There seem to be many stigmas in the world about how to stay true to yourself. Too many people believe the lie that they should remain quiet instead of talking about their problems with someone or that they should not reach out for help because doing so is “a sign of weakness”. These are dangerous philosophies of men that tend to isolate individuals and keep them from making essential connections with others.
We are all in the same boat. We need each other. One of the themes in our October General Conference has been unity and creating a Zion people. In a world that is so divided and full of chaos, shouldn’t our homes be the safest place possible? How can we create our places of security as mentioned by President Nelson in the women’s conference if we are divided in our marriage?
He said, “I promise that as we create places of security, prepare our minds to be faithful to God, and never stop preparing, God will bless us. He will ‘deliver us; yeah, insomuch that He will speak peace to our souls, and will grant unto us great faith, and … cause that we can hope for our deliverance in Him’.” 1
Not only will we find peace, but the Lord will be with us as we work to continue to improve our marriages. We are not left to our own devices, however.
When one or both spouses no longer feel heard or understood, when attempts to discuss an issue are ignored or resisted, when someone wants to talk about an issue but needs support in expressing their concerns, marriage counseling could be a true help.
We tend to get stuck in a common rut of creating responses to painful situations. For example, if Mrs. Smith asks Mr. Smith to help do laundry on Saturdays, Mr. Smith may get frustrated and respond by creating for himself a story that his wife doesn’t see how hard he works during the week and that he needs time for himself. He may close his heart to her reminders and believe her to be nagging, which will create resentment. Mrs. Smith then sees Mr. Smith’s avoidance and believes that he does not care about her because she too has a heavy load with all her responsibilities and needs more assistance in the home. This can create resentment in her as well. When both partners are feeling resentful and underappreciated, it would be helpful to have someone present who could mediate conversation and share ideas about how to improve their communication so that instead of resentment, there would be appreciation and a recognition of efforts on both sides.
A couple who goes to marriage counseling seeks for tools to help them achieve success. Every effort should be made to improve the marriage relationship. Sometimes that involves swallowing pride. It always involves opening minds to new perspectives and filling a heart with compassion instead of judgment. And more important than anything, it involves a relationship with our Father in Heaven. When we begin our marriage inside the holy walls of the temple, we are covenanting with God that we will take care of, love and remain true to our spouse. Like all covenants we make in the temple, we must strive to do all in power to keep those promises, even if it means reaching out for help.
May we strive to put our marriages in order and truly cherish our spouses for the blessings that they are!
- “Embrace the Future with Faith”, President Russell M. Nelson, General Women’s Session, October 2020 General Conference