To love maturely, you cannot just fall in love. You must choose in love and do in love.
Is love important in a marriage? Of course! But what exactly does “love” mean? There are so many different kinds of love—we love our spouses, but we also love eating pizza. What kind of love is most important in a marriage?
Jason S. Carroll, professor of Marriage and Family Studies and Associate Director in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, answers this question in an article published by the Wheatley Institution. In “Mature Love in Marriage,” Carroll says that for a marriage to be truly successful, a couple must love each other maturely.
Carroll explains that love is often seen as “some sort of state of existence or intense feeling that [you] can’t quite explain.” But mature love can be explained completely because you do not just fall in mature love—you choose in mature love, and you do in mature love.
Contrary to what many people think, love is not only about our emotions. Emotion is definitely important in marriage, but our attitude and actions are also vital. Carroll says that while emotions can often be unstable and easily moved, our attitude and our actions are completely our decisions.
If you find yourself noticing that your feelings toward your spouse are not as strong as they once were, think about whether you love maturely. Remember that it’s not all about how you feel but about how you choose and how you do. Make the choice to love your spouse every day and to serve your spouse with love. If you do these things, you will find real, mature love begin to grow.
Read Jason S. Carroll’s article “Mature Love in Marriage.”
Source: The Wheatley Institution
—Amy Davis, Mormon Insights
Find more insights
Watch a video about a husband and wife showing love and service in their marriage, even through great adversity: “Enduring Love.”
See “Marriage” on lds.org to find several articles, talks, videos, and other resources about marriage.