crush after, they are left in shock to how they even manage to like that person let alone crush after him/her. Let's consider this passage:
Genesis 34: 1-4
"Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and violated her. His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”
It is recorded that Shechem took her and violated her (in other words slept with her even without knowing her), but what made him like her is still a mystery to us, since the Bible did not record it, but the point to note there is..... He loved her. So, lust was the form of attraction here and even after exhibiting an agent or factor of attraction he still ended up loving her. In summary, love can never be established without the attraction (except in Agape).
Love & Lust
These are two phenomena at two different levels. One is superficial and the other is deep!
2. Now that we have acknowledged the role of attraction in loving, is it enough? Absolutely No! The attraction is not enough and is in fact just a phase to actually loving someone. Here is another Biblical example:
Isaiah 49: 15
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!"
The mother to Baby relationship here is bounded by blood as the attraction (Storge) and the passage made it clear :"though she may forget".... The question is, is this not happening in our contemporary world of today? Are parents not 'forgetting' their children? Some parents even disown their own blood. So we can see that despite the strong attraction (blood), it is still not yet a yardstick or default to love. Likewise in all forms of attractions. Now that we have seen how shallow (though very important) the attraction is, what is the fuss about love itself?
Love as a Personality
A very short survery was done in the Caribbean on an ideal man to about 300 ladies. Some put criteria like the following:
- He should be Tall
- He should be Handsome
- He should be rich
- He should be God fearing
- He should be romantic
- He should be family oriented
- He should be a one-woman's man
- He should be honorable and respectful
- He should be industrious and hardworking
- He should love children and many more
Though there are weird attributes, but for the sake of a descent Hub, we will stop at these attributes. All in all the highest number of attributes listed by a lady was about 9. What are they trying to do here? They are revealing the kind of personality which will better suit them or the kind which will be more compatible to theirs. And it is attributes like this which make up a PERSONALITY. Now, let's read 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8
"Love is kind and patient, never jealous, never boastful, proud or rude. Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails!"
What do we call all these? They are attributes and the Bible uses them to define Love, hence Love is a personality. If we count these attributes, they are a total of 16. No human on Earth has the entire 16 attributes and this makes love pure and perfect. Nevertheless, two people can come together and exhibit these attributes in Love. So love makes us seem perfect and hence the purest gift to mankind. For this singular reason it is wrong to say Love hurts, because Love actually does not do that, we should always blame the human endeavor and not love. If you are heart broken, it isn't because you loved too much. No, you only played your role well in the love, but was unfortunate- blame the person who broke your heart and not love. Also, there is nothing like True Love or perfect love. Love on its own is true already, it is perfect! Besides, the greatest Personality to mankind is God and the Bible records that God is love (1 John 4).
Old Couples forever in Love
So, we can now see that when we are attracted to someone and then begin a soul-to-soul relationship with that person which connects well in compatibility, we end up falling in love and exhibiting such attributes to each other only tells us that we are in love. Now that we know, Love is a personality, what should we do? When a person is born, he begins to learn some habits, which as he grows become part of him (his character). Harnessing these features while he grows form part of his personality and it will reach a certain point of his Life that he cannot change his personality any longer and that is what would be his identity till he dies. No wonder it is said that "A fool at 40 is a fool forever" . So, since Love is a personality, it is a phenomenon we work for, we put effort to sustain and not just sit in the Couch, smile at each other and proclaim "I love you" No! We need to work for love or else it will fade out and die. We need to build it up as time passes by and when we reach a certain period in time, nothing can shake this love.
But a situation where we are non-nonchalant to the people we love or do nothing to sustain the love or even hurt our loved ones, thereby gradually killing it, there will be a time when the Love will be non-existent. We will use two basic Psychological principles to further explain this point and these principles are:
- The perfect square of Love existence
- The Love graph
The Perfect square principle
The perfect square ideology
Each number represents its corresponding feature of Love
Once again, let's go through the different features which make up love as a personality
- Never jealous
- Never boastfu;
- Never proud
- Never rude
- Never selfish
- Not quick tempered
- Doesn't keep record of wrongs
- Rejoices in truth
- Never rejoice in evil
- Always supportive
- Never fails
Each component of Love goes along with the number it carries. Before we continue, we should note that when the Bible says Love is not jealous, it doesn't mean when we are jealous at some point in our love relationship we are faulty. Jealousy is the natural human reaction due to our loved ones treating another as special or closely as special as we are. Even God said He is a jealous God, if we worship any other. So, the jealousy here is a kind of a competitive one, one which will weaken the bond established by the love and one which can easily lead to hatred. So, let's use an illustration.
