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Pope Francis has recently published an Exhortation on familial love called Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). Is he not wasting his time? Surely the word 'love' has become such a trite and bandied word in our vocabulary that it no longer means anything.

Wikipedia tries to come to grips with the problem this way: "Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection ("I love my mother") to pleasure ("I loved that meal"). It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection—"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another". It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one's self or animals.
Non-Western traditions have also distinguished variants or symbioses of these states. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.
Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts."

To me, to LOVE always means to GIVE of oneself for the good of another, what Wikipedia above calls —"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another". I think St. Paul sums it up well in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

"Making love". Even in sexual intercourse it is concern for the 'other' that is important, otherwise one is merely using another person for one's own pleasure.


classical languages had many words for all those meanings we have crammed into one word - love
English is prone to those economies - one word many meanings
i sometimes wonder how non native speakers ever learn it

using the other in sexual intercourse is rape even in marriage and sexual exchange can be love with out the formality of marriage
it can also be a true giving of self between persons on the same gender
Why do we have to make things so complicated? Surely English can come up with a few more words to differentiate meanings.

I love you, dear, as I have loved you for the last 60 years!
And I love chips, dear!
ah, but that would mean making distinctions that people don't want to make
in some relationships the love of chips might be stronger lol
and maybe better not to know
after 60 years words may not be needed

slang has different words for different emotions
but that is even more complicated because in slang words do not have their conventional dictionary meaning and are combined in ways that can be esoteric

language is a living thing
To me "like" better covers the broad spectrum that seems to be needed. "Love" has a deeper and more 'sacred' connotation.