Making Love Last: Key Ideas

Reviewed Apr 15, 2015

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Summary

  • Be a team.
  • Laugh together.
  • Give each other breathing room.

The idea that love can last forever, through good times and bad, seems to many people an outdated, idealistic notion.

The very concept of love has been bent and stretched to the point where it is almost unrecognizable in Western culture. Popular “ideas” of love are laden with emotion and sexuality. As long as the emotions are positive and physical intimacy is rewarding, we say the relationship is good. As soon as they are not, we say the relationship is bad, and therefore not worth pursuing.

Aspects of love, present in healthy relationships

The ancient Greeks believed that human love fell into one of 4 categories—eros, storge, philia and agape. In his book The Four Loves, C.S Lewis refines these ideas for contemporary western society.

  1. Eros is the state of “being in love,” in which two people care deeply and are also attracted to each other emotionally and physically.
  2. Storge is a love characterized by fondness through familiarity, especially between family members.
  3. Philia is a love between friends, characterized by a strong bond between those who share a common interest or activity.
  4. Agape is unconditional love, which is not dependent on any lovable qualities that the person being loved possesses. It does not expect love or reward in return. It brings forth genuine caring, regardless of merit or circumstance.

In reality, healthy relationships and marriages that endure have aspects of all four. It is eros, or romantic love, that attracts two people together. Philia is the common interests and friendship that results in simply “liking” the other person and wanting to spend time together. Storge helps couples endure the seasons in life when eros and philia fade. Agape is the love that is unconditional and not subject to changing feelings or circumstances.

In spite of our culture’s distorted portrayal of relationships, love and marriage still endure. Here are some key concepts to make love last.

Oneness

Each partner should see themselves as part of a team. There isn't a "your side" and a "my side." It always needs to be "our side." When couples argue bitterly and one person loses the argument, in reality both have lost. In truly loving relationships, what happens to one, happens to both. This attitude keeps marriages healthy and strong.

Choosing us

Couples, who truly commit to each other, free themselves from fretting about the changes and struggles inherent in every relationship. Knowing you are in it until “death do you part” means commitment to resolve differences. Many couples stay married through thick and thin because they made a vow before their god, and divorce is simply not an option.

Laughter

The ability to laugh together and at oneself and circumstances keeps life in perspective. The stresses of modern living will always cause conflict. Couples who can lighten each other’s load by finding times to laugh will experience great joy over the long haul.

Breathing room

Each partner should allow the other his or her own space and unique way of doing things. As we age our interests grow and change. Couples who support and encourage each other’s personal growth will find that their marriage becomes more fulfilling.

Value the unique

Couples who acknowledge each other’s unique gifts, talents, habits and hang-ups are less threatened by change and experience much less conflict.

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love requires an undeterred commitment to growing your relationship.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Source: The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. Harvest Books, 1971.

Summary

  • Be a team.
  • Laugh together.
  • Give each other breathing room.

The idea that love can last forever, through good times and bad, seems to many people an outdated, idealistic notion.

The very concept of love has been bent and stretched to the point where it is almost unrecognizable in Western culture. Popular “ideas” of love are laden with emotion and sexuality. As long as the emotions are positive and physical intimacy is rewarding, we say the relationship is good. As soon as they are not, we say the relationship is bad, and therefore not worth pursuing.

Aspects of love, present in healthy relationships

The ancient Greeks believed that human love fell into one of 4 categories—eros, storge, philia and agape. In his book The Four Loves, C.S Lewis refines these ideas for contemporary western society.

  1. Eros is the state of “being in love,” in which two people care deeply and are also attracted to each other emotionally and physically.
  2. Storge is a love characterized by fondness through familiarity, especially between family members.
  3. Philia is a love between friends, characterized by a strong bond between those who share a common interest or activity.
  4. Agape is unconditional love, which is not dependent on any lovable qualities that the person being loved possesses. It does not expect love or reward in return. It brings forth genuine caring, regardless of merit or circumstance.

In reality, healthy relationships and marriages that endure have aspects of all four. It is eros, or romantic love, that attracts two people together. Philia is the common interests and friendship that results in simply “liking” the other person and wanting to spend time together. Storge helps couples endure the seasons in life when eros and philia fade. Agape is the love that is unconditional and not subject to changing feelings or circumstances.

