During the Valentine's season, everyone's thoughts turn toward romance and love. But Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has explained how we should love others, not only on one day or during one month, but through every trial, struggle, and joyous moment in our lives.
At a BYU devotional on February 15, 2000, Elder Holland spoke of Valentine's Day and true love:
I approach the subject knowing full well that, as a newly engaged young woman said to me just last month, “There is certainly a lot of advice out there!” I don’t want to add needlessly to this rhetoric on romance, but I believe that second only to your membership in the Church, your “membership in a marriage” is the most important association you will have in time and eternity—and to the faithful what doesn’t come in time will come in eternity. So perhaps all of you will forgive me for offering, yes, more advice. But I wish it to be scriptural advice, gospel advice. Advice, if you will, that is as basic to life as it is to love—counsel that is equally applicable to men and to women. It has nothing to do with trends or tides of the time or tricks of the trade but has everything to do with the truth.
So may I put your friendships and dates and eventually your marriages in a scriptural context this morning and speak to you of what I will try to communicate as true love.
After a long wonderful discourse by Mormon on the subject of charity, the seventh chapter of Moroni tells us that this highest of Christian virtues is more accurately labeled “the pure love of Christ.”
And it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him [and her].
'Wherefore, . . . 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; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; . . . that we may be purified even as he is pure.' [Moroni 7:47–48]
True charity, the absolutely pure, perfect love of Christ, has really been known only once in this world—in the form of Christ Himself, the living Son of the living God. It is Christ’s love that Mormon goes to some length to describe for us and that Paul the Apostle did as well some years before, writing to the Corinthians in New Testament times. As in everything, Christ is the only one who got it all right, did it all perfectly, loved the way we are all to try to love. But even though we fall short, that divine standard is there for us. It is a goal toward which we are to keep reaching, keep striving—and, certainly, a goal to keep appreciating.
Though we might not be able to obtain our Savior's level of pure, unselfish love, Elder Holland shared how we can love so that our marriages, families, and our relationships can become more pure and Christlike. This Mormon message shares some of the highlights from this powerful talk:
To read the full talk, click here.
Elder Holland also shared a special tribute to his beloved wife today on Facebook, showing what true love looks like in his own marriage:
"What I have learned of romantic love and the beauty of marriage I have learned from Sister Holland. I am honored to be her husband. She is my forever valentine.
"Sister Holland and I have been married for 54 years. I may not know everything about her, but I know 54 years' worth, and she knows that much of me. I know her likes and dislikes, and she knows mine. I know her tastes and interests, hopes and dreams, and she knows mine. The result is that I know much more clearly now how to help her, and, if I let myself, I know exactly what will hurt her. In the honesty of our love — love that can't truly be Christlike without such total devotion — surely God will hold me accountable for any pain I cause her by intentionally exploiting or hurting her when she has been so trusting of me.
"I believe the staying power in romance and marriage requires more than any of us really have. It requires something more, an endowment from heaven.
"You want capability, safety, and security in dating and romance, in married life and eternity? Be a true disciple of Jesus. Be a genuine, committed, word-and-deed believer in Him. Believe that your faith has everything to do with your romance, because it does. Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, is the only lamp by which you can successfully see the path of love and happiness for you and for your sweetheart. How should I love thee? As He does, for that way 'never faileth.'"
Editor's note: This article was originally published on LDSLiving.com in February 2018.