When we date someone, we’re searching for the person we want to be with for the rest of our lives. When we find that person and we marry him or her we promise all of ourselves; Our loyalty, our bodies, our unending love is given deliberately and constantly to another person in exchange for theirs. As the saying goes- for better or worse, until death do us part.
So why then is there an abundance of divorces and blogs that remind us how we fail our partners and ourselves over and over again?
What conditions do we actually set on our unconditional love?
Can you still love him if he cheats on you? What if she has a sexual fetish that you find disturbing? What if he develops an addiction to drugs? She can’t keep a job? He lies too much? She gambles? He’s a gamer? She lost interest?
When is it time to say “You’re not trying hard enough.” or “You’re no good for me.” and move on? If you take the pledge that states that you will love and commit for the rest of your lives, when is it okay to break that promise?
What if we keep loving them throughout their struggles and flaws? What if instead of pointing fingers, holding grudges and keeping score we learn to love, support and forgive our partners? What if we accept that he’s going to make mistakes and some of those mistakes are going to hurt you? If we understand that there are a massive amount of addictive substances that we’re exposed to and she’ll need your help and an incredible amount of patience to pull through. If we finally understand that “You did….” and “Yeah, well, you did…” are damaging and we would all be much happier with “I’m sorry.” and “I forgive you.”
When I entered into my current relationship, I stripped down to my very soul and put every part of my exposed and flawed self on the table. I flaunted every strength and weakness, all the pretties and uglies, all of my good, my bad, my silly and my quirks. I dropped my entire package of amazing and ordinary and let him see all of me.
I trusted him to accept it. When he did, he promised to love every part of me. He promised to love me through all of my mistakes and accomplishments. He promised to do his very best to offer me patience through all of my breakdowns and back me up during confrontations. He promised to be understanding when I falter and the support I need to get back up again when I fall.
He swore to love me generously, honestly and without limitations.
Likewise, he laid all of his cards on the table and exposed every part of himself to me. He presented me with his strengths, hobbies, habits, quirks, weaknesses and desires. He made every part of himself vulnerable to me. He trusted me with things he hides from the world.
I took it all and swore to love, cherish, respect and honour him. I promised to love him unconditionally for as long as we are alive.
What then, when he breaks his promise to me? What if one intoxicated night he falters and cheats on me? What if he spends three months hooked on a new video game and he forgets his promise to be there for me? What if instead of patiently holding me he gets frustrated and yells at me? What if he becomes addicted to painkillers?
If he wrongs me first, am I free to break my promise to him?
Though some of the examples stated above would hurt me very much and make me angry, rightfully so, I would choose to forgive him. I would cry in his arms and comfort him as he cried. I would wait for him to remember what he’s promised me, even if it takes longer than three months. I would hold him, love him, and remember that he’s human and even the best of our species makes mistakes. I would love him through his addiction and nurture him through his withdrawal.
My love and understanding is the best gift I could ever give to him.
Someday, I’ll forget my promise to him. Not on purpose, but I will slip up. Someday I won’t be able to communicate properly. I’ll be caught up inside my head in a way that I can’t quite function properly in the real world and I’ll neglect him. I could be the one going through withdrawal or having an emotional breakdown.
I’ll need someone who will love me enough to stand by me instead of walking away because I was not meeting his needs.
I suppose that’s terrifying and appalling to some people. He could very easily destroy my life if I’m offering him that much love and trust. Not only that, but I’m giving him a free pass to behave like a jerk and expecting a free pass in return…right?
Except that assumes that he’s trying to hurt me instead of love me, and that I would prefer to hurt him rather than love and support him.
If you hold back out of fear, you have already doomed your relationship. If you put restrictions on your love, you should not promise yourself to someone forever.
If you can’t love with everything you have and forgive the way you need someone to forgive you, you’re not ready for marriage.
If you can’t trust that he will love you through thick and thin and forgive you endlessly, every single time it’s needed then you shouldn’t marry him.
It is very sad in this day and age that we are more loving and supportive towards everyone except the person we’ve promised our hearts to.
Love without limitations and without borders. There aren’t arguments to be won, but compromises to be made and other perspectives to consider. There is no need to keep score because you’re both on the same team. Forgive and accept forgiveness.
That is the only way to keep your marriage alive.