To what extent should a woman follow her husband?

“To what extent should a woman follow her husband?” New Era, Feb. 1972, 37

“We are taught that a woman should support her husband. To what extent should she follow him?”

Answer/Jelaire Simpson

A Latter-day Saint woman’s enthusiastic support of her husband’s actions begins to weaken when her husband wants to lead her along paths incompatible with the commandments of God. But even under these circumstances, she has an obligation to try to persuade him to go in the right direction. If companions truly love one another, they are willing to sacrifice to bring about one another’s well-being and happiness. Unselfishness, love, and kindness play an integral part in this great personal relationship.

A husband also has the obligation to support and buoy up his wife. In the Book of Mormon, Jacob was burdened with sorrow because of certain husbands’ wickedness. The Lord stated that He would visit these husbands with a “sore curse even unto destruction” if they did not change their ways. So the obligation to be faithful and to support the marriage partner falls on both husband and wife.

However, in the Lord’s house, there is order. He has decreed that the husband is the head of the house and the wife a counselor. If every wife could accept this role and if every husband would fill his role as head of the household with love, gentleness, and authority, much marital discord would be eliminated.

A man needs to feel that his wife believes in him completely. She needs to give him daily support by providing a home that is a haven from the troubles of the outside world. She must genuinely praise him in his successes, lend a listening ear, and give words of encouragement when he is discouraged. Where else can a man be accepted completely just the way he is unless it is in his own home?

In today’s world where women are involved in many projects outside the home, wives sometimes need to be reminded that nothing is more important than their relationships with their husbands. The Lord has told us that we do not attain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom singly. Exaltation and eternal increase are reserved for righteous couples who have kept the commandments of God. Therefore, love needs to be nurtured and protected so that it will grow into an eternal love.

No greater earthly happiness can be found than that attained through the years as you and your husband’s love grows stronger, as you see him honor his priesthood, as you observe your children’s activity in the Church, and as you look forward to an eternity together.

  • Wife of Bishop Robert L. Simpson, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric