We are always hearing about unconditional love. It has become popular to assure lovers that we love them “without conditions,” but we soon find it difficult to meet the condition of loving unconditionally.
I’ve discovered that every love has conditions. Even in the Bible every promise of God comes with a condition. In most cases the word “if” is somewhere in the promise or scripture. Therefore, certainly the love we offer each other is laced heavily with conditions regardless of our pillow talk. If it weren’t for conditions, we all would still be in our first “unconditional love” relationship instead of on our umpteenth.
In recent years, I’ve discovered a constant unspoken condition of most lovers to remain lovers into reasonable longevity. This condition to our continuing to love someone is that they continue to allow us to grow separately from them. If we feel, for an instant, that someone is hindering our growth or freedom to explore life and personal interest, we gradually begin to reexamine the relationship and eventually the eye and interest begin to wander.
The same is true the other way around. We must not smother or block the path of an individual’s interest outside of what he or she shares with us. There are some people that try to make you choose between them and an activity of your interest. I’ve heard many women accuse their spouse of loving sports more than her. She would sometimes deviously arrange for them to do something together on the day she knows that he plans to watch or attend a game. If she gets her way everything is fine but if she doesn’t he’s in the doghouse. This is a sample of conditional love.
We must not only respect the need for our lover’s interest outside of us, we must encourage it, even at the risk of losing them. It seems ironic, but it is true, that only in continuing to grow separately is there any hope of individuals growing together. It is a myth that to maintain love two people must merge and blend completely into one. I usually have a silent chuckle when I see an adult couple dressed like identical twins as a celebration of their oneness.
Maybe I’m cynical but I’m also weary of couples that are never seen separately. However, men’s night out with the boys or girls night out is a childish and foolish thing for mature couples because continuing to play single is playing with fire.
To have separate healthy and innocent interests and pursue those interests is fuel for a brighter fire when the two are together. But to have career, fame, money, and possessions as a main interest and put the wholesomeness of love on the backburner will burn down a love nest.
Bottom line: recognize that all your love comes with conditions, however subtle they are.
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