Friday, May 15

Unconditional love...or is it? by Liz Flaherty #WordWranglers

What do you believe unconditional love looks like? 

I had some trouble getting started today. Not that I ever have trouble talking, even when it's in blog form, but just like planning what to fix for dinner, I also have trouble figuring out what to talk about. So I go to Journal Buddies and find an idea. If this is cheating, I don't want to know, so don't tell me, okay?

So...unconditional love. At first, I thought, well, how easy is that? I love my kids and grandkids unconditionally, of course. I'm shocked when parents disown their children because of situational or lifestyle differences. I understand some of the emotions that lead them to that point--anger, disappointment, dismay, embarrassment, exhaustion, to name a few--but at the end of the parental day, the kids are still your heart. Yeah, easy. 

Then I thought about marriages, especially long ones. They're not easy. Not in the first year and not in the fiftieth. I don't believe--and I can only speak for myself--that the love you feel in early marriage is unconditional. It's intense, for sure, and exciting and, my God, so much fun, but looking back, I fell out of love with Duane pretty often. And fell back in as soon as the storms calmed. As the years went on, I stopped falling out. (Hopefully he did, too. 💓) So now, approaching that fiftieth year, I believe the love we share is unconditional.

Although I'm determined that just this one thing I'm writing not be about the
coronavirus, I must admit that it has added to the preciousness of those we love unconditionally. When I see my 10-year-old grandson again, he may very well be looking down at me--that's just how fast they grow and change.

What we write about as romance novelists, though, is also unconditional love, isn't it? Realistically, we know that not 100 percent of all the heroes and heroines in our stories would live Happily Ever After; that we don't have to honor that knowledge is a gift to readers and to ourselves.

I've never even addressed the original question up there, have I? What does unconditional love looks like? This is where I see it.
  •  Forgiveness 
  •  Volunteerism without expectation of recognition 
  •  Faith without judgment of others
  •  Kindness without cause 
  •  "Love is taking a few steps backward, maybe even more, to give way to the happiness of the person you love." - Winnie the Pooh 
  •  Forgiveness. (Yeah, I know that's twice--that's how important it is.) 
What about you? What do you think it looks like--or who?

If you're looking for something to read, get your copy of The Healing Summer. I think Carol's story--not just the romance, but the story of her--is an example of unconditional love, too. Let me know what you think. 


  1. I think you've pretty well covered it. The unconditional part in marriage is something you grow into--I do agree. After nearly 47 years, the falling in and out has pretty much become all in because as years progress, we learn that nobody's perfect, but when they're perfect for you, you stick. Great post, Liz!

  2. I love this post, Liz, and I agree with all your bullet points ...

  3. Lovely post! My feel-good moment for the day.

  4. Lovely post, Liz. Parental love is unconditional, isn't it? All the best!

  5. I truly feel there's nothing my daughters could do that would make me stop loving them. Parental love is that strong. Lovely post, Liz. As usual!

    1. I know, Jana--me, too. Same goes with the grands.

  6. Years ago I read this quip in Reader's Digest and I include it in every wedding card I send.

    There was a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary and someone said, "Grandma, what's your secret?" "Well," she said. "When we first got married I decided to make a list of ten things your grandfather did that really bugged me and chose to let those things go."
    "What was on the list?"
    "I never actually got around to making it, so whenever he did something that bugged me, I said, "Good thing it's on the list".

    To me, that's unconditional love in a nutshell.

    1. It certainly is! A great idea. It reminds me a little of my own bucket list, which I've never written down. Whenever I want to do something, I just say it's on the list.