Another topic that popped up in a different conversation I was having a few days ago was the melding of two lives in the bonds of holy matrimony. Sometimes that isn’t so easy when one person has been raised with one understanding of the patriarchal role and the other raised in another way. Let me begin with the quote of a prophet to set the tone of this blog:
President Spencer W. Kimball said this:
“When we speak of marriage as a partnership, let us speak of marriage as a full partnership. We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners or limited partners in that eternal assignment! Please be a contributing and full partner” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 315).
He also declared,
“We have heard of men who have said to their wives, ‘I hold the priesthood and you’ve got to do what I say.’ ” He decisively rejected that abuse of priesthood authority in a marriage, declaring that such a man “should not be honored in his priesthood” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 316).
According to the Proclamation on the Family issued by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“Successful marriage and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”
So what brought this topic up? I have a friend whose husband is marvelous at instigating scripture study, family prayer, couple prayer and so on. However, he seems to feel he has charge over every aspect of her spiritual progress. Because he can’t hear her silent prayers, he determines she doesn’t pray. Because he can’t see her personal scripture or gospel study, he presumes she does neither. He often doesn’t take into account that they have four young children – and her spiritual moments revolve around the necessity of communicating with our Father in Heaven on the run.
It is important for couples to recognize spiritual boundaries. Each of us is responsible for our eternal progress and growth. We are responsible for asking for and developing the gift of personal revelation. We are responsible for how quickly or slowly we grow in the gospel. No amount of emotional dynamite will budge a person from their stance or place if they are not ready or growing in a way that isn’t visible to the espousal eye. Yes, a husband and wife are one in the eyes of God, and this is a wonderful thing. But it is not the husband’s job to force feed spiritual growth down his wife’s throat, and vice versa.
Be loving, be kind, be supportive and helpful. Husbands, understand that your wives are pulled in every possible direction with wifely, motherly, church, family, school and neighborhood duties, to say the least. Understand that there are seasons in every person’s life to which they grow and understand that a woman’s growth is on many levels. Your wife can only go to the temple if there is someone to watch the children. She can only spend time studying the scriptures if someone is watching the kids and she isn’t sitting in a comatose state at the end of the day, staring blankly at the bedroom wall trying to remember what she’s supposed to do next.
Husbands have a little faith that your wife is constantly in communication with Heavenly Father because who on earth would ever try teaching, nurturing and raising children on their own without heavenly intervention?