The Hebrew word for love
The Hebrew word reveals the true definition of love.
When two people fall in love, they leave behind their former selves as an 'I' and become a 'We'.
When an individual is in love, they go from looking out for their own interests to looking out for the couple’s interests. They stop acting in a way that benefits the 'I' and beging acting in the interests of the 'We'. Love refers to the dissolution of distinctions between ‘my’ interests and ‘your’ interests and the formation of ‘our’ interests. This doesn’t have to be a black and white situation. It is possible to have some shared concerns and interests and others that remain as ‘my’ interests and ‘your’ interests. However, the deeper the love becomes, the deeper the union becomes and the less distinction between the two remains. In some cases, the union doesn’t even have to occur. In long-distance relationships, for example, the union can occur when both parties have the desire to form a union and create the new ‘we’ identity. This desire is enough to signify love. Therefore, love is both the desire to form a union and the construction of the union, the merging of two 'I's with their own personal interests into one 'We' with shared interests and concerns.
This theory for love only holds up in a metaphorical sense. It does away with individual autonomy in couples. Having the view that love is a union removes the individual from the relationship. It is possible to be in love and remain independent. Two people can have different interests, values, concerns, fears, priorities and goals and still be in love. Respecting this individual autonomy can actually bring people together and make for a healthier relationship. This view of love also fails to account for selfish agents who fall in love. Supposing a selfish person falls in love with someone but is unwilling to think of the other person's needs or desires. They do not act in the benefit of the union, they act according to their personal interests and goals. Is this person not experiencing real love? We love from a distance. We are separate autonomous beings. Therefore, the love itself is not the union. This view of love is also particularly damaging for women. As women are encouraged by society to marry "up" and wed someone of a higher social standing than themselves, with more intelligence, a better job and a larger salary, the creation of this 'we' inevitably results in a loss of their goals and aspirations. When the 'we' is created, the dominant party will likely have a larger stake in the new identity. This often means the male in the relationship can assert dominance. If we want to establish equality in our relationships and avoid the overt oppression of women, we must abandon this union definition of love.
[P1] When we fall in love, both individual's concerns and interests become shared. [P2] The process of unifying these interests and concerns is the process of falling in love. [P3] Therefore, love is the union of two individuals into one shared entity.
[Rejecting P1] This is not an essential part of being in love. People can be in love and maintain their individual goals, interests and concerns.