Remember in the movie “The Princess Bride” how Wallace Shawn’s character kept saying, “Inconceivable!!!” After several rounds of the man in the black mask surviving these challenges where it is “inconceivable” that any man would survive, one of his henchmen (played by Mandy Pantinkin) turns to him and says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
If there’s a word in our culture where we are universally confused, it has to be LOVE!
The Spanish language has 100,000 words. German has a vocabulary of 185,000 words. That may seem like a lot of words until you realize that the English language has somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 words. The English language is one of the most robust languages that has ever existed.
The word “chatty” has 40 synonyms!
The Truth About Love
The Greek language has four different words for LOVE:
STORGE – Fondness for the Familiar / Nurturing
- Mother to a child
RELATIONSHIPS WITHOUT STORGE
- FRIENDSHIP – You may enjoy each other’s company, but if there is no “storge,” these aren’t lifelong friends who truly care for you.
- PARENTS – A parent without storge love for their children is more of a sperm or egg donor than a parent. They’re the biological parents, but they haven’t earned the title.
- HERE’S THE TRICKY PART FOR PARENTS – Often times, we will feel a storge love for our children, but we don’t know how to communicate. Our children may not FEEL our storge love because our actions communicate something different to them.
- MARRIAGE – A marriage without storge is a marriage with two people who have stopped caring about one another. Even if you still have the other loves, without storge, your marriage is in serious danger. Much like with children, your actions communicate much louder than your words. If you don’t communicate storge with your actions, your spouse won’t feel loved.
PHILIA – Friendship
- Philadelphia – The City of Brotherly Love
- Philosophy – Love of Wisdom
- Pedophile – Lover of Children
- FRIENDS – Friendships without PHILIA aren’t lifelong friendships. These are your buddies and acquaintances. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you need to know which friends are true friends, and which friends are buddies.
- PARENTS – Philia love is not the most important love for a parent to have for their child. As much as society loves to romanticize the idea of moms and dads as their kids’ best friends, in reality, parents need to be parents first, and friends second, or third. With that said, your relationship with your children will be much stronger, and more fun, if you have a healthy dose of PHILIA.
- MARRIAGE – When you remove FRIENDSHIP from your relationship with your spouse, your marriage stops being a marriage, and becomes more like a job where you’re required to do married people things.
EROS – Passion / Romance
- I love him!
- We’re falling in love!
RELATIONSHIPS WITHOUT EROS
- MARRIAGE – Marriage without EROS is a passionless marriage. While this may seem the most fickle of the loves, in practice, you can fuel the EROS by offering STORGE and PHILIA. If you’re distant, avoiding having fun, and not acting nurturing, why would you be surprised that the EROS is fading?
AGAPE – Unconditional Love
AGAPE IN RELATIONSIHPS
- FRIENDS – A friendship with AGAPE love is a life long friendship. These are the friends that you would do anything for. These are the friends that you will continue to fight for, even if they turned far away.
- CHILDREN – AGAPE love is what keeps a parent fighting for their child during the teenage years. AGAPE love means that parents love their children in times of rebellion, and times of celebration.
- MARRIAGE – AGAPE love is the glue which holds marriages together, regardless of circumstances and changes. AGAPE love is what everyone wants to receive out of marriage, and what almost everyone pledges to give during their marriage.
As you look at the most important relationships in your life, you can usually evaluate their health based off of whether they have appropriate levels of the different types of love.
- Is your marriage lacking one of the four types of love?
- Do you have a friendship that isn’t a deep as it pretends to be because it’s lacking AGAPE or STORGE?
- Is your relationship with a child strained over a perceived lack of STORGE or AGAPE?