Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 17 June 2012





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Love, a feeling out of this world!

Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above,
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.

- Sir Walter Scott

Love is a many splendoured thing is the words of the song. Many people believe that love makes the world go round. It shows that the power of love does not diminish easily. For instance, almost all of us want to love and be loved. The feeling you get when you are loved by someone is out of this world. Love has pervaded every sphere of life and sometimes we wonder whether there is too much love in the world.

There is a magical quality in love. Therefore, we cannot define or fathom it easily. Hatfield and Rapson have identified two specific types of love. One is “passionate love” with which most of us are quite familiar. Passionate love embraces sexual or romantic love. Writers and poets are immensely influenced by passionate love. Their work remains immortal simply because of the passionate love they have depicted. Whoever would forget the kind of love Romeo and Juliet had for each other?

Robert Sternberg:
Total commitment and
passion found only in
“consummate love

The other type is “compassionate love.” This is the kind of love we have towards our intimate friends and family members. Compassionate love is devoid of passion. For instance, our love towards a brother, sister or grandmother does not involve passion. However, there is a strong bond of attachment in compassionate love. A father's or mother's love cannot be compared to a romantic love between two lovers.


Robert Sternberg went to the extent of outlining six forms of love. In each form he noticed a varying degree of passion or a strong desire for another person. Sternberg identified the first form of love as “linking.” In such a relationship there is a lot of intimacy devoid of passion. The relationship between you and your spiritual guru is an example. In such a relationship you respect your guru and confide everything in him. However, you carefully hold back any passion towards him. Even a teacher's relationship with his pupil falls into this category.

The second category of love, according to Sternberg, is “infatuation.” Most of us have been infatuated by someone at some stage of our life. The attraction is very strong but we do not want to commit ourselves. After a short time, the whole “affair” fizzles out. Sometimes, young children are attracted to each other. Adults call it “calf love” or “puppy love.” When children outlive their childhood, they forget the whole experience.

Sometimes we are committed to someone without any intimacy or passion. Some of the arranged marriages fall into this category. Certain married couples are compelled to live together for the sake of children or property. According to Sternberg, it is nothing but “empty love.” Sometimes we call such a relationship a marriage of convenience. The strange fact is that both parties to the marriage stay together without passionate love.

Fatuous love

Sternberg then turns his attention to a new type of love called “fatuous love.” Although the term sounds uncommon, it simply means a high level of commitment with a low level of intimacy or passion. In our life's journey we are sometimes attracted to someone we have never met. Young men are attracted to film stars living in a far away country. Pen-pals develop a close relationship without meeting each other.

Most of us have intimate friends and we are quite proud of them. However much we are committed to each other, we lack passion. As a result, the relationship will always remain a friendship. Sternberg terms it “compassionate love.”

Sternberg says that commitment and passion are found only in “consummate love.” When two people are involved in this type of love, it is the be-all and end-all in life. They are real lovers who cannot live without each other's company. Human history is full of such love affairs. Saliya-Asokamala is a classic case of consummate love. In this type of affair, love consumes everything!

It is strange but true that some people never experience consummate love. Even some married couples live together without an iota of passion. The root cause of such loveless lives may be traced to one's childhood.

Psychologists believe that our romantic relationships are extensions of our childhood attachments. Children who receive loads of love from their parents, relations and friends tend to develop strong romantic relationships.

If there is no love, the world will come to a virtual standstill. Love is a strong emotion that generates kindness, compassion and many other pleasant feelings in the human heart.


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