My heart broke open
to make room for you.
It broke open
to expand and
hold your pains
alongside my own.
There is a universal truth about all types of love: To give it you must have it; you must have received it from another and accepted the gift. Everyone has agapé available to them as a gift from God. The type received can be transformed into all types, so God's agapé can be transformed and given away as Eros, Philia or Storge as well as Agapé. If you have refused the gift, it is not available for giving until you accept it, but it will always be available for you to access; it does not go away. Though the giver may no longer be available, the love remains.
Love does not die, but like a seed it can lie dormant in hibernation, this temporary death is from solitary privacy--hording. Like a sentence, love requires both a subject and an object; it is dormant in a vacuum. Your spouse thinks the love is gone, or that eros is gone. I love you but I'm not inlove with you. Her Agapé is dormant and without active Agapé she can have no active eros. Midlife crisis is a journey borne of fear; fear of being unworthy of love, of being unloved, of not measuring up and fear that there is no longer enough time left to become worthy. Your MLCer is trying to earn something that is free.
In In-fatuation Vs. In-Love, I discussed love, reviewing the chemistry and brain involvement of eros and in-fatuation. The center of bonding is located in the limbic system--the second brain portion to evolve. The more advanced portion, the neocortex was not associated with what we consider love. Agapé is an altogether different concept than those other types of love previously discussed.
Is agapé found within chemicals and the brain? That is like asking if God can be found through science. Scientists have found evidence indicating areas possibly linked to spirituality and faith. But spirituality and faith is a branch wholly separate from science. Agapé is within a spiritual and often unexplainable realm of mystery, it is a divine infusion of love and spirit into the soul, which in the receiving enables the giving and thus a viral and infinite expansion.
Agapé is love in all circumstances; it is absent of feeling--the rational assessment of value--thus without judgment or condition. It is a freely given gift, soft yet firm, an action borne of choice, and devoid of the uncontrolled and chaotic energies of emotion. It has no requirements of the love-object, being independent of lovable qualities or merit and exists regardless of circumstances; agapé does not require a person to like its object; it does not require one to lie across the doormat, allowing abuse. Such actions enable poor and abusive choices and behaviors. Yet agapé is love amidst wise and poor choices and behaviors.
Love through your compassion. If you were an outside observer rather than an inside observer, how would your feelings differ? Would you find it easier or more difficult to give Agapé? For some it is easier when personal and for others such closeness creates a barrier of cloud. We find it easy to hate the sociopath who is without guilt or conscious when committing vicious crimes, but how do you feel when the person committing the crimes is not a sociopath but a schizophrenic? How does this difference in the state of the mind change your level of compassion? Should it? It is easier when we recognize both a conscience and an inability to either understand one's actions or control them. But Agapé is love without condition and a person's acts--good works or sins--no matter how widespread, how beneficial and beneficent or how horrific and unconscionable--are irrelevant.
Agapé is impersonal. The loves discussed in Part I are personally directed towards someone known, whereas agapé is love for all beings seen and unseen, known and unknown, an unlimited loving-kindness toward all others. It is a charity of selfless giving, a product of compassion and empathy, recognizing unity, the reflections of ourselves in others and in this it is a divine glorification--an ideal of the human spirit. Agapé--is not something borne of deserving. Love because of who you are. It emanates from within and is directed outward, but it is not created by the object to whom it is given. Love your spouse because it is what you do, rather than because of what your spouse does.