A client asked why it was that she could love her children even though they frustrated her at times, but she was having trouble feeling that she loved her husband? Most people love their children unconditionally. They loved them in spite of bad behavior, they loved them because they are their children. Is it possible to love a partner unconditionally—to accept and love them warts and all?
Generally we don’t expect that our children pay us back for the love and sacrifice that we offer them. We give and give to our children because we love them; perhaps we love them because we give and give. The key to loving “in spite of” may be to choose to behave lovingly even when we do not feel particularly loving.
Be generous in your relationship. Spend more time watching and thinking about what you are giving to your partner than worrying about what your partner is or is not giving back to you. Stop keeping score and give love freely. You may be surprised at how good it feels to give without strings attached.
Withholding love will cause you to feel less loving toward your partner. Being generous will increase those loving feelings.