Love, in theory…

Came across this theory by Robert Sternberg recently… and thought I would share it with you.

According to him, for a relationship to last, and to grow with time… the couple must experience 3 things:

Passion, Intimacy and Commitment, in no particular order. He describes passion as physical and sexual attraction. Intimacy is the closeness and the connection, especially in communication. And commitment is easiest describe as marriage. And the strongest relationship is a relationship where all these aspects grow at the same rate like an equilateral triangle.

If there is only passion, that is called infatuation.

If there is only intimacy, that is called friendship.

If there is only commitment, that is called empty love.

If there is passion and intimacy, but no commitment, that is romantic love.

If there is passion and commitment, but no intimacy, that is fatuous love.

If there is intimacy and commitment, but no passion, that is companionate love.

If there is passion, intimacy and commitment, that is the most ideal of love… consummate love. 🙂

Many marriages, as time goes by, end up in ’empty love’ as the passion is gone, and the intimacy too wanes. And the only thing holding the marriage together is the commitment.

Or in other marriages, the passion is there… but there is no communication. The couple simply does not grow together, and their paths hardly converge.

I thought his was a great theory because it helped to explain many of the relationships that I have come across. Of course, theory is often easier said than done. But, let’s all strive to achieve the equilateral triangle! Jiayou! 🙂

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  1. Very meaningful article on what love actually encompasses. It is indeed hard to continue keeping a marriage going with all three elements, as through time, passion and intimacy will be gone, and its only the commitment that glues both together. Yes, we must all strive to achieve the equilateral triangle!

    Hope you don’t mind I link this post to my blog, I’ve been inspired!


  2. Celia, thanks for dropping by, and your comments! 🙂

    And no problem, go ahead and link the post…


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