“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
In a previous post on my blog, I talked extensively about charity- what it is and why we so desperately need more of it in this world. Today, I would like to continue those thoughts on charity, but tie them into how charity is crucial, not only in life, but in our marriage relationships.
Perhaps Marvin J. Ashton said it best, “Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down” (Goddard 116).
So, if you were wondering what charity has to do with marriage, wonder no more, my friends. Do you have to accept someone’s differences in a marriage relationship? Yes. Weaknesses and shortcomings? Yes. Do you ever have to exhibit patience with a spouse who has let you down? Hopefully not often, but yes.
I have been enrolled in this marriage class for the past 10 weeks. Truth be told, I was hoping that this class could help me manage some things that were distressing me about my relationship with my husband. Nothing huge. Certainly not anything that has had me contemplating separation or divorce, but just…things, ya know? Things such as feelings of an imbalance of responsibilities around the house and letting little annoyances fester way too long. I knew that these things were mostly problems with me and my perspective of situations, but I just couldn’t figure out how to move past them. (Thank you, Satan.)
Little did I know that there is one word that has the power to help me overcome all of these things and more…charity.
LOVE FROM CHRIST
Elder C. Max Caldwell gave a talk in 1992 entitled “Love of Christ” in which he talks about three principles of charity. (I will not be talking about them in the same order in which he presented them in, but instead will be following the order that Dr. Goddard presented them in when he wrote “Drawing Heaven into your Marriage.)
“Charity is first and foremost the redemptive love that Jesus offers all of us. It is the love from Christ. He is the model of charity-which never faileth” (Goddard 116).
Think about it. You have an elder brother who loves you so completely that He gave His very life for you. He suffered for your sins so that He could be an advocate for you in the presence of God, our Eternal Father in Heaven. He “reaches after us… [and as] we begin to understand His goodness and redemptiveness, we are changed. We are filled with a profound awe and gratitude for Him” (Goddard 117). Then Goddard poses this question: Why would the Savior do all that he has done to rescue us? The answer to that is, charity, and when you can truly come to know that the Savior loves every fiber of your being, that changes you and helps you move to the next principle of charity.
LOVE FOR CHRIST
“As the amazing truth of His unrelenting love pierces our hearts, we are led to…love for Christ” (Goddard 117). I feel that it is easy to love the Savior considering all He has done for me. Just loving Him feels so trite when I think about the scope of all He has gone through so that I can live forever with God someday.
But love is a powerful thing, and when we feel the love that Christ has for us, we can’t help but love Him back, and that adds to this process of being changed. “Charity, or love for Christ, sustains us in every need and influences us in every decision” (Maxwell). As we feel that sustaining power from loving Christ it increases our ability to then move on to the third principle of charity.
LOVE LIKE CHRIST
This is where our marriages come in. Can I take the love from and for my Savior and have that change me so that I can express love to my husband like unto the love my Savior has for him? Elder Maxwell tells us how we can do this.
“Jesus’ love was inseparably connected to and resulted from his life of serving, sacrificing, and giving in behalf of others. We cannot develop Christlike love except by practicing the process prescribed by the Master” (Maxwell).
Serving, sacrificing, and giving in behalf of others. These are the magic ingredients! These are the things that have helped set me on a path to overcome the festering annoyances and grumpiness that I sometimes have with my husband. As I have focused my attention on serving instead of complaining, sacrificing instead of keeping score, and giving of my whole soul to a companion that I want to live with for eternity, I have felt a tangible difference.
Goddard, H. W. (2009). Drawing heaven into your marriage: eternal doctrines that change relationships. Cedar Hills, UT: Joymap Publishing.
Maxwell, C. Max., "Love of Christ," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 29.
WHY ETERNAL FAMILIES?
This page is dedicated to sharing information regarding God's plan for families, how we can strengthen our family relationships, and how the Savior can heal even the most broken of hearts.