Loving someone who does not love you back can cause exquisite pain. In the midst of such times, it may feel impossible to untangle your emotions and find peace. It can be especially hard as you strive to embody the gospel principles of charity and hope while also respecting someone’s agency, purifying your own motivations, and submitting to God’s will.
While we may feel alone and ashamed in our feelings, it is important to note many people have experienced unrequited love. Even more importantly, a loving Heavenly Father cares about your feelings. He doesn’t find you foolish or stupid or silly. He has provided ways for us to gain some perspective and put one forward in front of the other. As we study the scriptures, we can find both comfort and clarity about all aspects of our life, including how to deal with the many emotions surrounding love and our romantic relationships.
Here are just a few scriptures that can teach us about surviving unrequited love.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Unrequited love often brings feelings of shame that make us want to rid ourselves of hope. We think, the more we hope, the more we pain will come when the thing we hoped for doesn’t happen or materialize. We feel silly for feeling such deep emotions for someone who isn’t investing nearly as much emotional energy as we are. This scripture in Proverbs reminds us of the balance that is necessary with hope. We shouldn’t feel ashamed of our feelings. All hope comes with risk, but it is important to never lose it. In fact, one of the most powerful gospel symbols, the tree of life, is used to represent gaining what we hope for.
We may need to put our hopes into a different perspective. We may need to work on finding something new to hope for. If you are struggling to see a bright spot in the future because of unrequited love, strive to focus on the greatest hope of all: the hope of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which promises all things will be made right in the end.
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
When you love someone so much, it can feel like an utter waste when no relationship develops. You may wonder why these feelings existed in the first place. Chances are, you begin to find yourself wishing you had never met the object of your affection. You scoff at the idea that is better to have felt love than to have never experienced it. In Isaiah, God uses these verses to remind us nothing happens without a purpose. It may not be the purpose we want or expect, but nothing God does in our lives is void.
You can prosper! You can find how loving someone, even someone who hasn’t returned your feelings, has made your heart better. How have your feelings helped you become more like Christ? If they haven’t so far, what can you do to use this experience to build charity?
This scripture is also a great reminder that God’s word will always be fulfilled. It may seem hopeless now, but God has a plan for eventual joy and peace for all of us.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
All of the tender feelings of our human hearts are made small by the glory and power of true charity. Developing and expressing charity is a beautiful thing; instead of focusing on feelings of infatuation or ardor, try elevating them so you can have the true love of Christ in your heart. Do your feelings cause you to act in desperation or out of righteous concern? Find a way to appropriately serve someone you care very much about without losing yourself to dangerous emotions that can be twisted and used by the adversary.
If you feel your heart is failing, choose charity and you will find it strengthened instead.
And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.
Never be in despair for trying to love. If you have been genuine in trying to express your feelings and hopeful in trying to make something good happen in your life, take heart. You have hoped and dreamed and tried to use your heart to the best of its ability. God does not want us to have cold or hard hearts. There may be pain and heartbreak. We may need to look within ourselves to let go and move on. We have the promise that God will help take our weaknesses and make them into strengths. Regardless of what someone else does, you have loved and God can use that make you as he is. He can refine your love and place a new heart within you.