There is much misinformation and many mixed signals when it comes to the subject (and/or object) of love. Specifically within Christian circles, with the Love Commands in particular, we become entangled in confusion, myth, and down-right perversion. But what we either ignore or (more probably) what we are completely ignorant of are the Degrees of Intimacy. When we do not understand the variables of human emotion and divine grace (and reason) in the context of love, we confound the proper, healthy relations in which we are called (and equipped) to live.
There are three major degrees of intimacy: Unconditional Love; Sexual Love and; Brotherly Love. Unconditional love is purely logical; it originates in God as a pure essence of God. God has no other form of love, but logical. God does not have the emotional expressions of “sex love” or “brotherly love.” Humans can have perfect (unconditional) love, but only in a proper relationship with God. And we are wrought with sexual and brotherly love precisely because of our humanity.
[Incidentally, we could also speak of our confusion over “love” and “lust.” Lust is the perversion of love; in fact, it’s the polar-opposite. Love gives, while lust takes. Love owes nothing and is owed nothing, while lust feels entitled to a perceived debt. The confusion is steeped in dysfunctional emotions.]
So, for example, in marriage: When one has an affair or is “no longer in ‘love’” with his/her spouse or is “in ‘love’ with another”, it is usually not based in “love” but pure emotion (though not necessarily sex). If that is true, then, it is not logical to have an affair or to utilize these excuses. Unconditional love, being based in logic and sound reason, dictates that one doesn’t have an affair because emotions are irrelevant when pertaining to “love.” However, emotions are directly linked to the degrees of intimacy in the two forms of “Erotic Love” and “Brotherly Love.” These are where we get our wires crossed. We often confuse erotic and brotherly love, thereby, crossing the boundaries of degrees. There is an old myth, based on Freudian Psychology, which states that two people of opposite genders cannot be friends (not for long, anyway). The truth is that here is where the two emotional “loves” become confused. The degrees of intimacy become unclear because the boundaries of “brotherly love” and “erotic love” become blurred.
As such, then, God’s unconditional love (and, therefore, that unconditional love in us for others) is pure logic with sound reason as a boundary. Where “erotic love” and “brotherly love” are complexities of emotions with the boundaries easily blurred because of the emotional links themselves. We can have an improper and unbalanced combination of the three degrees of intimacy, where love based in and governed by logic is replaced by love based on feelings – (either real or perceived) needs, wants; victimization; entitlement, and etc. The perversion comes when “love” is not clearly distinguished and we attempt to blur the lines of the degrees of intimacy in our personal relationships.
Therefore, logic (the basis for unconditional love) dictates that we are to have sexual love for one (but not necessarily any), brotherly love for many, and Perfect Love for all.