I spoke in the Valley Stake Conference today. President McCombie asked me to speak on helping children and wives support their husbands in leading the family. I of course was reading between the lines and thought to myself, this is code for, “help these women who think quickly, efficiently, in multiples, all at once, slow down long enough to give their poor husbands a chance to form a thought and lead out.” My other thought was to laugh at how ironic this topic is to my own personal marriage. I am constantly having to listen to the spirit remind me I’m not in charge, and trying to hold me back from taking over, speaking out of turn, correcting Don because I thought he should have done it different, or nudging him to do or say it my way. I am always working on not taking over and allowing my husband to lead. To speak on it just makes me laugh inside, but here is what I feel the Lord has taught me over the years.
Trust in Heavenly Fathers plan. His plan is that men and woman have different roles in marriage and they would learn to be one. Men have the divine role to provide, lead and protect their family. To me that means not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally- leading, providing and protecting their children and wives.
We as women love, help, and teach our children and create a home where that can happen. We also support, help and council with our husbands. If we can see and meet needs it will help our family. The health and well being of our family is very important to the Lord and provides great happiness in this life.
I also thought I should talk about children’s roles in the family. I asked Don what he thought children’s roles were. He said, “They are to produce the trials necessary to perfect their parents.” I laughed because that perfectly describes the stage of life were in right now. They he added, “in other words, they are the fuel for the refiner’s fire for parents.” He is so funny. But here is what the family proclamation in summary says: Children are to gain a body and earthly experiences to learn and grow towards God, to realize their divine destiny as heirs and receive eternal life. After reading that I felt it describes what we are all doing here, not just youthful children. We are all children of God working towards realizing who we are and what we are capable of.
I think it is important to address how the adversary fights against us fulfilling our divine role and potential. (I’ve written a little about this in the past.) First, the world is weakening men’s roles by portraying them as weak, stupid, incapable, followers and indecisive- or the opposite- being, violent, unfeeling, and hard. The worlds women are tough, aggressive, dominate and smarter than men-or the opposite- just sexual objects whose value comes from being thin and beautiful.
I think the adversary works on weakening our confidence in ourselves and each other. His message is always negative, critical and prideful. As women we may think, “I can do it better, faster, more efficiently, and smarter than you.” Or, “I need to prove my worth and there is no value or meaning in being at home with my children.” Or, “I am not capable of having faith in my husband.” As men we may think, “I am not capable or don’t have the time to fulfill my calling well, lead out in family prayer or Family Home Evening, or disciplining the kids effectively.”
We must fight against the worlds fear and pride. We can have confidence in God and in His plan. He gave each of us roles to fulfill. I can trust my husband Don, has been called by God. I can trust God will help him if I’ll stay out of the way and be a supporter and a councilor. I know God can inspire us how to help each other to fulfill our divine role, but we have to listen to the spirit. It is so easy for us women to see with our natural man eyes and just take over because it’s the easiest way to get done what we think needs to be done. We aren’t seeing with an eternal perspective. It’s like missionaries who go out and just work without ever asking the Lord what He wants. They just do, “stuff”, all day long. They’re busy, but it may not be what the Lord would have them do. They don’t really know, they never asked, they just filled their day with, busy. It’s not divinely inspired.
As parents and spouses it the same thing. To really achieve our divine potential and help others do the same we have to be tuned into the Lord all day long. We have to ask what the Lord wants, then listen to our heart to know what to do. To be honest the number one thing I hear the spirit tell me is to, “be quiet”. I hear it all the time. By obeying that prompting what I have found out is that my husband really is inspired. Things turn out so good and I know if we would have done it my way, (which totally seemed to me to be the right way), it would not have been as good. If I wouldn’t have been quiet, and gotten out of the way I would have never found that out. Men have been called of God to do a work in our family and in the church and I can trust God will help him, if I will get out of the way. Don’t get in the way of God’s work in your husband’s life. God can teach your husband, touch him and affect him, if you will love and support him learning in Gods way.
Don’t get me wrong though. I have a voice. I give my voice often, which is probably why the spirit has to tell me to be quiet so often. Don always tries to listen to me, thinks about it and then decides and does what he feels God is inspiring him to do in this calling as a mission president, and with our family I think he just tries to help us work together so we both feel satisfied at what is done. It turns out great. I see his inspiration. If I just took over I couldn’t see that.
I learn in layers. One thing that has been an important layer of learning for me on this subject was when Elder Anderson, the apostle, came to our mission quite a while ago. I learned something that has changed my life. (This is from an earlier post entitled Let’s be honest.) Copy and paste to read the whole thing: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6611450123763963288#editor/target=post;postID=4901206155007843052;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=12;src=postname
He said, “Isn’t it great that the Lord allows so many different kinds of people to have testimonies? Look at Pres Palmer and Pres Mullen, they couldn’t be more different, yet they were both called of God to serve as mission presidents in the WA SPOKANE Mission and have done a great job. We experience this as apostles too. Pres Monsen loves to shake hands and be out among the people; Pres Packer prefers to be in the back room with the door closed studying a book. Yet both are called of God and fulfill their assignments amazingly. Everyone has a part to play and one person will touch and influence for good someone that another person can’t. We don’t have to be alike. We can be different and still be just as effective as another.”
What the spirit drove into my heart was first-God loves my husband. I instantly felt such appreciation for Don’s great testimony and the way Don does things, because I knew God was ok with him and loves him. Isn’t that ironic? When I knew deep in my heart how much God loved Don, I felt at peace and could just accept him and relax. Second I had a deep understanding that every single one of us is different and there really is not a right way to do something. I knew without a doubt that, “My way is just “A way”, someone else’s way is just “A way”. The only, “The way”, is God’s way. My way is not the right way. There is not just one way to do something.
To all of us wives, its pride to think our way is the best way. Its pride to think I’m the only one that can do it right, get it done, or do it in a timely way. We can really learn humility and patience as we let our husbands lead, protect and provide. I’m learning that God has called my husband to lead, provide and protect our family. I can trust God that He will help him and inspire him. And as he works and practices and learns he will get better and better at it. And then I get better and better at being patient, humble, kind and loving; fulfilling my divine role. And then we get better and better at working together in mutual respect and love.
Living in a family is a wonderful environment to learn to live the gospel. Things aren’t fair, perfect, or always what we want, so we have the opportunity to learn to forgive, show mercy, be kind, love, and help, when it’s not easy. Living in a family is the perfect place to learn to repent; many situations arise in which we need to do so. It’s awesome. The Lord is so smart.
I feel the Lord can use us in His way if we will let go of what we think and want and turn to Him for inspiration in dealing with one another throughout the day. “What do you want me to say Lord?” What do you want me to do Lord?” is the way. Then we turn our day over to God, our lives over to God and the people in our lives over to God. He will do an amazing work if we will allow Him to guide us in helping each other reach our divine potential. As we reach our divine potential, we see ourselves as divine heirs; children of god, we understand who we are and what we are capable of, then we can accomplish and become all God intends for us. Then the Lord will be able to use us in His way and we will fulfill His plan for us.