I have heard the advice on the topic of lasting love from happily married couples repeating itself in my mind.
The secret to lasting love is learning to love someone unconditionally.
Sounds so easy right? Unfortunately, I have never had a basic knowledge for what it means or what it takes to love someone unconditionally (besides my parents, family, and children). I have had a great example, but no personal experience. Therefore in this post I want to share what I learned on my quest to understanding unconditional love, what it means to me, and how I plan to implement it in my life with a lover, and with myself. My blog posts on understanding love will likely turn into a series due to the complexity of the emotion.
The Definitions in Simple English
When I start researching a topic, the first step I take is to define the variables, then I research what each variable means and what it represents. I am a programmer so that is the process I take in writing code or understanding life. The variables in this post are the words, “unconditional” and “love”.
I need to understand what they mean on their own, as separate entities. The thing I love, and loath, about the English language are the varying degrees of uncertainty in defining things. Every definition leaves so much room for interpretation.
I’m going to start with unconditional.
According to the dictionary, unconditional is:
not subject to any conditions, absolute.https://www.dictionary.com/browse/unconditional
The thesaurus offers similes that include:
decisive, definite, explicit, full, genuine, outright, thorough, unequivocal, unlimited, unqualified, and unrestricted (among many more).https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/unconditional
What I got from this is that unconditional is essentially a sure thing, unbreakable, and completely unlimited.
Now for defining love, which is not as easy. Love has so many thousands of definitions, depending on context, which makes it harder to define. Let me start with the dictionary. According to the dictionary, love means:
a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.https://www.dictionary.com/browse/love
Due to my religious beliefs, here’s what the Bible says about Love:
“There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.”Proverbs 30:18-19
“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”Ruth 1:16-17
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ … So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”Genesis 2:18–25
Let’s examine briefly, the difference between being in love with someone and loving someone wholly.
Love or In Love?
On my quest to understanding unconditional love, I learned of the differences between being in love and loving someone. I didn’t know there was a difference and more so, I had no idea that there was actually more to “love” then just the electricity of a connection or the building of a relationship.
Being “in love” is a like a cosmic explosion. It comes on passionately, madly even, and consumes your thoughts, revs up your emotions, and develops strong surface level feelings that are fleeting. To be in love is what many define as having acute feelings. These feelings aren’t lasting, but they have the capacity to turn into something great if both parties work at it and except each other at face value.
Being in love with someone can fade over time. With this in mind, when you’re in love with someone, this spike of intense feelings and emotions can be fleeting. In other words, you can go from intensely adoring someone and being hopelessly in love with him or her to having these emotions diminish as time passes on and the novelty has worn off. In fact, being in love with someone isn’t a guarantee that you’ll feel this same way forever.https://www.mydomaine.com/whats-the-difference-between-being-in-love-and-love-3976739
Loving someone is sustainable. To love someone, you are pledging to weather the storms together. Loving someone is what is needed to have a partner for life. Loving someone is unconditional, and leads to the creation of strong families. To love someone, you risk the arguments about real life topics to see reveal if you have a lasting connection. Loving someone is unconditional.
Loving someone on the other hand, goes beyond the physical presence. You desire to see them grow, you see past their flaws, you see opportunities of building into each other and together; you motivate, encourage and inspire one another. You do not have to second-guess or ask before you step in to do so. Loving someone requires 100 percent commitment on your part. The concept of true love is hard to comprehend by some. Hence, they get the wrong impression when dating someone who completely gets it. They cannot seem to understand why they deserve the love you are giving. This may make the relationship feel like it is one-sided.https://www.huffpost.com/entry/falling-in-love-vs-loving-someone_b_57709758e4b0fa01a14049fa
Now that I know what love and unconditional mean by definition of the English language, and what it means to be in love or love someone, I’m going to deduce my understanding and make some assumptions.
Simple Addition & Subtraction
Unconditional says definitively that it is absolute. It is forever and has no conditions that must be met. Unconditional is unrestricted, unlimited, undisputed by rules and “should be’s”.
Then love is affection, tenderness and warmth that deeply connects two people. Love is a union of a relationship. Love is the simplest of thing, but yet the most important emotional need of all humans. Many emotions seem to stem from love and therefore love is the goal in emotional contentment. This goes for all relationships in life.
My way of defining unconditional love is that it is an affection that is given unselfishly, without burden, and represents loyalty, compassion, trust, communication and the promise of always being there. Unconditional love is the kind of love that can withstand any storm knowing it can’t shake or rattle the connection or the desire to be connected to each other. Unconditional love is loving someone wholeheartedly and excepting that the person is imperfectly human.
Love is not just a word. Love is truly hard to understand and when we experience deep feelings that we know will flee, we know we have fallen in love and what we do next determines if the love is forever or not.
Now that I know the secret to lasting love, I want to know how to ensure it doesn’t disappear or fade with time. My next post on this topic will focus on how to keep love alive. I want to know how to keep choosing love or walking away when life gets hard. Love, in my experience, is very fragile. If you don’t find new ways to love before you walk, it will disconnect you from the person you love. The results are miserable, depression-driven heartache.
I would love to hear what you think about the topic of unconditional love. Share what you have learned or links that you found helpful. I love learning about emotions and how I can be my best version always.