Lord Byron once said, "Love without passion is dreary and passion without love is horrific."
From Lee's (1973; 1988) six love styles to Sternberg's (1986) triangular theory of love, passion has been consistently identified as an important part of romantic relationships.
For instance, Sternberg (1986) artfully weaves the concept of passion into his triangular theory of love. Specifically, the theory states that love can consist of three components: commitment, intimacy, and passion. He goes on to explain that types of love are created by combining these three elements in different ways. For example, love that involves intimacy without commitment or passion is called liking/ friendship love. On the other hand, an individual who feels passion and commitment, but no intimacy is experiencing fatuous love. In the end, these three elements of love can be combined to create 8 different love types.
Like Sternberg (1986), Lee (1973; 1988) discusses passion in the description of his six love styles as well. The style that is filled with passion is known as eros. It's highly sensual and sometimes fantasy-like. Individuals with an eros love style believe in love-at-first-sight, desire intimacy, are very affectionate, and communicate openly. Couples with this love style, according to Lee, are fired up with intense feelings for one another.
As we all know, passion plays an important role in relationships. In fact, research has shown that for married women, as passionate love in their relationship increases, their level of marital satisfaction also increases (Aron & Henkemeyer, 1995). In addition, the reciprocation of passionate love for both men and women is linked to fulfillment and feelings of ecstasy (Hatfield & Rapson, 1996). Don't get me wrong, passionate lovers aren't always lying in a bed of roses. Feeling these intense emotions for another person can also ignite sensations of extreme anxiety or despair when things go south. Obsessive or jealous thoughts can also come into play with passionate love.
In the mid 1980s, Elaine Hatfield and Susan Sprecher developed an instrument known as the Passionate Love Scale, which continues to be widely used today to measure the passion thermometer in relationships. YOU can take this survey to find out how passionate your love is.
- Aron, A., & Henkemeyer, L. (1995). Marital satisfaction and passionate love. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 12, 139-146.
- Hatfield, E., & Sprecher, S. (1986). Measuring passionate love in intimate relations. Journal of Adolescence, 9, 383-410.
- Lee, J. A. (1973). The colors of love. Don Mills, Ontario: New Press.
- Lee, J. A. (1988). Love styles. In R. J. Sternberg & M. Barnes (Eds.), The psychology of love (pp. 38-67). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93, 119-135.
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