Sometimes when discussing things with people, I find that we are talking past each other because we are using different definitions for the same word. So that, when I say the word, I mean one thing, and when they say the word, they mean something else entirely. Love is one of those words that easily lends itself to this kind of misunderstanding. When I say that I love my wife, I love my children, I love my sister, or I love chocolate cake, these words obviously do not mean the exact same thing.
Since the Twilight Saga is at its heart ;-) a love story, I felt like it would be a good idea to set down exactly what I mean when I say the word LOVE to reduce as much confusion as possible.
I see all love as a mixture of three basic components. One can think of it like baking. Cake is made with basically the same ingredients as bread the difference is in the proportions and flavorings. The ancient Greeks used three words to describe love, and I would like to use these three words to describe the basic components of love. These are:
EROS physical love; sexual desire. This is actually the Greek name for the god Cupid. This is the root word from which we get erotic. It encompasses concepts like passion, heat, lust, desire, want, need. It is purely physical and at its root fairly selfish, and tends to be about getting or taking. It is the lowest and bases form of love.
PHILO having a strong affinity or preference for; loving. This is the root word from which we get Philadelphia or the city of brotherly love. However, it encompasses more than simply the love between siblings, but also companionship. It tends to be about sharing.
AGAPEthe love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind. This love is greater than death. As Jesus put it, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” Or as Renesmee's locket read, “More than my own life.” This love is truly selfless and is the highest form or love.
Each loving relationship that we have will contain various proportions of some or all of these ingredients. A healthy “romantic” will have generous portions of all three. It is possible to feel erotic love for someone for whom you do not feel brotherly love. As well as it is possible for feel Christian love for someone for whom you do not feel brotherly love. In fact, the commandment is to love your enemies. Also these ingredients may exist is various proportions or intensities.
This means that we can decompose a loving relationship into its base part for analysis.