I believe that it is very important to review why we love our partners, and to be truly honest with it. Consider the two statements below:
1. I love my partner.
2. My partner loves me.
If you love your partner, then you will want to spend time with them, to cherish them, to show your love for them. No matter what, the potential is there that you yourself will insist upon nurturing the relationship in order to help the marriage succeed: thick and thin; highs and lows; good and bad. However, if we are to follow the second statement, our relationship now becomes dependent upon the actions of our partner in order to keep the love going. Once this happens and the partner falls short, it becomes tempting to blame them, and although technically we were the ones who expected that they keep the love going, our expectations may have contributed to a ruined relationship.
During marriage, the two statements can be very easily mixed: 'I love my partner, therefore my partner should love me'. Soon enough, this may be corrupted and instead becomes: 'I will only love my partner if they love me'.
Knowing this, I say once again: I believe that it is very important to review why we love our partners, and to be truly honest with it.
- If you love your partner because he or she was kind, then your love is dependent upon a past kindness you strongly admire, such that it is worthy of your dedication for the rest of your life. Any extra acts of kindness will only increase your love for them, therefore the potential effort you can put into nurturing your relationship.
- If you love your partner because he or she is kind, then your love is dependent upon their present acts of kindness; if it fluctuates, so will yours, and this may turn into a vicious cycle that spirals down (or up). To prevent this, decide whether your partner's changes were justified or not.
- If you love your partner because he or she was/is kind to you, then your love is dependent upon their past/present kindness exclusively to you.
I've found that knowing both accurately and precisely who you are and what you will and won't accept is quite important in deciding the opportunities open for your relationship to move forward, as well as checking if these intentions decided to develop or change over time.