Mormon Parenting: A short essay on love and Linda

Published: Friday, May 3 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

This is Richard writing solo this week, and Linda is going to have to read this in the newspaper like the rest of you. I needed to do this because this is the week that falls in between Linda’s birthday and Mother’s Day. It’s my chance to voice some things about marriage and mothers and other things that I want to say personally, but not privately, to Linda, as well as publicly to anyone who reads them.

First of all, I love marriage. I love everything about marriage, even the disagreements and tough times. I love having someone with whom I share everything and who knows everything about me, sometimes things I don’t even know myself.

I love partnership with my wife, full and total partnership where we literally try to share everything, even bank accounts, even our emails, even everything; and where there are no secrets, even little ones.

Neither of us is anything remotely close to perfect, and neither is our relationship, but I love the synergy of that and how all of my weaknesses seem to be made up and compensated for by Linda’s strengths, and where, on our best days, our total is greater than the sum of its parts.

I love that we each have our own ways of doing things, very different ways that, again on our good days, complement each other and make possible things that neither of us could do on our own.

I have come to acknowledge and partially understand that Linda is, like all women, a complex organism and that if you try to change one little thing or one little part of her you might set off some kind of chain reaction that would alter the whole and end up changing the very things you love most about her. Therefore, I tell her, in total honesty, that I would not change one little thing about her. I have told her that so much, and explained the reasoning behind it, that I think she finally believes me.

I love the word “husband.” It means stewardship, it means care, it means cherishing and taking care of. But I think it also means partnership — the kind with complete respect and unbending commitment and fidelity.

I love that Linda’s role in our family is the most important one — that her instinctive and intuitive love of our children has guided their lives more than any other thing and that the title of “Mother” truly is the most important and influential and indispensable and irreplaceable role on this planet.

I love the fact that we share both the procreative power and the priesthood power — that neither can be fully or fruitfully used by one of us without the other. I love that Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve said in his recent conference talk that just as a woman cannot have a child without a man, so a man cannot fully and eternally use the priesthood without the woman. I love the poetic quality of that statement — that both procreative power and priesthood power must be shared between a celestially married man and woman.

I love that an individual man or an individual woman is not a perfectible entity, but that a man and a woman together are.

I even love what Benjamin Franklin said — that a single man is like half a pair of scissors. And I love the gospel knowledge that tells us that every one of God’s children, whether on this earth or hereafter, will have the opportunity of everlasting marriage and oneness and family glory.

Oh, and by the way, and in case you couldn’t tell, I love Linda.

Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them anytime at www.EyresFreeBooks.com or www.valuesparenting.com. Their latest Deseret e-book is “On the Homefront."

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