What is Love?
By Judy Churchill
With valentine’s day fast approaching I thought it would be a good idea to revisit everyone’s favourite topic at this time of year – love!
Everyone wants it, some are looking for it, some have found it and some are in the process of losing it but everyone is affected by it. It seems that those three little words are certainly the ones that most people want to hear and yet since the advent of mobile messaging and emoticons we have to some extent diluted the impact of saying ‘I love you’. Every message from a millennial seems to finish with ‘love you’ and the hearts that embellish every other message that is sent or received has one wondering if all this ‘love’ hasn’t lost its specialness and intimacy.
How we express love differs from person to person and according to whether it is coming from a man or a woman. One of the most frequent complaints I hear from female clients is that the man in their life isn’t showing them enough ‘love’. Once you understand that men express their love completely differently from women the balance can be quickly restored in the relationship. It’s just a question of knowing which signs to look for.
The ancient Greeks used 7 words to define the different states of love:
Storge: natural affection, the love you share with your family and pets.
Philia: the love that you have for friends.
Eros: sexual and erotic desire kind of love, lust (positive or negative)
Agape: this is the unconditional love, or divine love
Ludus: this is playful love, like childish love or flirting.
Pragma: long standing love. The love in a married couple.
Philautia: the love of the self (negative or positive)
It’s useful to remind ourselves from time to time that there is no ‘one’ love that we need to be striving for. Some of us will have achieved the jackpot and be experiencing all 7 kinds of love but most people’s reality is that they are experiencing only some of the above. Our needs can change from time to time and nature plays dirty tricks on women by getting them confused between Eros and Pragma. By tricking women in the early stages of ‘falling in love’ into thinking they’ve have found the ‘one’, there is a high chance that women will become pregnant and hence the human race is persevered. Nature doesn’t care that the relationship doesn’t last or deepen. Nature doesn’t care either if the man practises more Eros than Pragma and with several women at the same time – that’s what men in primitive terms were designed to do, leaving the women to Storge and bringing up the children. As a rule, Eros (ruled by hormones not reason) usually has a shelf life of 6 months to a year – just enough time to get the baby on the way and nature doesn’t care what happens to you when the effect wears off.
To take good care of yourself make sure have a positive quota of Philautia, Philia and Storge because these will be your rocks and stay with you for a lifetime. Ludus and Eros come in the door and fly out of the window as fast as they came in. To understand whether your man truly loves you, don’t focus so much on what he says but what he DOES! Men have trouble uniting the right brain (feeling) with their left brain (words) and express their love for a woman typically through their actions. Actions here really do speak louder than words. Women are the complete opposite and use both sides of their brain simultaneously and have no trouble saying, or writing what they feel which is why women love emoticons and men in general dislike them.
It’s important to know how to decipher a man’s love for you. If he does say the three magic words, never underestimate their power and how difficult it is for him to say them. The first time he utters this phrase he is signing a mental contract with you and himself for a total commitment and often men don’t see the point in repeating this. How many times has a man said to you: ‘but I’ve already said it once – why do I need to say it again?’.
Material gifts are the very obvious ‘love tokens’ that many women seek but for many men, giving their time to you is a gift. When they spend more time with you, and less with family and friends, or take time off work to be with you, this is their way of saying that they love you. They are choosing to be with you.
Some other men choose other gifts. Whether your partner supports you during a difficult time, helps you solve your problems, goes with you to visit your family, does little jobs for you (yes, I know they never get done as quickly as you would like), attends important functions with you (especially those gala dinners that he hates), puts you first in his thoughts or plans trips, dates or outings, the message is the same. He loves you. If this sounds like your man, keep in mind he, like many men, may not be comfortable with expressing his feelings directly, so these behaviours are indicators that he cares a great deal. Did he offer to pick up your dry cleaning, buy stamps at the post office for you or even do the shopping? The trick to understanding a man like this lies in realising that these actions are being generated out of love, and that he not only expects you to know that but gets very confused if you then complain that he doesn’t love you because he doesn’t say it every five minutes.
As valentine’s day approaches try and rethink your own ‘attitude’ to love and reassess your expectations. If you are getting all of the above as well as having a good physical relationship with your partner but he isn’t writing Shakespearean sonnets to you, does it really matter? The language of love between men and women requires an interpreter but if you can translate it then you will both benefit. If you’re having difficulty, you know where to find me .
Judy is based in Monaco and specialises in transformational coaching working with both individuals and companies.
Judy is also a qualified language teacher/trainer for adults and children in French, English and Spanish.
If you would like to receive coaching, communication skills training, language tutoring or certified translating from Judy, you can contact her on:firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com via Facebook messenger and www.judychurchill.com