Life can be full of threats. When you’re driving down the freeway, you may be threatened by a drunk or crazy driver. When you’re away from home, your house could potentially be threatened by a burglar. Even a casual visit to the ATM could result in your life being threatened by a robbery.
But what about relationships?
When you think about potential threats to your relationship – cheating, finances and lack of trust are probably some of the most vivid threats that come to mind. Although those issues are quite serious among others, can any of them claim the spotlight as the #1 threat to your relationship?
I’m here to let you know that NONE of the above are the #1 threat to your relationship!
I bet you’re saying, “Wait, what? You mean to tell me that not even cheating (or adultery in marriage) is my #1 threat? Finances and lack of trust aren’t my biggest threat either?” That’s right. That’s exactly what I’m telling you. As big as those problems may seem, there’s an even bigger issue that looms over all the others.
The answer may surprise you.
The #1 threat to your relationship is relying on “emotional love” to keep your relationship alive.
Let me explain. The reason why your biggest threat is relying on “emotional love,” is because it doesn’t last. “Emotional love” is a temporary phenomenon – even amongst those who boast to have the greatest relationship/marriage. In all actuality, true love is NOT an emotion, nor was it ever meant to be. True love is unconditional and refuses to take part in emotion. I’ll get into that later on in the article.
So what is emotional love and why doesn’t it last?
Every genuine relationship goes through the in love experience. This is the period of time when you’ve fallen in love with your partner and everything seems perfect and blissful. I’m sure you can recall when you fell in love with your partner. It seemed like he couldn’t do anything wrong. Everything about her made you smile. He was on your mind all the time. She was worth spending your every last penny on. During this time your emotions are running super high. You find yourself doing things for your new love that you’d never catch yourself doing before. You were so in love that you probably thought the smell of her morning breath was pleasant (this may be an exaggeration for some, but I’m just saying)! This experience usually lasts up to 2 years. Just to note: the experience can also come again for another 2 years right after you get married (also known as the honeymoon stage). The adrenaline you receive from the in love experience, is what prompts you to treat your partner above and beyond. It’s really your emotions that are doing the work for you and not yourself.
The hard work comes after the in love experience begins to dissolve.
You can tell when the in love experience has come to an end, because that’s when your emotions have sobered up and reality settles in. You begin to realize that certain aspects about your partner are annoying. You remember that one point in time when you thought the two of you would never argue? That belief quickly becomes illegitimate when you find yourselves arguing over petty issues. You no longer find it an honor to rub her feet, because now it seems like a chore. Cooking for him used to delight you, but now you wish he’d just throw a pack of Ramen noodles in the microwave and call that dinner.
This is where the problem begins.
When couples begin to feel the effects of a dissolving in love or honeymoon experience. They begin to question if they made the right choice. They ponder, what happened to the man I fell in love with? Where did the woman of my dreams go? By relying on the mortal phenomenon to keep your love alive, you now feel like your love has died. This is when the other issues start rolling in – and this is why relying on emotional love is your #1 threat. It opens the door for a plethora of problems. Think about it. When you’re on that emotional high, you’d never imagine doing anything to hurt your partner. You’re too happy and things are too good for you to mess your relationship up. But when that experience is over and you feel like love has failed you, that’s when cheating and broken trust (and many other issues) gain the opportunity to creep in your relationship. You automatically begin to search for something or someone that can make you feel loved (and emotionally high) again. Why? Because that’s what every human being longs for: to feel the sensation of love continually.
So how do you protect your relationship after the in love experience has run its’ course?
Unconditional Love (Agape).
Learning to love unconditionally is the guaranteed and only way to protect your relationship from the #1 threat. Loving unconditionally will cause you to no longer rely on emotional love (which doesn’t last). It will empower you to maintain the desire to treat your partner exceptionally well. Why? Because unconditional love is the affirmation that boasts, “My love for my partner goes deeper than my emotions.” It confirms that you do not need to feel some type of high to treat your partner well, because you’ve made up in your mind that your partner deserves the best from you forever. Unconditional love asserts that you don’t need a reason as to why you love your partner. In fact, you no longer have a reason as to why you treat your partner so well. You just do, because your love has grown to the depths of being unconditional.
The key to overcoming your #1 threat is to let unconditional love kick-in from the beginning. Once you’ve fallen in love, you’ve got make up in your mind that you’ll love this person, no matter what (especially for married couples). Loving unconditionally does not mean that you won’t ever feel the love. It just means that your love isn’t based off of emotions, but it’s based off of the true foundation of loving another being. Unconditional love affirms true love, because unlike your in love experience, your kind actions are motivated by choice rather than controlled by your emotions.
Experiencing unconditional love will make your relationship last forever. Sure, you may have your differences with your partner from time to time. But unconditional love allows you to realize, hey, it does happen, but we can get past this and continue on in love. Relying on emotional love, causes you to be blind-sided and devastated at the first sign of any disagreement.
With your desire to show acts of love to your partner (and vice versa) beyond the in love experience, you’ll both have a relationship that grows deeper than any emotion can ever take you. You will never feel like serving your spouse is a chore (it will remain a delight) and you’ll never leave room for your relationship to be destroyed.
Apply this concept and your #1 threat will never have power over your relationship again.
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