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.
I love the statement quoted by President Thomas s. monson: “Choose your love, love your choice.” THere is such truth in this statement! I also love this statement by President Hunter: “Being happily and successfully married is generally not so much a matter of marrying the right person as it is being the right person. The conscious effort to do one’s part fully is the greatest element contributing to success.”
I am so grateful that I chose to marry my love and am grateful for the opportunity to choose to love him every day. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to become the right person for him, fully committing to do my part in our relationship.
I really appreciate this post. Too often we think that love dies because the person is the wrong person we should be with. But don’t you actively choose to love the family you were born into after every fight and argument? I think that’s definitely what it’s like with a spouse, or a potential spouse. Love is something you feel, yes, but it’s deeper than that. There’s more to it than that. It’s also about what you do. Doing brings on the feeling when you’re not feeling it.
When we categorize “love” as something we do rather than something we simply feel, it gives us control over how we love the people around us. As an action, love now become a choice. My mom always tells me that I can choose to be happy or not. I think the same principle applies to love. We can choose to love our spouse, friends, family, etc. or not. Perhaps our circumstances are not ideal at times, but that doesn’t mean love cannot exist in our hearts. Even the Savior loved those that persecuted him. He didn’t love their actions or behavior, but he loved them as children of God. He loved the potential they had to believe and repent, and his loving sacrifice gives them (and us) the opportunity to do so.