Pope John Paul II explains his ideas of the three dimensions by telling the story of three different couples. Andrew and Teresa are long-term friends who suddenly realize they are in love with each other while on a hike. Stefan and Anna met on the same hike and fell in love at first sight. Both couples end up getting married and having children and when their children end up falling in love with each other they realize how their parent’s relationships have affected theirs.
Metaphysics is introduced as a theme in this story through the focus of true love including fondness, desire, and benevolence. It is the natural progression of love’s development as we witness it through these three couples. Stefan and Anna’s relationship shows this progression best because their initial fondness is shown well when they fall in love at first sight. This is described in the forward as a “love budding out of complexes, doubts, and uncertainties” (JPII 19). This leads to them having a stronger desire to be together. Their relationship reaches a point of benevolence when they eventually want to benefit and will the good of the other; although their love becomes a struggle over time.
I see the dimension of psychology as the aspect of love that is most focused on feelings. It is another way that the idea of love is processed. The psychology of love starts with the first impression where a person is first presented to the point where emotions become associated with that person. This eventually converts into value over time. This is well shown by Andrew and Teresa because the impression of each other did not convey emotion at first because they had been just friends. During their hike, they were able to recognize the hidden emotion that they had associated with the impression of each other. Through their marriage and life together they learned to value each other as people on the deepest of levels which they conveyed to their son Christopher.
Ethics is the third dimension and it shows that work has to be continuously put into a relationship for it to continue to be successful. A common misconception is that upon marriage everything effortlessly changes and a bond is magically created. The dimension of ethics shows us that effort has to be put into a relationship constantly for it to thrive. Christopher and Monica face this when they first meet and decide they want to work hard to avoid the problems that their parents had as well as having a successful relationship. These three dimensions could easily be applied to every couple in the play and in life but I chose to assign a couple to each of them to focus on a specific example. I agree with JPII that these dimensions of love are a vital aspect of a healthy relationship.