I gotta “Love Jones”….
In 1997 Theodore Withcer directed one of the best Black films of all time “Love Jones” And while I was just a high school sophomore, a mere 15 or 16 years of age at the time. This movie quickly became one of my favorites and I can quote most of it to this day.
Although I can’t quite say I understood everything that was going on in the movie, at the time, I can say that I knew I wanted a love like Nina’s and Darius’, a love that even though it was a little troubled at times, it was a love that endured through time and distance. They were smart, they were good looking, and they were passionate.
Every time I watch it, yes still to this day, I gain a new and fresh perspective on love. I still get chills. As I got older I understood more and more of it. When I taught Psychology 100 at my university as a graduate student I used this movie when we discussed the Psychology of Love because of the evolution of the main character’s relationship.
You may ask yourself can love really be psycholo-gized? Well, let me school you a bit…..
The triangular theory of Love coined by psychologist Robert Sternberg proposes that love consists of three components: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different combinations of these three components result in different types of love. For example, a combination of intimacy and commitment results in compassionate love while a combination of passion and intimacy leads to passionate love. According to Sternberg, relationships built on two or more elements are more enduring than those based upon a single component. Sternberg uses the term consummate love to describe a combination of intimacy, passion, and commitment. While this type of love is the strongest and most enduring, Sternberg also suggests that it is rare.
According to psychologist Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues, there are two basic types of love: compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection and trust. It develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another. Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety and affection. When these intense emotions are reciprocated, people feel happy. Unreciprocated love leads to feelings of despair. Hatfield suggests that passionate love is temporary, usually lasting between 6 and 30 months. Ideally, passionate love then leads to compassionate love, which is far more enduring. While most people desire relationships that combine the security and stability of compassionate with the intensity of passionate love, Hatfield believes that this is rare.
Although these were some of my favorite love theories to study I just don’t know that loves fits into a box like that. However, I think theory has its place. It’s interesting if nothing else. If you know Nina and Darius from “Love Jones” then you know theirs was a romance that started off with passion but later developed into what Sternberg called ‘consummate love’.
However, if you want to go the route of the Bible’s theory you know exactly what love is by reading I Corinthians; its patient, kind, not boastful, etc. The Bible addresses what love is specifically but what about soul mates and passion and all that good stuff. Well, it appears when it comes to that the Bible only addresses passion and commitment in terms of marriage.
We could take a lesson from “Love Jones”.
In his ever increasing woes with Nina Mosley, Darius seeks the advice of his friends. Savon, who is married simply states: “Marriage is what you make it.” after Darius asks him if he thinks he married his soul mate. However, Darius still doesn’t seem to get it. In another scene a while later, Darius says “you only get one, maybe two great loves” to which Ed replies “Love is what you make and with whom you make it”.
What do you think? Do you get one soul mate, one great love? Or is love what you make it and with whom you make it?
If love is patient, kind, and all those things can you make it with anyone or is there only one?