I’m on a bit of a quest to understand love better. Especially the love that demands nothing for itself. The giving sort of love. Love that is born out of abundance, rather than out of need. So I listened to The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. It’s a recording of C.S. Lewis himself. The audio quality isn’t great but it’s really cool to hear C.S. Lewis! What he talks about is a little hard to understand due to the fact that he has a British accent and because the content is rather high-level academic. So what follows is a summary of what C.S. Lewis says about the four loves, along with some of my own commentary : )
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
The three human-types of loves, affection, friendship and romance are good and natural and made by God. They can, however, become corrupted when they are tainted by sin.
Affection, which Lewis calls “storge”, is the family sort-of love. It’s the love you feel for your parents and children and even your pets. It’s the love that causes you to work for those who depend on you. This love is a giving sort of love. But it also takes pleasure in the giving. Providing for the needs of our family validates who we are. So we love out of need, the need to be validated in our role as wife, mother, daughter, father, son, provider or whatever our role may be. Lewis said to watch out for trying to forcibly keep people needing you.
Friendship love, which Lewis calls “philia”, is love for friends. Lewis differentiates between affection felt for comrades, those who are in the same place in life (in the same circumstance) and those with whom there is a truly deep connection (people you ‘click’ with). He says you need to have comrades (casual friends) in order to make real friends. Lewis extols the value and beauty of true friendship and how grand it is to have someone who is just on the same wave length as you. The way he described friendship sounded magical…It made me feel like I never had a real friend, not the way he experienced friendship, anyway. Lewis said to watch out for becoming cliquish in a mean way and to watch out for bad influences in the group.
Romantic love, which Lewis calls “eros”, is passionate love for someone. Lewis differentiates between romantic love and simple sexual attraction. I found his description of romantic love to be bang on and it was actually quite funny and quite enlightening at the same time. I would say this was the best section. Romantic love is a very powerful feeling that brings two people together. Lewis described romantic love as the dive into the water. Once the dive is complete something else is needed to keep the relationship together. Lewis said to watch out for trusting in romantic love. He said it is when we are counting on a second thing as a first thing that we are disappointed. Lewis said that all the human-types of love are good, but are second things.
God love, which Lewis calls “agape”, is love for someone that comes from God. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with this section. I listened to The Four Loves for the express purpose of finding out more about agape love. Though I understood the words Lewis was saying, I don’t think I really ‘got’ it. Or else, possibly, I was hoping for a how-to guide or better yet to simply be immediately filled with God’s love…didn’t happen.
So the quest for agape love continues…