Sep 16 2011

Choose to Love

Here is the formal introduction for today’s guest writer:

Anthony Sweat grew up in West Valley City, Utah and served his mission in South America to the Bolivia, La Paz mission. Upon his return he met his wife, Cindy Bohman, and the two were married in the Logan, Utah Temple in May of 1997. They are the parents of six children: Lauren-12, Reagan-10, Jane-8, Eli-6, Vivian-2, and a newborn son, Calivn. He is the co-author of the best-selling Deseret Book publications Why?: Powerful Answers and Practical Reasons for Living LDS Standards and HOW? Essential Skills for Living the Gospel. Anthony is also the author of the book I’m Not Perfect. Can I Still go to Heaven? Brother Sweat has a PhD in Education from Utah State University, and is a full-time religious educator for the Church Educational System. He is also a speaker at Especially For Youth and BYU Education Week conferences. He is currently the seminary principal at West High Seminary in Salt Lake City, Utah. Brother Sweat’s other interests include playing sports, painting, writing, and above all spending time with his wife and family.

And here is my introduction of him:

Tony and I taught seminary together- and this man has the gift to teach.  When I found out that he had published books with Deseret Book, I thought to myself, “Good!  The world needs him.”  He has some books there that all of you really need to consider as adding to your personal library.  His books “Why” and “How” may first appear to be directed to youth (they look like text books – super clever!), but they are just as helpful to adults – specifically parents, leaders and grandparents who are looking for good ways to explain to their children “why” we live certain Gospel principles and “how” they can do it.

He and his co-author have a website… check it out and send your kiddos there:


Choose to Love


Anthony R. Sweat


“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.”


One of the most ridiculous notions about love that is prevalent in the world today

comes from the phrase, “We fell in love.”  Think about that: “We fell in love,” as though it were some accidental thing that just happened when cupid randomly shot his arrow or love potion #9 wafted over us, and we had no choice in the twitterpated matter.  Not only is this false idea ridiculous, but it is also dangerous to the stability of our family relationships and the divine mandate we have to love and care for our spouse and children.  If we buy into the notion that love is an emotion that happens to us outside of our agency, then we also unconsciously fall into the deception that falling out of love with someone is also out of our control.  As Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy taught, ““Falling out of love is a cunning myth . . . Too many believe that love is a condition, a feeling that involves 100 percent of the heart, something that happens to you. They disassociate love from the mind and, therefore, from agency.” (“Agency and Anger,” Ensign, May 1998, 80) . 

Luckily, the Savior taught us the true definition of love,

and helped us see that love is not an uncontrollable emotion, but a verb which is perfectly within our power.  Jesus taught, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (St. John 15:13).  In other words, love is sacrifice.   “True love is,” in the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, “is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well being of one’s companion (Ensign, June 1971, p.71).  When my wife and I began dating, I knew instantly that I should marry this wonderful girl when I asked her what she—in her 20-year-old wisdom—thought the definition of love was (I know, I know, how on earth could a 21-year-old returned missionary get on the topic of discussing “love” with a beautiful girl?).  Without even missing a beat, she said: “Love is sacrifice,” as though it were as plain and common of a truth as the earth being round.  If we understand that true love is service and sacrifice, then we begin to understand how we can use our agency to choose to love and care for our spouse and/or children.  If we notice the feelings of love for our spouse/children diminishing at all, then we can quickly change that by choosing to selflessly serve them.  The flower of love is grown in the soil of sacrifice.

Sometimes we mistakenly think

that the love we have for others is depended upon how they act, and that in order to love them they must act loveable. That is not true.  Our Father in Heaven has an infinite love for each of us as his children, many times in spite of our actions.  The Apostle Paul taught us, “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39).  While we cannot control whether others choose to love us, we are in perfect control of being able to choose to love those in our family, in spite of their imperfections.

To close I relate what the famous author Stephen R. Covey said

to a man who claimed he just didn’t have the same feelings for his wife that he used to.  Mr. Covey said to this man, “Love her. . . . Love is a verb. The feeling of love is the fruit of love. So love your wife. You did it once, you can do it again. . . . It’s your choice” (“Why Character Counts,” Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1999, 135.).  I testify that through the divine gift of agency, and through selfless service, we can indeed fulfill the divine mandate to care for our spouse and children, and choose to love them.


Remember to visit the other blogs hosting this celebration!

They have great things going on each day!  Montserrat from Chocolate on My Cranium,  Jocelyn from We Talk of Christ,  and Jaime from Welcome to the Madness.  Be sure to visit each blog every day!


And here are today’s Giveaways! We are doubling up so you have twice the chance to win!

  Tony Sweat is guest blogging at The Red Headed Hostess today and he is giving away one of his CDs, The Devil Made Me Do It (and five other lies that Satan tries to trap us with)! Anthony Sweat has a PhD in education from Utah State University. He is a full-time religious educator for the LDS Church, and also a speaker at Especially For Youth and Education Week conferences. Please be sure to go and read his post today!


image imageimage Temple Prints from Plum Street Prints Our Temple Prints are a wonderful way to display the temple in your home in a personalized and modern way. Whether you’d like to remember your wedding/sealing day or display the temple in your child’s room, or even give a gift to someone on their wedding day, these prints can be customized to your style. We currently have 20 temples available and are adding more each week. plum street prints logo Visit Plum Street Prints today!

