Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Chapter 42—Duties of the Husband and the Wife

Brother R,

Last June your case was presented before me in vision. But I have been so constantly pressed with labor that I could not possibly write out the things shown me in regard to individual cases. I wish to write what I have to write, before I hear any account of matters in regard to your case; for Satan might suggest doubts to your mind. This is his work. 2T 296.3

I was pointed back to your past life and was shown that God had been very merciful to you in enlightening your eyes to see His truth, in rescuing you from your perilous condition of doubt and uncertainty, and in establishing your faith and settling your mind upon the eternal truths of His word. He established your feet upon the Rock. For a season you felt grateful and humble, but for some time you have been separating yourself from God. When you were little in your own eyes, then you were beloved of God. 2T 297.1

Music has been a snare to you. You are troubled with self-esteem; it is natural for you to have exalted ideas of your own ability. Teaching music has been an injury to you. Many women have confided their family difficulties to you. This has also been an injury to you. It has exalted you and led you to still greater self-esteem. 2T 297.2

In your own family you have occupied a dignified and rather haughty position. There are defects in your wife, of which you are aware. They have led to bad results. She is not naturally a housekeeper. Her education in this direction must be acquired. She has improved some, and should apply herself earnestly to make greater improvement. She lacks order, taste, and neatness in housekeeping and also in dress. It would be pleasing to God if she should train her mind upon these things wherein she lacks. She does not have good government in her family. She is too yielding, and fails to maintain her decisions. She is swayed by the desires and claims of her children, and yields her judgment to theirs. Instead of trying to improve in these respects, as it is her duty to do, she is glad of an opportunity or an excuse to release herself from home cares and responsibilities, and permits others to perform the duties in her family that she should educate herself to love to do. She cannot perform her part as a wife and mother until she shall educate herself in this direction. She lacks confidence in herself. She is timid and retiring, and distrustful of herself. She has a very poor opinion of what she does, and this discourages her from doing more. She needs encouragement; she needs words of tenderness and affection. She has a good spirit. She is meek and quiet, and the Lord loves her; yet she should make thorough efforts to correct these evils which tend to make her family unhappy. Practice in these things will give her confidence in her own ability to perform her duties aright. 2T 297.3

You and your wife are opposite in your organizations. You love order and neatness, and have a nice taste, and quite good government. As a husband, you are rather stiff and stern. You fail to take a course to encourage confidence and familiarity in your wife. Her deficiencies have led you to regard her as inferior to yourself, and have also caused her to feel that you thus regard her. God esteems her more highly than yourself; for your ways are crooked before Him. For the sake of her husband and children, and for other reasons, she should seek to correct her deficiencies and to improve in those things wherein she now fails. She can do it if she will try hard enough. 2T 298.1

God is displeased with disorder, slackness, and a lack of thoroughness, in anyone. These deficiencies are serious evils and tend to wean the affections of the husband from the wife when the husband loves order, well-disciplined children, and a well-regulated house. A wife and mother cannot make home agreeable and happy unless she possesses a love for order, preserves her dignity, and has good government; therefore all who fail on these points should begin at once to educate themselves in this direction and cultivate the very things wherein is their greatest lack. Discipline will do much for those who are lacking in these essential qualifications. Sister R gives up to these failings, and thinks that she cannot do otherwise than she does. After she has made a trial, and fails to see decided improvement in herself, she is discouraged. This must not be. The happiness of herself and her family depend upon her arousing herself, and working with earnestness and zeal to make a decided reformation in these things. She must put on confidence and decision; put on the woman. Her nature is to shrink from anything untried. No one can be more ready and willing than she to do, where she thinks she can succeed. If she fails in her new effort, she must try, try again. She can earn the respect of her husband and children. 2T 298.2

I was shown that self-exaltation has caused Brother R to stumble. He has exercised a certain dignity, savoring of severity, in his family and toward his wife. This has shut her from him. She felt that she could not approach him, and has been in her married life, more like a child fearing a stern, dignified father, than like a wife. She has loved, respected, and idolized her husband notwithstanding his lack of encouraging her confidence. My brother, you should pursue a course that would encourage your timid, shrinking wife to lean upon your large affections, and this would give you a chance, in a delicate, affectionate manner, to correct the errors existing in her, as far as you are capable of so doing, and to inspire her with confidence in herself. 2T 299.1

I was shown that you had not possessed that love for your wife that you should. Satan has taken advantage of her defects and your errors, to work for the destruction of your family. You have suffered shame of your wife to come into your heart, and your respect has grown less and less for her whom you vowed to love and cherish until death should part you. 2T 299.2