Why Unconditional Love Is Only For Kids (& Why That's A GOOD Thing)

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unconditional love for kids

The more intimate the familial relationship, the greater the expectation there is to serve in acts of love.

When a woman gets married, her partner expects her love to be romantic. He wants her to be his confidant, best friend, and to reserve her vulnerable side for him.

If she doesn't express love to him in this way, there's a good chance that he will start to see her love as no longer being unconditional.

But should marital love ever be unconditional

Marriage is work. The key to lasting love in marriage lies in learning how to accept each other's flaws. Marriage is often the place where hidden emotional baggage gets unpacked between partners. If there isn't something akin to unconditional love between them, can they create a truly safe space to heal and grow?

When a person becomes a parent, their entire concept of what it means to show love changes.  

Becoming a mom or dad can help a parent discover an emotional depth they never knew existed. Parenting a child proves that unconditional love isn't only possible, it's magical.

RELATED: I Love My Daughter More Than My Husband—And He Knows It

How is it that a couple's choice to start a family together doesn't override the concept of conditional love?

It's hard to believe when a relationship fails that it's because one or both partners were incapable of loving well — especially when both partners have the capacity to be such fantastic parents.

There are similarities in the love of a spouse and the love shared between parent and child. But sparks are what drives intimate love between a husband and wife. Loving a child is an emotion — no matter how hard things get — that just comes naturally for most parents. 

Ask any a mother or father who holds their baby to define the eternalness of parental love.

The love a parent feels for a child can't be described in any other way than unconditional. Even in sad situations, when the relationship bond is fragmented because of drug abuse or family dysfunction, the bond remains at the heart of both parent and child.

If a person has the capacity to love a child unconditionally, and maybe even show unconditional love for themselves, then they are clearly capable of unconditional love. So, what happens when love between two otherwise healthy, happy partners ends?

We asked our YT Experts to help us understand whether unconditional love is only for kids or if one of the reasons marriages fail is because there's not enough unconditional love. 

Here are 2 reasons they provided that helped us understand this truly complicated question: 

1. Grown-up love is a character test —​ as it should be. 

“We may be hard-wired to love our kids unconditionally — but not our partners. Setting Buddha- or Christ-like standards for ourselves risks feeding the 'I’ve got to be perfect' story, behind which lurks that cesspit of self-hate.

Better to revel in your humanness, practice self-acceptance, and learn how to clean-up with your partner when you— or they— step in it.”

Russell Heath is an adventurer, an author, and a leadership coach who blows people out of their ruts and into action. Follow his blog on or find him at his website.

2. Learning to love teaches acceptance.

“Unconditional love is a concept that implies perfection. It's great for kids to believe in idealistic concepts like this until they are able to handle the complexities of adult life.

For us, it means that at some point we must grow up and accept that the imperfect, messy, flawed version of love that we're managing is quite ok.

Time to shrug off the guilt and allow ourselves to be imperfect (and still perfectly lovable).”

Mia Von Scha is a Transformational Parenting Coach who believes in guilt-free parenting. For assistance in mindful, present moment parenting, contact Mia or join her mailing list.

Sometimes it takes an Expert, like Mia or Russell in order to explain a concept that we already partially understand in our gut. It makes sense, upon hearing more about it, why unconditional love and romantic love are not only not the same — they simply do not belong together.

For more advice from incredible people in helping professions, look to our Experts. They are here to help!