Last night at our evening Bible Study we looked at the scripture from I Corinthians 13 - the famed love chapter.
During our discussion the question was raised why is it that we can exhibit more of the qualities of love, like patience, with our kids, but with our spouses we're more inclined to keep a record of wrongs? Why the disparity. Someone suggested it's based on expectations. We expect our spouse to be equal to us, and thus we judge them, comparing them to ourselves. With our kids, especially in their earliest forms everything shouts that they're not equal except in being fully human, and thus we extend patience, unquestionable charity.
Another person posited that the real hindrance in unconditional love is the comparative that we frequently perform of using ourselves as a standard of expectation and thus judgment. When someone doesn't meet our expectations, then we begin to devalue them and our pride increases, that's when we vaunt ourselves.
I am fascinated with the eschatological framework that Paul places the whole concept of love in. Love isn't about a finished product, or a declaration of completeness, but love is the road that leads through the fog of this world to the place where we can see God, face to face, and finally be known, to the other and to ourselves.