Six Great Gifts of Love

Notes on the Sunday address by Dr Francis Macnab, 21 February 2016.
By John Abbate.


“Love…see how treacherous the ground is.”

Dr Macnab approaches the topic of love with generous wit and humour. He draws on stories and examples to illustrate some of the many varieties of love, and the contortions and absurdities that sometimes feature in our everyday experience of love and relationships.

What are the six gifts of love that Dr Macnab singles out?

  1. The gift of intimacy, sometimes excited, at other times quiet and contented.
  2. The talking/listening interchange of positive feelings in the various streams of friendship.
  3. The pleasure of simply being with someone; the kindness of companionship, as ephemeral as the column of smoke.
  4. The stake in the ground that holds up the tree against threatening winds. Sometimes called emotional support, or the good, stable presence that remains even when it is not needed.
  5. Keeping the wolf at bay; the love that helps us find a way to neutralise our fear so that we might embrace the strength to survive. Self-love; developing the inner strength to live in a world where monsters lurk.
  6. The wardrobe of love, with its many compartments and different kinds of clothing. Dr Macnab goes on to list various forms of love, from erotic. to familial, to platonic, to the love of pets, and more. “Love that gives meaning to life, and love that gets tangled with many needs–we need to get sorted out.” In the needy search for one kind of love–the “one-track determination” to find the only kind of love we think we need–we might tragically miss the variety, the many gifts of love.

“Life has many gifts. You can have them all, or you can take your pick.”


One comment on “Six Great Gifts of Love”

  1. Dr. Anthony Stern says:

    I happened to have come upon some excerpts from this author’s “Hungry for Love” and have been impressed with the depth of insight in all I have read, including the above. Thus far, quite wonderful and unerring, as far as I can see! Thank you. I would love to be in touch with Dr. Macnab, who has walked the common boundary of psychology and faith for many years, as I have.

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