Is ‘Marriage & Unconditional Love’ an Oxymoron?

Is marriage and unconditional love an oxymoron? How can you, a husband or wife, learn to create the essential conditions for a mutually satisfying and loving marriage? (Without killing each other first!)

Next week, I’ll be celebrating my 22nd. wedding anniversary…Yahoo! If there’s anything I’ve learned about married life is this: Marriage is all about the simple, intentional choices we make everyday. ‘For better or for worse’ is all about better or worse choices in attitudes, actions, and priorities.

In most of my books, I’ve focused on the importance of creating loving relationships by loving God and loving others. Today, I’d like to offer a short excerpt from my book I Love You Unconditionally…On One Condition and a FREE PDF download of the Introduction.

“Contrary to popular thinking, love is not something you fall into or out of. True love is not an arbitrary impulse that hits us like a Tomahawk missile in the back of the head. Love is a choice, our choice and love is a lot of hard work. Unlike the weather, which you and I can’t control, love is a choice within our control. We can choose to love or we can choose not to. We can work at loving and becoming more loving in all of our relationships. Or choose not to. The weather reporter on Channel 7 can only predict. You get to decide.

If you don’t want to work at love and make the choices necessary to improve the conditions in your marriage, this book is probably not for you. There. I said it. That’s my one condition: To develop a deeper love in your marriage, you have to be willing to work. (That includes your spouse. . . . I know what some of you are already thinking: I’m willing to work, but Immortal Beloved over here isn’t!)

But let’s be honest here. Who wants to work? Work’s not any fun! After all, if we’re really in love, shouldn’t our love just work? We’re soul mates, for crying out loud. We “complete” one another! If we have to work at love, maybe we’re not in love after all. Well, we all want to be loved, but love is a lot of work. That’s where the rub comes in.”

Questions: What do you think are some of the essential conditions and choices to create a loving marriage? What ruins love in marriage?

I’d love to hear your comments, insights and questions.

Click here for a FREE PDF of the Intro to I Love You Unconditonally…On One Condition.

Click here to order I Love You Unconditionally…On One Condition is now available in eBook (Epub & PDF version) or in softcover in the Art, Life, & Faith Store here at

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, snarky or off-topic.

  • Dan Warren

    I was Ok with the work to try and make my marriage work. My marriage lasted about 8 years and most of those were filled with turmoil. Of course when you start off with making bad choices and God is not in it, you don’t really give the relationship a chance. My love for my wife and family was not the issue but everything else was. It’s hard when you feel like a single parent in the confines of your own marriage.  It was even that my “immortal beloved over here isn’t” it was more that she wasn’t even a participant. It’s is hard to work at something when you are the only one working at it.

    • Joey O’Connor

      Thanks for your post. You are right on so many points and I’m sorry that things didn’t work out. Absolutely, marriage requires both a husband and a wife to be fully engaged in the growth of the marriage. Too often, there are so many forces, in our hearts and the world we live in, that pull people apart. Nobody gets married wanting divorce.

      For this very reason, we need to guard our marriages and key relationships with the grace and strength that God gives us to keep our eyes focused on Him first, then mutually building up one another so love deepens and grows along the way.

      Marriage is not a solo or spectator sport…that’s for sure.

      PS: Sorry for the delay in responding.

  • Annette

    We will be celebrating our 29th anniversary this year. And yes, love can be work. Like Kenny Rogers sang, “you got to know when hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”. Diplomacy is huge in any relationship; just because you feel a certain way about something, does not mean you have to share it. It is ok to keep your mouth shut. You know this person, and you know what bugs them, why would you say something that you know will create problems? Choose your battles, are they really worth it, will they matter in the long run?

    “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam: So drop the matter before a dispute breaks out” Proverbs 17:14

    And sometimes, people get complacent, and think that they don’t love each other anymore because the thrill and passion is gone. Try to remember what you felt in those first giddy days of dating. Treat your loved one the way you did back then. It is amazing what this little trick can do for a relationship. And yes, while it came so easily to us way back when, when we were carefree, with the trials of life, it does make it more like work. The priest who married us, in pre-marriage talks, told us that marriage is not 50-50 like most people will say. It is giving 100% of yourself all the time, no matter what. No matter what, 100%.

  • Joey O’Connor

    I love that 100% Annette…that is a great truth. Thanks for your comments and specific ideas on what makes a marriage last…29 years. That is wonderful. Krista and I will be celebrating our 23rd. this year! And we do have a 1001 choices to make every day, don’t we?

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