Is it Selfish to Choose Love?

Some of us single parents are faced with the complexities of falling in love with a wonderful person that might take some effort to be with. In this post I’m going to share my personal perspective on the value of love and how selfishness can get in the way of progress more than it should.

When I think about re-locating my children to make a fresh start with a true love, I usually get lost in the thought of how selfish that would be. My kids have already been through so much, could I do that to them? But I recently realized that I had a flawed view of the word selfish. A selfish act is one that doesn’t benefit anyone else but you. I had to wonder, if I was asked to relocate, would that have any benefit for my children that might be worth the effort?

Relocation can be tough on everyone involved. So many decisions, many of them very complicated, but they are not all selfish. I have a couple of friends that I have learned a great deal from. A very cute couple, (both divorced with kids of their own) shared with me how they went through all of that (and then some) to get things figured out so that they could commit to loving one another. It’s fun to be around them with their rings on their fingers and smiles on their faces. “When you know it’s right, you do what it takes to make it work.” they both shared. “We wanted a fresh start, in a place where we could get to know neighbors and friends as a family, instead of dealing with being termed, ‘His new wife, or her new husband’. The didn’t have to go far to achieve their desires. He shared his perspective that his kids hadn’t fully adjusted to his divorce until they saw him married and investing in a marriage relationship. He wanted to demonstrate the importance of marriage, and it was worth going the distance. He loved providing that for them. She knew getting married wouldn’t provide a new dad for her kids, they had a dad. Her decision wasn’t selfish either. Her kids would get used to a new home and neighborhood, which would be hard, but they would also get used to being around a man who loved their mother. This provided more than she had thought. It was helping her children learn more about positive relationships. If there is a benefit to them, then it isn’t selfish.

We must care about the benefits. Comparative analysis is something I have come to enjoy in my professional projects. To figure out the product or service that will best meet your needs, you must understand first what it is you want to accomplish with it. Then the hunt begins. This means making a list of what you need (to love and be loved) and then assessing what the benefits of love are. Make a list for every person that the transition will affect. What are the benefits that person will glean from your decision? Once you know what the benefits are, you will see more clearly the invalid excuses you may have been making to protect loved ones from your potential love-decision making.

We must be willing to explain why the benefits are worth the costs to our children. Most successful business have production costs. If the cost of doing business isn’t worth the value of the end product then it doesn’t make sense to go into business. Is a relationship all that different? Does this make it less likely to invest in the good opportunities, or are you better prepared to invest because you took some time to understand the potential good that can come? The end product isn’t always obvious in a relationship, that comes with time.

Complicated or not, I believe that love is worth a great deal of sacrifice. I’ll share with you 3 of my reasons:

1. “Love is beyond our fondest dreams, for our families and for ourselves.” Elder M. Russell Ballard said that at a Faculty Banquet I attended a few years ago. He was looking right at me as he said it. I’m sure the people next to me were enjoying their desserts, but this was a fork dropping moment for me. I had actually been thinking right then and there at that very moment, that it would never be worth it to re-locate for a guy not even for love. You see, I had received a few flirts and messages from a great sounding guy earlier that day online, but his profile seemed too complex. So much so that I wasn’t even interested in making an effort to get to know him. His job description hinted at a future where I would have to change everything, my career, my friends, everything. It was too soon to even be thinking about it, but I couldn’t help closing the door because I didn’t want to deal with complicated efforts to love. It didn’t seem worth it. I was wrong in those thoughts. It was too late for him, but I would keep the door open in the future.

2. Love is Everything. George Strait said it before I could.

My favorite breath to take is when I’m thinking about something or someone I love. Love blends with each emotion turning even the most painful moment into a treasured life experience. When two people unite in love, I believe they become able to live in and experience so much more beauty in the world around them and in the world that becomes theirs as they experience loving one another. Elder Jeffery R. Holland shared:

“May I suggest that human intimacy, that sacred, physical union ordained of God for a married couple, deals with a symbol that demands special sanctity. Such an act of love between a man and a woman is—or certainly was ordained to be—a symbol of total union: union of their hearts, their hopes, their lives, their love, their family, their future, their everything. It is a symbol that we try to suggest in the temple with a word like seal. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said we perhaps ought to render such a sacred bond as ‘welding’—that those united in matrimony and eternal families are ‘welded’ together, inseparable, if you will, to withstand the temptations of the adversary and the afflictions of mortality (see D&C 128:18).

“But such a total, virtually unbreakable union, such an unyielding commitment between a man and a woman, can only come with the proximity and permanence afforded in a marriage covenant, with the union of all that they possess—their very hearts and minds, all their days and all their dreams. …”

3. Love is Eternal. Yes I believe this. The love that I have felt in this life was created and existed. I don’t believe that loving moments that I have been a part of will ever just disappear. Yes, though sad and true, agency and decision making can halt what was once in place to build and create eternal moments of love. But I feel it in my heart and mind, I can create love again with someone. Sweet loving moments prepare me to value an opportunity to unite in love again someday. And when that opportunity comes, I’ll recognize it for what it is and can be. I’ll be ready to sacrifice what is needed to have this blessing in my life, and in the life of my family.

We must be willing to love. We must be willing to unite so that we may experience that which is beyond our fondest dreams and the dreams of our children. Keep hanging in there and keep your heart open to the opportunities to love around you, especially if he’s standing there offering it to you. What a great feeling that must be my friends. Cheers!

More from this Author, Clean up on Isle 12 someone’s crying about my life again or Packing Souvenirs from a Bad Marriage? and 26 parenting tips. Thanks for reading, click subscribe to catch the next adventure!

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