“Finding Your Sweetheart,” New Era, Sept. 2003, 45
There is nothing more powerful than love, nothing so motivating or that touches so many lives. There have been more books written, more movies made, and more songs sung about love than any other topic. Finding your eternal valentine is the ultimate treasure hunt.
“The Lord has ordained that we should marry,” President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “that we shall live together in love and peace and harmony. … The time will come when you will fall in love. It will occupy all of your thoughts and be the stuff of which your dreams are made. … You will know no greater happiness than that found in your home. … The truest mark of your success in life will be the quality of your marriage. … This choice will be the most important of all the choices you make in your life” (Ensign, May 1998, 51).
Is love something that you are smitten with, something that strikes you like Cupid’s arrow without any say-so? Because we live in a world of agency, wouldn’t it make sense that the most important decision made in mortality would be our choice and not left in Cupid’s hands?
For some people, falling in love is a magical encounter, something that seems to happen at first sight, like that scene in the movie Bambi where Thumper becomes “twitterpated” at the first sight of a beautiful little bunny rabbit. He is instantly smitten by her lovely charm; his eyes become glazed over and dilate to twice their normal size in a hypnotic, enamored stare; and his little rabbit’s foot begins to thump the ground at 90 miles an hour. Bambi similarly becomes twitterpated with a beautiful young doe named Faline.
For others, it isn’t so much “falling in love” as it is “rising in love.” Their love is a growing attraction toward another. Though the “Thumper/Bambi” love-at-first-sight may also rise and bloom like the second, it is often merely physical, a cotton candy kind of love that has no substance and later dissolves, leaving nothing but decay and one more divorce statistic.
On the other hand, “divine” love, as President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) called it, “is not like that association of the world which is misnamed love, but which is mostly physical attraction. … The love of which the Lord speaks is not only physical attraction, but also faith, confidence, understanding, and partnership. It is devotion and companionship, parenthood, common ideals and standards. It is cleanliness of life and sacrifice and unselfishness. This kind of love never tires nor wanes. It lives on through sickness and sorrow, through prosperity and privation, through accomplishment and disappointment, through time and eternity” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 1982, 248).
Your success in marriage will depend largely on your ability to focus on improving yourself, rather than trying to reshape your spouse. It will depend more on being the right one than finding the right one. There is greater power in giving than in getting. Pure love “seeketh not her own” (1 Cor. 13:5; Moro. 7:45). The Savior is wise; His wisdom is beyond ours. We should trust Him. He is never wrong.
“In selecting a companion for life and for eternity,” said President Kimball, “certainly the most careful planning and thinking and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that, of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong. In true marriage there must be a union of minds as well as of hearts” (1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year, 144).
The choice of an eternal companion is up to each individual. Father in Heaven respects your agency, especially with this most important of all decisions. He won’t make the decision for you. He gives guidelines and principles, but the choice is yours. Ask Him to bless you with the wisdom to recognize the attributes of godliness in your potential spouse. Is this a good man who will honor his priesthood? Is this a woman who will nurture our children in loving kindness?
Be worthy of the inspiration you seek. Follow the counsel the Lord gave to Oliver Cowdery found in D&C 9:7–8:
“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give [the answer] unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
“But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”
The decision of who you marry is the most important of your life. It is a decision that will be made with both your heart and your head. In other words, it will feel right (heart) and make sense (mind). “This is the spirit of revelation” (see D&C 8:2–3).
May the Lord bless you. May you know and feel of His love and concern for each one of you. His desire for your success and happiness in life is my prayer and my testimony.
On Valentine’s Day, there are billions of little candy hearts produced—you’ve seen them—with words on them like “my girl,” “kiss me,” “she’s cute,” and, of course, “I love you.” What are you looking for in your sweetheart? If you could print your own candy hearts to describe the ideal man or woman, what would you look for?
The Lord said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). To love as He loved is different from the way the world loves.
True love—charity—suffereth long.
Is patient instead of impatient and tolerant of imperfections instead of intolerant.
Is helpful instead of being critical of weaknesses. Charity does not criticize, is not cranky, and does not complain.
True love is kind.
Is happy, thoughtful, helpful, interested in others, a good Samaritan, merciful, and true love gives comfort.
True love envieth not.
• Is content, frugal, and grateful for blessings; is not covetous, resentful, jealous, or greedy; avoids unnecessary debt; and is a full tithe payer. Charity is not selfish or vain, and it lives within its income.
True love is not puffed up.
Is humble and teachable, does not seek attention, praises others, does not murmur or belittle.
True love doth not behave itself unseemly.
Is courteous, well-mannered, reverent, respectful, and mindful, as well as clean, neat, and considerate of other’s property and feelings; is not crude, indecent, or improper.
True love seeketh not her own.
• Is tenderhearted, caring, sharing, sensitive, compassionate, generous, and united; thinks we, not I; listens; seeks to please God; is not demanding, controlling, or manipulative; does not blame; and says, “I’m sorry.”
True love is not easily provoked.
Is forgiving, patient, calm, gentle, and respectful; is a peacemaker who does not get angry, irritable, or vengeful; is not abusive in word or deed; does not swear or quarrel.
True love thinketh no evil.
Is not judgmental but respectful and trusting, pure and obedient; does not think evil of others by gossiping or finding fault; is modest in thought, dress, and speech; is not deceitful, cruel, or dishonest; avoids inappropriate music, pornography, and dirty jokes.
True love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.
Has a temple recommend and wants an eternal marriage; stays close to the Spirit through regular scripture study and prayer; is responsible; is not light-minded.
True love beareth all things.
• Is bold and patient with affliction and trials (this does not mean that abuse victims should silently bear cruelty or follow a spouse who is disobedient to God); is grateful; does not insult others; is not defensive, irritable, touchy, or grouchy; is not weary in well-doing.
True love believeth all things.
Is cheerful; sees the eternal potential of a spouse; makes the least of the worst and the most of the best; shows by actions that there is a firm belief in eternal families; holds fast to the iron rod; has goals, dreams, a vision, and plans for a happy, successful life together.
True love hopeth all things.
Is an optimist who looks for the best; praises, builds up, and expresses affection.
True love endureth all things.
Doesn’t complain or murmur, is steadfast, accepts responsibility, and is industrious while showing initiative.
True love never faileth.
The Lord is describing a love that deals with our behavior. And behavior isn’t something you fall into or out of. Behavior is something you control and decide. Agency is involved here.
—Elder Lynn G. Robbins
Of the Seventy