Sunday, March 8, 2015

Equal Partnership

         Equality does not mean the same, but it is equally yoked; not one having more control or power over the other. In God's way of marriage, spouses should be equally yoked, lovingly caring for one another.
        Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "Some Christians condemn Eve for her act, concluding that she and her daughters are somehow flawed by it. Not the Latter-day Saints! informed by revelation, we celebrate Eve's act and honor her wisdom and courage in the great episode called the Fall." I think this is so beautiful, because we all know that "the Fall" had to take place in order for us to be able to return to Heavenly Father. It was through that experience that Adam and Eve were able to bear children, and thus for all of us to receive bodies and come to Earth.   Elder Oaks continues by saying, "Eve's act, whatever its nature, was formally a transgression, but eternally a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life...The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that Eve did not "sin," because God had decreed it."
       Eve had courage, she wanted to be able to obey the commandments of God and to experience the joys of life.
       Now, in marriage, partners are to be equally yoked; partners in family life. In my own marriage so far, I have come to love the phrase "my better half", because truly, my spouse is my other half, he has the skills and ability to do all of the things I can't do or that I am not very good at. He truly completes me. We work together, both trying to bring our best selves to the relationship. This can be hard! It is so easy to get into a rhythm of life where we are our worst selves to those we love the most. We drop all of our worries and our pain on our family, on our spouse.
        Each day, we need to make conscious effort to treat our spouse fair and with love. In a talk by Elder Bruce C. Hafen, entitled "Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners", he says, "In the little kingdom of a family, each spouse freely gives something the other does not have and without which neither can be complete and return to God’s presence. Spouses are not a soloist with an accompanist, nor are they two solos. They are the interdependent parts of a duet, singing together in harmony at a level where no solo can go."
You can view the full talk here. It has some great stories of how we need to work on our equal partnerships and our expectations of our spouse. 
        I think it is so important that we council with our equal partner and learn how to help each other in our various callings and responsibilities of life. W. Cleon Skousen and Henry B. Eyring share great stories of how council's should work and how they truly do work.
       Elder Richard G. Scott has said, "In some cultures, tradition places a man in a role to dominate, control, and regulate all family affairs. That is not the way of the Lord. In some places the wife is almost owned by her husband, as if she were another of his personal possessions. That is a cruel, mistaken vision of marriage encouraged by Lucifer that every priesthood holder must reject. It is founded on the false premise that a man is somehow superior to a woman. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
       I think this is all so important, because as we realize that there are no boundaries of our responsibility, we will come to love and serve more fully in our home. Yes, there are certain responsibilities that may seem to weight heavier on one spouse or another, but they both hold those burdens together, enjoy things together and support one another.
      President Boyd K. Packer said, "There is no task, however menial, connected with the care of babies, the nurturing of children, or with the maintenance of the home that is not the husband's equal obligation."
     In the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, we can all "try a little harder to be a little better", as we learn to better love our spouse.

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(In regards to Chapter 4 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")

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