When discussing the topics of love and work with individuals, for many people it is a night and day discussion. Some people feel that love is something good in their lives and that work is something bad in their lives.  Dr. Sigmund Freud said that “love and work…work and love, that is all there is” (Sigmund Freud Quotes, 2010), at another point he stated that “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.”  With these two thoughts we could actually expand on Freud’s ideas of love and work and go even a few steps farther.  He also has been known to have stated that “If you can’t do it, give up,” “One is very crazy when in love,” “Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism,” and “The goal towards which the pleasure principle impels us – of becoming happy – is not attainable: yet we may not – nay, cannot – give up the efforts to come nearer to realization of it by some means or another.”  With these additional thoughts in mind, it appears that Dr. Freud believed on top of this that there was no way to be truly happy in this life.

After interviewing Mrs. Riddle on love and work, it appears that everyone’s ideas, (including my own personal ideas and beliefs), in regards to love and work are different, but not far off from Dr. Freud’s.  Because love is such a focus in our culture, I chose to ask three of my questions in regards to love and the remaining two in regards to work.  The following is a partial transcript of the interview that took place with Mrs. Riddle on February 18th and March 1st.

  1. 1.       Can you define what love means and elaborate on your answer?

Love is undefineable and unexplainable. There are many ways to love. You love your children in one way, your spouse in another way, your parents in a different way, your friends a totally different way; you don’t love all of them the same way.  Love is painful.  For example, when my oldest son came out to me that he was gay; I thought my world had ended.  His father and I did not raise him that way and we could not believe that our son had turned out gay. Love can be beneficial and the lack of love can destroy a person’s soul.  A person who has no love in their lives is a person who does not know how to give love.  For example, there was this old lady that we lived next door to when we lived in Reedley in 1976. This lady had no idea what the meaning of love was because every time she would see my oldest son, who was only three years old at the time, she would call him a “God-damned little brat.”  How could have this lady known what love is when all she knew how to do was be a cold hearted person to a little child?

  1. 2.       How much of your life evolves around love? Please explain how you have come to this conclusion.

We are born into love.  From the day we are born, we know one thing that is true, and that is love.  I first knew love from my family, my parents and my siblings.  When I met my husband, I knew a new kind of love.  Then I had two children, both boys and I found that there is another kind of love.  So from the moment we come into this world we know what love is and it is all around us.

In my life I have had two major relationships; the first was a boyfriend I had for less than a year. His name was Benny and that relationship did not last because I was not going to have a man tell me how to live my life and he told me to shut one time, and that was one too many times, so I never spoke to him again.

The second relationship was with my husband of 40 years.  Although there have been ups and downs, times where I have wanted to divorce him and leave him for his stupidity.  The main things that have brought this on are bills/money, his parents (the old In-Law scenario), and television.  However, I would have to say that our marriage has been a success overall.  I love him more and more each day and could not imagine my life without him.            

  1. 3.       Is love the most important quality of the human soul? Why or why not?

I believe that we cannot live without love. If we think about it, without love a person becomes susceptible to becoming a bitter unlovable individual who is incapable of showing love to anyone else.

After discussing with Mrs. Riddle her thoughts on love, she appears to have had a successful life with people who love her. Although she lost her grandfathers at the age of 16 and 19, her grandmother at the age of 16, her father at the age of 49, and her mother at the age of 61, she has found comfort in loving the rest of her family; four siblings, her husband, her two sons, and their life-partners.

With how she was describing love, it was the same concept as Harry Harlow’s experiment with the wire monkey and the soft monkey.  Although there was no love and affection, the monkey found the comfort in the softness of the soft monkey.

  1. 4.       How would you define work?

Mrs. Riddle defined work as something everyone has to do in order to truly live; “We have to work in order to eat and have a place to live.”

Although she was not able to work any kind of full-time position as an adult because of her health, she knows that if she would have had no other choice she would have sacrificed her health to make sure there was a roof over her children’s heads and food in their stomachs.

Through the years, Mrs. Riddle worked approximately two years in fast fast food services, a year cleaning the church her family attended in the eighties, two years of Avon sales, a year of Home & Garden Party sales, and has put in fifteen years of volunteer service for her churches she has attended and her local senior center.

  1. 5.       Is work a chore or is it a transfer of your energy in order to earn money?  What reasoning do you have for your answer?

