The Difficulty of Defining "Love," Part I

Let me begin by thanking those of you who took time to respond to last week's post regarding love. (The first post in this series was Seven Things I Love). So, what was the point of the exercise? If most of us were to compare our lists, we would probably notice a similarity between the things we listed, namely, the variety of the things that we love. We love everything/everyone from Jesus to spouses to pets to certain foods, etc. Yet, when we say "I love" what do we mean exactly and do we mean the say thing in each case? Do we love our spouses the same way that we love steak? Do we love our children the same way that we love sports? Hopefully, we love our wife/husband differently than we love a steak, yet we use "love" language to describe our relationship to both of these. And this brings us to one of the difficulties with the topic of love: the problem of defining what we mean by "love."

So, what is a good definition for love? Can we think of a definition that encompasses all the things that we supposedly love?

A couple of weeks ago, I asked a group of young people to give me a definition for love. After a few minutes, they had compiled about five possible definitions for love. Interestingly, every definition that they gave me defined love in emotive terms: "Love is...an intense emotion...an urge...a strong desire...etc."

So, let me ask you a few questions regarding love: How would you define love? Why is love so difficult to define? Is love an emotion? Can you define love apart from using emotive language?

Once again, if you're feeling cooperative, please take time to comment. In a few days, I'll make an attempt to answer my own questions. The comment section is waiting for you...

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