The wonderful thing about Meridian readers is that occasionally we get the opportunity to bask in their collective life experience and the wisdom that flows from such experience. THANK YOU!-for responding to my request that you share some of your genuine, heartfelt stories of love in relationships during this Valentine’s Day season. Sharing your stories is a way to spread the true spirit of the occasion. You shared many stories and I would love to hear more of them. For this first installment, I pass along three touching stories of love and commitment shared by your fellow Meridian readers.

“Love is Not Always 4th of July Fireworks”

I would like to share our love story for Valentine’s Day because it is unique and spiritual.

I had been divorced for about 17 years andgraduated from nursing school andalso became a volunteer firefighter in Southern Utah. I loved what I was doing and thought that Heavenly Father would just assign me to a wonderful Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the next life. I settled down and became happy in my single life and all the excitement it offered.I was so busywith my nursing job and then being on-call with the fire department duringnights, weekends and holidays, that I had little time to date, nor did I feel compelled to do so.

On the advice of my bishop, I registered on an LDSInternet dating service (LDS planet) and I found a few guys to write to. One man in particular stood out to me. I had been writing andtalking to him almost every day for the first month. He is a trucker, and we would talk for hourswhile he was driving during the night. He said it seemed to make the time go much faster.There were times that my pager went off and I would end the conversation to go to a roll-over or a brush fire. He was so concerned every time I would leave, and I would have to promise him I would call the moment I arrived back home.

Our relationship blossomed and Itraveled to the NW to meet him and to see if there was a spark or something between us that may end up in marriage. I was scheduled to go toEMT Intermediate School and did not want to start the class if there was a future for us. I would have to pay back the town for the cost of the classif I moved away. Well, the weekend was enjoyable but the “4th of Julyfireworks” were not there. I said goodbye to him at the airport, thinking I would never beseeing him again.

I started the EMT Intermediate class and settled back into my exciting routine. One day in April 2005, I came home from a camper fire and I sat down with my sister-in-law. (I rented their back apartment). She askedabout this “young man” that I had visited in the NW and what I thought about him and the possibilities.

She started a “pro and con list” and we started filling it in. I had not prayed for an answer fromHeavenly Fatherbecause I had already made up my mind that we were not meant to be and felt very good about my decision.

What happened next was something I could not have imagined. When I told my sister-in-law to write into the “pro” column that he was an honorable Priesthood holder . . . I will only say that my whole soul shook and my spiritheard thingsthat I simply cannot put into words. Some of the things that transpired are too sacred for generalized publication-but I knew I was to marry this “young man”.

My sister-in-law and I were crying in the kitchen and my other extended family memberscame in, wondering what was wrong. When I told them that I knew I needed to marry this “young man” they wanted to know how I would get him toask me to marry him. I told them that I didn’t know.

I spoke to “my young man” that night and he sensed that something was different. He asked if I got a confirmation and, of course, I told him I had. Heimmediately asked me to marry him over the phone. (I would find out later that he had also received such a confirmation). The only problem was that I was not in love with him, nor was he in love with me. When I would pray, my answers from Heavenly Father were always “trust me, trust me.” It was truly a leap of faith.

We somehow knew that we needed to get married very soon. We decided on 6 weeks.Wewere married on a $250 budget (including my ring and wedding dress), as neither one of us saved for a wedding. We were both 51 years old and a wedding budget had not been on our priority list at our age.We made do and cut costs everywhere.

The ceremonywas sacred and wonderful and we both knew that Heavenly Father was our “matchmaker.”We still weren’t in love, but we had the assurance that it was right and that the heavens were smiling. Wepacked up my apartment and we were headed to the NW. Twice on our trip, we could have been killed, but we were protected from harm. What a blessing.

Six weeks later my new husband complained about feeling very tired and wanted to rest on the couch until it was time to go to work that evening. I took his vital signs and his heart rate was dropping. I got him to the hospital and his heart stopped there that night. He was the recipient of a pacemaker.

The cardiologist said that if he had not gone to the hospital, he would have died while driving his truck during the night orat a truck stop. Needless to say, we were very grateful. All I could think of was that if all the years of studying nursing and medical emergencies had resulted in saving my husband, then it was all worth the effort . . . if only for that moment in time. Of course we have fallen in love since then and are grateful for our eternal sealing in the St. George Temple. Tomorrow is not promised to my husband, nor anyone else. Life is precious.Our focus is the gospel and the love for each other also came out of that commitment.

Love is not always the 4th of July fireworks. Sometimes it is the sweet whisperings of the Spirit and the commitment of two people in the love of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Anonymous But in Love

“He Got Me Through a Time I Didn’t Think I Could Make”

I am not sure I can put my feelings into the right words-but I will try.

Jim and I have been married for 46 years. When we got married I thought that
I could not love him more (you know how young love is). I had a lot to learn.
Over time, with fivechildren coming into the family, changing jobs and relocating and all the other things that come with marriage, our love grew. Not that we didn’t have our disagreements and struggles.

