|Mom and Dad at 25.5 years (2010) :)|
I was wondering recently if I’ve ever loved a girl before. If I haven’t, could I? Is it possible? It’ll have to be possible if I want to get married. But what does that even mean, to love her? What does “true love” (like with my parents, shown above) entail? Fortunately, as it turns out, “true love” is the topic of my readings for this coming Tuesday’s LDS Marriage and Family class, so I wanted to share some thoughts with you from what I have read for class.
George Q. Morris (who later became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve) said this: “My mother once said that if you meet a girl in whose present you feel a desire to achieve, who inspires you to do your best, and to make the most of yourself, such a young woman is worthy of your love and is awakening love in your heart.”
Okay… what does that mean exactly? It’s not enough to feel good in someone’s presence or to want to be around them to mean that you love them. True love means that you’re with someone who makes you want to be more Christ-like. Whether that be friends you love or the person you want to marry, either one is true.
In my homework, I also read a great quote by President Hinckley: “True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of one’s companion.” It reminds me of the Savior’s words in the New Testament: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
However, like with all good things, the adversary has his counterfeits. President Kimball said “At the hour of sin, pure love is pushed out of one door while lust sneaks in the other. Affection has then been replaced with desire of the flesh and uncontrolled passion. Accepted has been the doctrine which the devil is so eager to establish, that illicit sex relations are justified.” It made me think of men that I’ve loved… probably the most confusing attractions for me has been the ones towards men that I love. I love them, but I’m not in love with them. I love them and I wouldn’t want to do anything to mess up my relationships with them.
I mentioned before that I had been asked by a gay guy I met if I would ever regret not being with a man. I gave part of my reasoning last time I mentioned it, but this is actually the stronger reasoning that came to mind… I have never been in love with a man. It’s confusing at times because I have loved men that I’ve also found attractive. How do you reconcile those feelings of love? Well, here’s how… When I’ve recognized that true love that I’ve felt for my male friends, even those I’ve also been attracted to, I want nothing more than to be held in a tight embrace… I don’t want anything sexual… I just want to be held and to feel their love. On the other hand, when I have felt the desire for more… for something sexual… I can’t say that I’ve felt that true love. I just feel lust.
When I truly love men, I see them as my brothers. Particularly, I have felt this true love when I’ve been with Alex, Calvin, John, and Thomas. I see them as my brothers (in fact I started referring to Calvin as my “big bro” and to John as my “hermanito”) and my rule in my conduct with them has become “Would I do [whatever desired action] with my biological brothers or with Garrett, who has become my brother?” If the answer is no, then it’s pretty safe to say I don’t want to do it with my friends either.
So, to be honest, I don’t know have a clue how it’ll feel to be able to have sexual desires with the woman I marry and not have it just be lust. Because of my experiences, the idea of sexual desire without lust seems very foreign to me. But maybe that’s the point? Maybe that’s what makes sexual relations between and man and his wife so sacred, precious, and special… because that’s the only place and time that true love can be expressed sexually without lust taking over. Maybe it’s because that is the love and expression of love that God approves of. Elder Widtsoe said, “True love of man for woman always includes love of God from who all good things issue.”
I look forward to the day that I can find my “true love” and be sealed to her. I don’t know if it’ll be sooner or later, but if it’s later, then I will do my best to trust in the Atonement and that promise from Heavenly Father that things will get better, because it is from Him that that true love with come anyway.
|Grandma and Grandpa Ficiur at 50 years (2012) :)|
(By the way, all of the general authority quotes I found in p. 154-162 in the Eternal Marriage Institute manual)