This morning I was looking online for an Education Week talk about healthy living to share with a friend. I found it. Then I decided to keep looking, just to see what I could see. I came across a talk on dating and finding your mate - "Hanging Out, Hooking Up, and Celestial Marriage," by Bruce Chadwick. After reading it I decided to share a bit with all of you. I was able to make a personal application in a friend relationship I'm currently struggling with, so I know there's truth in here for everyone - single or married. First is the link, then what follows is an excerpt.
I don't know whether they ever repeated this simple exercise. But I learned a great lesson that has affected how I live my life, and I pass it on to you as my fifth suggestion: "Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Most of us probably don't like those who hate us, and, sadly, these feelings of dislike canker our souls. Amazingly, praying for our enemies reverses our feelings. Maybe the person still hates you, but that does not matter. What matters is that your heart is softened and the Spirit abides with you. Usually a change in your feelings and subsequent actions will initiate a reduction of the other person's hatred of you. Perhaps even reconciliation may occur.
Whenever I have been angry over the years with my wife, Carolyn, I kneel and pray for this good woman. She is such a kind and loving person that my anger is usually my own fault. Whatever the cause, my angry feelings are turned to increased love by sincere prayer.
On Sunday afternoon Carolyn saw me editing my remarks and asked if she could read them. She offered some insightful suggestions. Later that night, just as we were drifting off to sleep, she whispered to me, "I heard you share your experience about praying for your enemies when you taught our Jerusalem students during the Mount of the Beatitudes field trip. Since then, whenever I have been angry at you, I have prayed for you. It has worked every time."
I did not know how to respond. I did not know whether to be miffed that she had felt I'd done things that justified her anger or to be happy that she had discovered the same results that I had in applying the Savior's words. If I were miffed at her, I would have had to get out of bed and pray for her, and since I was very tired, I decided to just go to sleep a happy man. It should be no great surprise that good things come from following the teachings of the Master.
Besides this suggestion to pray for your spouse, the implication for those of you who are single is to not only pray for yourself in a dating relationship but also to pray for the young man or woman in whom you are interested. Pray for what is best for them, which may turn out not to be you. But that is okay. The Lord will bless you, and good things will follow. This simple action will change feelings between husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, children and parents, and neighbors and co-workers. When you are angry, when a relationship is stretched thin to the limit, sincerely pray for the person who at that moment "hates" you. It will bring a mighty miracle in your feelings and in your ability to bear affliction.