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In Defense of the Unconditional
One of the first...
... reactions that comes to mind when people hear the term "unconditional love" seems to be, 'you mean I have to put up with all of his/her crap? What if....' The debate on this subject then starts to rage as people who have broken up or divorced someone over this or that pipe up. Before long what you have is a group of broken hearts enjoying a grudge and pain fest while a small group of romantics try to convince people of the principle without being really able to answer for the reality, In such cases as these, I would usually disregard because in all likelihood I might offend. I am starting to get over that thought. Even so, while knowing it to be possible to offend it isn't my intent. Therefore, in proceeding here let me on the outset say two things that go together that will sound very odd. Divorce is an excuse. Indiscriminate marriage is a crime.
When stating these two truths I must admit that I have known my wife for close to all of her life. Even so marriage threw us some curve balls that neither of us were fully able to answer for when we married. It happens. Marriage and being in close quarters with someone for any length of time, when the ring on your hand reminds you that if you play by the rules there is no getting out, has a habit of making even the smallest thing seem harder to deal with in the long run. Also, there are always the problems that crop up along the way, which makes the contract between you that much harder to bare. Some of the things I have seen couples do to each other in their connubial versions of sadomasochism horrify me. Small things become astronomically bigger when you try to punish your partner for them and watch as they retaliate. This being said I truly believe that unconditional love is possible but only under very strict ground rules that have to be laid down around the time one is dating. Which means you are seriously considering each other in a permanent sense. Both must play by the rules and breaches of the rules must be dealt with in a very specific method but only before marriage. If you both can handle that then read further.
I should, I suppose, address here the scepticism concerning the exact definition of unconditional love. Here, I have to state that in my culture, unconditional love goes by another name, charity. Charity is a concept that applies to everyone. It is a concept where one gives of oneself without compelling anyone else to do so. Charity is expressed for the betterment of others not one's self. In writing this I am not laying down rules that need to be shared with your partner but rather ways to exist that increase your happiness and help you see how you can exist. In my culture we marry for "time and all eternity" and not "until death do us part." If one of that culture reads this they will recognize the rules as personal guidelines. That being said, marriage as I see it can apply to anyone of any faith. So, while Charity should apply to everyone, you aren't going to marry everyone and so being choosy and finding people who are willing to follow the rules that will make you both happy is necessary. One wise person once said, "you should enter a relationship with eyes wide open but after the "I do" close them... mostly." In this article, unconditionally loving someone happens when you close your eyes after the "I do's" Hopefully these concepts will help you know what to look for in the type of person you should shackle yourself to.
First, marriage is a union of equals. Neither person can take privileges that they don't extend to the other person. If a wife wants a better way of life then the basic nine to five routine will give she must understand and accept that he will have to work more to get her what she craves. Men must know that if they want sex they had better court their wife and help them feel beautiful. The give and take in relationships must be equal in both partner's eyes. When in stores, or anywhere else together, it must be a practice that both partners walk side by side wherever possible. When kids come along, when one lays down a rule the other shouldn't openly contradict. If there is some need for variance in tactics let it be away from the children and when the verdict is readdressed the couple addresses it together.
Forgiveness is a must. Couples who can't forgive each other in both word and deed will stack up a list of debts that really can't be paid. I am not sure it is a good thing for a couple to get married before they have offended each other a few times. It is always educational to see how they work it out and if they will work it out. It is important to note that as you work things out before marriage, that the forms for forgiveness don't change afterward without notice.
Even so, there are some sins in a relationship that cannot be allowed. Bachelor and bachelorette parties are out. Forgiveness in a relationship is really only possible if change is possible. Forgiveness out of a relationship is always possible but trust once lost isn't easily given back in a relationship. As a side note, sex for a man is a drug at first, it is a very powerful drug at that. Once they get a taste for it they often need doses at regular intervals or they go through withdrawal. Brand loyalty usually is either a matter of principle for a man, or it is something that must be maintained by constant supply. Its a crass way of looking at sex but it's true. Women view it as a gift and a privilege they bestow unless their internal compass gets seriously messed with by life. You can see how these two realities could clash. It is a rare fellow who can get passed the addiction phase of a sexual relationship. A man who hasn't is a sex addict even if they don't see themselves as that. If a woman wants to use that to her advantage she might find it an interesting way for her to get what she wants too. This brings me to the next point: communication.
A wise play write made his puppet say, "Poor table manners... have broken up more households then infidelity." The question of communication is vital. How we communicate in a relationship will matter vastly in how successful that relationship will be. If we don't comprehend the opposite sex be assured that they won't comprehend us. Being open and obvious in our communications until we are assured that we are understood is the only way to go about things. Women really aught to know that if they form a line of communication that works it really isn't fair to change that line of communication out of shear perversity. Yes, I admit that my gender really aught to be more observant but the majority of them aren't so the math and statistics speak for themselves. It isn't a bad thing if a woman or man checks the honesty of every conversation they have between them when the other isn't around to be hurt by it. Honesty in communication isn't a given. Knowing the truth is a necessity. Understanding each other and how they communicate their wants and needs will stop a lot of fights in their tracts. I find that keeping up a relationship long enough for the charade of first contact to ware thin on the other person is helpful. I don't know many people who aren't single who are initially honest with anyone of the opposite sex. Both sexes as a whole are way too judgmental and ideologically fixated on their own view of perfection to make a man or a woman very comfortable about letting it all hang out on the first date. Getting past this stage is a matter of Relationship Poker. Ultimately you have to get to a point, before marriage where you see as you are seen, with complete honesty. If you can't do that then you are asking for trouble and will surely find it.
The last thing there must be is love, or the willingness to give all of yourself and to see how willingly they are to return the favor. In this I am not talking about sex necessarily, though eventually it will even matter there. The things that one gives must be judged and weighed against what is give in return. If the weight isn't equal in your estimation this is a time to communicate that and see if a more equitable arrangement can't be reached. Bargaining for what one needs isn't a bad thing. There must be always a respect for the give and take terms in a relationship. It is this give and take that defines the nature and depth of the love that can be afforded. I honestly feel that one shouldn't marry while the stars are in your eyes unless the condition is mutual. Marriage is way too important to get into when your vision is impaired by hormones or any other inducement that doesn't calculate the life you will have to face afterward.
One can say I am an idealist or not. There is definitely grounds in this article for both arguments to be made and be valid. Once could say I am a romantic or a cynic. I could call myself a realist but just about everyone who has heard that phrase will understand it to be a cop out. There are way too many shades of reality to make this the last word. It is however, as I deem it, a fair and balanced way of viewing things. Ground rules that cannot be enforced but should be in place so that the unconditional love that one should feel for everyone, not withstanding difficulties imposed by making sure that mercy doesn't rob justice, is able to take a romantic bent.