Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 10: Love is unconditional

Daily Reading

This is another one that I recommend having the book and reading it for yourself!

True, unconditional love is the strongest because it is about choosing to love rather than feeling love.

The text refers to the Greek words for love- agape, phileo, and eros. Eros is erotic or sexual in nature. Phileo (or philos) is a love based on friendship. Agape is unconditional love. Here's a link to another blog that gives a nice description of each of these 3 types of love.

"Phileo and eros are more responsive in nature and can fluctuate based upon feelings. Agape love, on the other hand, is selfless and unconditional. So unless this kind of love forms the foundation of your marriage, the wear and tear of time will destroy it. Agape love is "in sickness and in health" love, "for richer or poorer" love, "for better or worse" love. It is the only kind of love that is true love."

With agape as the foundation, phileo and eros become more intense, more present.

Agape love is typically seen as divine love. Coming from God. Because it is God's love that allows us and encourages us to love.

...neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39

Or... in the words of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell...

"There ain't no mountain high enough, Ain't no valley low enough, Ain't no river wide enough, To keep me from getting to you..."

Today's Dare

"Do something out of the ordinary for your spouse- something that proves that your love is based on your choice and nothing else... Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage."


"Has your love in the past been based on your spouse's attributes and behavior, or on your commitment? How can you continue to show love when it's not returned in a way you hoped for?"

My act of love was to make cookies- and make a special batch for him without chocolate. And making sure that Teagan understood that the cookies left on the plate were for Daddy (putting him first, see?).

I know that there are definitely times that my love has been about his behavior instead of my choice to love. It's a hard one to deal with. Because on the one hand... I want to show him love and make him feel special. But at the same time... I don't feel like I should put up with crap if he's being crappy. So I guess the focus would be to find a loving way to leave him alone.

I don't know. While I like the idea of unconditional love, I don't think it can truly exist. For example, if a husband abuses his wife... game over. I think that there are things that you have to make hard decisions about... Abuse, addiction, adultery. Things that are deal breakers.

I guess I have to continue to grapple with this one. But I don't think I can just say "unconditional love." It seems like a fallacy. Because of those deal breakers up there. If he chooses those over his marriage... if he chooses those over love... game over.


Mim said...

I think the key is that a marriage can't survive on the "unconditional love" of one partner alone, the idea that any one person has an obligation to act with selfless and unconditional love that is not reciprocated in the context of marriage is preposterous. (But sadly not that far removed from what has been expected of people, particularly women, in the past and sometimes still now.)

A marriage needs a foundation of agape love from both parties and if that's there then those deal breakers seem unlikely prospects.

Agape seems to me much easier to understand in the context of a parent's love, or even the more abstract love that one can feel (or rather choose to express) for a even a complete stranger simply because they are another human being.

I tend to think of agape as a love that you do without regard to how you feel. It's certainly a lot easier if the feelings are there too of course!

When my father was hospitalised in a suicidal depression after a major manic episode (during which he left my mum after 37 years of marriage) I wasn't feeling very loving towards him at all. But my sister and brother weren't talking to him and my mum needed support. So I visited and listened and told him I loved him because he was my father and a human being and that was enough.

I could probably keep rambling on about this for some time, but Adam is requesting tea, so I'm going to be a little selfless and let him continue web-surfing while I go boil the kettle :)

Liz said...

"I tend to think of agape as a love that you do without regard to how you feel. It's certainly a lot easier if the feelings are there too of course!"

And that is certainly a main tenet of the book. That love isn't a feeling. Lasting love is an action. A choice. A behavior. Not romance and butterflies and weak knees and such. You can still get that- eros- but it's that level of agape that makes love last and deepen.

I agree, Mim. It has to be both sides for it to work. I guess this would be a different experience if Jeff had decided to jump in and do the Dare with me. I know he is following along (Hi, honey!!) and I see and appreciate the things he is doing. I guess a starting point would be to talk to him about the one-sidedness of it. Not to force him into action (love is a choice, afterall) but just to get his perspective. For example, I'm pretty certain he and I are in agreement on the deal breakers.

Mim- feel free to pop in here and expound any time. I love hearing other perspectives!