LOVE & MARRIAGE BYU SPEECHES – Episode 17
Elder Jeffrey R Holland started off his speech about marriage by paraphrasing Mark Twain:
“What I’ve learned of romantic love and the beauty of marriage, I have learned from Sister Holland. I am honored to be her husband … paraphrasing what Mark Twain’s Adam said of his Eve, ‘Wherever she was, there was paradise.'”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning asks, How do I love thee?
“Not WHEN do I love thee. Nor WHERE do I love thee. Nor WHY do I love thee. But rather HOW. How do I demonstrate it? How do I reveal true love for you?”
So, what is the HOW? Let’s talk about this. Elder Holland turns us to the scriptures, to answer this question.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Charity – pure love – is patient, seeketh not her own, thinketh no evil. It is not puffed up. It is not easily provoked.
“We are too easily provoked… let some things pass without comment… Think the best of each other – especially of those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad. Encourage in yourself what Lincoln calls the better angels of our nature.”
This comes to mind readily this afternoon because, in an immature moment just this morning, I didn’t practice this principle. I was talking to Ella about her egg-selling business. Yes. She has 21 chickens, and a handful of clients. I’d emailed a few ladies I knew were interested, on Ella’s behalf. And I was telling her just that, when Bry came inside from the garage. He said something like, “Wow. You are going to have more clients than eggs.” Immediately I assumed the bad and doubted the good. “I was just trying to help”, was my retort. He went on to assure me that he wasn’t criticizing. I immediately felt embarrassed that I’d assumed he was being critical. He had never been critical of me before today, in all of our 16 years of marriage. Why would he start today? Over eggs?
Why would I assume the bad and doubt the good? Let’s do some thought work. Let me look at the model, in his brain.
- ACTION – What he actually said
- You may have more clients than eggs
- FEELING – What was driving him to say it
- Desire to be included in the conversation
- THOUGHT – What was causing his feeling
- He had just then taken Ella to feed the chickens and collect eggs. Ella hasn’t been very reliable lately, and Bryant has taken up the slack – buying the food, filling up the water, collecting the eggs, etc. He may have thought that he should be a part of a conversation about the chickens he, himself, had been caring for.
Ah ha. That understanding changes everything right? Can I do this? Can I get in the habit of doing the thought-work, before reacting? Act, and not react? Assume the good and doubt the bad?
Pure love seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked.
“As in everything, Christ is the only one who got it all right, did it all perfectly – loved the way we’re all to try to love…
In all that Christ was, He was never inflated. He was never consumed with his own needs. He did not once seek His own advantage at the expense of someone else. He delighted in the happiness of others – happiness that He could bring them. He was forever kind.”
A friend just told me that her and her husband are likely getting divorced. I ask myself, when I find myself or my loved ones in such circumstances, could I have seen this coming? Could it have been prevented? Is it for the better? Where do we go from here?
Could the ending of our story change if we followed a prescribed scripture like 1 Corinthians 13? Or if we followed wise counsel? Or if we blogged every day for one year?
How can we know what is in our future? Brooke Castillo says: Look at our thoughts today!
“Every single result you have in your life is the bottom of the model – you had a thought and a feeling and took some action.
Put the result that you have in your life, in the RESULT line, and then trace it back up to your THOUGHTS. Take responsibility for that agency, that authority – that responsibility will make you come alive.”Brooke Castillo – Why Change is So Hard
Let me try it. Right now. I will put a RESULT that I am now experiencing in the model, and work backwards to see how I got there:
- RESULT – We live in Utah.
- ACTION – We looked at options for employment and housing somewhere more residential than NYC. We made a choice to accept the job in Utah.
- FEELINGS – Worry about the children’s environment.
- THOUGHTS – The neighborhood is kind of rough, and the schools are rough, as well. I don’t want to settle down here in Jackson Heights, but I think we are getting old enough that we ought to consider settling down.
- CIRCUMSTANCE – We lived in Jackson Heights.
This model actually leads me to question our ACTION. It looks like we may have acted out of FEELINGS of fear or worry. Hmmmm. That is a discussion for a different day.
Okay. Let’s try it again, the opposite direction, though. Does that make sense? We just looked at how I got to where I am at now. Now let’s look at where I will be in my future. I want to know what will happen to my marriage to Bryant in my future:
- CIRCUMSTANCE – We are married.
- THOUGHTS – Love looks like this: Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
- FEELINGS – Excitement. Confidence. We are up the challenge. We want this. We know what to do. We are all in.
- ACTION – We work at our marriage. We talk about the challenges. We pray to not only be able to follow Christ’s example, but to use His power to change us and strengthen us.
- RESULT – We will have a strong marriage. That will be the future result.
Can it really be that “easy” to determine where our future will lead – looking at our thoughts about our circumstances today?
“If you want to know what someone’s thinking, look at their life. If you want to know what you’re thinking, look at your life. Your thoughts are never a secret. They’re manifested in the results of your life…
When you see what you think about, you see where you’re going. It’s almost like looking at the GPS.”Brooke Castillo – Why Change is So Hard
Really interesting, right? And what is the “result” that I want for my life? I want the end “result” of my life to be described in one word: love.
“In a final injunction to all his disciples for all time, He said, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you.’
How should I love thee? As He does, for that way ‘never faileth.'”