This one thing I know: Great love or respect in a marriage or in a family is not anchored in seeking to create a standard of high performance in a mutually agreed upon worthy endeavor. That is not what ultimately makes that relationship become all that it can be. Rather great love is fostered and grows when there is “an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion”* combined with a deep, true and unwavering mutual appreciation and gratitude for all that is good in the other, regardless of challenges, or weakness, or “level of performance” as we seek, as individuals or as a couple, to simply do the good we can.
A love thus fostered is the kind of love that will endure, with peace, to the end, long past the time when we are “performing at peak capacity” and far beyond the time in life when an elusive ideal of perfect seamlesss synchronization seemed mentally or physcially possible. It is a love that frees us to become, together, a union that is far beyond the measure of performance and rests simply and wholly in the realm of pure and heaven orchestrated charity. I choose that kind of love. I choose a love that simply is. I do not do it perfectly. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I fail. But it is what I choose. That is one wall upon which I choose to lean my life’s ladder.
“Great beyond comprehension is the love of God. He is our loving Eternal Father. Out of His love for us, He has given an eternal plan which, when followed, leads to exaltation in His kingdom. Out of His love for us, He sent His Firstborn into the world, who, out of His own divine love, gave Himself as a sacrifice for each of us. His was an incomparable gift of love to a world that largely spurned Him. He is our great exemplar. We should let love become the lodestar of our lives…Let that divine love, shed on us, be reflected from our lives onto others of our Father’s children.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1989
*G. B. Hinckley, “What God Hath Joined Together”, April 1991