Can this be love I am feeling right now?
We all want to be loved, feel loved and to love. We are searching for love which is true and can last forever. But how do you know when you are in love and if it is true? I remember my parents always saying during my teenage years, “if you meet a man in whose presence you feel a desire to achieve, who inspires you to do your best, and to make yourself better, such a man is worthy of your love and is awakening love in your heart. In his presence you should feel that you would like to be everything that a perfect woman should be, for he will inspire you to that ideal.”
My husband and I met John (not his real name) waiting for his bride on their special day. Dondi asked him about their love story, and he gladly shared it with us. He said that they met when they were still in college and he knew that she was a Latter-day Saint. He said that she was very attractive and a very special girl. She loved to read the Book of Mormon with him and share her testimony of the church. He doesn’t remember ever feeling pressured or pushed to be a member of the church, but her patience, honesty, and sincerity helped him to open his heart and to listen to the missionaries. After that, he was baptized and he knew for himself that everything was true– not because he loved her, but because that’s what he felt. He told us that he wanted to be better each day that he was with her. Then they both fasted and prayed about getting married.
Dondi and I admired him so much. He loved her so much, but he also respected her and never took advantage of her. We were pleased to witness their special day.
How do you define true love?
President Spencer W. Kimball said, “If one really loves another, one would rather die for that person than to injure him.”
Many of us think of love as a physical attraction, and casually speak of “falling in love” and “love at first sight.” You cannot say it’s true love the first time you meet each other, although some might say it is. Love can only be true if when you see that person you desire to be better, you are willing to sacrifice your own happiness for that person, and you are committed to do everything in good times and in bad.
President Kimball added that love is a process, love is not a declaration, and love is not an announcement. Love is not a passing fancy. Love is not an expediency. Love is not a convenience. Love requires personal action.
True love is faith, confidence, understanding and partnership. There must be great devotion and companionship. It requires cleanliness, progress, sacrifice and selflessness. This kind of love never gets tired but stands through sickness and sorrow, accomplishment and disappointment, through time and eternity.
How to strengthen your love and be not afraid
I think most of us experience heart aches or break ups, in not only romantic relationships but even with friends and family. When it is too painful we sometimes give up on loving someone and choose not to love again. We become afraid to fail and get hurt. I believe there are a lot of reasons why it happens to us, but there are ways to strengthen your love and overcome your fears of loving again.
Be more prayerful in times of trial. We must have the desire to come closer to the Lord during our trials. We must continually be hopeful in our prayers for a bright tomorrow. Always express gratitude in our prayers for another learning experience, and take it positively.
Give more service. During trying times, our natural tendency is to think more of our feelings or condition than to think about others. Let us be more outward than inward. When we serve others, we learn that we are not alone and we come to realize that we are still blessed by the Lord.
Learn more about the Savior’s love. Studying the scriptures and listening to the counsel of the prophet will help us understand and internalize more of the Lord’s unconditional love for us. Our Heavenly Father never gives up on us, no matter how many times we have failed Him by our unwise choices.
I had a friend who is very dear to me. There was a time that she experienced a painful break up from the love of her life. Her love for this man was unquestionable, and she was deeply wounded by the choice of her boyfriend to let her go. But she was brave enough to face this test. I saw her the next day wearing a big a smile and I could sense the hope that she had in her heart that everything would be alright. Every time she remembered those feelings of being broken, she would just stop to meditate and talk to the Lord. She also made more time to reach out to others and she actively tried to learn more about the Savior and the great plan of the Lord. With that faith that she showed, miracles happened in her life. She and her previous boyfriend were able to get back together and this time their love became sweeter and stronger. I remember her saying, “I would never demand that he change for me. Instead, I will love him more each day and accept him for who he is.” Her unconditional love for this man was able to change him for the better and I am a witness of that. They overcame this great test, were married in the temple, and were blessed with a son that has made their lives complete.
Can this be love? Yes, definitely.