With Valentine’s Day coming up, I was reminded of a General Conference address titled, “Love Her Mother.” Sister Elaine S. Dalton (Young Women general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”) shares that fathers teach their daughters by the way they love their mothers. This truth can also be applied for either mother or father, and to both daughters and sons. Sister Dalton shares:
This morning I would like to speak to our sons and to all fathers. How can a father raise a happy, well-adjusted daughter in today’s increasingly toxic world? The answer has been taught by the Lord’s prophets. It is a simple answer, and it is true—“The most important thing a father can do for his [daughter] is to love [her] mother.”1 By the way you love her mother, you will teach your daughter about tenderness, loyalty, respect, compassion, and devotion. She will learn from your example what to expect from young men and what qualities to seek in a future spouse. You can show your daughter by the way you love and honor your wife that she should never settle for less. Your example will teach your daughter to value womanhood. You are showing her that she is a daughter of our Heavenly Father, who loves her (“Love Her Mother,” Ensign, Nov. 2011).
Learning From My Daddy
n. He insists she should have the nicer car, the most comfortable seat, the best plate of food, the window seat in the airplane, etc. etc. He always wants her car be the one in the garage, and if the garage isn’t available, he is sure to scrape the ice from her windows so that she doesn’t have to. I know that he loves her by the way he treats her. My mother also teaches me by the way she supports and trusts my father in all aspects of his life. They both have taught the basic principles of a successful family, found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. They didn’t teach these things by word only; they taught it by practicing those principles in their own marriage and family. Together they are a team, and as a little girl, I knew this to be true by their actions. I know that Jesus Christ is their anchor, and as a loving couple they can conquer any obstacle that comes their way.
My Husband’s Turn…
Because of the example of my parents, I was able to have high standards for seeking out a companion of my own. I found a mirror image of my loving father, and I can only hope to become a reflection of my sweet mother. Tyler, my eternal valentine, is already teaching our new son by the way he treats me on a daily basis. He speaks to me with love and respect. He opens my door every time I get into the car. He is laboring tirelessly at work and school in order that he might provide for our family. He makes sure to lock the door every night so that we might be protected. And he lives a virtuous and pure life by abstaining from the products of the wicked world that come in the form of unwholesome media, degrading conversation, abhorrent actions, and unclean thoughts; and most importantly by following the counsel in the Mormon Article of Faith #13, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, [he] seek[s] after these things—in so doing he truly is worthy of the power of the Holy Ghost—which is the best valentine’s gift anybody could ever ask for.
What Can I Give My Valentine?
The greatest example of love, which we can all learn from, is of course our Savior Jesus Christ. In the scriptures there are endless truths that can be learned from His ministry of how couples can show each other love. Though the scriptures may not say it in straightforward language, the Savior taught us through the way He lived, in His parables that are wrapped in symbolism, and through His powerful commandments. I truly believe that to show the person we love, how much we truly care for them, the scriptures will tell us how to do it best. How do I know this? Because I tried it!
When I was first married I struggled, because my whole life, up to the day of my wedding, had unfortunately been about me; now it was supposed to be all about somebody else. What was I to do? Thankfully I had an institute (a religious class) teacher who invited us to a 30 day challenge—to prayerfully read the scriptures, asking a question(s), that we needed answered. She wisely counseled us to write down four things 1) the date, 2) the question, 3) the verse that inspired the answer, and 4) the answer itself. She testified that the scripture found in the Book of Mormon is true, “Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
So I tried it. What was my question? It was simply, “how can I strengthen my marriage?” What was the answer? The wonderful thing about having God answer your questions through His Word is that they are tailored specifically to the individual, because we truly can “liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (1 Nephi 19:23). I testify that I was able to receive answers from God, and because of that, my love increased for my God and for my eternal companion in a way that I will be forever grateful.
I invite you to give a loved one the best valentine there is to give, by becoming a disciple of Christ in your every thought and action. What can you do specifically? Ask God, feast upon His Word (especially the accounts of the Savior’s ministry in both the Bible the Book of Mormon) and I promise He will tell you.
This article was written by Ashley Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1. President David O. McKay often quoted this statement of Theodore Hesburgh, in “Quotable Quotes,” Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1963, 25; see also Richard Evans’ Quote Book (1971), 11.