Unconditional Love in Marriage

Today I searched the General Conference Library for a talk on being “cheerful” because I have been a mother/wife with an ATTITUDE lately. In my heart I have sincerely desired to be happy and loving and then BAM! The opposite charges right out my mouth! “Ugh who let this ornery crabby woman in here??” I know I am not alone in this- You reading this have probably experienced this before. It’s a sign I am human! But I know my family has really been feeling the negativity this past week. So I decided to study it and let God teach me His cheerful ways.

I was drawn to the talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf from the April 2013 General Conference titled “Your Wonderful Journey Home.” I glanced at it, but it didn’t really seem to focus on the topic like I was originally hoping for, so I kept looking for something else but I just felt this small nudge in me to go back and read it anyways so I did. It was the perfect talk for me right now. I am amazed at how the Spirit works so subtly and individually in our lives.

This quote stood out to me:

“Heavenly Father’s interest in you does not depend on how rich or beautiful or healthy or smart you are. He sees you not as the world sees you; He sees you for who you really are. He looks on your heart. And He loves you because you are His child.”

This paragraph struck me. I know that God loves us unconditionally an as a parent it is easy to apply this love to our children because we are their parents. All we have to do is copy God’s model.  But what about others? What about our friends, parents, our spouse?  God gave me a good medicinal dose of humility today. It became more clear to me how I have not been totally unconditionally loving to my husband in recent situations. (*vulnerable post) Have I wanted to? Um, yes of course! Who doesn’t want to be a perfectly loving spouse? And it is difficult admitting that I am not. But the truth is that the act of doing is MUCH MORE WORK than the desire. And wishing or saying that we unconditionally love someone doesn’t always take away the natural tendencies in us. This has nothing to do with my actual love for him. It has to do with my heart releasing natural dispositions and embracing Godly perspectives and practices. My love for my husband always exists; sometimes my weaknesses just get in the way of me expressing it to my fullest capacity. Needless to say, I needed these words.

I replaced them to apply this paragraph more personally:

[Your interest in Adam does not depend on how rich or handsome or healthy or smart he is. You see him not as the world sees him; You see him for who he really is. You look on his heart. And you love him because he is your husband.]

Ah, I love the energy this created in my heart.

We all have different ideas of what love should look like. It is influenced by media, culture, upbringing, and so on. The world teaches us to love selfishly. To look for what WE are getting out of a situation, not what we GIVE. We also sometimes desire that everyone secretly be carbon copies of US. And that is a fast road to criticism and judgement!

Elder Uchtdorf goes on, “In the premortal life, we learned firsthand from the father of our spirits, a universal language that has the power to overcome emotional, physical and spiritual barriers. It is the pure love of Jesus Christ. This love brings about real change of character. It can penetrate hatred and dissolve envy. It can heal resentment and quench the fires of bitterness. It can work miracles.This deep and abiding influence is a language that reaches to the very soul. It is a language of understanding, a language of service, a language of lifting and rejoicing and comforting.

(With your marriage in mind Bliss)  I invite you to walk confidently and joyfully. Yes the road has bumps and detours and even some hazards. But don’t focus on them. Look for the happiness your Father in Heaven has prepared for you in every step of your journey. Happiness is the destination but it’s also the path.”

No one is perfect. No spouse is perfect. No marriage is perfect! But it never was meant to be. Life was DESIGNED to have opposition in ALL things. If we never had a trial in our marriages or relationships with others, how would we ever be able to get stronger? To appreciate the love we share? To bask in the goodness that exists in those around us?

God’s LOVE is so so powerful. It can change people. I know that because I feel it change me and my own nature little by little. Through God and his path, I do feel happier. And I know that is is through Him that I can love my husband as well as he deserves to be loved.

I am courageously being vulnerable here because: One, we were sent to this Earth to BECOME like God. So that means we AREN’T like Him yet. And it is a process to get there. Part of that process is growth. And you can’t grow unless you admit to where you NEED to grow. As uncomfortable as it is, it is necessary. I have so much room to grow…

And two, social media is overflowing with the best moments of people’s lives- when everything looks perfect, smooth, happy… And you start to feel that you are the anomaly in the world when your life just… isn’t that way. I am here to be real with you. To share #reallifestuff. Because we are all in the SAME BOAT. So let’s stop pretending that we aren’t! Share positive stuff, celebrate! But don’t be afraid to be real either. Because if you look at any hero in our history, they are not honored because they were perfect. They are honored and remembered because of how they overcame hardship, despair, tragedy and resistance. We can all be a hero. We already are.

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Bringing it home: This week ask yourself, “Am I using the language of love? What motivates my thoughts and actions?”

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