It is often said that "love is blind," but somewhere in there we start seeing, but it is usually all the wrong things we see.
Maybe we really ought to be a little more "blind" in our marriages. I'm not suggesting we overlook major problems in our marriage such as abuse, infidelity or addictions, but we need to focus more on the good things about our spouse and become more "blind" to his or her shortcomings.
You need to love your spouse without conditions, stipulations or because you have a "reason" to love him or her. It's dangerous to have expectations, especially high ones, that you base your loving abilities on because you will often be let down and disappointed. Your love and marriage will suffer. Also, it's hard to live up to someone else's expectations; trying to do so will put unnecessary strain on a relationship.
"Instead of trying to force yourself into the fully-scripted roles of the perfect relationship, it's advisable to let go of your expectations and dependence on your partner for affection and validation," wrote LifeHack contributor David K. William in the article, 30 Little Ways To Love Without Expectation.
So how can you love without conditions and expectations? Try these ideas.
Love your spouse for who they are not who you expect them to be.
When you do something kind for your spouse, which should be often, don't expect anything in return. You do it because you love him or her not to get something out of it.
You have to love yourself first. Don't expect to get that validation from outside sources.
Your happiness is not contingent on others — including your spouse. Your happiness comes from within.
Give love freely, without stipulations or expectations. Say, "I love you" frequently and show your love through notes, physical affection and service.
Respect your spouse.
Communicate often. If something is bothering you, use kind tones. Do not talk condescendingly to your spouse.
Forgive freely. Forgiveness frees you from harboring contention, anger or other negative emotions in your heart.
If you have expectations of each other that are important, discuss them and work together to achieve your relationship goals.
Apologize regularly. Even if you think you've done nothing wrong. If your spouse is mad at you, something you did or said upset them. Apologize, whether it was intentional or not.
Avoid criticizing, nagging, complaining or putting down your spouse. No good will ever come of such behavior.
Don't judge your relationship based on other marriages. Each couple is unique and has their own problems. The comparison you make is likely based on your worst moments and the "best" ones that you see.
It is often our expectations of how we think something should be that lets us down rather than the person we direct our hurt or anger toward. Letting go of expectations will allow you to love more fully.
"How often do we set the bar too high to reach and then use this as an excuse not to love completely? Jonathan Lockwood Huie said it best, "A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect." Let everyone be completely who they are. Don't try to control or change them. Just love them — as they are — right now."
Wendy is a regular contributor for familyshare.com and does media reviews. Website: https://survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com/ for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: https://wendyejessen.wordpress.com Twitter: @WendyJessen