I have written on affection before. I have written on the four loves before, if I recall correctly.
Since it is Lent, it is a time of self examination. And this year I have far too much to examine. This has been a hell of a year for me.
So let me get to it:
Philia–friendship, the love one has for a friend. There is absolutely no romance involved. It is a great respect for one who is there for you in hard times and good times. One you can laugh with. One you can mourn with. One you can talk about anything under the sun with. A friend is one who greatly cares for you. Can point out your flaws and give you great advice, but not admonish you. Philia is a love that is true, gracious, kind, tough, has a high respect for the other person. Friendship always welcomes another friend. Friends are those with common interests.
Some friends are there to lighten things up. Others are there to help through a rough time. Still others are there in all respects.
Eros: romantic love. I can only have eros for a woman–after all I am a man. Eros must not be confused with friendship. You can be friends with a woman and also lovers, but the best context for this is in marriage. Yet friendship should not be confused with romantic love.
But if you have an affection for a woman who is not your spouse, they can also be a friend. But eros can get in there and confuse the whole situation.
Where the woman as friend should have stayed in that context, it is easy to draw eros into the friendship. Great affection can be confused with eros.
Eros, romantic love, should not be given out so freely. The best context of eros is within marriage. (I am only speaking what is true–though I do not reflect it.) The sexual union given too freely causes jealousy, strife, anxiety, misunderstanding, rivalry and many other issues.
When it is given in a committed relationship, i.e. marriage, it is in its best context: for the two have vowed to each other to deny all others of union with them and only be committed to one another.
This commitment seems insane in this day and age of “freedom” of expression and subjective truth.
Our hearts and bodies ought to be guarded until full trust is met. This takes time. There is definitely a proper order to these things. Many have put them out of order, including me.