Let's see how practical this graph will be!
A man cheats on his wife several times and finally gets caught. Let's say she forgives him but he goes back to continue his unfaithful act, then one day he is caught and some of his history spilled out as well. She begins to (if not totally) lose her trust in him (15 is out) and if this persists, her patience will run out (2 is also out). Definitely, there is no kindness in what he is doing to her (1 is out) and if this situation lingers for too long, both side will begin a series of arguments time and time again leading to the tendency to be quick tempered (8 is out). At this stage her jealousy will be pathological in that he is meeting his sexual needs outside and she isn't (3 is out), this can lead her to begin competing in infidelity. At this stage, A deformed Square as seem in Deformed Square 1 is formed indicating lots of loop holes in their love. For wise couples (especially from the Husband's end), they can fix this, seek for God's intervention, correct their ways and even seek counseling.
deformed square 1
But let's say they don't and months (even years) have passed and the trend continues, both sides (especially the wife who is fed up) will start keeping record of their wrongs (9 is out) and the truth in a situation like this is always very bitter, hence they can never rejoice in it (10 is out). Both will definitely be rude to each other (6 is out), selfish to each other (7 is out) and arrogant to each other (5 is out). This can lead to a point where the man can even brag about his sexual scandals, making them no secret any longer (4 is out) thereby leading to rejoicing in evil (11 is out). This unfortunate stage is portrayed in the second deformed Square- Deformed Square 2 just by the side.
Deformed Square 2
The situation at this stage is critical and divorce is inevitable, only by the special and powerful grace of God can this couple still be together, but just in case they still do have some infinitesimal amount of passion in them and they decide to hold on but never bring solution, they will rarely support each other (12 is out), loyalty for each other becomes unrealistic (13 is out); hope on each other and on the relationship dies away (14 is out) and finally, a failed relationship (16 is out). So where is the love? Check the next photo which is a Non-Existent square, you will see nothing there and since the square represents love in its 16 various components, love at this stage is DEAD!
can you see anything here? So, where is the love?
Some couples may not even wait for it to reach the second deformed square, they will immediately file for divorce, which some will hold onto, but by the time they are in the second deformed square or even reaching the final one, you hear reasons of divorce as "Irreconcilable differences". So what are we saying here? We do not just sit and say we are in love, but rather we do everything to ensure it works out well for us and it is sustained. Reverse this illustration now and imagine a couple who through thick and thin hold on to each other, show much kindness to each other, never rude, boastful, proud, selfish and never give room for jealousy and so on.... With time in 10, 20 or even 30 years of the relationship, their love becomes even more compact.
If you check the perfect square diagram just above this segment, you will see some shades or dots in the smaller squares: this is the case even with the deformed squares... The smaller squares left have the same shades. Now, a couple who work to deepen and intensify their love over the years will increase the shades and over the years the shades become darker until it reaches the very compact square seen on the final square. This more compact square indicates the strong and deep love in existence. Hence all the components of Love (the 16 squares) absorbing into one compact Square, known as the Perfect Square.
[Sorry: The Squares actually look like a triangle].
The Perfect Square
What is the Love graph About?
The X-axis indicates the number of years in the love relationship (let's say marriage). The y-axis is the magnitude of Love and attraction. The Red line which is labelled 'L' shows the magnitude of Love growth and the broken red line labelled 'A' shows the magnitude of the attraction over the years...
From the graph we can see that the Love increases steadily in the first 10 years of let's say Marriage for instance, this then slows down (but continues to grow, if both couples still do things right and work for love just as the perfect square principle has illustrated) in the next 20 years. Somewhere within the region of their 30th year in this love relationship, there is no form of attraction which is new to them any longer and they have already gone through a lot to get stuck to each other, so the love is firmly establish and hence constant
- The region 'A' indicates a period in the love relationship when attraction has a significant influence on the love relationship
- The region 'B' indicates a period in the love relationship when the attraction has an insignificant influence on the love relationship, but the love is still growing
- The region 'C' indicates a period when the Love is established void of any form of attraction.
