How much importance do you put on unconditional love in your relationship?
Tina Turner once famously sang the question “what’s love got to do with it?” and followed her inquiry by letting us all know that love is a second hand emotion. To add insult to loves injury, she then wondered why we need hearts when hearts can be broken. Good question, Tina. Luckily we have five YourTango experts to help answer the question. So, what’s love got to do with it? Relationship expert Aja Duncan is joined by Michelle Maliniak, Marie Kane, Chrisi Santana, and Suzann O’Koon to help answers Tina’s question. Hint: the answer is “everything”.
To start, Maliniak suggests that “love” is a subjective term. “When we love, does it mean we have to like everything they do? Does it mean we never get angry or disappointed at the things they do? What does it mean to love unconditionally? It means we accept them exactly as they are. We know what we can and can not expect of them and love them anyway. It doesn’t mean we give them everything they want or tolerate frightening or mean behavior — it means we protect ourselves and forgive them.”
Santana adds that when you love someone unconditionally, you do nice things for them, and the feelings of joy spread from the recipient to the giver (that’s you!) The benefits are not only emotional but physical as well. “Isn’t it a great feeling when you do something for someone? Maybe you cooked dinner for your partner who had to work late, or spent the time listening without judgment to a friend after they had a bad breakup. Doing things for others helps with our own stress levels. Focusing on a positive action for someone else makes us feel good about ourselves. Lowered stress levels benefit not only our heart (studies have shown that love can reduce cholesterol levels, which lowers your chance of heart attack), but our whole body and mind as well.”
Humans are also social creatures. We need to interact with others. Santana adds that “Showing unconditional love for others deepens our relationships. On the flip side, receiving love or help from friends and strangers can make us feel gratitude, and being grateful leads to happiness and overall good mental health.”