The readings this week caused me to really think back on my marriage and how my husband has been so good at balancing the power in our relationship. He is fair minded and trusting. I think these two qualities are essential for a marriage to thrive in the area of balancing the power dynamic in relationships.
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I enjoyed learning about President Hinckley’s and Sister Hinckley’s marriage in an interview from the Church magazines. When Sister Hinckley was asked what she meant by her husband giving her space to let her fly, she responded, “He never tells me what to do. He just lets me go. He has made me feel like a real person. He has encouraged me to do whatever makes me happy. He doesn’t try to rule or dominate me.”
Her answer shows how much her husband trusted her. He wasn’t afraid she’d let him down. Perhaps the power struggles that arise in relationships are the result of loving from a fear mindset versus a trusting mindset.
I see this all the time in the marriages I’ve watched over the years. I have always been a careful watcher of people, wanting to learn from those who seem to have happy marriages. I’ve noticed that happy couples aren’t afraid of letting their spouse express some healthy individuality. In contrast, I’ve seen couples who grasp and cling to each other and basically smother each other to the point to where they are always worried and fearful of whether or not their spouse will approve. I don’t know how these kinds of marriages survive without one or both spouses giving up a big portion of their happiness. I don’t think that is what the Lord meant when he said that husbands should cling to their wives and wives should cling to their husbands.
I’m so happy and relieved to see the shifts in church culture with treating women as equal partners in marriage. I love my role as wife and mother and have never viewed myself as anything less than equal to my husband. I think his respect and kindness have lifted me up over the years and allowed me to be better with him than I would be on my own. I think the Lord’s gospel and plan for families is perfect. It is us who can make it messy sometimes with our fear based approached to love and with our scarcity mentalities. But we can counter these things with faith and with insight from the Holy Ghost on those things we need to repent and change about ourselves. The work involved and the effort it takes to do these things is worth it.