Love is Unconditional (Love Dare Day 10)

But what if over the course of years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of those things [that you’d list for why you love him or her]. Would you still love them? p.46

This love dare challenges the idea that we love people solely because of what they bring to the table. Let me be more specific: it challenges the idea that I love you (my wife–remember these are directed specifically to her) primarily because of who you are–your character traits, your looks, your humor, etc.

Love Because of Choice

The upshot from that would be that I only love you when you display those qualities. Or if it’s because of your beauty, if something happened to you to get rid of your classic gorgeousness, then I’d no longer love you. Or if I love you because of your sweetness, then I’d stop loving you if you were being a bear.

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one beingloved but rather by the one choosing to love. p.46

I wrote before that I love you because I’m called to love you. It feels sterile and unromantic to say that.

Love Isn’t a Whim

But I can guarantee that we will have more opportunities for romance throughout our lives if I love you because I’m called to than if I love you based on the whims of how I’m feeling and you’re acting.

If I’m committed to being the best for you that I can be…

If I’m committed to responding to your moods with grace…

If I’m committed to drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit when I realize I’m acting like a turd…

If I’m committed to looking through to your heart and what your heart needs (although I’m imperfect and won’t get it right all the time)…

…then, we will have plenty of opportunities for romance. It’s like we’ll have built a solid foundations and framed out the house so well, that we’ll be able to do the fun redecorating as often as we want because we’ll be confident that the house will be ours forever.

The other day, in the morning, I left. I was mad. Honestly, I might have had reason for it. You were in a sour mood. You weren’t your sweetest (later that day, it was probably my turn).

Ditching Jerk Entitlement

I felt empowered to be a jerk to you later. I felt it was my right.  Thankfully, I caught myself. Maybe it was due to reading this book.

I sent you this email:

  1. Thank you for sharing with me when you are having a hard time. I appreciate it. Call and cry any time you need to.
  2. If there’s anything I can do to better support or encourage you, please let me know.
  3. You are beautiful. You are talented. You are a good mom.
  4. You and I both struggle with what is like some kind of autistic spectrum thing regarding our preschoolers’ too much crying, noise, etc. We both get overwhelmed. That’s hard.
  5. I’ll pray for you (and you can pray for me) that we’ll get better at that. Simple fact is that our kids (like every damn kid in the world) defy logic.
  6. But they’re wonderful, beautiful, and awesome kids. They really are. Stinking annoying a lot, but they are awesome.
  7. So are you.

So the whole premise of this website: Why I Love Tina, while it might focus on the sweet, fun, and beautiful things about you, is more about my learning to love you better–regardless of what I’m going through, how you’re acting, or whatever comes our way.

Love Dare Days 10-11, Love is Unconditional & Love Cherishes

I had a busy day yesterday and missed the post. I also realized that while the ideas are a little different between days 10 and 11, the actual challenges are roughly the same: Do something unexpected like a chore, errand, etc. (day 10).  Do something that meets a need (lists help w/ housework, foot massage—day 11).

I gave a foot massage on day 10 and cooked dinner last night. Of course, since I’m awesome, those two things aren’t completely unexpected. Actually, the foot rub on the couch for a more extended period was a little different.

Let’s forget about the dares/challenges. Let’s talk ideas.

The question about whether I love you unconditional or cherish you is a lot more involved than foot rubs, clothes folding, and trips to the market.

Unconditional love—Agape Love in church circles—indicates a love that isn’t dependent on friendship and erotic love necessarily. Even if we aren’t feeling particularly affectionate, do I still love and care for you? Even when you’re having ‘unlovable’ moments (that NEVER happens!), do I still treat you kindly and tenderly and with care?

Agape is choice. It’s not even considering ways out.  It’s not dependent on my needs getting met (although I’d argue that a marriage requires that needs be shared and met).

I face everyday knowing that I’ve chosen to love and cherish you….

Love Cherishes

I think that this takes the unconditional thing and gives it personality and tenderness. Not only do I care about you and want the best for you, but I cherish you—your personality, your worth, your mind, your body, your soul. I appreciate and cherish these things.

Cherishing also indicates protection. I protect you and your heart. That should be a priority of mine. It should never leave me.

I ask your forgiveness for those times I’ve not made you feel cherished, and I know that there have been some. I ask you to bear with me as I get better at this.

The writers talk about the idea that the husband and wife are one, ‘that your spouse is as much a part of you as your hand, your eye, or your heart.’  If you’re a part of me, then I owe it not only to you but to us and me to treat you kindly and protectively and gently.

Day 12 Prep: “Love Let’s the Other Win”  What? No way! (Jas 3:17) I love a line in this that might not be directly related to winning or not winning an argument: “Give their words full weight.” Meaning: Take your spouse’s words seriously. Listen. Hear. Don’t fast forward to your turn to speak. 

  • The Dare: Willingly bend your will to give in to your spouse in an area of disagreement. Put their preference first.

Question: Do you (reader, not my wife)  have a hard time loving unconditionally? Has divorce always been an option in case needs aren’t met?