What is love? Love is a complex and multidimensional emotion that can be fleeting or lifelong. Some love is biologically programmed, while others is culturally indoctrinated. Regardless of the source, love is often variable and varies from person to person and culture to culture. While each of these debates is partially accurate, the core of love is a choice. Some love is spontaneous and uncontrollable. It can be exciting, reassuring, or both.
How is love justified? We can distinguish love from other personal attitudes, such as admiration or disdain. And the answer to those questions will determine the various accounts of love. Some accounts of love, such as romantic love, posit that love is a desire for others and a fulfillment of a basic need for reciprocity, are related to questions of justification. And, of course, the same applies to sexual love. In addition to a person’s sexual orientation, love is also a feeling of kinship.
Emotion complex views emphasize the complexity of love, articulating emotional interconnections among people. These views avoid the reductionism and narrow teleological focus of union and robust concern, and allow for the complexity of love. They are evaluative, but they also emphasize the interdependence of lovers and enact the same emotional patterns as individuals. Hence, these views are ambiguous and a mixture of different ideas is necessary to find a theory of love that works for both of us.
Among many definitions of love, one of the most fundamental is that of agape. Agape means concern for the other person. It involves affection, compassion, and self-sacrifice. Moreover, love derives from God, the Triune Godhead, and the eternal relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Human love is unique in that we cannot define it in one word. For example, you may love a dog and care for its well-being.
In love, everyday activities can be fun. You may try new things with your partner, including things you might not have liked before. It may even lead you to do something you’d never done otherwise. In addition to these new experiences, you may feel pressured to go along with your partner’s interests, even if it doesn’t seem like the best idea. And as we all know, love is not a decision that is easy to make. It can be the best thing you can ever give or receive.
Those who understand love as an appraisal of value will respond by appealing to the value of their beloved. This answer will create two related worries about their beloved. If love were a reflection of antecedent value, then they would understand it as an inverse of appraisal. In this way, they will miss something fundamental about love. The bestowal view entails that the object of love can be a creative, self-aware, and non-conducive emotion.