Archives for category: Marriage

pexels-photo-206959.jpegSo I have been thinking more about Eve. Little strange, but I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I have been going to the temple more frequently. We are taught about Eve and her experiences in the Temple Endowment session because her life represents the life of all women.  Jeffrey R. Holland, one of our Twelve Apostles, said, “Because we [are] born into [a] fallen world and because we too would transgress the laws of God, we also were sentenced to the same penalties that Adam and Eve faced”(“Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet,” General Conference April 2015).

I have been thinking a lot about one of these “penalties.” After the Fall, Eve is told about the negative consequences that will come into her life because of her choice to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. Listed with these “penalties” is the statement that her husband, Adam, will rule over her (Moses 4:22, Genesis 3:16).

That statement makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. According to the internet, rule means “exercise ultimate power or authority over.” While I recognize and respect the differences between genders and their roles, I do not believe that one gender has superiority over the other in any way. A husband does not have the right to tell his wife what to do simply because he is a man.

Thankfully, modern day revelation clarifies that “rule” means to preside. President Spence W. Kimball, a prophet from my childhood, said, “I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that’s what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family.” (Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 72.). One source I read defined “preside” as Christ-like Leadership (https://www.lds.org/ensign/2001/06/questions-and-answers/what-does-presiding-in-the-home-mean?lang=eng ).

I have always believed that a man’s responsibility to preside, or to act like Christ would, in the home was part of the Priesthood that he holds, not because of his gender. Adam had the priesthood in the Garden of Eden. Joseph Smith taught that Adam received the Priesthood “in the Creation” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith [1979], 157). Therefore, Adam already had “responsibility” to preside as the Christ-like leader in their home.  So if this is true, then the statement that Adam was to preside over Eve was a reminder, not a penalty imposed because Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

So why does the Lord remind Eve that Adam was to rule over her after she partook of the fruit? I think it was because she chose to eat of the fruit without Adam.

Years ago, my stake president taught me something that changed what I thought the word “preside” meant. Prior to his talk, I thought that presiding in the home meant that the husband had the final say in decisions that affected the whole family. Early in our marriage, there were a number of things my husband did that I did not agree with. In his defense, he did not act until I said, “Go ahead, but I think you’re making a mistake.” Still to this day, I resent those choices.

Our Stake President taught us that a marriage should function in the same way that the leading Councils of our Church do. All decisions by these Councils, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles, are made unanimously. If they can’t come to an agreement, a decision isn’t made. The matter continues to be discussed. This practice is by divine decree (see D&C  107:27).

Recently, I was asked to read two articles from the Ensign, a monthly magazine published by our Church, about the importance of counseling together (The Links are below).  Just like our Stake President, the article taught that all decisions made by Councils, including a Family Council made up of a husband and wife, need to be made together, in unison. The articles also taught that there should be full participation by all members of the council, and that one of the members of the council should be the Holy Ghost.

Perhaps this was why the last time I went to the temple and watched the portrayal of the events in the Garden of Eden, I noticed that when Eve ate of the Forbidden Fruit Adam wasn’t with her. His absence had more meaning for me this time. I doubt that Adam would have knowingly sent Eve off to perform such an important act by herself. Eve made this choice alone.

I’m sure that this is why, the next time Eve spoke with God face to face he reminded her of Adam’s role as the presiding, Christ-like leader in the home. This reminder was not a punishment for her choice, nor was it even a naturally occurring negative consequence of the Fall. The reminder to recognize Adam as the presiding figure in the home was to help them both fulfill their divine potential, not because Eve needed increased supervision after a poor choice.

 My sister and I discussed some of these things the other day. Not too surprisingly, she also has issues with being “ruled” over. We were raised by the same father who did not treat his daughters much differently from his sons. The girls hunted, fished, and worked on cars as much if not more than the boys.

My husband overheard some of the conversation and he and I continued to talk about the subject later while cooking dinner. I made a comment about the challenges of being married to a “Vest woman” (my maiden name). My 19 year old daughter asked me what I meant. I struggled to explain myself and finally came up with “Vest women are more independent than most women.”

“Why is that a problem?” my daughter asked. “I thought that’s what guys liked.”

After commenting on the quality of men she has been hanging out with, my husband said, “Men need to be needed.”

Eve did exactly what she was supposed to do. She has been praised by many of our church leaders for her inspired choice. Recently, President Russel M. Nelson said, “We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve.” Eve, like most women, was perfectly capable of doing what needed to be done. But by acting alone, she denied Adam the opportunity to be needed.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/06/obtaining-the-spirit-through-counseling-together?lang=eng#note7-

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/06/counseling-together-in-marriage?lang=eng

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Wives, be faithful to your husbands. I know you have to put up with many unpleasant things, and your husbands have to put up with some things as well. Doubtless you are sometimes tried by your husbands, on account perhaps of the ignorance of your husbands, or perchance at times because of your own ignorance. … I do not say but that your husbands are bad—just as bad as you are, and probably some of them are worse; but, never mind: try to endure the unpleasantnesses which arise at times, and when you meet each other in the next life you will feel glad that you put up with those things.
Lorenzo Snow

I love this quote. I think it is one of the most realistic, down to earth pieces of advice about marriage that I have ever heard. I know I’m not always capable of responding in a Christ-like manner, but I think I can handle putting up with “unpleasantnesses.” I like that a prophet of God admits that marriage isn’t always easy because of our human imperfections. I think he was wise to point out that, in healthy marriages, both the husband and the wife need to take an equal share of blame.

The last line makes me smile. Thinking about meeting up with my husband in the next life helps me put this life’s inconveniences into perspective, and I look forward to a time when things like dirty socks on the bedroom floor won’t be an issue.

http://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-lorenzo-snow/chapter-9-sacred-family-relationships?lang=eng

Temple

A friend’s comments recently reminded me of one my favorite articles, SEEING BEYOND THE WEDDING. Even though the article targets engaged couples and newly weds, much of what is said applies to every married couple, especially these paragraphs:

We live in an age of “soul-mate marriages”—where love is frequently portrayed as a matching with one’s “other half” and marriage is seen as an easy pathway to personal happiness. In a recent national survey of single young adults, 94 percent agreed with the statement “When you marry, you want your spouse to be your soul mate, first and foremost,” and 88 percent agreed that “there is a special person, a soul mate, waiting for you somewhere out there.”

Soul-mate marriage may work for Hollywood films, but most married couples in the real world know that, while marriage is definitely worthwhile, it is not like relationships portrayed in popular culture. They will admit that maintaining their marriage requires work, patience, personal growth, compromise, commitment, and sacrifice.

President Spencer W. Kimball warned young people of the soul-mate culture of our day: “‘Soul-mates’ are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.”

Does believing in soul-mate marriage really do any harm? The evidence indicates that it does and that the trouble lies in unrealistic expectations. When marriage is expected to be a trouble-free relationship, many couples are left grasping for answers when they have their first major disagreement or when a spouse’s lack of responsiveness leaves one partner feeling hurt and alone.

The romantic notions of soul-mate marriage offer couples very little direction on ways to improve, restore, and maintain a marriage in the real world. Unrealistic expectations can lead disillusioned partners to believe that their problems result from a “faulty match” and, therefore, that the solution is to “unmatch” and “rematch” with their “real” soul mate.

The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that sustained love in marriage is not primarily about matching or finding; rather, it is about becoming and choosing. This perspective fosters the realistic expectation that marital companionship must be nurtured, repaired, and chosen daily as spouses bind themselves together with their love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

I especially like the last sentence that states that we must choose our spouses daily.

Here’s the full article: http://magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=1348.