If you’re a man who has recently joined the church, you may be wondering how the teachings of the church will affect your relationships with women, particularly your wife.
Everyone is Heavenly Father’s child and He does not love any one child more than any other. God doesn’t favor any gender, race, or nationality. That said, He didn’t create the genders to be exactly the same.
Spencer W. Kimball taught:
“Within those great assurances, however, our roles and assignments differ. These are eternal differences—with women being given many tremendous responsibilities of motherhood and sisterhood and men being given the tremendous responsibilities of fatherhood and the priesthood—but the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord (see 1 Cor. 11:11). Both a righteous man and a righteous woman are a blessing to all those their lives touch.
Remember, in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to.”–Spencer W. Kimball
The jobs are different, but neither is more important than the other. In fact, both parts are necessary for the world to function at its best. With this in mind, LDS men are counseled to treat women with great respect, and to honor the assignments God has given them.
It’s a hard time to be a woman. So much of the world teaches women to throw away their self-respect and their assigned roles. It can be a challenge to settle into a very traditional role and to feel good about it when the world is trying to pull you away. A husband’s support can make a world of difference to a woman trying to find her proper place in the eternal scheme of things. If your wife is also a convert, and is working to alter her accustomed role, it will be your responsibility as the priesthood holder or future priesthood holder, to encourage her and to show her how proud you are of the changes she is making.
As the head of the household, you should work to create a situation in which she can focus on the home while you focus on earning the money. This is an old-fashioned concept to many, but the world was, perhaps, a gentler place when children were raised by mothers, and not by employees. You must teach your children to respect her and her role, and this is done through your own example, as well as through your expectations for your children.
“As you walk on the way to eternity, it is important to gain some understanding and appreciation for the wonderful endowments and callings God has given uniquely to women.
I wonder if we really understand the fulness of these queenly endowments. If we could recognize the true greatness of these women, we would not treat them as we sometimes do. The world often uses and abuses women. We holders of the priesthood should honor good women in and out of the Church as true sisters, not as objects and sources of service or pleasure. Our consideration for women should spring from esteem for the daughters of Zion and an awareness of their true identity more than from a concern with their functions and roles.
President Ezra Taft Benson has stated, “Man is at his best when complemented by a good woman’s natural influence” (Woman, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co., 1979, p. 69).
In 1935 the First Presidency stated, “The true spirit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives to woman the highest place of honor in human life” (James R. Clark comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:5). This has been confirmed by President Heber J. Grant: “Without the wonderful work of the women I realize that the Church would have been a failure” (Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941, p. 150).”– James E. Faust, “The Highest Place of Honor,” Ensign, May 1988, 36
As a Latter-day Saint husband, you’ll learn to balance your role as head of household with that of treating a wife as an equal partner and a person to be valued, honored, and considered with awe at the challenges of her own role. This is one of your most important priesthood duties, and one that will have an eternal impact on your family for generations to come.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.