According to C.S. Lewis, there are four kinds of love, based in part on the four Greek words for love: affection, friendship, romance, and charity. Affection is a fondness through familiarity (a brotherly love). Friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common interest or activity. Romance is love in the sense of ‘being in love’ or ‘loving’ someone, as opposed to the raw sexuality. Lewis recognizes charity as the greatest of loves, and sees it as a specifically Christian virtue of unconditional love. Lewis states that just as Lucifer—a former archangel—perverted himself by pride and fell into depravity, so too can love—commonly held to be the arch-emotion—become corrupt by presuming to be something it is not. Any kind of love is preserved by Dating for Life.
If any type of love is an attraction of one person to another through a set of interactions, then it stands to reason that the bonds of love grow will grow strong or weaker through those actions. Just because someone loves you doesn’t mean that your actions won’t either tarnish or polish that love like the unique, fragile jewel that it is. Certainly, the weakest forms of love (more akin to liking someone) can be snuffed through one simple action. For example, if one business associate were to double cross another, the friendship could end immediately. But even a deep, romantic love can be worn down over time. Sadly, even the bonds of love between a parent and a child can be destroyed through continual neglect or abuse.
C.S. Lewis is correct when he speaks of charity as the greatest of loves, because it is unconditional. The concept of charity is to give without expecting reciprocation. But unconditional love is not co-dependency, which is not love at all. The Golden Rule simply states, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Give freely, but never lose yourself in the process.
The concept of forgiveness, a main tenet of Christianity, can sometimes heal the wounds and allow love to develop again. But why ever let a relationship evolve to that state? One can forgive, but will usually never forget. Bad memories can get in the way of re-kindling a friendship or romance. Therefore create only the best of memories. Dating for Life can certainly nurture this process.