I talk about love, been in the love promotion business since I was a teenager, but what is love? Granted, love is many things and can be expressed and felt, imagined and contracted in so many ways, but what is love, really?
I mean, if you could aspire to find the highest and best love that could be shared between two people, that would undoubtedly be unconditional love. But what does it mean to love someone unconditionally?
I love the Jesus model of unconditional love the best, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). It doesn’t stop there. The unconditional Jesus-style love meant he was willing to sacrifice everything for anyone, even the people who didn’t like him, refused to treat him fairly, the ones who shunned and/or rejected him, no matter what.
And when addressing the love of a couple, Paul charges men to, “love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).
In a world where divorce is big business and relationships are pretty much disposable, this seems like quite the burden to place on anyone who is contemplating a higher degree of love. Unconditional? I love you no matter what? It just seems too impossible.
Is it like those marriage vows that go like, “love, honor, and cherish?” Okay, sounds reasonable enough. “For richer or poorer,” well, okay… for a while, maybe. I mean how long can two live on nothing? And, “in sickness and in health.” Well, exactly how sick are you talking about? We all have limits.
The degree of love you have for someone else is based upon your limitations, for unconditional love is limitless, “I love you no matter what.”
I have friends in my life whom I love unconditionally, they can ditch me, turn their back on me, pitch a hissy fit, leave me stranded at the airport, even steal from me and lie both to my face and behind my back, and I love them no matter what.
Sure, my feelings may wain and falter, but my commitment to love them is unfailing. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that people, no matter how well you know them, can be unpredictable at times, and of course this catches you off guard. Even so, their underlying strength of character remains, and if they are for real, they will return, when they have the ability to do so; or not.
I work with many people in relationships who are unwilling to even contemplate the idea of unconditional love because their partner is not good enough. Maybe their eye continues to wander, looking for a better deal, someone who is better suited for him or her, so their chances are better if they push all their chips onto the table, affirming they’re ready to be all in for unconditional love.
What if you don’t think your partner is capable of loving you unconditionally?
What if you once felt like you loved your partner so much, but nowadays, you’re, “just not feeling it.” Then what?
I like what Stephen Covey says, “Love her anyway.” He insists that love is first an action, and the feeling cannot help but follow the action. So, if you want to have the feeling of being in love, love first, and the feelings will come.
Does, “I love you no matter what,” mean that I love you even if you beat me or cheat on me?
No. In life, we all make choices and should have healthy boundaries. There is no vow which suggests that you agree to allow your partner to abuse you, and you will stay, no matter what. You have the inalienable human right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.
Following self-protection, you need to decide what your conditions for love are. But think about it before you do because if your love has conditions, could your love be unconditional?
No. Unconditional love has no conditions.
Are you man or woman enough to go there? To love someone regardless of who they are, what they do, if they hurt your feelings, occasionally break promises, treat you poorly, forget some detail(s), ignore you when you could use a little acknowledgment, lose their libido, etc. Or a million other reasons why your love might waver or fade?
Might you long for unconditional love?
Do you think you want someone to love you, whom you can love unconditionally?
Unconditional love raises the bar of love incredibly high. It is not for the faint of heart, for the heart must come before the head in terms of it.
Your mind is the enemy of unconditional love and cannot conceive of the concept of loving someone unconditionally. It will do anything it can to protect you from it, for the mind’s base emotion is fear. Loving from the heart is the only hope there is of having unconditional love, which embraces the idea that,
“I love you no matter what.”