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This idea came up today.  I mocked it when my female associate defended it. 

She mentioned the importance of true love, and I laughed.

So, what is true love?  She says it cannot be defined.  I laugh at that statement. 

If it exists, it is true. 

Furthermore, is "true love" as people recognize the word today an idea spawned from the Victorian Era?  The Medieval Era of Courtly Love? 

Is it necessary? 

Is it something that grows. 

I am trying to be analytical here, not sentimental.  So, good luck ladies. 

But to you guys on Fisheaters, I'd like your input, too. 

I think true love as we know it is a modern idea that is very silly and overdone.  That's what I think atm. 
True love implies selflessness, sacrifice and loving the other regardless of what the other does or feels for you. It's almost a Platonic concept, I'd say.

Given our fallen state it's very rare but it's not a Victorian invention: it's in the depth of our souls.
I got it. It doesn't mean agreeing on everything, but two souls headed in the same direction. A true union of life.
I think a major reason true love eludes people today is that they think "love" is just a feeling and when that feeling goes away or is challenged they must have done something wrong and so must go seeking that same feeling from someone else. Sacrifice is foreign to modern man which is probably a big reason true love is so elusive.
I think what's hard to define about "true love" in the usual sense of the phrase is, how do you know if you have it or not?  If you're married, then you've basically vowed to have it-- which is fine, since, as others have already said, it's essentially an act of the will.  But up until the time of making a commitment to marriage, making a decision to love just one person forever is...  bold, to say the least.  Especially if one doesn't know how the other party feels, or knows that they are opposed.

I do think the Scriptures tend to support the idea of true love-- e.g. Jacob and Rachel.  It is noteworthy, though, that the cases are either fairly uncommon in the Scriptures, or so common that it's rarely thought worthwhile by the inspired author to dwell on it.

Maybe an argument from antithesis would work the best.  Do you believe in true hate?  I certainly do.  If so, why not true love?

There's certainly no argument, even on a merely natural level, that hate is even as strong as love, much less stronger.  So if "true hate" exists, "true love" certainly does as well.
To confound things even further, don't the Greeks have many levels and terms for "love?"  If so, which of those is "true love?"
Let me expand. Love is immaterial. So you can't verbalize it. You can talk around it. It can be expressed in a hug, saying "I love you," or as James Taylor said, "There ain't no doubt in no one's mind / That love's the finest thing around / Whisper something soft and kind." It involves sacrifice and selflessness. It is a hint of the love of Christ, and the love two disciples of Christ can have for one another. I said it doesn't mean you agree all the time. I am discounting the overly sappy and sentimental view of love, of basically two people who are really annoying. You know, people whom the honeymoon effect lasts year in and year out. I think Seinfeld made fun of this. (Just search "shmoopie" or "shoompy" on YouTube to see.) Fulton Sheen said it was present with a person to whom you can "upack your heart with words" and be silent in their presence. It is hard to explain. All I know is it happened when I wasn't looking, I knew it when it came, and I couldn't escape without grave harm to us two. It wasn't contrived, but wasn't 100% at first either. There was trial at first which needed to be overcome. The trial was for something lower: pure sensuality. This is the mantra of our age. I think most people yearn for true love, but don't have the spiritual education to recognize a fraud, or a rogue selling a fraud. So everyone's got the language and accoutrements of love, but really are too blind to see it, and too ill-educated to know how to keep it. I don't think many people pick the wrong person, but that people don't know how to love, so when it does come they just don't know what to do. So they try a second, third time, and maybe more. If you are [not] open to God, then you're not going to fare well with your neighbor. What does love look like to the blind? And how does a soul recognize true love?

By the way, the I believe true love is present for the priests and religious as well.
I think true love is definitely based in the will and it has to do with the level of commitment an individual has. I like what Vetus said. Smile

I think it's rare specifically because people are looking for it like it's some magical thing that will simply overcome them.
True love is wanting what is best for the beloved....to the exclusion of all else, and at the expense of self.
C.S. Lewis wrote a book called "The Four Loves."  If the division really goes back to the Greeks, I am ignorant of the fact.  However, it is a fact that there have always been different kinds of love.  St. Thomas distinguishes a love of concupiscence (not necessarily sinful:  "I love chocolate") and a love of friendship ("I love my best friend").  

Laramie, you seems to be thinking of C.S. Lewis ' division, which is Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Charity.  For most people, "true love" falls under Eros.  However, I think-- and Lewis probably says something like, though I can't recall-- that the idea of "true love" really includes the best of all of them.  Lewis does say that in order for Eros to live up to its promise, it must be ruled by charity.  However, the same goes for the other two.

The Greek names are στοργη = storge (affection, as between mother and child), φιλια = philia (friendship), ερος = eros (romantic love), αγαπη = agape (charity).
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