It is a Basic Need
Love is among the basic needs of any human being. From babyhood to old age, any human being needs and treasures the love of parents, siblings, friends, sweetheart, spouse, and God. Love is such a basic need that without it people hardly go through babyhood, or infancy, or adolescence, or young adulthood, or life altogether. And as a person grows, so does that person’s need of love grow.
The following synonyms of the word love are worth noting as they can help us to understand better the need for being loved that is in every human being. They are: Affection, fondness, care and liking. C.S. Lewis described affection as “responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.”1
The Nature of Love
Love is a positive force which makes the person who loves to have kind sentiments, both consciously and unconsciously, towards the beloved. Love employs an understanding approach; it is so understanding that it doesn’t judge the frailties, weaknesses and failures of the beloved, but instead contributes to solving and overcoming them. Love is patient; it will put up with the faults of the beloved with the hope of seeing change. Notably, love is unselfish.
What Love Does
Love cares. It cares about the wellbeing and success of the beloved. It does this demonstratively by giving time, space, material support, etc to the one it loves. It invests in the beloved. Parents, for instance, will put in for their child, as much as possible, what it takes for the child’s survival and success. Sweethearts and married couples will put in time, devotion, intimacy, presents and romance, all for the joy of each other. Friends will put in everything that can make their friendship meaningful. Above all, God in his great love for his people, especially those who trust in him, endows them with spiritual gifts, provides for them and empowers them in various ways for their survival, fruitfulness and happiness (Psalm 37:3-5). In other words giving is part of love’s care.
Love is Natural but it is Also Reciprocal
Whereas love is natural, that is to say it cannot be forced, bought or manipulated, it is at the same time reciprocal, that is to say it will not be there forever if it is one sided. Therefore the beloved must show appropriate response. For marriage love, for example, romancemarrigeorg gives the following counsel:
Love is an action verb. A happy marriage is built and sustained by daily acts of love and respect that will produce feelings of tender affection in the giver as well as the receiver, and provide a garden in which the romantic potential of each spouse may develop.” 2
Love is a Balm
Once love is given and it is reciprocated by the beloved, it enhances life a great deal by alleviating life’s problems and pains and giving it a purpose. It is possible that most of people’s sweet memories are those of passionate love they experienced.