Why do you love your spouse? Because he is a good provider or has an amazing sense of humor? Because she is talented, kindhearted or generous? If your love is attached to some behavior or personality characteristic, it is a conditional love, not agape love, which is unconditional.
Many writers have written about agape love, said to be the highest, truest, most all-consuming love. Whereas the types of love called phileo (friendship) or eros (sexual) are important to a great marriage, its foundation should be the unconditional agape love, according to the book The Love Dare. In fact, the romantic and friendship aspects of a marriage are able to be enjoyed at a deeper level when agape love is present.
Unconditional, unselfish agape love is a difficult thing to strive for. It doesn’t mean you allow yourself to be mistreated or abused, or even that you shouldn’t speak up if your needs are not being met. It means you can love your spouse even when he or she is acting unlovable, or is sick, unemployed or depressed. When you are not “getting” as much as you’re “giving” (if you are keeping score as many couples unconsciously do), it’s agape love that keeps you committed to the relationship nonetheless.
Agape love isn’t destroyed by time or temperament, by rough patches or seasons of sadness, by old age or illness. Agape love is a choice to be committed come what may. Is that the kind of love you possess? Do you love your spouse, or do you love what you get from your spouse?