The Three Essential Kinds of Love

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"But the greatest of these is love." I Corinthians 13:13

Nearly every man enters marriage believing his love for his mate will never fade. Yet in the U.S., for every two marriages, there is one divorce. It doesn't take long to discover that mere passion, which revolves around sexual gratification, is not sufficient, in itself, to establish a lasting relationship. Unfortunately, too many couples begin their marriages thinking this type of love is all they need.

There are at least three kinds of love, each totally unique. They are companionship, passion, and genuine love.

Companionship is the kind of love that stimulates all five senses. She smells good, feels good, tastes good, sounds good, and looks good. She is pleasant company because she makes you feel happy. Many relationships begin with this type of love, but it doesn't always withstand the pressure of time. After two or three years, the wife begins to change her lifestyle while the husband opts for different political views.

The danger arises when we base our love on changeable characteristics we find attractive at the companionship level. So after a while, we're off to look at someone new to love. It's easy to see why companionship love has trouble maturing.

Passion works harder on the emotion than companionship. It's the kind of love that keeps the heart working overtime. The Greek called it Eros- a sensual and physical form of love. Eros love heightens our senses and stimulates our bodies and minds. This love is certainly found in marriage, but if passion exists without genuine love, usually love gives away to disgust and repulsion.

Genuine Love is completely different. It means, "I see a need in you. Let me have the privilege of meeting it." Instead of taking for itself, genuine love gives to others. It motivates us to help others reach their full potential in life.

Most importantly, genuine love has no qualifications. It doesn't say, "I'll be your friend if you'll be mine." Nor does it say, "I want to be you friend because your family is rich." This love does not seek gain but only to give. Genuine love has no fine print.

I believe the more we help others achieve their full potential in life, the closer we are to maturity. Demonstrating a selfless desire for others to gain is the strongest base for building lasting relationships.

2002 Smally Online. Used by permission.