A woman gets her pick of 20 something men, all attractive, all well dressed, all interesting insome way. She gets to learn basic things about them over the course of some extended time period, they go to interesting locations and often, you hear one or the other say, “this place (insert exotic location here) is the perfect place to fall in love.” That’s the premise of ABC’s The Bachelorette. I hate that I watch it but for me, it’s social research. Do people really live like this?
The concept of getting to know multiple people is one I agree with, at least in the very beginning. I think you learn about yourself from your interactions with others. I think you grow in your relationships more than you do in isolation. That said, the concept of The Bachelorette definitely pushes past those boundaries, and getting physically intimate with these people makes it even harder to make the difficult decisions.
Also, the limitations of this show is that at no point does the woman get to experience what these men are like in real social situations. How does he behave when he’s the one paying for dinner, as opposed to a network-comped vacation? How does he react when there’s another attractive woman in the room? How does he balance making time for you when he’s working and playing/watching sports and has his own friends and family around? Can you choose to be with someone when you haven’t seen them in those settings?
But that’s not even my focus today. My focus is on the love part. Specifically this act they keep referring to on the show as falling in love. What does it mean?
There are 6 types of love, or at least that’s what the literature says.
- Pragma – love driven by the head, not the heart.
- Agape – unconditional, altruistic love
- Mania – obsessive love, filled with highs and lows, like a bipolar disorder
- Storge – love born from friendship
- Eros – passionate love
- Ludus – playful love
A while back, I reviewed Sarah Jio’s book The Look of Love on Goodreads here. I include it here because it used fiction to illustrate (somewhat awkwardly) some of the types of love.
Love can inspire jealousy but is not obsessive (Shawn and Kaitlyn), love can be expressed in a playful or romantic way (Jared and Kaitlyn) but just physical passion in itself (Nick and Kaitlyn) is not love. You can choose to live with a person without loving them or choose to say goodbye to a person you love because an intimate relationship hinders the way you can best express love to each other (Ben and Kaitlyn) but you don’t conceive love in your heart.
On The Bachelorette, I’ve seen all these types of relationships and they called them all “falling in love”. What gives?
There might be a hundred different ways to express yourself and just as many different kinds of relationships you can have with others. But there is only one type of love – real love, as defined by the Bible. These are its characteristics:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
That kind of love is what we call unconditional love. Like the love I know without a shadow of a doubt that my parents have for me. That’s love. I don’t think they decided to love me. They just love me and they show that they love me by demonstrating those characteristics.
There are different relationships that develop but the types of relationships themselves are not the types of love. When you love someone, you do those actions, you embody those characteristics. There’s just no other way… At least that’s my thought. I’d love to hear yours.
So what do you think about this whole “falling in love” business? Can you fall in love with multiple people at the same time, like The Bachelorette? Do you fall in love and out of love? Can you love someone and walk away from them? Can you love someone and choose someone else?