Four Kinds of Love and Happy Valentine`s Day

a writing by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

Four Kinds of Love and Happy Valentine`s Day


As Valentine`s Day is drawing near, I would like to point out the four kinds of love which many writers have pointed out based on the Greek words which when written in English can sound as the following:

Storge is love of parents to their children or love of children to their own parents. This is parental love that puts the need of the children first than their very own need as parents, a kind of love that experiences joy and encounters pain and sorrow in the process of nurturing. Though parents try to do the best for their children, parental love is never perfect. It is love which is able to demonstrate the human limitation in parenting as humans. Parental love to children is a bond that exists in time and space in spite of human limitations. Children who grow up with their parents keep that eternal bond in spite of parents` imperfection.

The second form of love is what is called philia, that is, love between friends, or the love between sisters and brothers. It is the kind of love that seeks to support friends in good and bad times. It is platonic love, not involving sex, but love in sincere friendship that demonstrates the kind of faithfulness to share time and other resources in order to support each other as friends. It is friendship and loyalty, which can be rendered to those in the family circle, working places, organizations or local communities.


The third is eros which can be the erotic or romantic relationship between and among lovers. It is love between two opposite sexes or between two persons of the same sex who show that deep erotic love and attraction. It is love that shows the innate need of every man and woman to be emotionally supported and sexually satisfied. It is the need for everyone to be desired, to be wanted in communion with that who affirms one’s being. It is love between married couples or love between lovers celebrating the deep physical communion as one. It is love focusing on the emotional, sensual and physical being of persons. If this form of love is taken as the ultimate end or the sole purpose in relationship, then this kind of relationship cannot withstand the test of time.


Hence, the fourth kind of love comes which is called the agape love, a kind of love, which is unconditional. It is love not sprouting out from physical attraction which makes the attracted one worthy of the other’s full attention or devotion. It is love out of itself. This can be God’s love to people, in God’s ability to save, accept and forgive his creatures in spite of their wrongdoings. This is love in human beings in their ability to forgive others who have wronged them. This kind of agape love can be also further reflected among people who are able to extend love and compassion to strangers or to other human beings or elements in God’s creation that are in dire need for help. Agape love which stems from the love of God can be concretized in people’s way of extending love even to those who do not deserve, a kind of love that does expect payment in return. Agape is sacrificial love.

Let us celebrate Valentine’s Day with the consciousness of our love relationships to people around us and with us. Happy Valentine`s Day!




Elizabeth Padillo Olesen
January 29, 2010 (for February 14)

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