Although work can be hard, anything in life can be worth working for and rewarding.  She believed that work should be something you enjoy not a chore that you hate.  Her idea of work is yes it can be a chore, some of the things we have to do at work are not things we want to do or things we may even enjoy, but it is also that transfer of your personal energy to receive that income. 

She also mentioned that if she would have had to do it all by herself, it would have been a chore due to her health related issues.  She felt for her that work was not a success because of her health, but also said that it was rewarding at times and described it as being a seven out of ten on a scale measuring success, with one being the lowest and ten being the best.  Her final answer to reasons that she did enjoy working when she did was, “It got me out of the house away from my husband and my two demon children.”

After conducting the interview with Mrs. Riddle, many of her ideas were relatable to Dr. Freud and other theorists in regards to love and work.

When we talk about love, most everyone thinks of the kind of love you share with your spouse as being the main type of love and prominently the only type of love.  “According to psychologist Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues, there are two basic types of love: compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection, and trust. It usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and a shared respect for each other” (Cherry, 2010).  “Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety, and affection. When these intense emotions are reciprocated, people feel elated and fulfilled. Unreciprocated love leads to feelings of despondence and despair. Hatfield suggests that passionate love is transitory, usually lasting between 6 and 30 months.”

Other theorists on love say there are definitely more types of love. John Lee for example believes there are three primary styles of love. These include eros, ludos, and storge. He then goes on to explain how when these three styles of love are mixed together you get three secondary styles of love known as mania, pragma, and agape. To explain these types of love a little more, we can take a look and see how these fit into Mrs. Riddle’s life.

The relationship that Mrs. Riddle has with her husband or her ideal mate would be known as eros love. The love she received from her first boyfriend, Benny, would have been more of the ludos type of love. Her love of her friends, which she did not cover, would be seen and known as storge.  If she were to combine any two types of these loves, say eros and ludos, her love would then become an obsessive love. This is a type of love that she has never known.  Her pragma love or a combination of ludos and storge would be the realistic and practical love. This would be the kind of love she has for everyone besides her family and closest friends.  Finally the love for her family besides her spouse would be the unconditional love, or agape; a combination of eros and storge.  This would also be the type of love she understands from the God of her faith.

As Mrs. Riddle stated, she believed that love was with us from the very beginning at birth and remains with us for life.  (As the author believes, this is true in most cases.  The cases that this is not true are such as the old lady next door that hated the child.)  This is in agreement with Heinz Kohut’s self-theory, which was in total disagreement with Dr. Freud.  Kohut believed that there were three elements in developing a healthy self which would ultimately lead to a healthy loving ideal system.  These three elements were 1) mirroring, the need to be with someone similar to oneself, 2) grandiosity, the need to be understood and approved of, and 3) ideal/mentor, the need to be with someone one can admire and emulate and rely upon (Cousins, 2010). 

In regards to work, it is a difficult subject to look at since there are so many types of work.  After the discussion with Mrs. Riddle, it appeared that not only did she have her personal beliefs about work, but it was mostly based on a Biblical stand point, a stand point in which Freud (to my knowledge) never looked into.  In 2 Thessalonians, chapter 3, verse 10, the passage reads in the second half that “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (International Bible Society, 1984).  Although Mrs. Riddle was unable to work to help her family and relied on her husband’s income, she was more than willing to do what she needed to do in order to protect her children from starvation and not having a home.

As we return to the thoughts that Dr. Sigmund Freud gave us, he believed that love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness and that love and work are all there are in life.  With this in mind, we can actually look at a few more concepts.  For instance, if we look at the idea that Mrs. Riddle’s life evolved around her family and she was unable to work because of her health, we could conclude that the cornerstone of her life was her husband and children. On second hand, if we look at the thought that she would have gone to work to care for her children had she needed to do so; we can see it all relates back to her family once again.  With this in mind, we take one last look at her ideas that we cannot live without love and that love is all there is, it returns us to the first cornerstone that Dr. Freud gave us.  The second thought that Mrs. Riddle said regarding work, was that if we do not work we do not eat nor will we have a home to live in, although Biblically based, she is in agreement with Dr. Freud.  Therefore, it is my conclusion that for Mrs. Riddle, yes love and work are all there is. These are the cornerstones of life