14: True Love

Preparing for an Eternal Marriage Teacher Manual, (2003), 51–53


Doctrinal Overview

Understanding love helps us in selecting an eternal companion and establishing an eternal marriage. Bruce C. Hafen, who was later a member of the Seventy, said: “Be friends first and sweethearts second. Lowell Bennion once said that relationships between young men and young women should be built like a pyramid. The base of the pyramid is friendship. And the ascending layers are built of things like time, understanding, respect, and restraint. Right at the top of the pyramid is a glittering little mystery called romance. And when weary travelers in the desert see that glitter on top of the pyramid from far off, they don’t see what underlies the jewel to give it such prominence and hold it so high” (“The Gospel and Romantic Love,” in Brigham Young University 1982–83 Fireside and Devotional Speeches [1983], 32).

The Apostle John wrote: “Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7–8).

Principle

Understanding love helps us establish and maintain eternal relationships.

Student Manual Readings

Selected Teachings from “Love” (154)

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Explain that other feelings are often mistaken for the kind of love that launches and sustains eternal relationships. If what we think is true love is in reality nothing more than physical desire, it could result in disillusionment, dislike, and estrangement.

Write on the board the headings True Love and Counterfeits. Ask the class for words that describe true love. (These may include eternal, pure, mature, godlike, nurturing, real, and married love.) Write responses on the board in the appropriate column. Ask students to also name words that describe counterfeits of true love. (These may include infatuation, selfish desire, transitory, domineering, and lust.) Write responses on the board. Explain that the purpose of this lesson is to discover the difference between true love and its counterfeits.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Group work. Write the following questions on the board:

  1. 1.

    What is true love?

  2. 2.

    What are some of the counterfeits of true love?

  3. 3.

    How does our love for God influence our ability to love others?

  4. 4.

    What types of conduct help develop true love in relationships?

Explain that these questions are subheadings from the “Love” section in the student manual (154–58). Divide the class into four groups and assign each group one of the four questions. Ask students to find answers by reading the corresponding subsections. Have them report their findings.

Scripture discussion. Read the following scriptures and statements and show how they help answer the accompanying questions.

What Is True Love?

  • Read Genesis 29:20. How do you think Jacob’s willingness to work showed his love for Rachel? (Answers may include that he sacrificed by working for her, his love never tired or waned, he expressed his love by action, he was patient.)

  • Read Romans 8:35, 39. How can the principle taught in these verses be likened to true love for an eternal companion? (see also Elder Spencer W. Kimball’s statements in the subsection).

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 42:22–23. To what else do some “cleave”? Share the following statement by Elder Spencer W. Kimball:

“There are those married people who permit their eyes to wander and their hearts to become vagrant, who think it is not improper to flirt a little, to share their hearts, and have desire for someone other than the wife or the husband, [but] the Lord says in no uncertain terms: ‘Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else.’ [D&C 42:22; italics added.]

“And, when the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving. And, to the woman it is paraphrased: ‘Thou shalt love thy husband with all thy heart and shall cleave unto him and none else.’ The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1962, 57).

What Are Some of the Counterfeits of True Love?

  • Read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball:

“Improper sex life can bring only disappointment, disgust, and usually rejection. …

“Very often the couple—the two people who have been promiscuous, who have been wanton, who have crossed the lines of propriety—become disgusted with one another and discontinue associations altogether. Many come to dislike, if not to hate, the partner in sin” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 156).

What role should physical attraction play in the selection of a mate?

Read Romans 13:10. What are some of the ways couples “work ill” to each other today?

How Does Our Love for God Influence Our Ability to Love Others?

  • Read Matthew 6:24; Doctrine and Covenants 59:5. If we love anything more than God, how will it affect our love in courtship and marriage? (see also the statement in the subsection by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles).

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 42:22. Who besides God are we commanded to love with all our heart?

  • Read Galatians 5:16–19. Contrast the “works of the flesh” and walking “in the Spirit.”

  • Read Galatians 5:22–23. How does obedience to gospel principles relate to true love? (see also the statement by Elder Orson Pratt, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in the subsection).

What Types of Conduct Help Develop True Love in Relationships?

  • Read 2 Timothy 2:22. What does the word flee in Paul’s counsel imply? How can following righteousness lessen the threat of “youthful lusts”? (See also Genesis 39:10–12—Joseph fleeing temptation.)

  • Read Moroni 7:45–47. How does developing charity enhance our relationships?

Conclusion

Draw the following diagram on the board. Explain that we must base our commitment on our testimony of the Lord and His gospel.

Commitment triangle

Tell students that several important principles from today’s lesson are illustrated in the diagram. Invite students to try to explain it. Testify that the key to developing true love and avoid Satan’s counterfeits is to strengthen our commitment to God. As we do so, our love for our eternal companion will also increase.