Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Sixteen Loves

Gem and I were talking about the definition of "love" the other day. We agree that it is a choice, but I also now believe that it can be FELT, for sure. There are so many different kinds of love, but only one word for it.

Together we mourned the reality of English's insufficiency, and the linguistic ineptitude of those who use it. {Actually, I ranted like that and he agreed and offered statements like "I am gonna make my own language. With blackjack. And hookers." #Futurama}

But he really did inspire me to define all the many, most common uses of the word "love." I took it as both a challenge and a personal exploration exercise--and we know how those things turn out here on Peripeteia.

I give Sixteen Kinds of Love.

1. The God Love - That love we can't understand because we're not, like, God. The totally unconditional, infinitely the patient, inconceivably complete love of our unfathomable Creator.

2. The Family Love - I understand that some peoples' families suck, and that sometimes friends are just like family. However, I actually believe that there is a love for actual blood family {and, like, legally adopted kids} that cannot be duplicated or substituted. I'm sorry, but I am never, ever going to love someone in the frighteningly fierce, protective, unconditional, self-sacrificing way I think I love my sister. I love her the most of anyone in the world, and her going to Europe has only made that more clear to me. In my mind, this is the highest form of love on earth.

3. The Best Friend Love -  It's the adamant loyalty, the absolute comfort. When there is someone who you can be rude to, but still not live without. The person who has seen you at your worst, but can still make you believe your best. This love is both casual and astonishingly resilient. The total opposite of the word "fragile."

4. The Love of Ideals - It's theoretical. It's personal. It's lofty. It's fixed. It's a lifestyle. It's a choice. It's a calling. Your love of Truth, Freedom, Responsibility, Mercy, Justice, Peace, Joy--whatever it might be--is a very real and legitimate Love. It shapes your soul.

5. The Rational Love - The love that kicks in when you're angry or frustrated or disappointed in someone. You have FELT true love for them, and intellectually realize that you do, but at the moment you have to rely solely on that fact because you don't currently LIKE the person.

6. The Fun Love - You've been dating for months. You've already seen each other without makeup/in basketball shorts. You've heard a lot of dirty secrets. You've watched a lot of movies and TV shows. You "get"each other in an effortless, smile-inducing way. Fun Love surfaces when you catch an eye-shining moment that makes you beam at someone, and it's like a lamp is turned on in your chest. It makes you want to laugh or hug the person, because you're just simply so EXCITED about BEING WITH THEM at that particular moment. You realize that you still love this person's company, that you'd still rather read a dictionary with him/her than go rollerskating with someone else, that you still think they're funny. It's light and fun and the brightest form of love I know.

7. The Gentle Love - The kind of love that comes from the heart of your soul and is reflected in your eyes when you look at that person. The kind of love that makes you cover someone with a blanket when they're asleep, or brush a tear off someone's face. A Gentleness so intense and clear that it's almost rough.

8. The Mushy Love - The kind of love that makes people text sappy things and stare into each others eyes and touch each others cheeks and sometimes gush to their friends about how amazing so-and-so is.

9. The Animal Love - Without becoming too graphic, this is the kind of writhing, white-hot, blinding, blood-rushing, desperate, gasping, teeth-gritting, nail-clawing sort of love that results in the creation of babies.

10. The Real Misspoken Love - This applies to inanimate objects that you legitimately love, even though you realize that "love" should only be used for people. For example, I Really Misspokenly Love the book Tex, and my dad's old Taurus, and--holy shit--my baby blanket, RB. Like, I would probably kill live animals in defense of those things, especially the latterest. Like, no question about it.

11. The Crush Love - This applies to unattainable hott actors as well as cute "real" guys/girls you barely know but get butterflies about.

12. The Mental Love - When you fall in love with someone's mind. This usually doesn't last long, because it morphs into one of the other kinds of love. But it is possible--for a short while--to be totally caught up in someone's impressive intellect.

13. The Preppy Love - "Oh my god, I LAHHHHHV himmmmmmmah." Used when you know someone well enough to notice that they have qualities that are universally appealing, like a cute smile or a love of animals or a way with parents. This Love applies to 80% of loves formed in private schools, cheer squads, and expensive youth camps.

14. The Misspoken Love - This applies to inanimate objects, like ice cream and Converse shoes. You feel strongly about your feelings towards a particular thing, but if pushed, you would admit that "love" is probably an inappropriate verb to use here.

15. Obsession/Infatuation - Everyone knows this one. When you dedicate an unhealthy amount of energy and brain space to a particular person. This is the kind of Love a stalker feels, as well as girls who are overly aware of a guy's biceps, or a guy of a girl's breasts. It's like Crush Love, but creepier and based on even less.

16. Addiction - *wince* This belongs here, as Gem pointed out to me. Anyone who's ever been addicted knows the powerful hate/love relationship with their poison of choice. Of course you hate that it controls you--and you might even hate the thing itself--but you love it because you keep. going. back. and there's a part of you that won't let go.



  1. Some of those I wouldn't put in the love category, more like infatuation or lust or that initial high of a new relationship which I think can get into dangerous territory if you call it love.

