A largely perpetuated marriage myth is that a marriage must be founded and reinforced with unconditional love or the marriage is doomed. This slippery slope of thinking allows free reign of unchecked damaging thoughts and behaviors to run rampant in your marriage that will result in resentment and disconnection.
How Can the Demand for Unconditional Love in Marriage be Damaging?
Unconditional love can be defined as love given to another without boundaries or limitations despite any circumstance that arises. A marriage is a long-term commitment that will be tested by a wide array of unexpected circumstances and difficulties that will stretch the ties that bind. Differing viewpoints on how to tackle these issues will lead to disagreements in a marriage that may harken the question of whether your marriage can be awarded the label of “unconditional love.” If you or your spouse demands that your marriage be grounded in unconditional love, your relationship will ultimately suffer as every marriage must be afforded the flexibility to clumsily navigate the waters of life, while determining what it takes for both individuals to feel loved and accepted.
3 Types of Circumstances That Erase the Unconditional Love or Nothing Standard
1. Grief: Everyone deals with grief differently in which someone or something has been lost. One person may lash out, while another retreats into solitude. More often, a combination of coping mechanisms will be employed that will inevitably test the notion of unconditional love in your marriage. Simply because your spouse questions your reaction to the loss does not mean that there are limitations to your spouse’s love.
2. Betrayal: When there is an issue of broken trust, you or your spouse will question whether your love is strong enough to weather this trying period in your marriage. It’s okay to insist that changes be made in your marriage after a damaging behavior is uncovered without the added confusion that unconditional love should erase the impact of the betrayal.
3. Abuse: Any type of abuse should never be allowed in a marriage or relationship. This type of damaging behavior is frequently expected by the abuser to be excused by the stamp of “unconditional love,” which may lead to the victim overlooking the behavior.
With the guidance of an expert marital counselor, like Jan Rakoff, LCSW, you and your spouse can diminish the hold that these marriage myths have on your relationship. Before relying on these impossible standards as benchmarks for the health of your marriage, call Jan Rakoff of San Diego, CA, today at 858-481-0425 or fill out the email form to schedule your free 15 minute initial consultation to discover how marital counseling can help you foster a renewed sense of love and connection with your spouse.