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Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

Those words get tossed around a lot, but I often wonder if anyone truly knows what they mean. Hell, I’m not even positive. All I can say is what I’ve learned over the years.

This post came to mind as I drove to work this morning, pondering the ending of some friends’ relationships  while others seem to thrive despite the roadblocks. What’s their secret? What do they know the rest of us don’t?

During Bible study years ago, I learned that there are several different words in the original Hebrew texts to describe love. Nowadays we just use that one word: “I love my spouse”, “I love my kids”, “I love my new car”, “I love this movie”. Most of us understand that you don’t really mean you love your spouse the same way you love your favorite movie or book. There is also a type of love called agape love, or unconditional love and this is where I think humans fail miserably.

True unconditional love means exactly what it says: love without conditions set upon it. Total and complete acceptance for a personas they are, not as we would want them to be. This is where we fail in relationships.

I was engaged a LONG years ago to a guy that drank and partied, in my opinion, way too much, to the point it was affecting my school work. We’d been together for several years so getting engaged seemed like the right thing to do. Did I love the guy? Yeah, I did. But I didn’t love that addiction to alcohol or the fact that he’d go out without me all the time and come back so wasted he couldn’t get through the front door. After talking to my mom, she explained that unless I was willing to accept him as he was right at that moment, I shouldn’t marry him. “You can’t change him,” she said. “So if you can’t accept the drinking, break off the engagement.” Without realizing it at the time, she was speaking of unconditional love. I didn’t love him unconditionally if I was thinking to myself, “I love him except for this.” We had discussed the drinking, he would promise to slow down and he would, for awhile, but it never lasted. So I broke off the engagement.

A friend recently broke up with a boyfriend because of behavior that she doesn’t agree with. She says she still loves him except for that one aspect. So again, not true unconditional love.

How many are guilty of continuing a relationship or even walking down the aisle even though they don’t truly accept the person they’re with? And how many have been on the other side of things, when a relationship or marriage ends because they failed to live up to someone elses unrealistic expectations? I can tell you from experience that there’s nothing more heart breaking or gut wrenching to know that someone you thought loved you never really did at all. And that nugget of self-doubt that weaves its way through your psyche really sucks. Wondering if perhaps you should change aspects of your personality is the worst. No one should ever have to change who they are.

I like who I am. I like that I’m a strong enough person to not give in and have kids or be a doormat and to realize I’m more than my ability to cook and clean and do laundry. I like that I’m driven to succeed and that I will do whatever it takes to do so. I like that I am goofy and easily excitable and love such simple pleasures as sitting outside and watching the birds. I adore my family and will never again allow anyone into my life that ever tried to make me choose. Sorry, but I don’t believe that a woman must give up her family in favor of a man. I’m not a girly girl and I won’t waste hours primping and curling and plucking. I have way more important things to do, even if it’s just snuggling with my cats.

It’s human nature to paint a picture of the future, but it’s not fair to paint that picture if the images are altered in anyway to change the person you’re with, to mold them into you’re idea of who they should be. Paint your pictures, but with the person you’re with at this moment, not who you think they should be.

One Comment on “Unconditional Love”

  1. auburn September 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on unconditional love although my view is somewhat different than yours. I believe that true unconditional love means that your love will flow to that person not matter what he/she may do. Does that mean that if your significant other is an addict or an abuser or if you are unhappy for some other reason and leave the situation that you don’t love the person and never really did? Absolutely not! In fact, if a situation is bad and you and the person you love are not happy, one of the most loving things you can do for the other is to change the situation. This change can be anything for leaving the situation entirely or by really looking at yourself and deciding whether or not to change an aspect of yourself to make the situation better. I recently watched an episode of Scrubs (yeah Netflicks!) that tackled this subject about changing for another. In the end it said, when you love someone you may surprise yourself with who you may become. I know that I am being and have been shaped by those that I have loved.

    You mentioned that it is heartbreaking to think that someone didn’t love you for who you are, but we also must remember that we, ourselves, are also always changing and growing. I know I am not the same person as I was 10 years ago, so it is unfair to say that someone never loved us for who we are when in fact they did at that time and it is us that changed who we are and are no longer that person.

    There are expectations in any relationship and to say that the only way to really truly love someone unconditionally is to have zero expectation or else you don’t really love that person is in of itself a very unrealistic expectation. We as humans will ALWAYS see behaviors in people we love that we wish were different and we choose not to accept. Does that me we must not love them? Of course not. To me love is love and is never black and white, even if it is labeled “unconditional.” I have been in a 14 year marriage and in a subsequent relationship that did not work, and I will say that I love, have loved, and will always love these people with my all that is me, and I will never let anyone tell me that I don’t love someone and that I never did if I don’t love and feel exactly as someone else says I should. 🙂

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