Unconditional love, quite simply, is love without strings attached. It’s love you offer freely. It is not based on getting something in return. You simply love them and want nothing more than the other person’s happiness. Unconditional love can be between a parent and child, friends, or lovers.
A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.Robert Wagner
Unconditional love in an equal relationship such as marriage means that you and your partner focus on what keeps you together. It does not mean you ignore the reality of a relationship and disregard abuse or neglect. It does not mean that you never get angry, but rather that you are willing to put in the work to keep the relationship strong.
How To Share Unconditional/Healthy Love With Your Partner:
- Work through the difficult times. Don’t let obstacles tear you apart.
- Embrace every moment together. Every relationship has its ups and downs. Relish the romantic, special together moments.
- Don’t give up at the first site of imperfection. We are all fallible human beings.
- Be fair and have mutual respect. All relationships are a give-and-take. Be sure to share the responsibilities so each of you feels appreciated and respected.
- Believe in yourself and your partner. You both deserve all the happiness the world can give.
Unconditional love is not ignoring the challenges and trials that come from being in a relationship. But rather, it is making the decision to prioritize your relationship and doing what is needed to keep it strong.
My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all – the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would be, and much less about what we would do.Mitt Romney
We often think of parents’ love for their children as unconditional love. However, many times a parent provides a certain amount of love to their children and expect something in return.
Examples of “conditional” parental love:
- “I have given you so much, and this is the thanks I get?”
- “Your mother and I paid for you to go to college. We are disappointed with your choice to be an artist.”
- “I cannot believe that you are moving away! Your father and I always wanted our children to live near us.”
The child is this environment only feels loved if he/she fulfills the parents’ desires for his/her life. This is not unconditional love. This can lead to a destructive family relationship. We need to be careful that we do not use our affection as a tool to control our children.
Even though we are challenged to love unconditionally, we still need to create boundaries for ourselves. We need to be clear on how we expect our partners, parents, children, and friends to treat us. We need to have equal voices in the relationship if we are both going to grow together.
Be careful of ignoring the boundaries you have set for yourself. In these times, your love may not be unconditional love, but rather codependent love. In codependent relationships, we are so set on maintaining the dynamics in the relationships that we excuse or enable unacceptable behavior. Again, this leads us to a place of unbalanced power and control rather than into a place of truly connected love in which we offer each person an opportunity to be responsible for his/her behavior.
Work toward being that old couple holding hands in the park. Learn how to love unconditionally and all your relationships will stay healthy throughout your life.