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British Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 2249-5983,Vol.: 2, Issue.: 1 (January-March)

Research Paper

The Ability to Love – A Virtue-Based Approach


Satu Uusiautti1 and Kaarina Määttä1*

1University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland.


Today’s people dream of long-lasting love. Love is recognized as a central foundation on wellbeing and happiness. Simultaneously, it is connected with a topical thought that love is endangered in the modern time of selfishness and vested interest. Love is hoped and longed for but still it falls apart and hurts; and many people find themselves helpless when it comes to love. How to be able to love? What does the ability to love mean? The aim of this research was to review the nature of love. This was a qualitative research. The data was collected in three sets: as essays, interviews and writings among Finnish people of various age. The first set of data was collected among students at the University of Lapland. They were under 25 years old. 35 students were interviewed (22 women and 13 men). The interview method was open interview. In the next phase, the interview data was expanded by essays. Teacher students (N=20) who studied at the University of Lapland wrote an essay about “Then, I was in love” which was an exercise in their Finnish course. The third data was collected among Finnish seniors by inviting them to write about the theme “I would give my all to you, I would carry you on my arms”. Altogether, 117 love stories were received. A practical illustration on the essence of love is created based on the empirical data. It seems that love consists of three interconnected areas: emotions, knowledge and skills, and acts. Through the contents of love, we conclude that the ability to love necessitates virtues. From this point of view, love can be learned and practiced.

Keywords : Love; virtue; well-being; human strengths; essence of love.

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