I have what I think is a bit of a different take on this, which has informed my work in couples coaching, individual coaching and in my own spiritual practice and relationships.
First, please have a look at this chart, which I call the Relationship Matrix:
When we examine the characteristics of our relationships with other people using the Relationship Matrix, two things usually become increasingly clear:
1. In any given relationship, there may be a different emphasis in each of the four quadrants when relating to the other person.
2. There is a spectrum of combined characteristics from these quadrants that informs our subjectively felt experience of affection and compassion towards other people, and which helps define and differentiate “like” vs. “love.”
For example, couples who fall deeply in love with each other often find a strong intersection in ALL four quadrants. Over time, their relationship will continue to grow and deepen when those intersections persist - even as the emphasis might change and vary. Relationships falter - both initially and over longer periods - when these intersections “get out of sync;” that is, when one party is operating with different assumptions about each quadrant, or is experiencing the relationship differently from the other person in each quadrant.
Lastly, I would say that as we mature (spiritually, morally and relationally), the arena of our affectionate compassion expands outward. We “fall in love” with a larger and larger circle of inclusion beyond our familial and romantic relationships. We first come to care more inclusively - even about things (and people) we don’t particularly “like” - and then we find ourselves wanting what is best for them…and ultimately what does the greatest good, for the greatest number for the greatest duration (i.e. “the good of All”). But what is interesting to me is that, when we are young and immature, we are generally drawn mainly to things and people that we “like” (i.e. have low-level intersections with in one or more quadrants); but when we grow wiser, with more experience and insight, we let go of “liking” as a prerequisite for our interest and concern, and ground our actions and intentions in a deeper, more abiding stream of love.
My 2 cents.
From Quora: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-liking-and-loving-1
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