Fair Love

Basics of Love


Person Object

Sexual Desire

Object of Use

Understanding Love

Young Love



Betrothed Love

Characteristics of Love



We use the word love to mean different things, which are often intertwined in our relationship with someone of the opposite sex.

You would say that you loved a person with whom you were sexually intimate. But you also love people who never arouse any sexual emotion in you. For example, you love your mother, and you would probably say that you love your brother or sister. So love must be different from having sex.

If we love someone we treat them with justice. That is, we would not take their belongings from them, or tell lies about them, or blab to others about their human frailties or misdeeds.

Love is linked to justice and kindness, but love is something more. You would treat a person that you encountered in the street or on a bus with justice. Love is bound up with a desire for the good of the person. The actions of love are guided by a belief that the person is good and so deserves love. Love is concerned with a person directly and immediately. Love precludes using a person for our own ends.

Finally, there is one overriding characteristic of love. If we love someone we are prepared to forego something of ourselves for the good of that person. Love is giving ourselves because we believe something deeply and dearly about the other person. Love may be inspired by what we have received from the person, but it is given freely.

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