Josh was going to break my heart. Would the hurt be temporary or eternal? It was my choice.

When I first met Josh, I fell for him—hard. In addition to his blue eyes and charm, he was different from any boy I had ever known. He was also the first boy to tell me I was funny and beautiful, the first boy to make me feel really important, and the first boy I loved.

Because Josh was not a Latter-day Saint and because we were both so young, my parents worried about us. My father was the bishop at the time, and every nightly conversation I had with him felt like a bishop’s interview. “You’re too young to date someone exclusively!” he would tell me. Josh and I weren’t allowed to see each other much outside of school, so we talked for hours on the phone. I could tell him things I’d never been able to tell anyone, and I shared my testimony with him, hoping he’d feel the Spirit and want to accept the gospel.

Josh had taken some of the missionary discussions before, and we talked about religion often, but I could tell he never really cared. I hoped he would join the Church and marry me. When I was a Beehive I placed my name in the cornerstone of the San Diego California Temple, promising to be sealed there, and I wanted Josh to be the one to help me keep that promise.

The stronger my relationship with Josh grew, the more my relationship with my parents deteriorated. Mom and Dad worried about me falling in love with someone who had closed the door to the Church. “He isn’t any more interested in the Church now than he was three months ago, Katie!” they would argue. I knew they were right, but I loved Josh so much I couldn’t admit it.

The day I received my patriarchal blessing I cried when the patriarch promised me: “Katie, in due time you will have the privilege of going to the house of the Lord, there to kneel at the altar of the holy temple to be sealed to your companion for time and all eternity.” As he revealed to me the joy my husband and I would have serving in the Church together and teaching our children about the Savior—things I wanted more than anything—I realized the man he was describing could not be Josh.

Over the next few days I wrestled with my feelings. I desperately wanted the promises of my patriarchal blessing, but I knew I wasn’t living in a way to receive them. In “due time” everything I ever wanted could be mine. All I had to do was be faithful and keep Heavenly Father’s commandments. It seemed so simple! But I discovered it was not.

Within a few weeks of receiving my blessing, I broke up with Josh. To this day, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. We were together so much that I had distanced myself from most of my friends. As a result, after our breakup I spent many school lunch hours alone and miserable, watching him in the distance and feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t believe I could ever love anyone as much as I loved him.

At night I sobbed to my Heavenly Father, asking Him why I had to endure this. Why couldn’t Josh and I just love each other and be happy? Although my choice hadn’t been easy, I knew it would be worth it.

I began school the next day with a resolve to make new friends. My patriarchal blessing directed me to surround myself with people who held the same standards I did, so I got to know the girls in my ward and stake. Those girls soon became my best friends.

After high school, I attended BYU and made some wonderful LDS friends. Chad was one of them. Chad returned from his mission a few weeks before I met him, and we soon became the best of friends. With him I started talking again, sharing my feelings. But our conversations were different. We could talk about our testimonies and beliefs without having a debate because Chad was a member of the Church with a strong testimony. I felt peace and comfort with Chad.

After a year and a half of friendship we began to date, and we were married two years ago in the San Diego California Temple, fulfilling the Beehive promise I had made so long ago. I cried during our sealing, as I did when I received my patriarchal blessing.

This was the man I could have joy serving in the Church with, the one who would help me teach our children about Jesus Christ. Looking back now, my relationship with Josh seems hollow compared to my relationship with Chad. Love isn’t how it appears in books and in the movies. Real love, the kind that lasts, is much deeper.

[photos] Photography by Alan Bailey—Rubberball Productions. Electronic composition by Charles Baird

Katie Lea Brown is a member of the BYU 62nd Ward, Brigham Young University 17th Stake.