love language

3 Reasons to Learn a Love Language in Greek

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by Gerard Murphy

Could a new love language be the missing ingredient in modern connections?

In this age of speed dating, blind dating and online matchmaking, is it conceivable to hope for, let alone experience, an enduring intimate relationship?

Yes and No.

Yes, if our vision of a romantic relationship evolving into something deeper, is grounded in a mature, spiritually evolved and awakened sense of intimacy, where moral companionship as much as sexual chemistry, form the basis of the union.

And, No if we enter a relationship without any moral compass, spiritual principles or intuitive inner wisdom to guide us. Or we enter a new relationship on the rebound from a former shipwrecked entanglement, thereby taking its toxic fallout with us — a fallout we may only be dimly aware of, much less healed of.

But for the purpose of this article, let’s consider the scenario of two reasonably healthy adults (emotionally, psychologically, and psychosexually) deciding to explore the possibility of commitment in an intimate relationship. What tools or philosophical principles might they draw from, to guide the unchartered waters of their love voyage?

Three Greek Love Languages To Deepen Your Relationships

Is there a “love language” they could learn to inform the beautiful possibilities that lie before them? Thereby avoiding contamination by the phony, shallow and misguided expectations popular culture has of passion and romance today?


Drawing from the ancient Greek concepts of Eros, Agape, and Nostos, I believe there is a deeply passionate, vibrant and evolutionary love language here, that is worth exploring for its rich wisdom and insight.

Let’s dive in…


Although Eros, the Greek God of sexual love, appears under several different guises, his core mission (sometimes mischievously) was to inflame the irrepressible love impulses of unsuspecting humans.

Most people today understand the term ‘erotic’ or ‘erotica’ as referring to some form of sexual arousal or desire, as depicted in art, film, literature or sculpture. And that would be correct. As the original Greek word ‘erōtikós’ literally means sexual desire rooted in love for another.

If, however, our understanding of eroticism, particularly as it pertains to intimate relationships, is fixated on sensual stimulation and arousal, and the mechanics of how this can be experienced and heightened, then we’re not only missing the mark — we’re selling ourselves short in terms of its more expansive and evolutionary meaning.

In her book, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, Couples and Family therapist Esther Perel, views eroticism as a quality of aliveness, of vibrancy, and renewal. She views it as a sacred, creative energy that stretches far beyond coupling sexuality. For her, eroticism is a spiritual, mystical experience of life. In her words, “It is a transcendent experience of life, because it is an act of the imagination.”

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and feel like you were born over-charged for life on earth? That you (and every species on earth) were born with this insatiable desire for communion with all that exists in creation?

Or, do you wonder if one exclusive, committed, relationship—or job, or connection of any kind, can possibly satisfy all your deepest longings? Relax! It’s okay to have these feelings or “weird” impulses.

You’re not cheating (in your heart) on your partner; or running out on your family or respected profession. You’re simply waking up to the larger (infinite) evolutionary or creative impulse of the cosmos that is way bigger than, and yet intimately infuses, the very fabric of human consciousness.

On a cosmic level, the human dance of desire is an urgent questing to be in communion with all who are, ever has been, and ever will be in the whole created order.

But where does this passion (fire) for belonging come from? Is it a sacred longing and what do we do if it threatens to rage out of control?

How are we to understand it, befriend it, and learn to tame it?

We do this by learning from, aligning with, and paying attention to the history and unfolding of the evolutionary journey of the universe. Everything that has ever or will ever exist in creation is grounded in a love-energy that is dynamic, erotic and deeply relational.

So the life-force or energy of the universe is…erotic? Yep, it sure is!

Passion is the sine qua non ingredient of the whole chaotic mix. And the good news is: deeply interwoven into the multidimensional energy fields of the cosmos, and that of every cell in our body, is a calming and loving intelligence that knows how to create union, wholeness, and harmony.

What then can we learn from the dynamic, erotic and relational nature of the cosmos? We learn that to become more than our earth plane, self-absorbed, sexually obsessive and possessive selves, we need to exist and live exclusively for the sake of giving. That’s all the universe does: it expands, becomes more, and pours itself out in ever more creative and complex ways daily—in, with, through and for us—its conscious agents.

I do not exist in order that I may possess; I choose to exist in order that I may give of myself—to you, over and over again.

