Special Feature | BYU Studies

Special Feature

Valentine's Day
February 14, 2019
Special Feature
Valentine's Day
Author BYU Studies Staff,

Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? These BYU Studies Quarterly article teach us about love and maintaining close relationships.

“How Country Music Can Improve Your Marriage” by Greg Hansen.
Greg Hansen, a professional musician, has discovered a secret weapon: country music. This essay describes his "quest to become the Perfect Husband, the Ultimate Man, the Guy My Wife Dreams Of.” "Before becoming the Highly Improved Guy I am today, I would come home after a long day in the recording studio, ready to de-stress and download, my full ration of words completely used up for the day. My wife would want to talk, but I just wanted the remote. Now, because I have memorized so many country songs on the way home, I always have the right thing to say. This has the effect of making me seem wise and romantic, preventing that annoying Empty Head Syndrome." Hansen gives several examples of using lyrics to impress his wife, then ends with a warning. His "marital relationship country lyrics cure-all" has to be done right, or disaster might follow.

“Love and Intimacy in Family, Kinship, Friendship, and Community” by Mark H. Butler and Allen E. Bergin
Butler writes about the harmony of the “I” and “we”: “In ‘us’ intimacy, experience becomes collaborative, not independent. We cope and manage our turmoil and torment; we magnify our euphoria and joy; we live and experience life as much through and with our partner as by ourselves. At times a wife may understand her husband’s experience more clearly than he does himself. A husband may at times empathetically articulate his wife’s concerns better than she does. Spouses increasingly experience things similarly. When they do not, they seek for convergence through dialogue.”

“Newel and Lydia Bailey Knight's Kirtland Love Story and Historic Wedding” by William G. Hartley
In October 1835, Newel Knight and Lydia Bailey, two spouseless adults still in the prime of life, found themselves living in the same boardinghouse and eating at the same dining table. As lodgers with Hyrum and Jerusha Smith in Kirtland, Ohio, they had good reason to notice each other. Lydia's husband had deserted her more than three years earlier, and Newel's wife had died a year before. Romance developed quickly, and in a couple of months, Lydia accepted Newel's marriage proposal. Their pending wedding led Joseph Smith to declare his right to perform marriages. Being a leader in a church that had published its beliefs concerning marriage, he could legally do so, and he also believed he had authority from God by virtue of the priesthood he held. Nevertheless, the wedding has given rise in recent times to historical controversy.

David O. McKay and Emma Ray
Looking for something sweet to read for Valentine’s Day? Here’s the letter David O. McKay affectionately wrote to his beloved wife, Emma Ray, on their twentieth anniversary. “I loved you that morning [of our wedding day] with the love and fire of youth. It was pure and sincere.... It was but as the light of a star compared with glorious sunlight of love that fills my soul today.”

Here’s a video about David O. McKay that tells of his lifelong love for his wife, Emma Ray. It includes a sweet poem he wrote to her when he turned 90 years old. (Start listening around 12:20).

“The Experience of Love and the Limitations of Psychological Explanation” by Brent Silfe
Brent Slife studied why love so difficult to grasp and explain psychologically. Explanations of love make little sense of what we experience. He shows how love is gracious because it is never deserved or rational in the conventional sense; it is a pure gift without strings attached, logical justifications, or ulterior motives