Happy “Valentine’s Eve”! I would like to share the following story about love shared by President Thomas S. Monson,of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“My father’s father came from Sweden, and his wife from England. They met on the ship coming over. He waited for her to grow up, and then he proposed marriage.
They were married in the Salt Lake Temple, and he wrote in his journal, “Today is the happiest day of my life. My sweetheart and I were married for time and eternity in the holy temple.”
Three days later, on April 23, 1898, he wrote, “Took the train at the Rio Grande Western Depot enroute eventually to Scandinavia, where I have been called as a missionary.” Off he went to Sweden, leaving his bride of three days.
His journal, written in pencil, came to me from an uncle who somehow chose me to receive his father’s journal. The most frequent entry in the journal was, “My feet are wet.” But the most beautiful entry said: “Today we went to the Jansson home. We met Sister Jansson. She had a lovely dinner for us. She is a good cook.” And then he said, “The children all sang or played a harmonica or did a little dance, and then she paid her tithing. Five krona for the Lord and one for my companion, Elder Ipson, and one for me.” And then there were listed the names of the children.
When I read that in the journal, there was my wife’s father’s name as one who was in that household, one who probably sang a song, one who became the father of only one daughter, the girl whom I married!
The first day I saw Frances, I knew I’d found the right one. The Lord brought us together later, and I asked her to go out with me. I went to her home to call on her. She introduced me, and her father said,
“‘Monson’—that’s a Swedish name, isn’t it?”
I said, “Yes.”
He said, “Good.”
Then he went into another room and brought out a picture of two missionaries with their top hats and their copies of the Book of Mormon.
“Are you related to this Monson,” he said, “Elias Monson?”
I said, “Yes, he’s my grandfather’s brother. He too was a missionary in Sweden.”
Her father wept. He wept easily. He said, “He and his companion were the missionaries who taught the gospel to my mother and my father and all of my brothers and sisters and to me.” He kissed me on the cheek. And then her mother cried, and she kissed me on the other cheek. And then I looked around for Frances.
She said, “I’ll go get my coat.”
My sweet Frances had a terrible fall a few years ago. She went to the hospital. She lay in a coma for about 18 days. I sat by her side. She never moved a muscle. The children cried, the grandchildren cried, and I wept. Not a movement.
And then one day, she opened her eyes. I set a speed record in getting to her side. I gave her a kiss and a hug, and I said, “You’re back. I love you.” And she said, “I love you, too, Tom, but we’re in serious trouble.” I thought, What do you know about trouble, Frances? She said, “I forgot to mail in our fourth-quarter income tax payment.”
I said to her, “Frances, if you had said that before you extended a kiss to me and told me you love me, I might have left you here!”
Brethren, let’s treat our wives with dignity and with respect. They’re our eternal companions. Sisters, honor your husbands. They need to hear a good word. They need a friendly smile. They need a warm expression of true love…My dear brothers and sisters, I love you, and I pray for you.”
Excerpted from a talk entitled “Abundantly Blessed“, given May 2008.