I thought today I’d talk a little about some theories of love, and share the Gredler Love Line. Robert Sternberg is a psychologist who developed the triangular theory of love. Basically, he says love relationships can be represented by a triangle, where each point of the triangle represents one of the three components of love: Intimacy (being close, sharing and connecting to the other person), Passion (we associate this with romance and physical attraction), and Commitment (a decision to be with someone and sharing long term plans).
Most relationships are strong in maybe two of the three components, but weak in the third. For example, a Romantic relationship has lots of intimacy for the emotions and lots of passion for the physical attraction, but there is little commitment. And the relationship he terms Companionate would apply to a long term marriage of convenience, where intimacy is addressed with shared deep affection, and there is still a strong commitment, but the spark of passion is gone.
But the Gredler modification to Sternberg’s triangle is to add three additional components to the triangle. Intimacy is complemented with Honesty. For a Better Love relationship, it is not enough to share the neat things, but then hide what might embarrass or might be uncomfortable to discuss. You have to be completely honest with each other. Passion is complemented with Humor. You have to not only be passionate with romance and attraction; you have to passionately seek to share and enjoy humor together, which also leads to Better Love. And then, Commitment is complemented by Forgiveness. It is impossible to be committed to another person over the long term if you cannot learn to forgive completely, put the past behind, and move forward to Better Love.
As you can see, the quality of love moves from left to right, Worst, Worse, Bad Love, through Apathy, to Good, Better, Best Love. So we want to move from wherever we are on the line at any given moment, to the right. And I have already discussed that you can’t really claim a spot on the line, decide that’s a pretty good spot, and think you’ll just do nothing and stay right there. It doesn’t work that way. Circumstances will always come along, some to increase the quantity of Good Love or Bad Love we have, some to decrease it. And time itself will tend to diminish our Good Love, if we don’t put effort into working for Better Love.
I’m not really an expert on love. I’m just a person who has been loved with Good and Better Love, and know it. What’s more, I am a person who has shared Good Love and Better Love with others, and not only do I know it, others know it as well. And I know what Best Love is: This is how we know what (Best) love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. (I John 3:16) And I know what I am asked to do: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. (I John 4:7). So pick one of your relationships, think about where you are on the love line with that relationship, then do something, take an action, share, and move to the right on the love line. Decide to love with not only Good Love, but with Better Love.