Eros is defined as the state which we call "being in love" or the kind of love which lovers are "in". Carnal love, or Venus, only wants to fulfill our sexual desires. Eros wants the beloved and does not even see them as an object of pleasure. Lewis describes it best when he says, "That is why Eros, though the king of pleasures, always has the air of regarding pleasure as a by-product."
There is a clear distinction between Eros and Venus that became clearer to me as I read through the chapter. Venus is a mocking, mischievous spirit that tempts us into giving into sexual desires. Venus mocks love while Eros enhances it. I imagine Venus creates a relationship built on taking. With Eros, taking and receiving become on in the same. Eros, as the deepest form of love between a man and a woman, runs so deep that it is no longer about the sexual desires Venus presents.
There is also a clear distinction between friendship and Eros. In friendship each man stands for himself but with Eros the individual disappears as the couple becomes one. Sometimes people cross the boundaries of friendship by involving Venus in the relationship and giving in to sexual desires. But love does not follow sex. Quite the opposite, sex follows love.
Eros is a love of sacrifice. Husbands must love their wives as Christ loves the church and women must be submissive. However, even after all of the sacrifices, happiness is not guaranteed. This is proven in thousands of couples that stay together through unhappiness because they would rather be unhappy together than happy with someone else.
We must be careful in regards to Eros as over time "being in love" can potentially evolve into a sort of religion. It is very easy to fall into the trap of idolizing Eros or our partners. This sort of idolizing can destroy a marriage from within causing all sorts of blame to be cast because of the love lost.
Another problem with Eros is that people often confuse falling in love with being in love. There is a difference. It is much easier to fall than to be because after the falling is done we find ourselves wondering "What do I do now?" Lewis says that the passion of love goes away over time. However, I disagree with this statement because I see couples like the Ribeiros who are still very obviously passionate about each other and know that passion only disappears if the couple allows it to do so. Love by itself will not keep love alive. It takes commitment, sacrifice, and the grace of God to keep the love alive.
I feel as if all of this material is revelant to our society and needs to be spoken about even though it does not directly apply to my life at the moment. I have never been in love as I am only 18 years old and love seems more like a game than an emotion to me at this stage in my life. I am more in love with the idea of being in love and the enchantment that comes with love. Professor A. Ribeiro warned us against falling into the enchantment of love so I must be careful to guard myself. I have already made very strong sexual boundaries for myself so that I will not give into Venus should he ever tempt me. I do not know when the day will come that I will wake up and suddenly know I am in love. I don't even know what that will feel like but I can only imagine it's one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. So many people come to college to find their future spouse and fall in love. Me? I am not looking for love. I figure it will find me soon enough.