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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Continuing the Controversy About Unconditional Love

Join us. Do you believe there is unconditional love? An interesting insight into this debate is my husband, Everett's story. We met when he was in the navy and I was a 21 year old school teacher in San Diego.

Here is how he tells it. "It was the first time I had felt such strong feelings for a woman. I asked myself, could this be love or could it just be the horny feelings of a sailor who has been out to sea and away from women for too long?"

"Then I thought, what if Elva were in an accident and was confined to a wheel chair and had to be taken care of? I felt actual pain at the thought. Yes, I would want to be sure she was treated well and had everything she needed. I would want to be the one to do that. It must be love."

That sounds like unconditional love to me and we weren't even soul mates yet.


  1. It's Bob Quinlan again...would Everett have been so committed to completely take care of somebody he just met for the rest of his life? He is a good man, but probably not this good. You and Everett have developed a wonderful relationship built on trust, commitment, similar goals and values. You have already negotiated the boundaries of your relationship, which is the goal of life-long unions. You might not be the target audience for books describing how to improve or define romantic relationships.

    If you changed the boundaries of your relationship by physically or emotionally abusing Everett, might he love you just a little bit less? If you started having affairs and refused to end the relationships if Everett asked, do you think he might trust you a little bit less? If you quit working and became addicted to drugs, might he respect you little bit less? If you started beating your children whenever they visited, could Everett change his future plans and goals with you?

    If a partner can trust less, respect less, and make fewer plans together, it sounds like the love can be reduced a bit. This would make it conditional. Fortunately, for several decades you have demonstrated behaviors to earn Everett's love, his trust, his respect and encouraged him to make joint future plans and goals. Whether you realize it or not, you have displayed a behavior pattern to "earn it" so that he does love you.

    My position is that, just as you have earned Everett's love due to your behavior over the years, you could take him for granted and unearn some of his love. And vice versa. You are fortunate that you are both committed to earning each other's love; you are so committed that you have trouble imagining not earning it. Unfortunately, not all couples are that fortunate. "Earn It: Empower Yourself for Love" is designed for people that have taken a relationship for granted and are willing to accept that they can effect the relationship. Readers can stop taking their partner for granted and resume earning the love they achieved when they were dating, before they obtained a commitment that they took for granted. Readers initially earned it. Whenever people choose to, they can re-earn it. This process will be expedited when they understand that love is not unconditional--it can be earned, re-earned or unearned. We are not powerless regarding love-we can influence love.

  2. Bob, I have never said there is no such thing as conditional love. Of course, there is. I did not earn Everett's love. I am saying there is such a thing as unconditional love, because I have experienced it, both giving and receiving. I am experiencing it every day. It is an interaction that does exist. It happens when 2 people choose to love each other and then do it.