The day I got married, I took a vow that went something like this : “I, Aubrey, take you, Jonathan, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” These vows are spoken every day; they are also broken every day. But unspoken vows can be more important than uttered promises.
The love I have for my husband is not the same adoration I have for my family. Marital love is based on conditions. If your spouse cheats on you, abuses you, steals from you, lies to you, or ends up in prison, it usually affects how you feel about him or her. This can lead to divorce court or embarrassing yourself on Judge Judy.
That’s not the love most family members have for each other. I feel differently about my children than I do about my mate. If my children cheated, stole, lied, or ended up in prison, my love would not change. I might be embarrassed by their choices, but I would still love them as much as I did yesterday. This is the absolute love that you share with your flesh and blood. It’s not one many people talk about, but it is one I have seen displayed over and over again.
My parents demonstrated this hopeful love with all three of their children. They believed in us, they wanted the best for us, and they recognized hidden greatness, even if it might not have existed. I am pretty sure my parents did not make this vow the day I was born: “I take thee, little baby Aubrey, to be my family, in absolute love, unconditionally. For dumber or smarter, in bad choices or good. Through jail time, addictions, evictions, even when you’re misunderstood. I will hope for the best, with no expectations, and will hold your hand through all your afflictions.” They may never have uttered those words, but I have seen them in action, and it gives me confidence that, no matter what poor or wise decisions I make, whether or not they express it in words, my family will always be there with open arms to show me love—the unconditional kind.