For many of us, “Unconditional love” is at best just an ideal to be admired and at worst, a dangerous movie or myth to be avoided altogether. Yet without unconditional love, a sincere relationship with a holy God is not possible, and the maturing of an ongoing marriage cannot be achieved.
The fundamental reality that makes unconditional loving such a necessity and such a priority in our relationships is our humanness or humanity.
We humans, with the best of intentions, are capable of the worst of mistakes. These include wrong, hurtful words in the heat of an argument – “you never…”; fearful indecisions that result in financial loss for ourselves and our family; promises to start over or change that remain for years just that - promises. At these, and at other times, only the unconditional love of our spouse, our children, our family, our friends and others around us make ongoing relationship possible.
This does not mean that performance, and the consistency of good performance does not matter in relationships and especially in our marriages. Consistent, faithful, responsible performance determines the quality of our relationships – how well we can move, live, work and achieve together. But performance does NOT determine the reason for our relationships and marriages. I love you whether you please me or not. Although most marriages start off with us centering and enjoying the “performance love” of our spouse, especially in those areas that please us the most, marriages must move onto the platform of unconditional love if it is they are to continue to grow and flourish in the long term. If not, the streams of hurtful actions, unintended mistakes and bad decisions leaking from our humanity and our past would eventually drive a wedge between us and no amount of sex by itself, in the marriage or outside the marriage, will stop its accumulative effect. So, let us fight back properly!
Let us fight back by seeking to develop an attitude or culture of forgiveness, of forgiving ourselves and of forgiving each other, even as we seek together to discuss, to identify root causes and effects and to apply, even through repeated attempts, agreed solutions and approaches. The Scriptures seek to encourage us in this direction when it says in 1 Peter 4: 8 “Above all love each other deeply for love covers a multitude of sins (errors, faults, shortcomings)”. Let us fight back by seeking to truly understand before we firmly disagree and not adopt the popular, lazy relationship model of disagreeing before we truly understand as we rush to quarrel our way to “an agreed” course of action. Let us fight back by seeking to remember at all times that the marriage is more important than the issue. For the issue, however urgent, is usually temporary and will change over time and circumstances. The children are going to come and the children are going to grow up and leave but the marriage continues!
Unconditional loving keeps a marriage grounded in and through the ups and down of daily living – “for better or for worse; for richer and for poorer”. Unconditional love keeps a marriage focused, helping it to avoid the distractions that can come from its own relationship and career successes and that of its children. Unconditional loving keeps drawing each spouse closer to the other and closer to God who Himself loves us unconditionally. Unconditional loving is the oxygen enriching the vital relationship arteries of our marriages. Without it, we run the risk of our marriages dying a slow death or becoming “relationally unconscious and insensitive” as we live with each other.
Let us therefore seek in our marriages to love each other UNCONDITIONALLY.
Submitted by Kelvin S. Mapp,
author of “Understanding Marriage – the true story (UMTTS)” book and workbook.