Here's a tip for couples: please talk to one another--often, always, and honestly. And be open to hearing what the other has to say. Unconditional love doesn't mean that we view someone as perfect. It means that we love them, imperfections and all. If either of you complains to the other of some quirk or mannerism or habit that is less than endearing, then thank one another for the honesty, consider whether it is ammendable without any argument over whether it should be ammended. If it can, it should be. If it can't, then the other will have to decide what they can live with and still love. True unconditional love seldom exists, except in a parent for a child.
Be careful, always though, not to confuse the recognition of imperfections with failing to love. It is a far dearer thing, and harder to find, to be loved for what we really are, and to find a mate whose vision of us includes and helps us attain the best that we can be in this lifetime. Nathaniel Branden pointed out years ago that we tend to fall in love with people for the way they see us. Inevitably sad for us if that vision is an illusion, then so will its love be. Infinitely happy for us if that vision is real, both of what is and what can be, for then, the love also is real, unchanging, empowering, sustaining, encompassing, ever-growing. It would be lucky for us if we were designed so as only to fall in love with someone whose love and vision were of the former variety, rather than the latter. But we are so designed that the most attractive thing of all is the illusion of our own perfection when we see it in someone else's eyes
I think it's a rare person who even gets a shot at that more honest, open-eyed love. That's the sort of love that will help us up a notch on the circle. That is a soul mate. And it's a lucky person who gets that shot at an age or a stage when they can recognize the difference, and recognizing it, seize the right ring. God's sense of humor in that regard is closely linked to the fun he has with our sex drives.
A closing quote from Cormac:
Nor is this life of yours by which you set such store your doing, however you may choose to tell it. Its shape was forced in the void at the onset and all talk of what might otherwise have been is senseless for there is no otherwise. Of what could it be made? Where be hid? Or how make its appearance? The probability of the actual is absolute. That we have no power to guess it out beforehand makes it no less certain. That we may imagine alternate histories means nothing at all. (Cities of the Plain, 285)