In an attempt to explain the commonalities and differences of the many types of love, Robert Sternberg has suggested a view of love involving three elements: intimacy, passion and commitment. Different stages and types of love can be explained as different combinations of the three elements. The combinations are as follows.
As a person develops their relationship with a loved one over time, the relative strengths of the elements tends to change. Generally love will start off strong in passion but weak in the other elements. However as time passes, the other elements may grow and passion may shrink -- this depends upon the individual. So what starts as Infatuation or Empty love may well develop into one of the fuller types of love. Likewise when a person has known a loved one for a long time, passion may fade, changing love from Consummate to Companionate, or from Romantic love to Liking. Note that the feeling which Sternberg terms passion is similar to, if not the same as, that termed limerence by Dorothy Tennov. Sternberg states that a relationship based on a single element is less likely to survive than one based on two or more.
- Liking (Friendship) - intimacy
- Infatuation (Love at first sight) - passion
- Empty love (Charity) - commitment
- Romantic love - passion + intimacy
- Companionate love - commitment + intimacy
- Fatuous love (Whirlwind romance) - commitment + passion
- Consummate love - commitment + passion + intimacy
The Unification Church defines love in philosophical terms as "the emotional force given by the Subject to the Object". The church classifies love into three types:
- parental love
- conjugal love
- children's love
Quotes about love
- Much ado about nothing
- - William Shakespeare
- And remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.
- - Professor Marvel, Wizard of Oz
- The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
- - Eden Ahbez
- Love: A term that has no meaning if defined.
- - John Ralston Saul, The Doubter's Companion
- Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by the removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.''
- - The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce
- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
- - The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
Other types of love (philias)
- "I love you" in various languages
- R. J. Sternberg. A triangular theory of love. 1986. Psychological Review, 93, 119-135
- Dorothy Tennov. Love and Limerence: the Experience of Being in Love. New York: Stein and Day, 1979. ISBN 0-8128-6134-5