Worldly, Spiritually, Psychologically
Throughout history scholars have grappled with and speculated the concept of love.
The dictionary defines love as, “a profoundly passionate affection for another person, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child or friend, and sexual passion or desire”. Sigmund Freud viewed love as being a result of sexual instincts. He theorized that during the oral stage from birth and for the first two years of development a child’s mouth is the focus of libidinal gratification, which comes from the pleasure of oral exploration of their environment. As a result the infant associates their mother as being the first object of love (BOOK, p. 460). Much later in development, from puberty into adulthood, an individual learns that sexual satisfaction can come from a partner and the attraction that we feel to that individual is love. Freud attributes love directly to sexual attraction and satisfaction. He denotes that just as in the oral stage of development whereas the mother is responsible for oral gratification an individual’s sexual partner fulfills the need for sexual satisfaction (BOOK, p. 460). This theory equates the need for love as a need for sexual gratification. While studies have been found to prove that an individuals relationship with their parents is attributed for determining an individual’s attachment style; which is strongly correlated with their romantic attachment style. (BOOK, p. 461).
Erik Erikson identifies in his theory of psychosocial development eight stages of maturation. In his sixth stage he identifies our innate need for intimacy or isolation (BOOK, p. 131). As young adults we begin to form intimate, loving relationships with others. When we experience success in these relationships it leads to developing strong connections, while failure results in isolation and loneliness (BOOK, p. 131). There are several humanistic and existential theorists that have tried to grasp the concept of love, “their theories emphasize that people who realize their potential, becoming the best they can be, are the people who can have the truest love” (BOOK, p. 462). They also hone in on the idea that an individual “must accept and love himself or herself before he or she can give real love to others”(BOOK, p. 462). Love is one of the most profound emotions that is known to man. But for most the ability to have purely healthy and loving relationships is not innate. At one point or another everyone experiences a failed relationship and we have to work at consciously mastering the skills necessary to foster a healthy and loving relationship. As part of a hurting and a broken world, people are desperate to and need to know love. This is evident based on the work of several psychologists including Abraham Maslow and his concept of a hierarchy of needs. Besides our most basic physiological needs, safety and resources, our third most desperate need is to feel loved...