True love is not thrust upon us; it is a choice we must make every day.
Our favorite movies, books, and songs teach us that love is something that happens to us spontaneously. Our hearts beat faster, our thoughts wander, our stomachs flutter with butterflies. We just can’t resist “falling in love.” It feels so right, so exhilarating. In “Agency and Love in Marriage,” from the October 2000 Ensign, Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy calls this kind of love “merely glandular, a cotton candy kind of love that has no substance.” Such love, based on fleeting emotions that come and go, simply won’t last—unless we act to make it stronger.
The very fact that the Lord commands us to love implies that we must exercise agency. Elder Robbins points out that “in commanding us to love, the Lord refers to something much deeper than romance—a love that is the most profound form of loyalty. He is teaching us that love is something more than feelings of the heart; it is also a covenant we keep with soul and mind.” When a couple are married in the temple of the Lord, they promise to love one another for time and for all eternity. Thus, the idea of passively “falling out of love” becomes almost unfathomable, even though the world wants us to believe it is quite normal.
By striving with great effort to follow Jesus Christ and his commandments, a husband and wife can attain lasting, eternal love. To help us achieve this love ourselves, Elder Robbins shares a list of Christlike attributes; the list highlights charity, the purest form of love, in a way that is easy to understand. We can use his to evaluate how we are showing love to those around us in our daily lives and what we can do to improve.
How well are you choosing to express your love in your most treasured relationships?
To learn more about how to show your love for others in meaningful ways, read Elder Lynn G. Robbins’s article “Agency and Love in Marriage.”
—Faith Sutherlin, Mormon Insights contributor
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Take on the “Love One Another—14-Day Challenge” in order to increase your love for those around you.