The other day at work, a friend of mine told me something that at first I thought was a bit odd and out of the ordinary. What she said got me thinking quite about the state of family’s and our responsibility to them. She said “Andrew, it is so great to see you so excited to go home to your family, it refreshing to see a man who cares so much for his family and provides for them in the way that you do, not many men these days care about their family the way that you do.” This is paraphrased but highlights a issue that at first seemed so foreign to me that I could not comprehend it. I admit that my first thought was what are you talking about, what man is not happy to go home to his wife and children, what man does not want to take care of them. The very idea that any man would not feel this way is so foreign and wrong to me that I shudder to think that this is happening in reality and on a daily basis.
I believe Paul put it best in his letter to Timothy found in 1st Timothy chapter 5 vs 8 which says ” But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”. That is some pretty harsh criticism and quite condemning to those who refuse to provide for their families to the best of their ability and as circumstances permit. In the family a proclamation to the world (https://gospelperspective.wordpress.com/the-family-a-proclamation-to-the-world/) it states “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.” This is not a simple or easy task, the proclamation sates later on “We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” This is not a task to be taken lightly and certainly not a task that is to be done only if convenient which it never is.
The prophets have warned us that “disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” The family is in a state of emergency and is in a quick spiral down to complete destruction. This website gives some stats on marriage rates in Canada http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/famil/stat2000/p2.html. Based on what this site tells us 526 marriages /100,000 people of marriageable age in Canada of those marriages 223 get divorced or 40.10%. A report commissioned by BYU finds the following “Among Latter-day Saints, marriage in the temple has a significant effect on the divorce rate, Brother Heaton and Sister Goodman reported. “Non-temple marriages are about five times more likely to end in divorce than temple marriages.” About 5.4 percent of LDS males who married in the temple were later divorced and about 6.5 percent of the females. By comparison, some 27.8 percent of non-temple LDS marriages ended in divorce for men and about 32.7 percent for women.” (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1984/07/news-of-the-church/lds-rank-high-in-marriage-low-in-divorce-study-says). Its interesting to note that a non temple marriage ceremony often ends with the words “till death do your part”. Given the state of marriage in our cultures we could probably amend that to say “till death or divorce do your part”, while in a LDS temple marriage the ceremony states “for time and all eternity”. Our marriages in the temple are of eternal significance and are entered into for eternity never to part. We are sealed together for eternity, forever, never ending marriage. Death cannot part us. As one of my wife’s favorite quotes says “death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it a while” While divorce still happens, the rates of divorce even for non-temple marriages in the LDS faith are still about 10% lower than the average. Temple marriages are more than 3 times lower than non-temple marriages in the LDS faith or nearly 7 times lower than the national average for divorce rates.
So what does this tell us? As members of the church we are not perfect but we are most defiantly different from the rest of the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ sets us apart from the norm and guides and directs us in providing for the welfare of our families. It shows that when we adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ with regard to personal worthiness, we have 3 times the likelihood of having a marriage that will last. We will love our family’s and spouses more than if we don’t.
Given our God given duties and God given love for our families how can any man intentionally neglect these responsibilities. They are of paramount importance and as David O McKay once said “no success can compensate for failure in the home.” No man has ever wished he spent more time in the office. The concept of providing for one’s family is a broad concept that can have many different meanings.
It is not a simple task, nor is it easy task.
As I pointed out earlier we have a responsibility to provide the necessities of life. Most people when they hear that think many things, food, clothing, shelter, health. These are all very important to the secular and physical welfare of our families. As men of God we cannot neglect this responsibility to our children and spouses. However there is so much more to providing the necessity of life than just the physical needs of our families. Beyond the physical needs our wives and children also need spiritual nourishment, mental nourishment, love and respect. Children need the attentions and love of their father, our wives needs the attention and love of their husbands.
Meeting these obligations and challenges has never been easy. In the bible we read from genesis chapter 3
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
Adam when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden along with his wife Eve was told by the lord that he would have to work hard to provide for his family. He was told that it would not be easy and he would suffer problems and obstacles to his efforts to provide. While most of us don’t have to deal with thorns and thistles or have sweat on our faces to provide for our families we still have challenges in providing for them. Providing for one’s own family in this day and age means you cannot be the typical man. It means you must be different from the rest of the world and be prepared to make sacrifices for those you are responsible to provide for and care of. Providing for one’s family is so much more than feeding, housing and clothing them. One must love them, care for them, nourish their souls and pray to the father of us all, God the father for guidance, direction and help in all things. If we neglect these responsibilities we will bring condemnation down on ourselves and will have to answer before God for these crimes on the great day of judgement.