Agape love is a term for the highest form of love. It is considered in Christian circles as “God’s Love.” It’s where God will unwaveringly love you with intense unconditional love, no matter how awful you may feel about yourself or what wrongs you might have done. God’s love, in this context, is “unconditional.”
That’s the kind of love I wish to learn how to give others, come rain or shine. The love that I feel and that I continue to nurture is the one I profess in these articles.
But no person deserves to be in an abusive relationship, whether it be a personal, professional, or any relationship for that matter. People need to protect themselves and their families from harm.
A year or so ago, a friend posted on her social media the question, “What does unconditional love mean to you?” Many people commented that unconditional love is when their partner does nice things for them. Others said unconditional love doesn’t exist.
But I’ve been searching for the meaning of unconditional love for decades now, and the closest I’ve come to finding a practical answer comes from the teachings of The Marriage Foundation. And yes, it can be dangerous. It can lead to what Christ or the Sikh gurus underwent—persecution in the name of love. The Marriage Foundation, my mentor organization, advises to focus unconditional love only on one’s spouse rather than society at large, because unconditional love can not only lead to the highest bliss–love—but also, potentially to peril, as in the case of Christ.
But it is my goal to give that highest love—which I believe is referred to as enlightenment in Buddhist circles.
For example, is a mother thinking of herself when she expresses love for her children? A child could do the worst deeds, and an unconditionally loving mother would always support the child. There is no self-interest or expectations in that depth of unconditional love.
To achieve agape love, we must learn to control our minds. Every thought needs to be geared for happiness and love no matter what may strike. And this truly means forgiveness, acceptance, and a refusal to blame, condemn, criticize, or judge others. Through controlling our minds, we can learn to love others, no matter what they may do or say to us, if our quest is to realize agape love.
In terms of relationships and attitudes toward other people, everyone is shaped by their own definition of love. But I believe all love comes from one source: God. My definition of love has evolved to a quest toward learning how to give that highest form of love.
And agape love isn’t a quest for everyone. It is for God, for those on the path to enlightenment, and for those who want to give “unconditional” love to their spouse. True unconditional love, from what I’ve found, by its very nature comes with no conditions, no expectations. It is never unkind. It never angers. It is always patient. Agape love is the goal of my life and what I believe to be the ultimate state of all existence.