As human beings each and every one of us wants to love and be loved by someone in life. Love is the word that especially surrounds us every year around the middle of February. This kind of love is what the Greeks would call eros or the romantic love. In the English language there is only one word to describe that warm emotional feeling in your heart which may tend to bring confusion at times; however the Greeks had at least four different words to depict love, each meaning something a little bit different. In C.S. Lewis? book, The Four Loves, he explains from his view some of the different loves described in the Greek language including: romantic love (eros); familial or affectionate love (storge); friendship (philia); and spiritual love (agape).
The romantic love, Eros, is the state of being in love. This kind of love is more than just the sexual act, because the sexual act can occur without love. Eros is that one "uniquely human variation" (Lewis 102) of sexuality that develops within love. It is the love that couples tend to express towards each other, the passionate love that leads to sensual desire and longing.
Storge or the natural affectionate love is the second Greek word subscribed especially the parents to their children and also vice versa. [One person probably can never love another too much. Lewis describes this love as the humblest love because people can be proud of being ?in love? or having a friendship, but affection is modest and often times taken for granted] (Lewis 33). It may also exist between siblings, and exists between husbands and wives in a good marriage. In the case with husband and wife, although the romantic love may pass as time progresses, there is still storge which doesn?t necessarily require sexual activity.
The next kind of love is philia or the friendship love. This differs from storge in the sense that it doesn?t have to be natural or biological. We chose our friends. There?s no moral obligation or demand to be the friend of someone. For the most part friendships are men-to-men and women-to-women relationships, although many times there can be cross gender friendships as well. A possible pitfall of cross gender friendships is that one may be offering the philia love, when the other mistakes it for something else. But in either case this is one of the loves Jesus emphasized to his disciples when he said, ?No one has greater love than this, to lay down one?s life for one?s friends? I have called you friends,? (John 15:13,15) Although storge love from the mother may not exactly be repaid (i.e. giving birth or suckling to a child), this love is more of the double sided love, meaning both sides have mutual responsibilities in order for the friendship to succeed.
The last category of love is agape love or charity. Agape is the love that expresses caring regardless of circumstance. This is the most difficult love to express; the love that is put forward knowing that there may be little or no chance at all of receiving something in return. Religiously, this is the love that God portrayed when he sent his only Son to die for the sins of the world. This is the epitome of self-sacrificing love, where He knew that he would not receive anything in return. The story about the Good Samaritan is another good example of agape. It shows an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us. This love is not based on a feeling, but more of a determined act of will, where you put the welfare of others above your own.
The point is clear: humans have a variety of loves and ways to express them. So the next time we use the word ?love? think about the different kind of loves that are expressed in the one word we use.


Lewis, C.S. The Four Loves. Fort Washington, PA. Harvest Books, 1960