People often throw out the term unconditional love. Though through the years I have learned that most people do have conditions for love. I have also learned that having conditions can be part of what makes love healthy. This does not mean an endless amount of hoop jumping conditions, or ridiculous expectations. What it means is there are general rules of love. The conditions fall into different levels of importance for different people.
For many people love involves:
Kindness, compassion, empathy, connection, intimacy, curiosity, intellectual and emotional stimulation, caring, boundaries, giving, trying, growing, learning, joy, and trust.
One way to find out what love is to you; is to evaluate what you like about yourself and what is important to you.
· What attributes do you have?
· How do you want to be treated?
· How do you treat others?
Incompatible value systems are some of the most frequent reasons I see people come into couples counseling. Many people end up in relationships rather than choosing to be in them, then they spend the rest of the relationship trying to turn the person into the person we want them to be. This never works well.
Some examples of Value questions to discuss:
· What are your future goals?
· What is your belief about working and finances?
· How do you feel about having children?
· What parenting style would you like to use?
· What roles do you believe a partner should have, for example, a care giver, provider, equal?
· What are your beliefs about spirituality/religion? Are your beliefs compatible?
Some values can be different as long you can lovingly discuss these topics and agree to disagree. Many people can even have different political viewpoints. Some other examples of differences that can be compatible are if one of you is neat and tidy and the other not so much. As long as the two of you are devoted to growing and shifting together minor differences can be worked out. Reach out for some support to a skilled Marriage or Couple's Counselor