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#190 Unconditional Love is NOT the Highest Form of Love; Deep, Meaningful Love is CONDITIONAL

August 30, 2022

#190 Unconditional Love is NOT the Highest Form of Love; Deep, Meaningful Love is CONDITIONAL
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Many of us have been taught or grown to believe that unconditional love is the highest of virtues.

And in many ways it makes sense. Loving others — without conditions — seems to be the highest level of love possible, partly because it sometimes seems so unrealistic, especially when it comes to family members.

(It’s even difficult to get clear on exactly what we’re talking about because we only have one word for ‘love’ in English. In Latin there are at least three — Eros, Agape, and Philia).

But as Greg and I have thought about, discussed, and researched it over the years, we’ve come to believe that unconditional love is a lower, shallower type of love that is the foundation for higher, deeper types of love. And those more meaningful types of love are actually conditional. In reality, our closest relationships are — and should be — based on this ‘conditional’ love.

For example, I can have unconditional, accepting love for my neighbor, despite what he does or how he treats me. But I can’t have a deep, meaningful relationship with my husband unless our love is conditional — i.e. we treat each other with respect, loyalty, and fidelity. 

Otherwise, is there any difference between our relationship and the one I have with the neighbor? It is ONLY because of these ‘conditions’ that our marriage relationship exists.

In this episode, we dive into what this ‘conditional’ love actually looks like, and how it works so that it doesn’t become toxic or manipulative — which is the risk if it’s not built on a foundation of unconditional love for self and others.

We explain how spousal, parental, and even God’s love has conditions, and when unconditional love, non-judgment, and tolerance become vices instead of virtues (and can lead to extremes such as school shootings).

Listen to this fascinating episode discussing the pros and cons of unconditional love as well as the depths and levels of love and loving others and how to reach greater heights of love.


This episode is sponsored by the Extraordinary Family Life Formula

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