Liahona
Stengthening Marriages


Area Presidency Message

Strengthening Marriages

In 1995, President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) issued a divine proclamation regarding the family in the fall Relief Society meeting. In that meeting, President Hinckley taught the following principles:

  • Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.

  • Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • 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.

  • Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.1

The Savior has commanded that husbands love their wives even as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for it (see Ephesians 5:25). Jesus Christ set the example for all husbands who have taken upon themselves sacred covenants and who hold the holy priesthood.

Wives also have a sacred duty to love and serve their husbands in meekness and in righteousness. When husbands and wives are both meek and lowly of heart, then the Holy Ghost can be their constant companion to resolve any problem or challenge that presents itself.

The most important unit in society is the family. For this reason, Satan works hard to destroy our faith, to create discord and to fill our hearts with arrogance and pride. Too often we hear the stories of marriages being dissolved because of seemingly irreconcilable differences. This is a lie authored by the father of lies. If we understand what is at stake, then we will not hesitate to always love, honor, and cherish our spouse. And when problems arise, we will be the first to acknowledge our wrongdoing and to seek forgiveness.

Cultural Barriers Must Be Replaced by Gospel Traditions

The adversary is vigilant about destroying the family. We must be able to identify and prevent any semblance of inappropriate influence to seep into our families. Some of the cultural barriers that we need to be cognizant of include:

  • Men and women are to be equal partners in a marriage.2 Roles may be different, but both a man and a wife must understand that they are equal in the eyes of God. Yet, too often men view women as less than they are. This is particularly true when a man feels he has paid a high bride price for the right to marry his wife.

  • When a man believes he should be the dominant force in a family, then he tends to treat his wife with less respect. He expects her to be subservient to his wishes. He does not value her counsel and treats her accordingly.

  • At times there is undue influence in the form of inappropriate pressure placed on a couple from the extended family. Loyalty must first be to each other.

  • Premarital sex and sex outside marriage are culturally acceptable in many countries but are completely against the Lord’s plan for His children.

  • Too often the accumulation of money and worldly goods takes precedent over gospel covenants. A man may not value his wife if she does not bring in money. He may not value the God-ordained role of nurturing and raising the children of his wife as defined in the Family Proclamation. This must change for the gospel culture to fully take root in the home.

  • Secrecy in financial matters between a husband and wife sows seeds of distrust. Some men hide the amount of money they earn for fear their wives may want more. A woman might hide her money to help her extended family or for fear she may need it in case her husband abandons her. Financial discussions should be open and honest with no intent to deceive.

Our Church leaders have taught us that we are to bind ourselves to the Savior by honoring the covenants we have made with God. When honored, these covenants qualify us to receive power, inspiration, and revelation directly from heaven. When not honored, we are left on our own. We are cut off from the powers of heaven.

A husband and wife are to become one in their commitment to each other and their commitment to God. The closer we are to God the closer we will be to each other. The further we are from God the further we will be from each other.

Adherence to Gospel Principles Will Strengthen a Marriage

The Lord has said that if we are not one, we are not His (see Doctrine & Covenants 38:27). Husbands and wives must be unified together and to the Lord. The following gospel principles will enable us to become one in our marriage:

  • Repentance and forgiveness form the foundation of a unified marriage. The Savior has taught that if we do not forgive then we will not be forgiven for our sins. Jesus Christ has taken upon Himself our sins and our afflictions. His forgiving arms are always outstretched to those who will repent. If He will do that for us, then what right do we have to not forgive others? Especially those we love the most. Are we not denying the Atonement in a sense if we are unwilling to forgive others when we, ourselves, are also sinners?

  • Humility is the essence of repentance. Humility invites the Spirit. The Spirit answers softly and listens kindly. He recognizes that no one can change someone else, but the Spirit will bring us to an understanding of those things that matter most.

  • Any semblance of unrighteous dominion injures the soul, both of those who abuse and those subject to abuse. Indeed, such behavior cuts off the very powers of heaven. We are taught that “no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only . . . by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness and by love unfeigned;

  • by . . . pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile” (see Doctrine & Covenants 121:41–42).

  • The first and great commandment is to love God and to love our neighbor (see Matthew 22:36–40). As we love God, we become the recipients of His love for us. Our love grows for everyone and especially for those in our family. Our hearts are changed. We become new creatures. It is not just our behavior that changes—it is our very nature.

  • The Lord told Hyrum Smith that He loved him because of the integrity of his heart (see Doctrine & Covenants 124:15). Integrity requires complete honesty. Honesty enables trust to develop between a husband and wife. Obedience to the Lord enables one to be trusted of the Lord. When a foundation of obedience to gospel principles is combined with honesty and integrity, a husband and wife form a relationship with God that allows them to access His power. With His power, there is no problem that cannot be resolved.

What Is at Stake?

Worthy men and women sealed in the temple may continue as husband and wife throughout eternity. Their children are sealed to them for eternity. Their posterity continues throughout eternity. They live in God’s presence for eternity.

When we enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, we can be exalted in the highest glory of the celestial kingdom. We will, one day, if we endure to the end, receive all that the Father has (see Doctrine & Covenants 84:38–39).

Is it worth it? The Savior said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

May we choose wisely. May we bind ourselves to Christ through the covenants we have made with Him in His holy house.

Notes

  1. See “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

  2. See “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org.