Love is such an enigmatic and raw emotion. It has served as a fountain of inspiration for countless myths and legends. One in particular draws our attention: the transformation of Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love, from a warlike celestial being into a deity of pure innocence and love. When Nut, the star-covered nude woman, arched over the skies, enfolding the earth with the warm light of the stars and sun, the goddess Hathor was an enlightened being of joy and love, and her frolicking spirit obsessed Ra, the god of the sun. He ordered his winged messengers to travel to the lands of Nubia and request the presence of this enchanting goddess, as he couldn't contain his desire to possess her. The patron of music, lust, fertility, and pleasure had once been a bloodthirsty beast that devoured whoever crossed her path; however, for some reason, Ra was able to lure her into his territory and upon their union Hathor lost her freedom and wild nature and became an innocent being.
This Egyptian myth is one of many out there that explore the conception of love. Some myths turn up their noses at love, viewing it as a carnal emotion that drives humanity away from cool rationale and logic, while others, see love as the most sincere manifestation of the human spirit. While storytellers and philosophers wove stories of deities squabbling over one love affair over the other, the Greeks decided to put some order to this chaos by classifying love into four categories.
This classification can explain the many situations and phases a relationship goes through. It is by untangling the many threads composing love that you'll see where you stand in the relationship. Desire, attraction, loyalty, and empathy are just some of the feelings you experience when building ties with that special someone.
This love is based on eroticism, sexual attraction, and desire. Eros tends to be present at the start of a relationship, and it involves certain amounts of idealization and fantasy to keep the passion burning. It is a fleeting sort of love that paves the way for the more enduring kind. Eros burns hot and feeds on the intimacy, sexual friction, and physical contact of the couple to keep on going, and as a result, the relationship is forged stronger than ever.
Philia refers to filial bonds, which promote a common goal for mutual benefit. Aristotle compared this kind of love with friendship, and couples that boast this love work as a team and see balance as a fundamental pillar in the healthy structure of their relationships. If you and your partner are always striving for well-being and are used to giving and receiving in equal measure, then philia is the type of love that ties you together.
Agape is unconditional love and revolves around giving yourself entirely to the other. In a way it refers to absolute devotion and when couples are immersed in their little bubble and are hyper aware of the little behaviors and routines of their partner. These couples demand closeness, and this devotion can slowly turn into obsession. Unions based on Agape revolve around self-sacrifice.
Also known as a fraternal love, which feeds on loyalty and commitment. For the Greeks, storge is based on patience and mutual tolerance. Many believe this bond to be the truest and most honest expression of love between two people. It is a true bond that seeks tenderness, a common goal, and lifelong friendship. What is peculiar about storge couples is that they 're also influenced by the more carnal love, eros, so in a manner of speaking, it is the most balanced way to love.
The type of love you foster in your own life depends on your personality and that of your partner, and also your expectations of what kind of relationship you wish to build together. In an ideal world, a relationship should have a healthy mixture of these four kinds of love, although some may dominate more than others. Knowing the kind of love you lean on can help you identify behaviors you should fix and strengthen the ties with that person that awakens such a heady emotion.