Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individual husbands and wives minister to their spouse. The term ministering means to be there with them in every way – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally – to strengthen and to help them.
The semi-annual conference for the Anchorage Alaska Stake was held last weekend. The visiting authority from the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was Elder David L. Wright of the Seventy. Numerous speakers presented thoughts and gave good counsel. The remarks of our Stake President Boyd Esplin on Saturday evening were described as “inspiring” by several other speakers during the Sunday session. The counsel is well worth sharing as well as following.
President Esplin reminded his listeners about the new emphasis on ministering in the Church of Jesus Christ. He then said, “The most important ministering that we can do is to our spouse.” He then presented four different ways that we can minister to our spouse, which I will paraphrase.
1. Spend quality time with together. This should be regular time set aside where husband and wife can be together alone. It is important, but it does not need to be expensive. Suggestions include going for a walk, working on a project together, going moose hunting (His wife went moose hunting with him for the first time this year!), going to the temple, and other such suggestions.
2. Pray together. This activity unites the couple and focuses their attention together. Divorce attorneys never see couples that pray together.
3. Study the gospel of Jesus Christ together. Suggestions include studying the scriptures, reading the Ensign, watching Church videos, reading Saints, the new history book for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other such activities.
4. Love your spouse where he/she is at right now. Unconditionally accept and love them at the present place they are at in life. Suggestions include service, paying attention to their needs, listening when they speak, praise, forgive, and express love often.
President Esplin’s counsel to spend quality time together, pray together, study the gospel of Jesus Christ together, and to love each other is excellent counsel, even “inspiring.” In the Sunday session President Sean Debenham shared how pulling together through the adversities of life with his wife has strengthened his marriage. He was the first speaker to call President Esplin’s counsel “inspiring.”
Elder Wright added some other thoughts during the Sunday session. He quoted the topic of a talk that Clayton Christenson gave to a group of business leaders: “How Will You Measure Your Life?” He then directed his remarks to the young married men and women in the audience, but his counsel is good for everyone. He reminded his listeners that when we fall in love, we want to be with the one we love more than anyone else for time and eternity and we want to have a family. Then life happens, and the world pulls and tugs at the marriage and the family. Sometimes, the pulling and tugging pulls the marriage and family apart. He counseled us to treat our marriages as sacred and holy and said that we can do that by following the “inspired” counsel of President Esplin.
I am grateful to live in a time when gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. I am grateful for righteous priesthood holders use priesthood power to bless the lives of others. I am grateful to know that Jesus Christ is directing His work upon the earth through His prophets and apostles. I know that we can strengthen our individual families, communities, and nations when we strengthen our marriages by ministering to our own spouse.