I’ve never known the meaning of unconditional love. To me love was always conditional. Like I would love my close ones as long as they treated me well and loved me back. Or I would love my wife as long as she was faithful to me.
But unconditional love by definition means loving someone irregardless of how that someone treats you or how that someone feels about you. Then came my two kids.
I spend a lot of time with the kids and I love them to bits. However that doesn’t always mean that my love is returned. My kids are closer to my wife than they are to me and for some reason they think that love has to be exclusive. So if they love Mommy they must only love Mommy and not Daddy or anyone else.
While they often tell me how they love me and miss me when I’m not around, at times they can say hurtful things like “I don’t love you Daddy.. go away!”.
Still… I love them all the same. I smile at them when they say words like that meant to pierce. That’s how I finally knew the meaning of “unconditional love”.
Then I thought about my wife and the very conditional love we have for each other. We sat down the other day and had a deep conversation about this. The conclusion was that if I loved her unconditionally, I would want her to do things that made her happy. At the same time I’d allow her without any restrictions to pursue happiness.
No restrictions you might ask? What if she falls in love with another man and has an affair or wants to leave me? I said I hoped I would never find out about it if something like that happened but if it did… then I would have to condition myself to love her the same and let her go. Unconditional love means nothing else is more important to me than her happiness and her wellbeing.
It’s a difficult paradigm shift. All our lives we are brought up to believe that we must stand up for ourselves. That if people disrespect us we should not react positively to it. That if someone cheats on you or cheats you… you react negatively. That’s how we’re all brought up to act.
So does it make sense that in spite of all our natural self-defences, there is this small group of people in our lives that we have no defence for. That whatever they do to us we would love them the same and treat them just as well?
I don’t know. This is a new paradigm shift for Shorts and me. One thing though is that we walked away from our deep conversation with a commitment that we would have unconditional love for each other… and would be committed to each others’ pursuit of happiness.
I don’t think we’re a perfect couple … but I do think we’re perfect for one another, The best part though is that our suspecting kids were the ones who taught us this.