Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Manly Man Training #18: Love your wife and strengthen yourself

A Doc Chritensen painting.  [Notice the elderly man to the right]
I have noticed something interesting about men and their church attendance the past few years.  Single men seem to attend church less consistently than married men.  Even men who are married but away from their family for work, training or other reasons attend less regularly.  I have observed many of these men coming less often despite having been a regular attender when they are with their family. 
On the other hand I have seen some very diligent men who come regularly without their spouse or family attending with them, but this is a minority.  I know of a man whose wife had Alzheimer's, another whose wife decided she didn't believe the gospel anymore and others whose wife didn't want or couldn't attend for other reasons.  What causes men who attend regularly with their family but less so when they are on their own?Why is it easier for men to participate fully when their wife encourages them but when she isn't a part of the motivation the men seem to find other things more important?  And then there are those men who are faithful even when their wife discourages them from attending?  How do we become a man who can respond to our wife's encouragement to do good but continue on doing good if that is absent?

So what does this have to do with Manly Men?  In last April Conference, Elder Walter Gonzalez of the Seventy said in his talk, "Love is a powerful influence to our hearts in our effort to be obedient....Love for a mother, father, or spouse can also inspire or obedience to gospel principles."  That came together for me due to noticing the activity patterns of men as stated above. 
What is it that we men need to do in order to assure that our personal testimony is strong enough to carry us through any times when we may not have our wife to attend church with us?  There are a variety of reasons including physical and mental illnesses that may keep our wife away from church regularly, irregularly or permanently.  Another is if our wife loses faith or gets a stake calling that keeps her visiting other wards frequently.  Possibly our wife could have a job that interferes with their attending church regularly. 

Speaking of the job, I have had a couple of occasions when I have had work that interfered with my church attendance.  I know it was hard for my wife during those times, but nevertheless she went to church and participated regularly.  Which brings up the companion observation that I notice that women--whose husbands are not members, are not faithful attenders or who are ill--much more regularly find their way to church.  What do we Manly Men need to do to match the commitment to the gospel that the women of our church often seem to have?

Surely it is acceptable to allow our love for our wife to encourage us to be more consistent in following the Savior by doing many of the things that we are instructed and directed by the scriptures and the leaders of the church.  That of course would include attending church, the temple, having family scripture study, home evening and prayers in the home.  Surely that is one reason we marry a righteous woman so that we can benefit from her influence to help us be a better man.
Wife helping husband reach higher
Ultimately we have to allow our wife's influence and our love for her to lead to the source.  The source is the Savior and we have to build our own reliance upon Him and relationship with Him so that if/when the time comes when we have to stand alone, that we can continue to grow in the gospel and not be retarded or derailed because we are weaker than we allowed ourself to believe.  Sure we want to follow Him with our wife always at our side but we must develop a testimony and desire to follow Him that can stand independent and alone if necessary.  In other words we need to love Christ. 

"Lovest thou me?"

"Follow me" (John 21:15-19)
As Elder Gonzalez continued in his talk: "Love is a powerful influence in our hearts in our effort to be obedient.  Love for our Savior inspires us to keep His commandments....The way we treat others reflects to what extent we follow our Savior in loving one another.  We show our love for him when...we make and keep covenants." 

Let us develop our love for the Savior separate and in conjunction with our wife, so that our wife and family can depend on us to be Manly Men even when she or they may not be able to provide the support and encouragement that may be desired.

1 comment:

  1. haha the panda picture is so cute! i think it's good for everyone to remember to strengthen their testimonies together with their spouse and separate too. being strengthened spiritually as a couple is sooo powerful and very beneficial. but we each need individual spiritual growth and nourishment too! sometimes our individual needs are different from our coupley needs!


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