Like the woman Dr. Cecil Osborne wrote about in The Art of Understanding Yourself who said: "I would like to have married a man who is very strong, and yet very gentle. He would be strong enough to put me in my place when I get out of line, but understanding and sensitive enough to know when I need to have my own way in certain areas. He would be tolerant of my occasional outbursts and emotional tantrums, and wise enough to see that I need a good cry. He would just pat me and console me without bothering to argue with me."
She went on at considerable length describing this paragon of virtue while her husband sat listening intently. When she finished he said with a trace of bitterness, "There was someone like that once, but they crucified him between two thieves."
Men, of course are just as guilty in having unreal expectations of their spouses and giving conditional love.
Conditional love is not love at all. It is a means of controlling another person. Whether that control is achieved with a high and mighty hand or in a quiet manipulative manner makes no difference. The end result is the same. It is damaging to the person being controlled.
In his book Unconditional Love, John Powell explains that unconditional love never asks another person to be a "doormat, a compulsive pleaser, or a peace-at-any-price person." It has no strings attached.
The greatest force in the world is love. Misguided or conditional, it is psychologically and spiritually damaging. Unconditional, it is the only power that can save marriage, enrich personal and family relationships, and help one to fully live and fully love.
Dr. Powell believes that "Unconditional love is a life-wager, a permanent gift of the heart. It is the only way we can love one another. This gift says simply: 'I want to share with you whatever I have that is good. Somewhere in the world there may be someone who is better for you or for me. That is not the point. The point is that I have chosen to give you my gift of love and you have chosen to love me. That is the only soil in which love can grow. We're going to make it together!'
Unconditional love never asks another
person to be a peace-at-any-price person.
"Unconditional love means that I cannot always predict my reaction or guarantee my strength, but one thing is certain: I am committed to your growth and happiness. I will always accept you. I will always love you."
That is exactly the way God loves us. He says to each of us: "I know who you are. From the moment you were conceived in your mother's womb, I knew you by name. I know everything about you—good and bad—and I will always accept you, always love you."
God is totally committed to us. That is why he gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross 2,000 years ago to save us from our self-destructive sin which causes eternal death. And his love reaches out to all the world regardless of age, color, race or background.
You cannot earn God's love, forgiveness, or gift of eternal life. They're already yours. All you need to do is respond to God's call to accept them.
You can do that right now by a simple prayer asking God to forgive your sins, thanking Jesus for dying on the cross for you, and acknowledging and accepting him as Lord and Savior of your life. To assist you to do this, click on the God's Invitation link at the bottom of the page.
A closing prayer by John Powell: "O God, don't let me die without having fully lived and fully loved."
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