And that is precisely what the second key component of a Greek Love Language can teach us.


Although an ancient Greco-Christian term that refers to love originating from God or Christ for humankind, Agape is essentially about the giving of oneself to others in a spirit of loving-kindness and service.

When applied to an intimate relationship it is the supreme antidote to the selfish What’s in it for me? condition. In other words:

You love me today because I please you. But if I am unable to please you tomorrow, do we have a future? — knowing that I am unconditionally loved, accepted and respected for who I am.

Agape implies that an intimately committed couple not only lives in loving solidarity with each other, but also with the wider community they are — and are called to be — an integral part of. In other words: the kindness and daily nurturance they show to each other and their relationship, fuels not only the integrated growth of their relationship, but it draws them out of a privatized, insular experience of who they are as a couple, and into the wider arena of life where their “couple energy” is given in service to others.

This can take many forms. It could be expressed in their mutual support of environmental and sustainability causes; in their participation in a faith community of some kind; or in simply socializing with other couples or groups who mirror their values.

In the final analysis: an intimate partnership of whatever kind (married or otherwise) has a much better chance of surviving and thriving when lived and expressed in some form of community, where it is supported and mentored by those who care for the couple, than when it tries to go it alone — no matter how passionate and compatible the union may appear to be.


In Greek mythology, the term “Nostos” refers to the “homecoming” of an embattled hero, usually by sea. He returns to the community that birthed him, formed him, instilled his values and now welcomes him home after many years of war, to be received and held in the bosom of a family that doesn’t judge him for mistakes made or battles lost. He is simply celebrated and honored for surviving, and for who he has become in and through his survival.

It symbolizes, I believe, a deeper human quest to feel whole, complete, accepted and loved for who we are by another — and ultimately by our Source of Being from whom we are never separated. The human drama runs its course; somehow, we survive and perhaps our very surviving strengthens us and deepens the quest.

In his seminal work, Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World, the late John O’Donohue speaks eloquently and poetically to what it means to fall in love with someone you intuitively know is your kindred spirit. As he puts it: “Suddenly there is the flash of recognition and the embers of kinship begin to glow.”

For O’Donohue, when two people fall in love, “each comes in out of the loneliness of exile, home to the one house of belonging.  Each recognizes the other as the one in whom their heart could be at home.” In other words: when what each partner brings to the relationship in terms of deeply held values, beliefs, and aspirations, are held and honored as sacred by the other, they have laid the groundwork for what can be called a moral companionship, or a companionship of empowerment — an intimate relationship where the couple desires and seeks to elicit the very best in each other, as lover, companion, co-creator, mentor, and giver of joy and service to the world around them.


In a culture where new buzzwords appear daily, and the language of love, passion, and romance are often diluted and vulgarized out of recognition, it behooves us to take a moment every now and then to articulate what it is we seek in an enduring, intimate relationship. What are the values we deeply hold and hope to see mirrored in a prospective or current partner? Where might each of us have fallen short in terms of the true erotic intelligence of our relationship?

How might we pull back from an oppressive and obsessive clinging to each other, to a purer and more awakened understanding of intimate relationship: we do not belong to each other; but as pilgrim souls deeply in love with the quest for wholeness and joy in life, we belong with each other — in our passionate togetherness, in our giving forth of our couple energy, and in the spiritual and moral homecoming of our enduring love.


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Josephine Duigan says October 30, 2020

Absolutely outstanding.

Thalium says August 22, 2020

As a Greek I am so happy to read all this in your wonderful site! Great job!

    Kim Saeed says August 23, 2020

    So glad to know you enjoyed it 🙂

Jermena says April 9, 2020

This has been a most educating piece of writing. Eye-opening even. Thank you very much Kim.

Jane Plain says April 7, 2020

Although I feel sure any of these can be experienced in any season of life, in general, I think they relate mostly to specific life stages. Eros makes sense at the stage of attracting a mate. Agape is what most people experience with the offspring resulting from Eros. Nostos makes sense in the later years, after the dust that was stirred in the earlier ones, has settled. It is where I am now. I just want to go home.

    Gerard Murphy says April 8, 2020

    This is a reflective and plausible way to imagine how the components of the ‘love language’ may evolve, for sure. Thanks for reading, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Jane!

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