Learning to Love Unconditionally

Marriage, like life, is a cycle of ups and downs. It’s easy to say your marriage is in good health when the world around you is prospering, however when your fortunes change and your world is in hardship, how you interact within your marriage will usually paint a completely different picture.

How we feel concerning those we love will have an enormous impact on the health of the relationship, much like a relationship with a friend. We tend to love our friends, nevertheless the real test of a friendship or relationship is when in times of crisis. We tend to feel saddened or disappointed in our loved ones or the result achieved.

In many cases, the frustration you are feeling is in your perspective of the situation. You set standards of conduct for yourself and set the same high standards for those around you, and are disappointed when they let you down. When you put meaning to something that happened, you would feel hurt or disappointed.

A colleague shared this insight, “You feel disappointed so keenly because you love people so much.”

So is it the same when you feel upset or let down by your partner? Do you feel disappointed or hurt so keenly because you place your partner up on such a pedestal and expect them to always get it right?

This maybe a bit complicated than I had first anticipated, and it made me wonder whether the fault was on them for not living up to my expectations or standards, or whether my standards were after all were at fault. Is it fair to expect the same level of respect and love that you provide so freely to those who you love?

I tell myself that I should lower my expectations of others; however the reality is that it looks like it’s almost impossible for me to do. If I love somebody I feel compelled to share this thought with them so that they could understand that they are valued, and that I constantly live in hope that the same feelings are felt in return.

However in taking a closer look, we tend to understand that this is part of what love is about. Sharing our feelings of connection with others, and letting them know that what they do is valued. We feel a sense of togetherness when we are able to share our feelings with others. Love is also what keeps us coming back for more, keeps us trying to do things better, and helps us to keep trying even when we feel disillusioned or upset.

Therefore how do we leave behind the hurt that we feel?

Some would say that unconditional love is giving love without the expectation of anything in return. However it does not make it any easier. Part of loving those around you is knowing that they share the same values as you, and that they will be there to support you when you need it. Knowing that quitting is not an option, and the advantage of hanging in there is going to give more benefits to each of you is what keeps many people going.

Telling your partner about your feelings and expectations could be a hard thing to do, and exposes you to a certain amount of vulnerability. There is also the worry that your comments could be taken incorrectly, or they will be used against you or interpreted as a criticism.

It’s not about criticism. It’s about helping your partner see why you feel the way you do. It’s about helping communicate a part of what causes you to tick. It may not be perfect and it feels scary, but that is one of the most valuable elements of this exercise. Talking to a partner regarding your feelings and what leads you to feel these feelings is a valuable part of intimacy.

It’s about getting to know each other better, and realising that loving someone is about loving them even when they let you down.

For more tips about unconditional love and developing greater understanding of what it really takes to create and foster a healthy and loving marriage, check out “Save My Marriage Today“.