whatever reason, Josh came home from work in a "bad mood." His wife,
Cindy, explained to me on the phone recently that for some reason, after
he had groused around the house for an hour or so, she consciously
realized that she had a decision to make. She could chide him for
snapping at her and the children or she could keep her mouth closed and
simply go about the business of managing her family and all that needed
to be done that evening. As she mulled over what to do, she remembered
times she was cranky but was hard-pressed to recall Josh criticizing
her for any outbursts of temper. She chose to be upbeat and to pay no
heed to his behavior.
tired after a long, hectic day and she supposed Josh was tired, too.
Josh went to bed at 9:30 p.m., early for him. She climbed into bed at
about 10 p.m. The next morning there was the usual hustle and bustle as
Cindy and Josh helped get lunches ready for school, oversee piano
practice, get homework into backpacks and hurry the children out the
door to catch the bus. Shortly afterward, Josh hurried off to work.
Cindy received a text message from her husband. "Sorry I was in such a
bad mood last night. Thanks for putting up with me. Can I take you out
to lunch today?" Cindy told me how much the message meant to her. More
importantly she was profoundly grateful that she had maintained her
composure the night before.
Prophet Joseph Smith frequently, in word and deed, taught the
importance of lending support rather than criticism to one another. On
one occasion, when speaking to the Nauvoo Relief Society, he counseled
wives to treat their "husbands with mildness and affection. When a man
is borne down with trouble, when he is perplexed with care and
difficulty, if he can meet a smile instead of an argument or a
murmur — if he can meet with mildness, it will calm down his soul and
soothe his feelings; when the mind is going to despair, it needs a
solace of affection and kindness."
another occasion he addressed the men, "It is the duty of a husband to
love, cherish, and nourish his wife, and cleave unto her and none else;
he ought to honor her as himself, and he ought to regard her feelings
with tenderness." When Emma lost their first baby in childbirth and
fell ill, Joseph remained constantly by her side, nursing and caring
for her, until he was certain she would recover. This was his same
pattern in Kirtland and Nauvoo. Reciprocally, Emma was solicitously
devoted to her husband during illnesses and trying circumstances. She
sacrificed to visit him in Liberty Jail, to console and minister as he
suffered there. She traveled by boat to spend time with him when he was
in hiding and his spirits were low during the Nauvoo period, near the
end of his life.
the time of their marriage until Joseph's martyrdom, he and Emma's lives
were fraught with troubles and danger. Their marital life together was
not without tension and at times there was discord. Nevertheless, they
loved one another, were solicitous of each other's needs and devoted to
one another. I imagine both often "held their tongues" under the
stressful conditions they had to endure. Emma and Joseph set a good
example for me, one I certainly need to be reminded of, and one I need
to more closely follow.
only should we apply restraint and patience within the bonds of
marriage, but we should do so in our relations with our children,
friends, and all other children of God. If we constantly censure our
children, they will wilt under the onslaught of criticism and our
relationship with them will suffer. In an increasingly critical and
contentious world, our homes need to be safe havens where forbearance
and kindness exist.
spoke truly when he advocated that women ought to treat their husbands
with mildness and affection, when he pleaded with husbands to love,
cherish and nourish their wives. Cindy was so grateful that she held
her tongue when Josh came home cranky and grouchy. Rather than creating
a breach, her patience strengthened and deepened the bonds of affection
between herself and her husband.