When he was a mature man, Lewis wrote this book about the four loves: storge, philia, Eros, and agape. We only read the part about Eros, which is “the kind of love which lovers are.” Eros is the romantic side of the relationship, where as Venus is the sexual side of the relationship. Eros must come before Venus because Eros is true love for one’s husband or wife.
An important part of Eros is that a man loves a woman because of who she is, rather than the fact that she is a woman (Lewis 133). On page 134, Lewis writes, “Sexual desire, without Eros, wants it, the thing in itself; Eros wants the Beloved.” With Eros a man really wants one particular woman, not a woman and the pleasure she can give. Sexual desire is not true love; this is Venus, which is self-centered. A lover should be too busy thinking of the other person, but not of that person physically. Pleasure is a by-product of Eros.
I really like the following quote of Lewis: “Love ceases to become a demon when he ceases to become a god.” Sometimes people get too caught up in the pleasures of being in love that they make it the top priority in their lives, rather than putting God first. Lewis writes, “Theologians have often feared, in this love, a danger of idolatry” (155). Lewis does not see the idolization of the other person as the real danger, but it is more dangerous to idolize Eros itself.
This love represents the love Christ has for His Church. Song of Solomon is full of verses that paint a picture of the beauty of this love. For example, Song of Solomon 2:14 says, “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” Christ also speaks sweetly to His Church like this out of great love for her. Lewis writes, “In the act of love, we are not merely ourselves…” Marriage is a picture of Christ’s love, in which Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 5:25). The wife must be submissive to her husband, but the husband must display love and kindness to his wife first, just as Christ has first loved us. In marriage God has given us a garden, but in order to keep this garden alive, the husband and wife must both tend to it. The garden needs constant weeding and watering because it is a continuous fight.