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: http://www.ldswhy.com/
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!
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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…)
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).
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!