Unconditional love, in the simplest terms, means loving another person without conditions, no matter what. All adults have a basic understanding of genuine, unconditional love. We can find a precise, dictionary definition or read about its many nuances in marriage and relationship advice books, but how is it defined in your own marriage?
Unconditional love can mean different things to different people. For some it means loving someone even when you don’t like him or her very much at the moment (for good reason) but standing by that person anyway. For others, it may mean becoming more accepting of your spouse, faults and all. It means specific things to people and often requires active measures to express.
Withholding love can be almost as bad as not loving someone, for anyone, but especially for sensitive or insecure individuals or those who haven’t known much love. In such a case, a willingness to ignore your mate’s tears over a foolish mistake in order to punish her can make her feel unloved. Expressing unconditional love includes reassurance.
Another example is forgiving hurts. If your spouse has hurt your feelings, you don’t instantly stop loving him or her, so you shouldn’t try to make your mate feel that way. It’s fine to explain that you need some time, but don’t say you have forgiven him but then refuse to move on and consistently use the slight as a weapon against him or her. This is not how people who genuinely love each other behave.
While there are various definitions, circumstances, and expressions of unconditional love, I think the best way to sum it up is following the Golden Rule. If we love someone, really love him or her then we need to treat that person the way that we want to be treated. No one is perfect, and everyone reacts angrily at times. However, if we strive to treat those we love with the same regard that we hope for, then there shouldn’t be any question of our true feelings.