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The strange part of love 

Love At First

Love is complex and difficult to define because it varies in degree and intensity among people and across social groups. We may say it is a feeling of strong personal attachment, excited by admirable characters in others but that does not tell us the substance of love. It is like electricity which we see at work and even worse than electricity because whereas electricity lies in the physical world, love lies in the spiritual world. No man knows exactly what love is.

It may be romantic, platonic, exciting, obsessive, irrational and sensible.  In marriage, your love must show the willingness to please and accommodate your lover, accept his faults and shortcomings and be concerned about the welfare of your lover just as your own welfare. In any kind of love, caring for the other person and respect are essential.

Some theories about love and loving 
We experience love and feel we know what it is but we cannot say exactly what love is and give a variety of answers. There are, therefore, many theories about love. A theory is a set of logically related statements that explain why a phenomenon occurs.

Attachment theory
God is love and He made you in his image. You are loved and from birth, God puts a warm and loving relationship to grow your emotional health and self-esteem so that you can love others. God then calls you to love your spouse as He has loved you. Your primary motivation in life is to be connected to other people, especially your spouse because it gives security. Love then becomes the meaning of life in marriage and without true love; there can be no life in marriage.

Stemberg’s Triangular Theory
There are three important components of love-intimacy, passion and commitment. Intimacy involves mutual feelings of closeness, connectedness, bonding, shared dreams and hopes for the future. It also involves emotional interest. Intimacy may be physical ( like sex, hugging and touching), affective (feeling close) and verbal (open communication where one offers his honest thoughts and feels free to expose his weaknesses, hopes and insecurities without fear of rejection or ridicule.

Passion leads to romance, physical attraction and sexual acts. Commitment refers to a person’s intention to remain in a relationship, no matter what happens. It arises out of a sense of loyalty and fidelity to one’s partner, a belief in the sanctity of marriage, optimism about the potential future rewards and a strong emotional attachment and love. In a happy relationship, partners show commitment in the form of affection, companionship and love. Commitment generates responsibilities that support and build a partner. These three components, intimacy, passion and commitment can be seen as forming a triangle.

Love can vary in its intensity and depending on the mix of intimacy, passion and commitment. In no-love relationships, all the three components are absent but in consummate love, all three components are present but may vary in intensity over time for each partner. The greater the matching of these components, the greater the satisfaction in the relationship. The greater the mismatching, the greater the dissatisfaction in a marriage.

Dove’s Theory
Love is a verb and not a feeling.  This means that if you love someone, it doesn’t depend on what you feel but how you treat him to put his happiness first in everything so that he can reach his full potential socially, financially, mentally and emotionally. In true love, you give more and expect less. It is about accepting that if it takes only one partner to make a relationship work, it must be you.

The Greek Theory
Affectionate love (philia).  It is the ‘I like you feeling’. Most relationships start with affectionate love when you notice attractive features of the opposite sex that you may like and wish you had.  You, therefore, draw close to the person. These include physical appearance, lifestyle, personality traits, economic status, cultural background and social status. Others include intellect, educational background and spiritual commitment.

Studies, however, indicate that while men mostly look for beauty, women look for social status. Affectionate love is developed based on qualities partners admire in each other. You then become comfortable and warm-hearted with your partner because of the confidence and friendship you build. You enjoy each other’s company and love to go out together. You feel lonely when your partner is away from you.

Family love(storage). It is the love that gives you a sense of belonging and security as you share activities and enjoy what makes you feel good with your family. Family love is about companionship, communication and cooperation. Feeling part of a close-knit circle of people who care and give loyalty to each other provides an atmosphere of security.

You show great attention, understanding, acceptance and appreciation.  Storage love is key to a happy marriage because it spills over to sustain other relationships in life like children, society and country. It helps you to develop harmony and support with your spouse and everybody who is important in your life. Storage love is, therefore, important in our Ghanaian culture where our extended family members are attached to us for life. With the same love, you have a natural sense of belonging and feel attached to your county or home town when you travel and feel that there is no place like home.

Passion love (eros). It is the sensual and physical form of love that produces physical attraction between couples. It is the love of beauty that is given to someone with an anticipated return equally valuable. Partners desire each other in close contact and deep excitement to satisfy their sexual needs. They may hold hands, hug, kiss and have sex.

Passion love is strong, sweet and wholly emotional. It is, however, hard to sustain because its stimulation may diminish or fade over time. Passion love alone, therefore, can’t sustain marriage. It is also known that passionate love easily gets beyond control into lust (derived from a word which means to conceive sin) and infatuation (derived from the word which means a fool who doesn’t see warning signs.)  It is, therefore, risky to marry someone based wholly on romantic love.

Agape (genuine) love. In agape love, you love your partner unconditionally and forever just as God loves you. It is a given with no concern for circumstances, personal reward or gain. It is about being kind and sensitive to the needs of your lover. Agape love is the best form of love because is not based on your emotions or how your partner treats you but on what you do to make him better. It is patient and kind. It is not self-seeking but always protects trusts and preserves. It never fails even in great difficulties because you feel privileged to help your partner reach his full potential. Your selfless desire to help your lover without conditions is the cornerstone to a fulfilling relationship.

In marriage, God calls you to serve Him through your services to your spouse. Marriage, therefore, has no room for envy, dishonesty, selfishness, apathy, inequality, intolerance and abuse. Only unconditional love will sustain your marriage under any condition. All the different types of love add up to a successful marriage. They must all be present at the same time to make a successful marriage. For example, if you show tender affection to your partner for her nice clothes at a social function, you show affectionate love. If you rush home after work to be reunited with your spouse, you show storage to love. As you hold hands, kiss and desire each other sexually, you show Eros love and as you forgive each other unconditionally, you show agape love.
A popular Akan song says odo ye nwanwade, to wit love is strange because we don’t know exactly what love is.   We can, however, say that love is the core of a happy relationship and family. It is the greatest force in the world. It ensures human survival because it promotes the care of humanity as it improves how you feel about yourself and others. It prolongs life because partners in loving relationships experience fewer health problems than those who are not. It is also known that love improves the quality of life and inspires you not to give up because life can get better. Love is, therefore, essential for human growth and development. It is fun and without it, the world will be as empty as a graveyard.


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