34 responses so far

34 Responses to “Choose to Love”

  1. Carrie on 16 Sep 2011 at 11:38 am

    Another great post! I am SO loving this Celebration of Family. Love is a verb, and it isn’t always easy. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

    (When I started reading Anthony’s bil, I thought to myself-wow he is younger than he looks! He got married in 1997-that is forever ago…My brain must not be awake yet…that is the year I got married too. Hopefully I am younger than I look, but I don’t think so…)

  2. Christi Williams on 16 Sep 2011 at 12:08 pm

    “love is sacrifice” Making the relationship and loving our spouse should our highest priority. Thank you

  3. Dana on 16 Sep 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I have and LOVE both of those books – Why? and How?

    I also love this post! IT’s true! Love is a choice. ♥

  4. Joni on 16 Sep 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Celebration of the Family is so awesome. Love is Sacrifice. So true.

  5. Tracy on 16 Sep 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. Just *yesterday*, my 14-year-old and I were talking about love being a choice. It will be awesome to get to show her this. :)

  6. Shauna on 16 Sep 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Incredible post…and so very very true.

  7. Amy Bateman on 16 Sep 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Great post. Thank you! :)

  8. JRoberts on 16 Sep 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Just bought WHY? and have LOVED reading through it. What a wonderful resorce! HOW? is on my wish list for this year!

    I love this post. It really is true that Love doesn’t just happen. We need to work at it. You don’t just fall into love and hope it stays forever. What a wonderful reminder.

    I looked at the bio and thought the same thing Carrie did…WOW he is young. Then I remembered I got married in 1997 and I have a 12 yo too! Oh boy, maybe getting old is a bad thing…. :)

  9. Cheryl on 16 Sep 2011 at 2:45 pm

    This is great. I never really thought of some of the things he stated but they are true. Thanks.

  10. Julie on 16 Sep 2011 at 3:21 pm

    This is so true! Love is a choice, and a verb. Thank you for your post.

  11. Becky L. on 16 Sep 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I choose to love! What a great post! I just put the books How and Why on the Christmas list for my teens. :)

  12. Danica on 16 Sep 2011 at 3:38 pm

    This is such a great post! It’s an answer to prayer right now. Just the words I needed. I think my husband and I will read it together

  13. Lisa C on 16 Sep 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I am loving the daily inspiration!

  14. Chocolate on my Cranium on 16 Sep 2011 at 4:00 pm

    My husband and I were sealed and married in the temple by Pres. Hinckley. He repeated that same counsel to us! We must always put the other before ourselves and serve, serve, serve. If we start to feel love waning it is because we are starting to focus on ourselves (selfishness) instead of on our spouse (unselfishness).

    Great thoughts!

  15. Abby on 16 Sep 2011 at 4:05 pm

    What a great post, we’ve just been talking about service within our family to show our love. I love “the flower of love is grown in the soil of sacrifice”! I think that’s going on the refrigerator.

  16. Jocelyn on 16 Sep 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I totally agree!

  17. Stacy S. on 16 Sep 2011 at 4:48 pm

    My husband and I are trying to teach our children that love and marriage involve work. Never thought about the work being service but it makes perfect sense!

  18. Kristin on 16 Sep 2011 at 5:44 pm

    There are so many people I know who could benefit from reading this! My husband and I talk about this all the time– you don’t just fall out of love if you truly loved someone in the first place. Just like everything else– it is a choice! That’s why marriage can be work sometimes :) Thank you so much!

  19. Becky on 16 Sep 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I attended Bro. Sweats classes during Education Week… he was AWESOME and REAL!! I am a better seminary teacher because of him!! Thank you!!


  20. Karen S. on 16 Sep 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I am hooked, I love this website. So many ideas and lesson helps and delicious recipes!

  21. Jeanine on 16 Sep 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Great great post!

  22. Laura@ Living a Big Story on 16 Sep 2011 at 7:44 pm

    There’s a theme with some blogs I’ve been reading today … and with my kids going through an emotional stage right now, I’m just so grateful for the reminder.

  23. Laura McMullin on 16 Sep 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I am printing this off and will be using for FHE this coming week. I can’t wait to go pick up the books too. Thank you

  24. Jen on 16 Sep 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I want to bookmark this post and read it again and again. Thanks so much for sharing!

  25. Jeni Atkinson on 16 Sep 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Fantastic thoughts to keep me thinking all day!

  26. Heather Lynne on 16 Sep 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks for being a part of this celebration!

  27. Tessa (Nelson) Rosales on 17 Sep 2011 at 12:33 am

    I love Bro. Sweat’s insight! This is so great, it’s just what I needed :) Thanks for sharing this Shannon!

  28. Connie holladay on 17 Sep 2011 at 12:55 am

    Ths was a great post. I really enjoyed it.

  29. marielle on 17 Sep 2011 at 4:54 am

    Wish he would have been my seminary teacher.

  30. Lindsey on 17 Sep 2011 at 5:37 am

    It’s been a rough, emotional day. This post made me smile, encouraged me, and reminded me that there is still much good and many good people in the world. Thank you:)

  31. Kristin on 17 Sep 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I appreciate the reminder that “Love is sacrifice”. And not only is love a verb, but it is an action verb! Thanks for such a great post!!

  32. Terressa T. on 17 Sep 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Thank you for the reminder on what love is!

  33. Diane on 18 Sep 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I LOVED this article. It is so well put and such a good reminder to serve those you love!!!! Thank you so much. I will have to check out those books.

  34. Mari on 20 Sep 2011 at 7:11 am

    Thank you so much for this! Just thinking if you’ll have printable copy of this? I’ll insert this to my personal journal!

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