How to Live Today » Family Responsibilities

[this teaching has not yet been illustrated]

Husbands, wives, and children must learn what God expects of them as family members. The husband's primary and sacred obligation is to provide for the material needs of his family. So long as the husband remains able-bodied, he is expected to be the breadwinner, and should do everything in his power to allow his wife to stay at home and attend to her most important duty of rearing Heavenly Father's children.

The father is the leader of the family. This has always been so, and will always be so. He is the presiding authority in the household with the assistance, advice, and encouragement of his wife. It is not a matter of which spouse is more qualified or more worthy for this role, it is a matter of divine law and appointment. Fatherhood is an apprenticeship to godhood.

A wife's divinely ordained place is in the home. No career a woman might desire can come close in importance to that of a wife, mother, and full-time homemaker—cooking meals, changing diapers, making beds, washing dishes, and performing other housework, all for one's precious husband and children, making the home a heaven of delight.

Satan has used the women's movement, feminist writings, and talk shows to demean the role of the stay-at-home mother, and to tantalize mothers into trying to be superhumans who can have both a family and a career. Mothers take jobs away from home to be able to afford items of convenience for their families, to go on trips, or get music lessons for their children. They have relatives or hired nannies care for their children. But this is shameful, for the service of motherhood can only be rendered by mothers.

When both parents work, they come home weary, with taut nerves, individual pride, and increased independence. Many divorces can be traced back straight to the day the wife left the home in order to work. Besides, two incomes raise the standard of living higher than its norm. Any wives who work are advised to leave behind their job as a secretary or nurse. Come home from the factory, laundry, or cafe. Return to your husband and children—those born and unborn, and make home a heaven for them.

A wife should make her home the most blessed and joyous place on earth to her husband. She should treat her husband with the utmost respect and courtesy. She should not nag him, make slurs or insinuations about him, or make cutting and sarcastic remarks toward him. She should not arouse his anger or make the home an unpleasant place.

It doesn't take long in a marriage for a spouse's weaknesses that seemed insignificant during courtship to become greatly magnified. Sometimes ceaseless pinpricking from a discontented and selfish spouse can finally add up, goading someone to erringly feel justified in serious physical violence. But abuse of a spouse or child is a most serious offense before God, and makes a person unworthy to be a member of the Church in good standing.

Wives are under no obligation to submit to a husband who is demanding or wicked, but surely no sane woman would hesitate to submit to a truly righteous husband. Husbands must not demean, insult, criticize, abuse, or find fault with their wives. A wife wants to be treasured and told that that she is attractive and important. Flowers are nice sometimes, but so is a willingness to help with a crying child or cleaning the dishes.

Along with their parents, children share the responsibility for building a happy home. They should obey God's commandment to honor their parents. That means to love and respect them, and it also means to obey them when told to do something. Children should cooperate with other members of the family. God is not pleased when children quarrel.

There are many evil people in the world today who are attempting to change our ideas about family. Television and movies teach wicked ideas through programs that are made to be funny and entertaining. Children are depicted showing great disrespect to parents. Parents should keep their children from watching such things, and children should be taught why they are evil.

Fathers should lead their family in prayer each morning and each night. Regular family prayer helps families resist Satan's temptations. Once a week, usually on Monday, a family home evening should be held to strengthen family ties by learning the gospel together and participating in wholesome activities. As your family relationships improve, you can rejoice in knowing that your family will be sealed to you for eternity.

Always remain completely faithful to your spouse in your thoughts, words, and deeds. Never flirt in any way and avoid ever being alone with anyone of the opposite sex. A situation may begin with no intent to sin, but many tragedies of immorality begin in a fertile seedbed of temptation, such as when a man and a woman are alone in a church, at an office, or driving in a car. If a husband so much as looks at another woman and feels lust toward her, he has committed adultery in his heart.

Single women in the workforce must also take caution. When you work alongside men, you will find yourself invited out to lunch under the pretense of discussing business. You may have to travel with men on business trips and stay at the same hotel. Do your job, but avoid these situations whenever possible. Keep your distance. Do not become a factor in the breakup of another woman's marriage.

Remember that the sin of adultery stands next to the murder in seriousness. One day those who fail to fulfill their family responsibilities will be held accountable before God. Do they think a just God will overlook such malicious tampering with the laws of life, or let them get away with a light punishment—perhaps a few lashes of the whip? Surely their punishment will fit the enormity of their crime.

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