May 15, 2011

The Gospel and Romantic Love

Elder Bruce Hafen, emeritus General Authority and the former Dean of the BYU Law School, is known for writing on the subject of romance. I ran into an excellent talk he gave at a BYU devotional called The Gospel and Romantic Love. He made a point in the talk that really resonated with me. As many single people do, I have hit periods of real discouragement, deep loneliness and have had to work to overcome feelings of victimhood. At times I've believed those feelings are (almost) totally related to my state of singlehood. I think Elder Hafen makes a good point, it's empowering to know that these kinds of feelings are not necessarily about being single, but are instead a part of the human condition:

Avoid the habit of feeling sorry for yourself, and don’t worry excessively about those times when you feel socially unsuccessful. . . I remember the experience of a choice young woman who had been very popular and successful in many ways in her home town. She passed up two or three chances to get serious with young men because she planned to attend college at a Church school, where she fully expected to find more promising opportunities. After she had been at that school for six months without a date, however, she honestly began to wonder if she had some loathsome disease. Seeing that experience through her eyes was very sobering for me about the risks we take in any large population center, because sheer size and numbers can so easily cause people to make incredibly superficial judgments about others, in ways that emphasize appearance above far more important but less obvious factors. . .
The college-age years are a wonderful time in which to experience a variety of human relationships, to go places and do things, to read widely, to find yourself, to develop the roots of spiritual and emotional maturity. To gain this kind of ripeness and growth simply takes time, experience, and effort.
The discouragement you may feel as another empty Friday night rolls by is often a form of the insecurity we all encounter as we seek to find ourselves. Without the apparent approval of your self-worth that comes through social success, you may begin to doubt whether your life is really worthwhile. That kind of self-doubt is only part of a larger problem that accompanies most of us, married or single all the days of our lives. At times, we wonder if the Lord loves us; we wonder if other people love us. And so we mistakenly seek the symbols of success—whether that is being popular or being rich or being famous within our own sphere.
Sometimes you may let someone take improper liberties with you, or you may indulge yourself in some practice that seems to bring temporary relief but only makes you feel worse in the long run. Some even make poor marriage choices, just to show the world that somebody will have them. Ultimately, however, only the Lord’s approval of your life really matters. If you seek to be worth knowing and seek to do his will, all the rest will take care of itself. Never forget that all things work together for good to them who love God. (See Rom. 8:28.)

Have a wonderful Sabbath!

1 comment:

  1. Happy older couples.. have been known to say that love (and the romantic part) actually increases over time. I think this is one of those things that gets overlooked in today's "MR. RIGHT/MRS. RIGHT NOW!" culture.

    Hollywood should make a movie about that.... maybe like your other post earlier this week.. it should be crowdsourced... and someone will co-author a script with Bruce Hafen and sell it to hollywood. (or feature films for families if that doesn't work)