Back in early 2009, a little over 2 years into my marriage, we were headed for disaster. In an effort to save my marriage, I completed The Love Dare and blogged the whole thing. It was a life-changing experience for me even though it didn’t do much for my marriage. I gained a testimony of Jesus Christ through that experience. I learned about the pure love of Christ through that experience. And I eventually learned that I cannot control someones choices, only my own. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a few months later, I met missionaries and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a special stake fireside in Amarillo. The topic that night was Christ-like relationships. The speaker was a church-employed counselor for that area, and I appreciated his honesty and frankness. At the time, I hadn’t dated in a little over 6 months. I had decided to focus solely on my spiritual health for a time.
I went by myself, having only been in town for a week. I took fervent notes and hung onto every word. That night, I was looking through the lens of a recently-divorced woman who felt very confused about how my marriage had gone so wrong.
I was looking for answers, for understanding. For peace, but also for hope that I could keep from repeating the past in future relationships. As I listened with an eager and open heart, I was humbled to realize mistakes that I had made and just how unloving I had been at times… Just how selfish I had been at times. How demanding. Yes, I felt sorrow, but more than that, I felt resolve to change.
To truly have a Christ-like relationship, you have to be able to be selfless. You have to be willing to love unconditionally and sacrifice for your family. You have to be willing to trust that your partner will do the same.
This has been my greatest concern… Was it possible for me? Could I be that trusting? Could I be that selfless? Could I love unconditionally?
As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been working on overcoming my issues. When you don’t have your needs met as a young child, you learn how to meet your own needs. You learn how to protect yourself from harm. In some ways, these are really good things. In some ways, they can hurt our relationships with other people. For instance, it can lead you to be a pretty selfish person. You are more concerned about protecting yourself and taking care of yourself than you are others. It’s a survival skill that helped you when you were young, but you don’t need it anymore.
It isn’t something you can just turn off, but with work and faith it can be changed. With the help of our Heavenly Father, we can access the gift of the atonement. We can overcome the sins that have been made against us.
Recently, I’ve wondered, am I ready? (Which really means, am I capable of creating and maintaining a Christ-like relationship) Honestly, I haven’t been sure.
This weekend, I was able to visit the San Antonio Temple and took the opportunity to pray in the Celestial room. When I asked if I was ready to be married, I received an answer that was full of love and promise. “You will be.” Then this lesson from The Love Dare came to mind.
It’s amazing how some things in our lives come full-circle.
I realized that I’m ready to make the choice to love. I’m ready because I’ve made peace with the past. I’m ready because I understand that Christ-like love is not something that comes very naturally or easily to us. It takes humility and prayer and effort, but it is possible. I’m ready because I know there will be tough times, no matter how righteous I am. I’m ready because I have faith in His plan for my life.
I can do this.