A Mormon View of Marital Equality…

marriage

Ok, yes, the title is a little misleading. It should say, “This Mormon’s View of Marital Equality”…because it is just my view. I know people would like to argue this point a little, but no two Mormons are alike, so I can’t speak for the rest of the members of the LDS church. This is just my view, and some Mormons may agree and some may not and I’m not keeping track of who does and who doesn’t…

The thing that got me thinking about this was a comment on a news story or blog or something from a few weeks ago. The main article was on the possibility of women holding the priesthood in the LDS church. Again, I’m not keeping track of everyone’s opinion about this topic. One of the comments made was that since women don’t hold the priesthood in the Church, some of these “inequalities” spill over into the home and men get to “rule over” women there, too. I’ve thought about that for weeks, and hope to summarize my view. Again, I know a few may disagree, and in fact, a few people might not even think that this is really my view. That would be weird, but people are welcome to their own conclusions… So, here we go:

  1. I have never, ever told my wife what to do. We’ve discussed situations we’ve found ourselves in and I’ve shared my opinion (and I’ve even been kind of a baby about it), but I can’t think of a time I’ve said anything like, “Well, I’m the husband and so I’ve decided…” (that would be an interesting experiment).
  2. Neither one of us is “more important” to the family. I often say that she is more important, but to be honest, we don’t really measure importance. We’re both important.
  3. We have separate, yet overlapping, roles in our family. It is hard to determine exactly why she takes some roles and I take others. Certainly some cultural norms and expectations have colored this, and gender has also played a part. But the roles my wife functions in have more to do with who she is, and the roles I function in have more to do with who I am. Our roles overlap so often that it is hard to say “she is solely in charge of this and I am completely in charge of that…”
  4. My calling in the church has no real effect on our relationship. What I mean is that when I served as bishop, I wasn’t more “powerful” in our home than when I was an advisor in the Young Mens organization. Any “power” that I have is related to God’s will and grace and my efforts to follow Him. But it isn’t power “over” anyone. And in that respect, my wife possesses an equal, and sometimes great, power. No one is “subject” to me because of what position I have in the church. The same goes for me sweetheart. She has served in demanding leadership positions in our ward and it doesn’t change where we stand with each other.
  5. We discuss our decisions together. I mean, we don’t always do that. Sometimes I just makes choices without her input. But it isn’t because I think I’m the boss of anything; it is more because I am thoughtless at times, and sometimes I can just make a decision for our family and she trusts me. She also makes decisions without me, but it is only because she can make choices for our home and I trust her. But generally, we define the problem we’re facing, share our views and opinions, and then try to make a decision that blesses our family the most.
  6. Our children view us differently, meeting different needs for them. But, I’m not sure they think one of us is “better” than the other. Except when it comes to cooking…I’d imagine that if you asked them, “Who is ‘in charge’ in your family?” they’d say, “My parents…”
  7. When we are praying about something, some choice or decision, we both need to feel good about our direction before we go that way. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern of who feels a spiritual confirmation first in most cases. We wait for each other and we don’t get pushy, expecting one of us to just blindly follow the other.
  8. I do not believe that our Heavenly Father sees either one of us as more important or “the boss” or anything like that. A person who disagrees with this may be able to find words or phrases in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” that seem like they contradict my view, but I would disagree. I know God sees us differently, but not one being more important than the other.
  9. Both of us have moments when we are really thankful that the other takes charge. Having me take the lead in some situations takes the pressure off of my wife and the same is true when she takes the lead. Neither of us feel threatened when the other leads out for a while.
  10. Neither my wife nor I worry that much about these kinds of things. We are trying to help each other be happy and raise happy, balanced, confident children. I suppose we could spend a lot of time worrying about who was in charge, had power, or was the boss. We could keep score I suppose. Neither one of us feels very inclined to waste much time doing that.

Now, to end this already-too-long post, don’t let the above list lead you to believe I’m a good husband. I’ll be the first to admit that I mess things up…a lot. I mess the above ten things up regularly. Our marriage isn’t perfect, but it is healthy and fulfilling. Our marriage is improving and is my favorite part of being on earth. I try hard to be the husband my wife deserves. It is obvious that she is trying hard to be the wife I always hoped for. She does a nearly-perfect job of it.

Also, there are Mormons who don’t feel the way I do. Some men in the church do feel that the priesthood they hold gives them the right to overshadow the influence of his wife. Some women feel the same way. There are some families that feel almost exactly the way we do. But it would be hard to say, “All Mormons blah, blah, blah…” I’m not concerned with how other Mormon view their marriages, although I’d love every marriage to be happy.

Lastly, there are a lot of families that are just plain different than mine through divorce, death, or other circumstances that are and are not in their control. Their views of family and marriage may differ from mine and I’d expect that. I believe God is looking for way to bless our families, not looking for ways to withhold blessings. So I would imagine that families that function different than mine are just as blessed, if there is even a way to quantify that.

Be encouraging…

BJM

These views are personal, and are not the official views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...
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