There is no doubt that relationships are changing around the world and it’s a multifaceted topic of continuous discussions.
What was once a universal institution that only involved two people of the opposite gender living ‘happily’ ever after is being questioned and tested in the developed world.
In many cultures we’ve been taught that we can only love one person at a time, have sex together frequently for the rest of our lives while remaining in a loving, passionate union and be constantly stimulated in each others presence.
This romantic script is wonderful in theory, yet out of reach in reality for many people, especially in long-term relationships.
The Greeks realized early that there are stages of love that a relationship goes through and each stage comes with its virtues.
Here is the vocabulary they use to describe the different stages of the relationship.
Eros – Romantic Love
Eros reflects the versatility and complexity of the affectionate marital relationship between man and woman.
Eros is the passionate, sexual and powerful feelings we often experience at the start of a relationship, but the Greeks knew that love isn’t over when this sexual intensity decreases, instead our feelings evolve to another sort of love that they call
Philia – Friendship
In this stage the relationship is strengthened because it’s transformed from lust for possession into a shared desire for higher level of understanding of the self, the other, and the world.
This type of friendship is stronger because of certain characteristics such as mutual affection, kindness, love, sympathy, loyalty, honesty, mutual understanding, compassion, enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express feeling to others and making mistakes without the fear of being judged.
Agape – Divine Love
The third word is Agape – universal love, the love for strangers, the universe and everything around us.
In the universal sense, love is the divine power of attraction in creation that harmonizes, unites, binds together.
Those who live in tune with the attractive force of love achieve harmony with nature and their fellow beings.
It’s a blissful reunion with Spirit.
Many human beings say “I love you” one day and reject you the next. That is not love.
One whose heart is filled with the love of Spirit can’t willfully hurt anyone.
In the consciousness of one who is immersed in the divine love of Spirit, there is no deception, no boundaries of any kind.
When you experience that divine love, you will see no difference between flower and beast, between one human being and another.
You will commune with all nature, and you will love equally all people.
To develop pure and unconditional love between husband and wife, parent and child, friend and friend, self and all – this is divine love.
To wish for perfection for the loved one, and to feel pure joy in thinking of that soul, is divine love; and that is the love of true friendship.
For many people the very word LOVE expresses a variety of subtle and strong emotional states.
Osho has a similar point of view for which he says:
“ There is no art in loving because there is no need of any effort.
Love is the nourishment.
There are three layers of the human individual:
Physiology – body
Psychology – mind
Our being – spiritual self
Love can exist on all the three planes, but its qualities will be different.
On the plane of the body, it’s sexual.
But ninety-nine percent of people are calling their sex, love.
Sex is biological and physiological, it’s your hormones, chemistry and everything material is involved in it.
Only one percent of people know a little bit deeper.
Poets, painters, musicians, dancers, singers have a sensitivity that they can feel beyond the body.
They can feel the beauties of the mind, the sensitivities of the heart, because they live on that plane themselves.
But, a musician, a painter, a poet, also lives on a different plane – they don’t think, they feel.
And because they live in the heart, they can feel the other person’s heart.”
Love is such a beautiful chaos. Can our love for the beloved be wildly passionate and at the same time deeply peaceful?