Unconditional and Conditional Love

Young adult couple in love and tenderness outdoor leisure activities

Recently, I asked this question in my private Facebook community –

Is love enough to keep the relationships alive? 

We can have love for each other, sure, but is that enough for a relationship to GROW and THRIVE?

While most agreed that love is not enough to keep a relationship alive and thriving, what emerged is that people have different versions of love. ❤️ There is unconditional love, and there is conditional love.

I want to think that the love between a husband and wife is unconditional.

And I want to think that when we enter into a committed union for a lifetime, that’s all the love two people need.

And I want to think that if two people have unconditional love for one another, that type of love can keep a relationship growing and thriving and lasting for a lifetime. That’s unconditional love!

But unfortunately, that is not always the case. And far too many of us have been conditioned to accept conditional love.

And what is conditional love? Well, it’s love, too, but it’s love that only comes when certain “conditions” are met. Like, love shows up if you keep your home neat and clean, or keep opinions to yourself, or agree vocally with your partner even though you disagree on the inside just to keep the peace.

So, is love enough to keep the relationship healthy and growing if the other important aspects of healthy partnership aren’t there?

Even though love is one of the most important elements of a satisfying relationship, it’s far from being the only one that allows two people to build a healthy union. Love is a feeling. It cannot create the skills and actions that are needed to keep the relationship healthy and growing.

And that’s true no matter how much love there is in a romantic relationship. Love without compatibility, love without compromise, love without self-examination and self-improvement can’t sustain a healthy and growing long term partnership.

People can love one another and stay married for many years but it doesn’t mean they’re in a healthy, growing relationship.

Self-awareness, emotional insight, compatibility, compromise and flexibility are also needed to sustain a healthy, long-term, growing romantic relationship.

I was married to a person I loved very much and even though we had love for each other, he chose to interact with me with disrespect, meanness and disregard to me and my feelings. Even though he professed his love for me, his actions towards me told a whole different story.

After 23 years being married to a man I loved, I knew I could not change how he chose to interact with me and it was up to me to either stay in a relationship in which love was not being reciprocated, or to leave. After years of self-discovery and some therapy I realized that the love he had for me came with so many conditions.

And that was not the type of love that I wanted to be a part of anymore. I wanted to be loved for exactly who I am. All of me. And for me, that means unconditional love.

The beautiful thing is, if both parties are willing to compromise and put in concerted effort, love can be a wonderful start to a lasting relationship!

I wanted to say a special thank you to all the readers who have reached out to me and shared how much my monthly articles resonate with them. I appreciate so much all your kind words! I love writing for Simply…Woman and this amazing community of women!

Coach Charlene ❤️


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