“Let all that you do, be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
Unconditional love is defined as affection without any limitations, in other words, a love without conditions. So, that means unconditional love isn’t…”I love you if” or “I’ll love you when”. Unconditional love is loving someone regardless of their actions or inaction. It is simply loving without any decision-making whatsoever. Zero boundaries. Zero responsibilities. Just love. For free.
Can we, as imperfect, messy, moody human beings, love like that?
I think it’s safe to say we want to. We want to think we can love like that. As a parent, I think we come pretty close to understanding unconditional love. We love our children regardless of their attitude, or bad grades or poor decision making. We support them. We offer them guidance and suggestions. Sometimes we offer tough love! Sometimes I think that’s actually “tougher” on us than it is on them! These tiny little humans are entrusted to our care and we love them, so much that it hurts! But, no matter what my kiddo does, he’s still that sweet curly-haired little baby that made his entry into the world and my heart in such a big dramatic way! He can do no wrong!! (Well…he can, and I can admit he can…but no one else can say that he can!)
The idea of unconditional love is something that I have been trying to wrap my head around for the majority of my life. Even though my childhood was tumultuous at times, I grew up knowing deep down, that my parents loved me. I’ve just never been sure about the whole “unconditional” love thing.
What about our spouse, or partner? Can we love them unconditionally? Can we love our partner without boundaries? That’s a tough one! We all want to love without condition. But, if we’re being honest, I bet most people have that list in the back of their mind, that list of unpardonable sins that if their spouse ever committed they would be out the door, or at the very least the relationship would be rocked so hard that it would be virtually unrecognizable. Now, no one gets married thinking that any of those unpardonable sins will ever happen to them, otherwise we wouldn’t marry the person! But unfortunately, people are human, and they make mistakes, and sin, and fail…and sometimes (these days) a marriage is just not strong enough to endure. I do believe, with all of my heart, that real love can endure something big like that. I am grateful for the testimony of others who are able to build their marriage back up after such an event!!
Other than those extraordinary circumstances, I think we try to love our spouses unconditionally. We love the person not the annoying habit. We love the person even though they always leave the milk on the counter. We love the way they take care of their family, in good times or bad. We love the way they take care of us when we are sick. We love the way they forgive us when our behavior is ugly. We love all of the little things in addition to all of the big things. I think we try to love completely and unconditionally.
I’ve previously explored the notion of “loving for free”. (You can read those posts in full here and here.) Honestly, I think that’s as close as we can get to realistically loving someone unconditionally. People are always going to fail us. We set expectations, whether spoken or unspoken, and then life happens. We are all human. We are all imperfect. We all make mistakes. But if we love someone for free…we love them regardless of their mood or behavior, regardless of the peaks or valleys of life. And that sounds just right to me!
Do you think unconditional love is attainable? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Until Next Time: Peace, Love & Adventures