Please Visit Our Website!

Family 1st Books invites you to visit our upgraded website at! Check out our parenting blog titled, "Parenting, the Ultimate Relationship Challenge."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Controversy Over Unconditional Love

"Contrary to popular opinion," declares author Bob Quinlan, "there is no such thing as unconditional love." This statement reminded me of of my husband, Everett's warning to me during the first year of our marriage. He warned, "We will no longer love each other this much after we have been married a long time." After 55 years of marriage he happily admits he was wrong.

Unconditional love happens after two souls have evolved together over a period of time. His needs are my needs. My needs are his needs. We are so much a part of each other that his joy is my joy. When it comes to doing tasks, we are more likely to say, "You have done more. Let me do it," instead of "I do everything around here."

If author Quinlan continues his investment in his lovely wife for many years,I think he will be able to say, "I'm glad you were right, Elva."


  1. I hope the author takes you up on debating this topic. I'd like to follow that.

    I think the only true unconditional love is God's, of course, but I think we do strive for it. I wonder if the author is actually not talking about love, but about commitment. I think we would all put restrictions on whether or not we choose to remain in a relationship, but hopefully we can still have a regard for each other's well being.


  2. This is Bob Quinlan, the author in question. Yes, I do challenge the premise of unconditional love-it does not exist regardless of any conditions. Others do not have to love us no matter how we treat them. Nor do we have to love others that treat us horribly. In "Earn It" I address what is humanly possible, not God's love. The love between parent and child is the closest to unconditional love, but even that can be take for granted. If a parent sexually, mentally or physically abuses the child, the child is not required to love that parent unconditionally (remember the 2010 movie "Precious"?)

    Stating that love is unconditional, that it will exist regardless of any conditions, implies that we are powerless to influence it in any manner. We cannot force anybody to love us, but we can motivate them to do so; even if only to keep us around to meet their future needs. Accepting that my wife does not have to love me regardless of how I treat her has been very motivating for me to treat her well, as often as possible. Did your partner used to work hard to convince you that they could help you meet your future needs and goals? After being together for years did they get comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, and take you for granted? Anything, including love, that is taken for granted, is vulnerable. When you earn it, you become for valuable to your partner.

    As Elva even wrote, "Unconditional love happens after two souls have evolved together over a period of time." This implies that there is a condition, it "...evolved together over a period of time." Logically, this admits there is at least one condition, therefore not unconditional. I look forward to more lively debates about this topic.

  3. I agree with Bob that no one can make another person love them. That is true even if they are trying to earn love. Love is a choice. We choose to love.
    Love is not opposed to effort. Love will actually result in effort, but love cannot lead to a sense of entitlement that makes demands because "I deserve it." That will kill love and the joy of freely giving to each other.
    In that sense, you cannot earn love. Love has to be a free gift by two people if you want to become soul mates. Soul mates do experience unconditional love.

  4. I'm a baby boomer and haven't been in a serious, committed relationship for 5 years. I've done a lot of growing and maturing in the last few years. Every serious relationship in my past was always with somebody I truly couldn't have nor did I really want. I was always drawn to the charmer, lots of chemistry, the narcissist, or somebody I would hope to help and live to resent it. I don't want any part of those relationships any longer and I'm not attracted to them any longer, either.

    Here goes, I'm swimming in new waters...and it's pretty comfortable although brand new for me. I've met a nice guy...we've been dating for just a short while, and he seems stable, kind, responsible, humorous, financially stable, giving. He is willing to go slow and to be friends first. I'm attracted to his goodness and accountability and the other things that I mentioned. I enjoy our dates, love hearing from him and look forward to every email. Just wondering if and when the bells and whistles will go off....or were they just a part of the other kinds of exciting in the beginning, dead- end relationships. Dating a friend is all so new to me, but I like it. Looking for some encouragement with the yellow brick road.