Love and Health: Romantic Love vs. Unselfish Love

I once was lost but now I'm found...

I once was lost but now I'm found... (Photo credit: ~intoxicating flutter~)

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology has made it official, Romantic love has a lot to do with one’s health, for better and for worse, and as I knew, mostly for the better!

The Many Unexpected Sides of Love:

http://www.spsp.org/?page=PressRelease_28Jan12

San Diego, January 28, 2012 – Love can bring out both the best and the worst in people. Which way it turns depends on the best way to protect the relationship, say researchers studying the evolution of romantic love.

“Love is not merely sexual desire nor a unique emotion but rather a motivational drive-like state,” says Arthur Aron of State University of New York at Stony Brook, whose research involves the use of fMRI brain scans in understanding love. New research, being presented today at a conference of personality and social psychologists in San Diego, CA, is shedding light into the role romantic love plays in the formation, development, and maintenance of close relationships.

Of course the “positive side” of love in this article does the usual homage to the old pagan idea of human descent from animals, “from an evolutionary perspective”. Whenever they stick that in somewhere, just remember, they’re simply talking about something as a survival advantage, or some usually positive effect for the individual.

But here again, the researchers make a mistake common to everyone, that is, they include feelings of jealousy with those of love. They used the word “love” without clarifying that they were not talking about charitable love at all, that is, the sacrificial love that manifests in works of sacrifice and charity.

The green monster of jealousy that sometimes, in some people, results in the worst kind of NOT-love, is one of the reasons that it is best to subjugate the romantic kind of love under the pure kind of love, the sacrificial love, the giving kind, the sharing kind of love, God’s kind of love.

That’s something else that was missing in the discussion there. When the negative aspects of romantic love (“emotional attachment”) are accentuated, I’d bet that the benefits of romantic love are reduced or lost altogether.

Love is a big word, of course, and there is a relationship between feelings of attachment to a person and the possessive emotions that come with it for almost all people in various degrees.

But there are different “kinds” of love, or phenomena for which we use the word. Romantic love is one.

But the most important kind of love there is, is the sacrificial kind, the “altruistic” kind, the kind that motivated Jesus to lay down his life for us and go through his moments of agony for us, and to share resurrection with us.

This is the kind that motivated Patrick the Englishman to return to the land of his slavers and share the love of Christ with them and make that his life’s work.

Real love is the kind that motivated the Irish monks and the English monks to preserve old classics for future generations’ benefit, and to share their knowledge with the continent at Charlemagne’s’ invitation. It’s what motivated them to travel to East Europe and to Russia to share the message of love and eternal life.

Unselfish love is what motivated the earliest Christians to go where unwanted babies were thrown away by their mothers when Rome was still under the sway of its pagan religions and pagan gods, and to gladly take them in when new mothers learned that they could leave these babies at the doorstep of a Christian family instead of sacrifice them.

This kind of love is what is meant by LOVE they neighbor as thyself, a mandate that is self-enforcing in the hearts and minds and actions of those who actually believe in Love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind, because if you actually love God in this way, the love for your neighbor will flow naturally and the world will see it.

That kind of love, the love of Christ, is what drove “Mother Theresa” to bring in the dying homeless off the streets and gutters in India, and care for them and comfort them in their last few days in the flesh.

Real love, God’s kind of love, cares for the poor and the infirm and the captives.

How about let’s have a Declaration of Love, and spread the word till we get a Revolution of Love?

A Love Revolution!

 

 

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2 Responses to “Love and Health: Romantic Love vs. Unselfish Love”

  1. redheadeddunce Says:

    Very nice blog on genuine love! The one I posted was more for “romantic” love. I have one coming yet on “lust” love and, on Valentine’s Day, I shall hit “true” love – which is just the kind of love you speak of here. I shall be following you and thank you kindly for making yourself – and blog – known to me! Keep writing! :)

  2. free worship music Says:

    free worship music…

    [...]Love and Health: Romantic Love vs. Unselfish Love « Trutherator's Weblog[...]…

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