The 3 Core Components of Romantic Love

Romantic love is more complex than we think.

Most of us grow up thinking we understand love. As we grow, we learn that love is much more intricate than we thought. And, there are different types of love to consider, including familial love, friendship, and romantic love.

Marriage has a way of revealing all the ways we can learn to love someone. Sharing your life with another person means you’ll experience things together that you never imagined–both good and bad. Through every season of life, our love will be tested. We must be able to continue showing love for one another if we want to strengthen our relationship.

So, what is romantic love, really? Do you “know it when you feel it?” Not exactly.

Romantic Love in 3 Parts

In the mid-1980s, Yale researchers, led by psychologist and psychometrician Robert Sternberg, began an in-depth study of romantic love. One study, published in 1988, highlighted what Sternbern called the Triangular Theory of Love. This theory states that there are three major parts to romantic love, so let’s take a look at what those are.

1. Passion
Passion makes up love’s biological component. It’s driven by hormones and sensations, and it’s that magnetic instinct we feel when we’re strongly attracted to one another. The beginning of a romantic relationship is often characterized by passion.

2. Intimacy
Love’s emotional component is intimacy. This is the deeper connection we form as we get to know one another better. It’s driven by empathy and understanding, and the feeling that we “get” each other more than anyone else in the world.

3. Commitment
Finally, commitment is the choice you make to love one another. Anyone who has been in a committed relationship, especially a marriage, understands that there’s no real love without the decision to be faithful.

Love Requires Continual Nurturing

Interestingly, one of the conclusions that Sternberg and his team drew about the components of romantic love is that none of them are fixed. They’re always shifting. Because of this, you and your spouse will need to nurture and cultivate your love on a continual basis.

Now that you understand the three parts of romantic love, find ways to nurture each. How can you encourage more passion in your marriage? More intimacy? Stronger, renewed commitment? Think about the ways you can demonstrate each of these core components for each other.

Romantic love is more complex and requires more effort and intentionality than other forms of love. But pouring into one another is well worth that time and attention. When you’re both cultivating romantic love, you’ll reap the rewards year after year.

Love One Another Better

Cultivating deeper passion, intimacy, and commitment is easier when you focus on getting to know one another better than ever before. The Better Love Assessment can help you along the way! Better Love is a great, affordable way to connect on a deeper level so you can nurture the romantic love that brought you together from the start. Get started with Better Love here.

What do you think about the components of romantic love? Do you and your spouse focus on each area? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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