What is love? The answer to this question is sought as long as the humanity exists. Any other feeling can be described quite easily, but love is something that different people understand in their own way. It cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled – it only can be felt.
We all know that there are different kinds of love – one can love a husband or a wife, children, job, a dog or Italian cuisine. In this essay, I am going to write about the differences in the types of love giving short explanations of how I understand them. The first kind of love is romantic love – glorified by poets and writers, praised by filmmakers and both dispraised and hoped for by teenagers. It is commonly understood as a feeling towards the partner that includes passion, attraction, caring and respect.
Sometimes, infatuation can take place, and that is a loving feeling towards a love object, much based on idealization of that object and fantasies instead of experience. Infatuation is commonly observed among teenagers, who want to get closer to their idols, but have no opportunity for that. As a rule, these feelings vanish gradually with time, as a person gets older. And if obsession took place between two grown up people, it diminishes as they get to know each other.
Erotic love is of passionate type that involves sexual feelings for a love interest. It is usually combined with romantic love towards the spouse, boyfriend or a girlfriend. When two people that are in love get married, they create a new family – one of the most important social values of all times. The famous Russian philosopher, writer and publicist Alexander Herzen said: “Family starts with children”. Every parent loves his own child – from their first day and for good, and this love is called maternal or paternal. Maternal love is usually understood as nurturing, accepting and protecting a child. This love can be given not only by mother, but also a father or any other relative or not relative of a child. Paternal love in turn means to guide a child and to use some authority so that the child is ready to enter the outside world. Again, in reality this type of love is not gender or else specific.
Friendship is another very important value that implies disinterested personal relationship, based on trust, sincerity, mutual liking and common interests. And of course, one of the integral parts of friendship is love. This companionate love can be described as a feeling of warmth towards a friend with whom a person loves to spend time.
Now it is time for us to consider brotherly love that is actually a fundamental type of love and a basis for all kinds of love. Brotherly love unites such conceptions as responsibility, care and respect for other human beings. One of the Bible’s most repeated commands is: “Love your neighbor as yourself”, where a neighbor is someone who is near – wherever we are.
Talking of the Bible, it is needful now to understand the concept of spiritual or religious love – pure and unveiled. It is always present, regardless of whether or not we are in a relationship. It is in our hearts.
One another type of love that is utterly important is love to the country or patriotism. Normally, when we talk about patriotism, we mean a strong social feeling, moral and political principles, and devotion to one’s country. Here I would like to quote George William Curtis, a famous American writer and public speaker, who said: “A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle“.