    Also it's really dangerous to say God's love is unconditional. It's not, he requires things from his worshippers. His love can also run out, it did before he brought the flood and before sodom and Gomorrah for example. His love is all encompassing in that he has given all humanity the chance to benefit from the death of his son but that doesn't mean everyone has his favor.

    1. I have to disagree. God's love is unconditional. He wants things from us, yes, but He always *always* loves us.
      As far as Sodom and Gomorrah, He still loved those people, but there comes a time when something absolutely has to be done.

    2. i agree with alana here. God doesn't punish people because he doesn't love them anymore in a similar way to how your parents punished you when you were growing up. God punishes because he is just and he wants to help you learn from your mistakes, not because you've done something or not done something to make him quit loving you.

    3. Jay: That's actually my point XD I didn't make that clear enough, though. Sorry about that.

      And I agree with Alana and Natalie's replies with regards to God's love not being unconditional.

    4. There is no scriptural basis for saying God's love is unconditional or infinitely patient. One of the most well known scriptures, John 3:16, says: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him (the condition) might not be destroyed (the result of failing to meet that condition) but have everlasting life."

      God's patience ran out with the Egyptians. He gave them ten chances to do the right thing and when they didn't he killed their firstborn and drowned their army in the Red Sea. He killed the Sodomites. He cast off the Jewish nation after they killed Jesus.

      If God's love is unconditional then there is no point in doing the right thing because he'll love you either way, whether you ignore him or not. Is God a rube? Believing something because it sounds good isn't good faith. And just so I'm clear, I'm not saying God doesn't love us, it was his love that made salvation possible. I'm saying it's not unconditional or infinitely patient because the Bible is full of examples of the exact opposite.

      Unless you can give me a scriptural example that shows he is...

    5. patience and love are two totally different things. his patience may have run out but he still LOVED them. i think this is an "argument" about semantics though. so.

    6. It may border on semantics but I'm trying to make two points at once, both for the use of the word unconditional and the phrase infinitely patient. Unconditional makes it sound like no strings attached. Infinitely patient is plainly not true, otherwise he wouldn't have evicted Adam and Eve

    7. look, i believe that you don't have to do anything to EARN God's love. You are born, boom, he loves you. And nothing you can do will ever make him love you less - God IS love and he cares for ALL his children no matter what. you can screw up and do something incredibly stupid but that doesn't make God NOT love you anymore. like i said before, it's the love of a parent for his child. You parents disciplined you and sometimes didn't like you all that much because you are human and you make mistake and you mess up, but their punishment comes from a loving place. they want you to grow and learn. His punishments are just for the crimes committed. The love is free and unconditional, and you DO NOT have to earn God's love. Or his grace or forgiveness. He sent Jesus down to die on the cross for us so that we would no longer have to sacrifice things in order to have a relationship with our creator. Adam and Eve were evicted because they directly disobeyed God's orders, but he still LOVED them. He didn't give up on them and completely disregard their existence once they had messed up.

    8. Matthew 5:43-48
      John 3:16-17
      Romans 8:35
      Ephesians 2:8
      Titus 3:4-5
      Isaiah 49:15-16


      maybe someone else's words will help you understand what i'm trying to say better than my words can. :)

    10. Once we have accepted Christ into our hearts, our salvation becomes unconditional. Maybe that’s what you mean? That the “condition” for salvation is that we first have to accept it? That is true, but while we were still sinners, Christ died for us {Romans 5:8}. God's love and acceptance do at least EXIST independent of whether we decide to receive them. The choices of humans do not determine was God has or has not already created.

      We are saved by grace—through faith {Ephesians 2:8}—and that is the end of it. God does not LOVE us more when we do the right thing. He might be more pleased with us, but his LOVE is constant.

      We do have to accept salvation, but God LOVES us, his creation, unconditionally.

      Romans 8:38-39 speaks specifically to Paul's belief that nothing can separate a Christian from God's love.

      Being angry with someone does not equal ceasing to love them. God DOES love us unconditionally, {the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) is all about that}, but he can still become angry or disappointed, similar to our earthly parents. It is BECAUSE he loves us that he disciplines us {Hebrews 12:5-6}.

      Not only does God love us, but he IS love. God is the source of love. {1 John 7-10}.

      Maybe we are talking about two different things. Salvation is conditional in that we have to accept God in order to be forgiven and receive eternal life. But God’s love? He loves us. He loves Christians, and he loves non-Christians. He loves us because he IS love. And that’s a beautiful thing to me.

  2. Great list. Though, Jay is right on the fact that some of those simply aren't love and it's dangerous to consider them such.

    1. I agree--which was actually what I meant to show :) We only have one English word for "love," and then the lesser "like," even though we clearly need more words than those.

  3. i like that you guys are pointing out how stephanie shouldn't call some of these love...but this is exactly her point. (if i'm not mistaken) we have DIFFERENT types of love and not all of them are the strong type that you are thinking of. which is why the English language should have different words than just simply love. if you think about it, they are all terms for affection for things and people and some are weaker than others. i think they all belong on this list. good definitions steph!

    1. YES!!! Haha, as I was reading the comments I was like, "...really?" But reading over my post, I guess I don't make my point as clear as I should have.

      Thanks :)