In spite of our culture’s distorted portrayal of relationships, love and marriage still endure. Here are some key concepts to make love last.

Oneness

Each partner should see themselves as part of a team. There isn't a "your side" and a "my side." It always needs to be "our side." When couples argue bitterly and one person loses the argument, in reality both have lost. In truly loving relationships, what happens to one, happens to both. This attitude keeps marriages healthy and strong.

Choosing us

Couples, who truly commit to each other, free themselves from fretting about the changes and struggles inherent in every relationship. Knowing you are in it until “death do you part” means commitment to resolve differences. Many couples stay married through thick and thin because they made a vow before their god, and divorce is simply not an option.

Laughter

The ability to laugh together and at oneself and circumstances keeps life in perspective. The stresses of modern living will always cause conflict. Couples who can lighten each other’s load by finding times to laugh will experience great joy over the long haul.

Breathing room

Each partner should allow the other his or her own space and unique way of doing things. As we age our interests grow and change. Couples who support and encourage each other’s personal growth will find that their marriage becomes more fulfilling.

Value the unique

Couples who acknowledge each other’s unique gifts, talents, habits and hang-ups are less threatened by change and experience much less conflict.

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love requires an undeterred commitment to growing your relationship.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Source: The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. Harvest Books, 1971.

Summary

  • Be a team.
  • Laugh together.
  • Give each other breathing room.

The idea that love can last forever, through good times and bad, seems to many people an outdated, idealistic notion.

The very concept of love has been bent and stretched to the point where it is almost unrecognizable in Western culture. Popular “ideas” of love are laden with emotion and sexuality. As long as the emotions are positive and physical intimacy is rewarding, we say the relationship is good. As soon as they are not, we say the relationship is bad, and therefore not worth pursuing.

Aspects of love, present in healthy relationships

The ancient Greeks believed that human love fell into one of 4 categories—eros, storge, philia and agape. In his book The Four Loves, C.S Lewis refines these ideas for contemporary western society.

  1. Eros is the state of “being in love,” in which two people care deeply and are also attracted to each other emotionally and physically.
  2. Storge is a love characterized by fondness through familiarity, especially between family members.
  3. Philia is a love between friends, characterized by a strong bond between those who share a common interest or activity.
  4. Agape is unconditional love, which is not dependent on any lovable qualities that the person being loved possesses. It does not expect love or reward in return. It brings forth genuine caring, regardless of merit or circumstance.

In reality, healthy relationships and marriages that endure have aspects of all four. It is eros, or romantic love, that attracts two people together. Philia is the common interests and friendship that results in simply “liking” the other person and wanting to spend time together. Storge helps couples endure the seasons in life when eros and philia fade. Agape is the love that is unconditional and not subject to changing feelings or circumstances.

In spite of our culture’s distorted portrayal of relationships, love and marriage still endure. Here are some key concepts to make love last.

Oneness

Each partner should see themselves as part of a team. There isn't a "your side" and a "my side." It always needs to be "our side." When couples argue bitterly and one person loses the argument, in reality both have lost. In truly loving relationships, what happens to one, happens to both. This attitude keeps marriages healthy and strong.

Choosing us

Couples, who truly commit to each other, free themselves from fretting about the changes and struggles inherent in every relationship. Knowing you are in it until “death do you part” means commitment to resolve differences. Many couples stay married through thick and thin because they made a vow before their god, and divorce is simply not an option.

Laughter

The ability to laugh together and at oneself and circumstances keeps life in perspective. The stresses of modern living will always cause conflict. Couples who can lighten each other’s load by finding times to laugh will experience great joy over the long haul.

Breathing room

Each partner should allow the other his or her own space and unique way of doing things. As we age our interests grow and change. Couples who support and encourage each other’s personal growth will find that their marriage becomes more fulfilling.

Value the unique

Couples who acknowledge each other’s unique gifts, talents, habits and hang-ups are less threatened by change and experience much less conflict.

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love requires an undeterred commitment to growing your relationship.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Source: The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. Harvest Books, 1971.

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