Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when spouses love each other with the true love of Christ. Jesus Christ knows all our strengths and weakness, the good attributes and our sins, yet He loves us. Spouses normally know each other better than anyone else knows us because they see us at our best and at our worst. Love is the healing balm in marriages.
I read an interesting article titled “Falling Out of Love … and Climbing Back In.” The author’s name was withheld for obvious reasons, but the article contained much good information. She began her article with this paragraph: “By worldly standards falling in love is an easy thing to do. Unfortunately, falling out of love can be easy as well. But falling back into love after falling out is extremely difficult. People don’t fall back into love; they climb back in. this can be a long, difficult journey, but it is extremely rewarding. I know from experience.”
The author thought she had only two choices for fixing her troubled marriage. The first choice was to get a divorce, and the second choice was to stay and be miserable. She did not like either option and turned to the Lord for help. A “new thought” entered her mind, and she knew it was the right thing to do: stay, love her husband, and be happy.
During the next few weeks the author attempted to “fall” back in love with her husband but made no progress. She returned to Heavenly Father for help and was told to “fix yourself.” She did not believe that she was the problem but asked the Lord to guide her. No inspiration came until one Sunday during a Gospel Doctrine lesson. “But charity is the pure love of Christ… Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:47-48).
The class discussed charity and defined it as “the love that Jesus Christ has for each of us. I learned that the Savior knows what is good in each of us. He can find something worthy of loving in every person.”
The class continued their discussion, and the teacher said, “It says in verse 48 that charity is a gift from the Father that is bestowed on you. Charity is not something you can develop on your own. It must be given to you. So there’s a neighbor who makes you angry or someone you don’t like. What’s the problem? The problem is you don’t have charity, the pure love of Christ, toward him or her. How do you get it? You need to `pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart’ and ask Him to give you charity toward that person. You need to ask to see that person through the Savior’s eyes so you will be able to see him or her as good and lovable.”
The author knew that this was her answer. She went to the Lord in prayer and asked for the gift of charity towards her husband. She was prompted to name some good things that she saw in her husband. She followed this pattern for several days and then began to pay more attention during the day. She “watched closely and came up with 10 good things about him.” She set a goal to see 10 good things in her husband every day. Then she started “making” herself name 10 positive things about her husband whenever she got upset with him.
Slowly a wonderful change was taking place. She stopped seeing her husband as a jerk, and her husband began working on his bad habits. “As soon as I stopped feeling I had to be responsible for his actions, he started taking the responsibility upon himself. I was enjoying my time with Mar, and there was more of it because he stopped working so many hours.”
Even though there was so much good happening in the family, the author still did not feel love for her husband. She prayed to feel love for him and was rewarded one evening “with the strongest, most vibrant, most intense love I had ever felt hit me almost like a physical force. My eyes welled up with tears, and I was awed by the strength of my feelings, There, sitting across from me, was my eternal companion, whom I love more than words could express. His infinite worth was so brilliant I couldn’t believe I had ever been able to overlook it. I felt to some degree what the Savior felt for my Mark, and it was beautiful.”
This article mirrors my own marriage in many ways. I agree with the author that we do not easily fall back in love with our spouses. We have to make a conscious decision to climb back into love. This act begins with seeing the good in your spouse and learning to love them with Christlike love. The love of Christ can heal many troubled marriages and families and strengthen communities and nations.