Five years ago, we had an especially hard time in our life. I lost my motherand my only sister within six months of each other. At the same time, I had surgery, which had an added problem with a punctured bladder.I ended up having two more surgeries in the next year to make repairs and many other problems related to this trial. I became very depressed. I couldn’t stand for Jim to leave me alone.

Here is the part I want to share.Jim had just enrolled in college to get his PhD in Engineering, a goal he had wanted to fill all his life. He worked hard at home to do all he could while being there with me. He also gave up all the hours he had accumulated at work, that we were counting on for insurance when he retired, so he could be there.

He slept on a cot at the hospital.He took me to many doctor appointments and hospital visits. Not only did he stay home, but he did things for me that only a nurse should have done. He alsomade my meals, bathed me,he gave me a million blessings, he cried with me, he made me laugh when I didn’t think I could. He served me so unselfishly and got me through a time I didn’t think I could make.

Needless to say, my love for him grew enormously, and he showed me howmuch he loved me by his actions. I just want to say, that love has many stages, but the experiences of life and things you go through together kind of wrap your hearts up and secure that love and make it grow into the greatest feeling in the world. I can only try to imagine how that love could grow through eternity, if we live worthy to have that blessing.

Claudia Cox

“It’s Another Tom, and He Will Come, Whoever He Is”

In the spring of 1971, my future husband and I were also going through the questions of whether we were meant to be together forever. We had dated only a short ten days, but had known each other well all semester. We dreaded our parting for the summer.

He would stay at BYU working between semesters and I was headed home to southern Nevada for a summer job before returning to BYU that fall. We had spent every moment possible together, (finals that semester are a blur!) and the afternoon of May 28th sped past too fast. Soon we’d be apart for three months. How could we stand it? Before leaving, I drove with Tom to a spot out by Utah Lake where we discussed plans and ended our time together with a prayer for safety, peace, and inspiration.

Later that night, as my brother drove our parent’s old pickup home through the dark night, we came up over a slight rise in the road to be met head-on in a blinding crash by an oncoming car. Driven by a drunk driver, the car smashed into our truck, pushing the motor into the cab, and instantly killing my sister, who sat next to me by the window. I remember regaining consciousness, lying by the side of the road, feeling as if there were boulders on my legs. I would spend several months in the hospital in traction, and several more months recovering at home in a body cast.

In those frenzied hours following the accident, I underwent extensive surgery to save my right leg. A priesthood blessing was the reason it was not amputated above the knee. My parents made the 90-mile drive to the St. George hospital to find their children and face the horror of losing their oldest daughter, who had been born on their first anniversary. Their daughter, Ann, who would have graduated from BYU that August. Their precious daughter snatched away in an instant, my only sister. Our two youngest siblings, both brothers, waited at home with our grandparents. The four people in the other car also died in the accident. It was a tragic event for many families. My just younger brother sustained a broken collar bone, so he too was in the hospital.

Tom had gone home for the Memorial Day weekend to his parents’ home in Rigby, Idaho for opening day of fishing, a big deal in their family. His roommates called him to tell of the news, and he drove back to Provo with a heavy heart. By Monday, when he went to work, he felt compelled to ask his boss if he could go to St. George to try to see me. His boss consented and Tom drove as fast as he could to get to my side. I had not regained total consciousness, and kept asking for Tom.

My parents were anxious for someone to stay with me during my sister’s funeral, and my mother supposed I was calling for my cousin Tom, also my age and a very good friend. My father wisely said, “It’s another Tom, and he will come, whoever he is.” (I hadn’t told my parents we’d been dating the past ten days, though we’d known each other all semester.)

Tom walked into the hospital foyer, where he asked the receptionist if he could see me. She said only family was allowed in my room. Not sure what to do, he stepped back from the desk, and just then my father walked out at that precise moment, saw my future husband standing there, unsure, and said, “You must be Tom. We’ve been waiting for you.”

My dad had reserved a hotel room for Tom, and for the next two days Tom didn’t leave my side. He was there all during the long months of recovery, every weekend he could spare from work and school, and when I finally went back to BYU the following spring semester, he pushed my wheelchair around campus and helped me begin walking again.

We married June 2nd, 1972, exactly one year and five days after the devastating accident that took my sister away, but brought my husband into my life in a way I’ll never forget. He has loved me with that same total devotion for almost 38 years, during which we raised five children and are now enjoying our 11 grandchildren. How I love my dear Tom, the man I would gladly marry all over again.

Ruth E.

Share More of Your Genuine Love Stories

Writing down and passing on genuine stories, stories of genuine love and commitment and sacrifice in marriage and family relationships, can become a gift that blesses others and generations to come. We would love to hear more of your love stories this season as we think about and celebrate Valentine’s Day-a season of love.

(You can share any comments or feedback with Sean Brotherson at br********@me**************.com“>br********@me**************.com – look forward to hearing from you!)