A healthy relationship is based in unconditional love, right?
Well, let’s explore it.
When we think of unconditional love, we usually think about being loved when we are sick, or don’t look our best, or make a mistake. We think about being loved even with our foibles, faults, and frictions. We want to be fully accepted.
Yes, we should expect a partner to be down with our humaness, to be messy with us, and create a life with us that has room for imperfection. And, we expect to give this unconditional love in return.
However, healthy love is not and should not be truly unconditional.
Abuse, neglect, disregard for a partner’s appropriate needs, inability to communicate effectively, problem-solve together, and be an active participant in the partnership are not included in the container of unconditional love.
Our partners should add to our lives and make them more fulfilling, supporting us in the pursuit of our goals and dreams. When partners make life harder, interfere with our goals and dreams, and drain us of our resources, it is not healthy unconditional love to continue in the relationship in this way.
What if, instead of upholding unconditional love, we focused on:
Commitment to the Connection.
By upholding commitment to the connection in the relationship, we focus on supporting healthy connection as we go through day-to-day life.
Commitment to connection is commitment to communication, to expressing and meeting needs, to accepting and caring about each other’s feelings and experiences, to seeking effective problem-solving.
Commitment to connection requires both (or all) partners to show up for connection. When connection is broken, we are either working to repair it, or not. But, it becomes more clear when a relationship is not working when a connection is chronically broken.
Unconditional love is not a value worth pursuing if it costs us our peace, mental and physical health, and months or years of our one precious life.
You are worthy of connection.
Journal Prompt: What does connection mean to you? How can you invest in connection, no matter how small, in an important relationship today?