Most of us are not actually consciously trying to control our spouses. We call that manipulation and know that is not good. Nevertheless, most of us would love our spouses to act in a very particular way, that is usually different than how they are currently acting.
Most of us would agree with the statement that unconditional love would help our relationship grow and thrive and at the same time get really upset when our spouse does not act in whatever way we think they should. In other words, if what your spouse is doing is bugging the heck out of you, you are probably (definitely) not practicing unconditional love.
Here are 5 examples where someone is trying to control the other partner and loving conditionally instead of loving unconditionally.
- One spouse decides to stop attending church and the other spouse withdraws love and attention to show displeasure.
- One spouse decides to keep attending church and the other spouse withdraws love and attention to show displeasure.
- One spouse decides to take off their garments and the other spouse reminds them about their lack of integrity in keeping their covenants.
- One spouse decides to keep wearing their garments and that spouse berates the other for their choices.
- One spouse decides to stop paying tithing on their income and the other spouse frequently comments negatively on how they are spending their money.
- One spouse decides to keep paying tithing and the other spouse makes frequent comments negatively on how they are spending their money.
You are probably aware of a pattern here. Often when we are upset we fail to love unconditionally even when we know it the best choice for the relationship.
Here is a bonus exercise to help you evaluate your level of unconditional love.
Exercise: Unconditional Love for Your Spouse
Think of your spouse as you answer the questions below:
- What expectations do you have for your spouse? (Roles, conditions, or expectations)?
- Is your love or how you express your love based on how your spouse acts? Does your reaction to them change depending on how they are or are not meeting your expectations?
- How would you act differently if you loved your spouse unconditionally at all times?
- How does it feel when you are showing unconditional love?
- What would it feel like to love your spouse unconditionally all the time no matter what they did?