If we understand the message of the graph, it's interpretation will be easy. Imagine a married couple who stayed married for let's say 40 years. At that point in time, the wife needs not wear skimpy, sexy clothing to attract the man to herself, what is left of them is what they have built over the years (personality building in Love) and the memories of their building process. Their 40th anniversary and more is the time for them to enjoy Love in its fullness without adding any extra efforts and at this stage, NOTHING, once again NOTHING can come in between this couple. No matter what you tell the Husband, he will never listen, no matter the hitch standing in the wife's way, she will never compromise. Likewise in a blood relationship also. A man who knows his children over the years, (though they might have grown and be independent) will love them unconditionally. Brothers, friends, siblings, lovers who stick to each other with a fantastic history over the years will only reach a level of an unshakable love.
Since we say this unshakable love is void of attraction, from our episode 1, this kind of attraction is what?.............. AGAPE! So, it is very possible even for us humans to exhibit the Agape Love. The unidirectional love whereby nothing about the person you love can change your love for him/her. A love whereby it all depends on you and you alone. Now imagine the heavenly feeling of having two people who share in this kind of Love. Such a relationship can never be shaken! Love whereby you can even lay your Life for the person (Your life been less important than the person you love) and this can be authenticated in John 15: 13
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. ... There
is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."
working for and maintaining the Love
So, we now see that the Perfect Square principle and the Love graph are all symbols of Agape. And when two or more people are in love, it is real if they stay in it and sustain it until they share the Agape Love and if this is the case, parents will not disown their children, come what may, siblings will not kill each other, friends will not back-stab each other, love will never become hate and Divorce will never be the case in our society of today. So therefore,
AGAPE IS THE GREATEST!
(c) 2013, Infobarrel.com
Dr. Funom Theophilus Makama
21st. July. 2013
11th. February. 2013
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Biblical Love Psychology is the product of the understanding of the word of God from the Bible and as well the practical application of its Psychology; hence it is easily applicable and understandable irrespective of your belief. Lots of emphasis hits on Love itself, breaking it down into its stages, forms and levels and trying to differentiate these various stages of Love as distinct units. Take for instance, Love can be viewed in two categories, the horizontal (Man to man) and the vertical (God to man) and we will understand that The horizontal (Man to Man) exists with an initial step: THE ATTRACTION! But the vertical has no attraction in its initial phase because God loved us while we were yet sinners, doomed to die. This attraction could be blood (blood relations), romance (eros) or compatibility in likeness (Phileo-friendship).
This Book has explained explicitly the significance of the attraction, independent of Love (despite going hand in hand). It did not stop there, it is vivid in elaborating Love itself which is a deeper level and a soul to soul connect which is in by no means same as the initial step (the attraction). Despite all these wonderful revelations about Love, why do we have failed relationships today? Why are marriages not lasting up to 30 years as it used to be? Why do parents disown their children? Why are relationships so shallow, insignificant and treated like high-school courses where they come and go? A typical or an average young lady in her mid-20s should have experienced a minimum of 7 failed relationships in her life, is this supposed to be so? What about Love application to other phenomena such as material things, Money, Animals, what can we say about this? Despite the vertical kind of Love (God to man) being the AGAPE Love, does that mean man cannot exhibit this Agape? When a person adopts a child, this has definitely by-passed any form of attraction, because despite not being their blood (the attraction), the person adopts and loves this child, can we consider this Agape?
All these questions will be thoroughly answered and as well some doctrinal controversies such as: the doctrine of Hell (is it necessary since God loved us without any form of attraction?), the doctrine of the trinity, and the justification of disowning a child from the fact there is Hell, despite (God) showing us such immense love and many more issues.
So, as much as this basic psychological issue of Love is coming from the foundation of the Bible, it is applicable to everyone. I may not believe in Buddhism, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying any Buddhist Movie and even learn from it. There are lots of principles we can apply from this book into our love-relationships irrespective of our beliefs, so try to read it.
On a final note, we should be cautioned that this Book is not a relationship manual. This is far from it. This book is about Love and solely about Love, of which if we understand its basic principles can be applied to any form of relationships. Psychological tools like the Love graph, the perfect square formula are used to explicitly elaborate Love Psychology. Also, science is brought into the picture for us, to a large extent use critical thinking for the justification of the existence of God. If somewhere in our subconscious we believe in His existence, then we will appreciate the Agape Love better.
ENJOY READING BIBLICAL LOVE PSYCHOLOGY!