You love your partner unconditionally, but these types of love could keep you together forever.
"Accept me, warts and all."
The more I experience unconditional love, the less I hide the parts of me that I deem unacceptable; The more I experience unconditional love, the more I allow my true self to show up and have expression.
I want to know that my partner accepts me even though she is aware of my weaknesses and my faults.
When I practice giving love unconditionally I experience peace, contentment, and joy in the midst of my circumstances. The more both partners give unconditional love in a relationship, the more relaxed joyfulness grows. Relaxed joyfulness produces energy, creativity, productiveness, and playfulness, and eliminates anxieties, depressions, or addictions.
Even unconditional love has limits.
Unconditional love cannot be earned; it can only be given as a gift with no expectations and no strings attached. By definition, unconditional love is acceptance without regard to any conditions. As such, it cannot be earned, only received; therefore, it is not deserved.
If it were something you deserved to receive, you could earn it. In other words, you would need to meet a set of conditions in order to receive it.
While receiving unconditional love feels amazing, its transformational power speaks more to the giver than to the receiver. The act of giving unconditional love is transformative more so than the act of receiving.
It is more about one's choice to offer acceptance of the other, to have good will toward the other, to return pain with kindness, and so on.
What lies beyond unconditional love?
The truly passionate romantic relationship needs more than unconditional love by itself. As I stated above, unconditional love is given without regard to any certain condition.
A characteristic of unconditional love is that it's given without judgments of the other. Because unconditional love is without judgment, it is also blind to the uniqueness of the other. This means that giving unconditional love is impersonal.
The difference between conditional and unconditional love.
In romantic, long-term relationships conditional love is known as erotic love. Erotic love creates and maintains the passion and excitement in a romantic relationship.
Imagine traveling through the countryside and you pass by field after field of wild flowers. Each field has its own esthetic beauty. Then, you see one field uniquely arrayed with flowers in full bloom. You are so taken that you decide to pull over and dance in this particular field.
Then, imagine you fix your gaze on one particular flower in this field, unaware of why this particular flower has captured your awe and wonder. There is some special quality that attracted your attention.
You may not know what the quality is, but this flower draws you to it. You take pictures of it and post them to Facebook. This flower might also inspire a poem or some short story. This special condition is not rejecting the other flowers in the field; it is celebrating the uniqueness in this flower. This is erotic love.
What about erotic love?
Erotic love is personal and, therefore, captivated by the uniqueness of the other. Erotic love is my appreciation for whatever inspires me when that one particular flower in the field captivates me. At the same time, unconditional love is my kind, gentle wishes and actions toward all the flowers in the field.
Intimate romantic relationships combine the impersonal unconditional love and the very personal intimate erotic love. Neither love by itself can sustain the joy and the passion in long-term relationships.
Is unconditional and erotic love a recipe for ever-lasting love?
Early in relationships, erotic love is the spark of excitement and passion that bonds two people together. The formula to create an amazing, long-lasting romantic relationship is mixing erotic love with unconditional love.
The conscious and intentional expression of erotic love keeps the flames of passion and excitement alive in long-term relationships. The conscious and intentional expression of unconditional love keeps relaxed joyfulness alive in a long-term relationship.
These two loves are complimentary; one produces the other. Erotic love creates a dynamic that encourages giving unconditional love. Giving unconditional love opens your eyes to see the unique qualities in the other. This is especially true, as those qualities continue to evolve over the years and decades.
On one level they just seem to happen, yet on a more profound level, each of us can choose to give and receive both loves.
Next month, Becky and I are celebrating our forty-third anniversary. After 43 years of marriage, the passion and excitement in my relationship is burning brightly. The reason is that we celebrate each other's uniqueness.
As we offer each other unconditional love, our experience of relaxed joyfulness is greater today than at any time in the last 44 years. This experience of erotic love in concert with unconditional love inspires a creative and energized anticipation of the next 40 years.