Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when married companions put their spouse first in their lives. This means that the spouse’s needs come before the children’s needs, work or church responsibilities, and recreation.
Numerous prophets and apostles have taught this truth, and the most recent counsel came from the current Prophet of the Lord, Russell M. Nelson. It was given several years before he became the Prophet, but it is included in a new book titled Teachings of Russell M. Nelson and summarized here. The talk titled “Fostering Families of Faith” was given to the priesthood brethren in a stake conference broadcast for western Idaho on November 11, 2007, but it is applicable to women also.
I would like to say that your highest priesthood duty is to care for your wife. That is an eternal charge entrusted to you. What about your children? Of course, you are to provide, protect, and care for them. You are also to teach them and to discipline them privately in love. But the best thing you can do for your children is to love and care for their mother. Let that love show. Let your children and grandchildren grow in the comfort and confidence of a cherished mother. Help her to achieve the full measure of her creation. Help her to realize her divine destiny – with you! Brethren, there are eight “-ate” words that I would like to suggest that each of you apply in your relationship with your wife.
1. Anticipate. Think of her hopes and needs and anticipate them….
2. Appreciate. A simple word of thanks for her efforts to keep you clean and well-nourished will let her know that you do know what she has done for you….
3. Celebrate. You have already learned not to forget your wife’s birthday or wedding anniversary. In addition, celebrate the Sabbath together. Celebrate your sealing by attending the temple regularly. Celebrate your continuing courtship with dates together at least once a week.
4. Cooperate. That means you work together toward a common goal, that you lift each other’s load and lighten each other’s burden.
5. Elevate. Brethren, when you return home at the end of a difficult day’s work, do not set foot over the threshold of your home until you are prepared to elevate the mood of your wife and children….
6. Motivate. Brethren, motivate your wife to develop a talent she may have. Whether it is in art, music, literature, or some other field, help her to feel the growth of that talent….
7. Radiate. I hope you will radiate goodness by being good. And please try to radiate more light than heat….
8. Supplicate…. Let your home be a house of prayer, a house of order, and a house of God….
Can you even imagine the change that would come over the homes and communities in our society if every husband and every wife put their spouse first in their life? Imagine what the world be like if every husband and every wife felt loved and appreciated by their spouse. Think of the difference in a world where every spouse put the above “-ates” – anticipate, appreciate, celebrate, cooperate, elevate, motivate, radiate, and supplicate -- into practice in their marriage. I know that husbands and wives can strengthen their families, communities, and nations by putting their spouse first in their lives.