Friday, July 15, 2011
Equality in Marriage.
So many have moved so far away from that which is true and have established a comfort zone in the most uncomfortable of places. What used to be so sacred and revered is not anymore. It used to be that man and woman, husband and wife used to work together, side-by-side as equals. The husband would preside over the home and the wife would be submissive and yet they were not independent of each other, rather they were interdependent of each other.
It was as if without the other, one would and could not go on. The roles and husband and wife have been redefined to fit what the world thinks these roles should be instead of what Heavenly Father intended for them to be. It is important that we remember that when God created the heavens and earth, He spoke them into existence but when He created man; He formed him and breathed life into his nostrils. The woman, He fashioned her, breathing the breath of life from man. In the second chapter of Genesis, we read and learn that Eve or woman was taken from Adam or man’s rib.
God chose the bone that protects man’s life. He chose the rib, which protects the heart and lungs; the rib, which also happens to support the body, and thus in like manner, a wife is to protect her husband’s heart and support him. Around this rib did God shape woman, and did he model her. He created her perfectly and beautifully; her characteristics were made as of the rib, strong yet delicate and fragile.
She was not taken from man’s feet and thus she should not be under him, nor was she taken from his head to be over him. Woman was taken from man’s side, to stand beside him and to be held close to his side. Adam did walk with God in the cool of day and yet he was lonely. He could not see Him or touch Him, so everything God wanted Adam to share and experience with Him, he fashioned in woman; His holiness, strength, purity, love, protection and support. She was made as an extension of man, as God’s co-creator. Where man represents God’s image, woman represents His emotions and together they represent the totality of God.
Husbands then should treat their wives well; they should love and respect them, for they are fragile. Wives are to support their husbands. In humility, they are to show him the power of emotion given to them by their creator; in gentle quietness, they are to show unto their husbands strength and in love they are to be to their husbands, the ribcage that protects their husbands’ inner self.
In a proclamation delivered to the world, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” by then president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, counsel was given concerning husbands and wives and their responsibilities. Part of the counsel given states, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help each other as equal partners.” They are obligated, which means they have an obligation to equality in their marriage. An obligation is a bind, which means that though in some instances their roles and duties are going to be different, they still have to work together in making decisions about their family. They ought to be a unit.
This then means that husbands should not exercise authority over their wives and neither should the wives exercise authority over their husbands; none is the boss of or over the other. They are to be as one, working side-by-side in their marriage and family for they are both seeking to accomplish the same goals. Eve was meant to be an help meet for Adam (Genesis 2:18) and though some choose to interpret that phrase to mean that the husband is to be in charge and the wife is to assist, President Howard W. Hunter explained the word “meet means equal” (Howard W. Hunter (1994, November) Being a Righteous Husband and Father, Ensign)
Inequality in marriage comes about as a result of many underlying factors. I grew up in Africa, in a society that believed strongly that man, as head of the house was responsible for any and all decisions that were and had to be made in the home. His word was final and was to be law. Some societies in Africa have households that still operate in this manner. This belief in this case has been carried from generation to generation. Another influencing factor toward inequality is the way in which one was raised. If someone grew up in a family in which one parent exercised dominion over the other, he or she is likely to grow up with the idea that the husband or the wife is the ultimate leader in the family.
Another reason some married couples fail to realize equality in marriage is be cause they fail to or have difficulty communicating with each other. It is not uncommon that usually we assume that the other person knows what we are feeling or thinking and therefore we do not have to say it. Sometimes we assume that they will see our need and figure out what’s wrong. Couples need to say what they want to say and mean it. It is important that before decisions are made, couples counsel with each other and reach a decision, one that is unanimous. Decisions need to be made together, because in all truth, they affect the whole family as a whole and what would be a bad situation would be when a spouse makes a decision independent of the other and then things go wrong. That is when fingers start being pointed and blame is laid.
You then start hearing statements like, “I had nothing to do with that, it was all you,” or, “If only you’d asked for my opinion, we wouldn’t be in this mess.” It is only natural that the other spouse would want to defend him or herself, and that usually results in hatred, ill feelings, contention arises and instead of growing and progressing together, the couple starts drifting apart.
There are and will be situations in the home where one spouse is going to be better or more efficient at doing one task than the other, well now isn’t that one of the reasons why people get married; to pull together resources and fill a missing part in the life of another. In marriage, talents are brought together and wife and husband are to work together, complementing each other because ultimately, one cannot be without the other.I remember watching a video clip in my Family Foundations Class one time, (That’s Not My Job) in which married couples were having difficulties with parental roles and as a result they were growing farther apart. The wife was feeling overwhelmed with having to work outside of the home and then having to work in the home as well. She felt as if her husband was not doing enough to help and the husband felt as if she never allowed him to help. If he ever did anything to help, she would check up on him, criticize him or at least have some negative concern. It seemed as if she was an assistant parent, who at some point regressed to being a child too, he was after all being monitored. His wife couldn’t trust him to make a single decision. They did later change their approach to the whole situation and the wife became more trusting of his husbands decisions where their children were concerned and other households decisions. A lot of things changes. They were more appreciative of each other and each others' efforts. They started working together and realized they needed each other.