What is unconditional love and how to develop it?

unconditional love

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Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” – Osho

To love or to be loved must make you feel good but not restricted. If you build walls, put an iron fence over it, and expect your partner to abide by it, then that is not love.

A healthy, long-term relationship thrives on unconditional love. What is unconditional love, is it possible to love someone unconditionally and how to do that? MomJunction answers all these questions in this post on unconditional love.

What is Unconditional love?

Unconditional love means to love a person without expecting anything in return. In other words, if you love your partner as they are, then you love them unconditionally.

In unconditional love, you do not look for a motive to love. You love the person no matter what. Even in difficult times, your fondness for them does not change.

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Examples of Unconditional Love

These examples will help you better understand the concept of unconditional love:

  1. Your partner has lost his job and is unable to support you financially. The burden of taking care of the family’s financial responsibilities is entirely on you, at least until he begins earning again. You don’t belittle your partner for this but morally support him.
  1. Your partner is facing a tough situation at work and is not able to perform her usual family duties. This doesn’t change your opinion about her nor do you complain to her about not doing the duties. Instead, you give them space to breathe.
  1. You had a fight with your partner and he was harsh to you but apologized later. You have accepted the apology without further discussions or blaming him for the unpleasantness. This shows unconditional love for each other.
  1. After sacrificing her career for three years to take care of kids, your partner wants to restart it. That means some additional responsibilities for you at home. You encourage her to join work and promise to share the burden of the household work.

While examples reflect unconditional love, you should not get confused between unconditional love and people pleasing. The former is loving your partner no matter what, whereas the latter is loving them out of the fear that they would stop loving you. If your partner is taking you for granted, but if you are still giving them love, then it is not unconditional love.

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Is Unconditional Love Possible?

Yes, unconditional love is possible. But for your partner to love you unconditionally, you need to love yourself and accept all your flaws.

  • If you can accept your flaws, then you can expect and also appreciate that your partner’s love is unconditional.
  • On the other hand, if you are not aware of your shortcomings and expect your partner to love you unconditionally then that is selfish love.
  • Holding on to your shortcomings and assuming your partner to accept you can be destructive. For example, if you are abusive toward your partner or having affairs, you cannot expect your partner to accept and love you unconditionally.

Also, unconditional love is a give and take. If you want your partner to love you unconditionally, then you should love them unconditionally.

  • For example, you have the habit of shutting down the love and affection towards your partner when they do not do things your way. Put yourself in their place, and think if you can give unconditional love in such a situation. No, because unconditional love is a give-and-take.

Loving someone unconditionally means not putting them through something which we ourselves would not be comfortable going through.

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Signs of Unconditional Love:

How can you tell if your partner loves you unconditionally? Here are the seven signs of unconditional love.

  1. They are your secret locker: If there is one person in this whole world whom you can trust your secrets with, it is your partner. Be it your darkest secrets or things you are embarrassed about, you are comfortable to tell anything to your partner because you are sure their love for you will not change even after knowing these secrets about you.
  1. You fight, you make up: We cannot avoid fights in a relationship. But when there is unconditional love, the debate mellows out, and the partners are willing to discuss, compromise and come to an agreement. Both of you understand that arguments are temporary, whereas love is permanent.
  1. They have long-term plans with you: When your partner has unconditional love for you, they give you the status of the life partner and plan their future with you. Whenever they talk about their retirement plans, you figure in them.
  1. They will always be the same: If you are married for a decade, and your spouse still makes you feel loved, then such love is unconditional. It does not depend on how you look, how you behave, or how much you earn; they love you for who you are and nothing can change that, not even time.
  1. They are not insecure: They do not doubt your love for them. They do not feel insecure when you spend time with your friends or parents. They give you the assurance that you can have your time without feeling that they have been left out.
  1. They are open and honest: If your partner loves you unconditionally, they do not criticize you for your flaws but give you constructive feedback and help you correct them. And you are glad to make the changes as you know your partner is worth all the effort.
  1. They are your cheerleader: You need not go to the moon and come back to impress them; even small things like preparing a special dish will make your partner proud of you. They not only recognize your efforts but also like you for that.

You can understand unconditional love better if you could compare it with conditional love. That’s what we do in the next section.

Conditional Vs. Unconditional love

Unconditional loveConditional love
It does not look for anything in return. You love your partner with all your heartConditional love is like a business. You invest in a person as long as they are beneficial to you.
In unconditional love, you do not try to change your partner to fit your imagination.You point out flaws, accuse them of being the odd one out and insist that they act as per your conditions.
Your love for your partner is not subjective. You do not expect your partner to make your life easy. Instead, you try to include them and work as a team.In conditional love, you look for a partner who can make your life easy and comfortable without making any efforts to earn it.
You respect your partner’s beliefs and opinions and still continue to love them.When your partner deviates from your expectations, you transform your love to hatred.
When you start loving unconditionally, you no longer worry about petty things in the relationship.Thoughts such as “my partner did not compliment me, and so I will not compliment them either” will fill your mind with unnecessary negative emotions.

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How To Love Unconditionally?

It takes two flints to make a fire.

Here are some ways to show unconditional love to your partner.

  1. Love without limitations: The first thing you must do to love your partner unconditionally is to let go of your boundaries. Treat your partner the same way as you treat yourself. Keep aside your reservations and give your partner a glimpse of your true self.
  1. Not only receive but also give: It is not enough if your partner loves you unconditionally. To keep the spark alive you must also do your bit. Unconditional love, when reciprocated, will result in a deep relationship that is based on true love. Receiving unconditional love will be the most amazing feeling ever, but remember your partner too needs love in return.
  1. Make the first move: Do not wait for your partner to show unconditional love. You take the first step towards loving them unconditionally, and this will make your partner reciprocate.
  1. Love, do not judge: Judgement and love cannot exist together. When you judge a person, you are expecting them to behave as per your rules, which is against unconditional love. If you really want to love your partner unconditionally, then start by not judging them.
  1. Express your love: Communication is the key to unconditional love. Express your appreciation to your partner regularly. You need not buy them expensive gifts or take them out on dates every day but may show it through some simple acts such as cheering them when they are down, giving them a warm smile even when they are difficult to love. Such actions will create a lasting impression in your partner’s heart.

Unconditional love must come from within. You cannot pretend to have it but inculcate it through practice. Begin with an open mind, and control your urge to criticize your partner for petty flaws. That will be the first step towards loving your partner unconditionally.

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Do you have an unconditional love relationship with your partner? Share your story with us in the comments section below.

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