We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by studying the document titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and by following its precepts. One way to study the proclamation is one paragraph at a time. This is the eighth article in this series.
The seventh paragraph of the proclamation is too long with too many topics to cover in one post. This post will cover the first three sentences of the paragraph: “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity….”
Jesus Christ, under the direction of Heavenly Father, created this earth in order for us. We are children of God, and He planned for us to come to earth to gain physical bodies, knowledge, and experience in order to be happy for eternity. An essential part of His plan is marriage between man and woman because He needed male and female in order to create babies. He planned for marriage in order to have a safe and secure place where children could be reared to adulthood and each one prepared to take their place in the world.
The Lord and His priesthood leaders place an immense amount of responsibility on husbands and fathers for success in marriage and family life. President Ezra Taft Benson spoke “To the Fathers in Israel” during the October 1987 General Conference and outlined what he considered their responsibilities to be.
President Benson speaks of how husbands are to treat their wives as the Lord treats the church. He quotes the Apostle Paul who said, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). He quotes latter-day revelation, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:22). He then says:
“To my knowledge there is only one other thing in all scripture that we are commanded to love with all our hearts, and that is God Himself. Think what that means!
“This kind of love can be shown for your wives in so many ways. First and foremost, nothing except God Himself takes priority over your wife in your life – not work, not recreation, not hobbies. Your wife is your precious, eternal helpmate – your companion.
“What does it mean to love someone with all your heart? It means to love with all your emotional feelings and with all your devotion. Surely when you love your wife with all your heart, you cannot demean her, criticize her, find fault with her, or abuse her by words, sullen behavior, or actions.
“What does it mean to `cleave unto her’? It means to stay close to her, to be loyal and faithful to her, to communicate with her, and to express your love for her.
“Love means being sensitive to her feelings and needs. She wants to be noticed and treasured. She wants to be told that you view her as lovely and attractive and important to you. Love means putting her welfare and self-esteem as a high priority in our life….”
Surely, there would be far more successful marriages if all husbands loved their wives as the Lord loves the church. What woman in her right mind would seek for love and acceptance outside such a marriage? There may be a few, but they would be very sparse. Children are not blind. They can see the love between father and mother and feel secure in their home. This is why God ordains marriage between man and woman.
As you study the first three paragraphs of the seventh paragraph of the proclamation, you may want to share what you learn in a family home evening. This site has a wonderful family home evening program all outlined with lesson, music, activity, and refreshments. You may want to cover the entire paragraph in one evening, or you may want to split the paragraph as I am doing. I hope you will strengthen your family, community, and nation by teaching that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and is essential to God’s plan for the eternal happiness of His children and that children have the right to be reared by parents who honor their marriage vows.