The next several days Jupiter and Venus newly in Scorpio will be hanging out side-by-side expanding our hearts and perfects rebirthing ideas of love and connection. Seemed like a perfect time to share one of my favorite models of romantic love that comes from psychologist Robert Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love, which I did my best to adapt to astrological terminology. According to him, love has three main components of passion, intimacy, and commitment. Or the absence of all three, non-love, that is associated with people to whom we have no connection.
The combinations of one, two, or all three provides a conceptual basis of different dimensions of relationships. Depending on our astrology chart and attachment style we have different needs for one or all of the above. I tend to associate each of the main three components with Mars, Venus, and Saturn, while a relationship with all three is what we truly crave and to me is associated with the planet of having it all...Jupiter.
Here is a basic overview of each major component:
Passion (Mars) - desire for sexual contact, fun, physical attraction
Intimacy (Venus) - sense of being bonded, emotional closeness, feelings of warmth
Commitment (Saturn) - decision to love, cognitive aspect, maintaining of relationship (I am also torn on this one being associated with Mercury)
In this theory, Sternberg believes that passion develops rapidly in early stages of relationship, then goes down over time while intimacy and commitment increase. He explains that if couples aren't able to increase intimacy as passion is going down or make the mutual decision to love or commit and acknowledge the choice aspect of love, then the relationship will unlikely be able to survive. All three of the components are equally important though also ebb and flow throughout the relationship.
Most importantly the triangle figure speaks to balance and stability of the shape itself:
"The geometry of the 'love triangle' depends upon two factors: amount of love and balance of love. Differences in amounts of love are represented by differing areas of the love triangle: The greater the amount of love, the greater the area of the triangle. Differences in balances of the three kinds of love are represented by differing shapes of triangles. For example, balanced love (roughly equal amounts of each component) is represented by an equilateral triangle."
Sternberg mentions the case for companionate love (intimacy and commitment) as the type of relating characterized by affection and attachment. He believes it is the most enduring while passionate love tends to be short-lived and transitory. While sex overtime may become less passionate or exciting, it often is more satisfying and pleasurable based on the security of knowing what pleases someone. To add some Jupiter optimism...one of Sternberg's studies revealed that passionate love may be more enduring than we thought. As a study of 274 married couples who were married more than 10 years 40% reported being very much in love with frequent sexual activity.
Thinking about my own chart, my Venus-Saturn tends to be awesome at companionate love and my Mars-Saturn a bit avoidant and very suspicious of infatuation. I can think of about two relationships in my life I felt I had all three of these and it was everything I want, and probably still why I pine a bit for those people.;) I've also had one major relationship that was empty love...we were incredibly committed but rarely had sex and very little intimacy though our commitment was strong and stable.
In synastry (a comparison of two charts) and composite (combination of two charts) charts between friends and romantic partners, I most often look for strong Venus contacts as the main ingredient for connection. And ideally Mars and Venus contacts for lovers, while Saturn thrown in the mix is the glue that helps the relationship last over time. Add some Jupiter for heart-opening good measure and an ideal consummate love with the right person could be having it all in the name of love.