Monday, February 14, 2022

President Gordon B. Hinckley on happiness in marriage

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961, served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008 at age 97.
"I have long felt that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one's companion. That involves a willingness to overlook weaknesses and mistakes.
"One man has said, 'Love is not blind—it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less' (Julius Gordon).
"Many of us need to stop looking for faults and begin to look for virtues. Booth Tarkington once remarked that 'an ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband.' Unfortunately, some women want to remake their husbands after their own design. Some husbands regard it as their prerogative to compel their wives to fit their standards of what they think to be the ideal. It never works. It only leads to contention, misunderstanding, and sorrow.
"There must be respect for the interests of one another. There must be opportunities and encouragement for the development and expression of individual talent....
"Husbands, wives, respect one another. Live worthy of the respect of one another. Cultivate that kind of respect which expresses itself in kindness, forbearance, patience, forgiveness, true affection, without officiousness and without show of authority."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, "Cornerstones of a Happy Home," satellite broadcast for husbands and wives, January 29, 1984
Click here to read the full talk

I love this counsel from dear President Hinckley. Every married person should be actively and eagerly seeking for ways to increase "happiness in marriage" and he gives very practical advice on how to do it. This is a great key: it comes from eagerness to seek the "comfort and well-being of one's companion" first and foremost:

Those who have fallen into traps of being critical or negative "need to stop looking for faults and begin to look for virtues." That is a hard transition to make, but is perhaps the only way to effectively change directions once started down the path of negativity. And this is a pointed warning, especially for husbands, though occasionally for wives as well:

Instead, President Hinckley counsels us to learn to respect differences, to honor and encourage one another's interests and talents.  And finally, this very profound counsel to not only respect one another but to be worthy of respect in all ways, thus working together to cultivate the highest and best in a relationship. What profound counsel!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2022)
July 18, 2015

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