Partners in Mortality and Beyond

Marriage is a partnership between equals. It has been that way since Adam and Eve and must be that way today. Elder Ulisses Soares’s address, “In Partnership with the Lord” states “The restored gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims the principle of full partnership between woman and man, both in mortal life and in the eternities.”

A Help Meet

When God placed man on the earth, he states “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). I believe that God then created Eve to be his equal partner. “The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal)—that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter [2015], 224).

We see that man is not greater than woman, but rather her equal. God intended men and women to be partners in this life and the next. Elder Soares states “Although each possesses specific attributes and divinely appointed responsibilities, woman and man fill equally relevant and essential roles in God’s plan of happiness for His children” (emphasis added, see also, The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

I have been blessed to have someone who is my partner and companion. She is my equal in every way and I would not be who I am without her. We counsel together and share our ideas on how to be better partners, parents, friends, and neighbors. We work well together.

An Equal Partnership

Elder Soares emphasizes that “we are all alike unto God” and that “the difference between woman and man does not override the eternal promises that God has for His sons and daughters.” Since we are all equal before Him, we must learn to work together as a partnership to bring about, not only our own salvation, but to help others achieve theirs. This is especially true for our children.

When Cheryl and I were first married, I had a lot to learn about being a good partner. We each had our likes and dislikes, our culture, our independence. It took time to get on the same page, first as husband and wife, and then as parents. It hasn’t always been easy, and there were a lot of bumps along the way. However, we were determined to become better. We found ways to better understand one another and how best to work together.

When our first house was being built, we had the opportunity to do some of the work ourselves instead of paying extra. Part of this work was to insulate a section of the house between floors. Up to this point in our marriage, we had never done something like this together. However, how hard could it be? The insulation comes in rolls that you cut to the right length and then staple in place between the support beams. Easy right?

Knowing that this should be something we could tackle together, we went to Home Depot to procure the supplies we would need. We should have realized that it wasn’t going to be easy when the associate at Home Depot told us that we could “use any stapler to hang the insulation”. Of course that meant we would buy the cheapest ones they had and go merrily on our way.

We get to our home thinking we can accomplish this before getting some dinner. If you’ve ever worked with insulation, you know that proper clothing is a must. You also have to have a sharp utility knife to cut through the insulation and paper. But most of all you really need a good stapler to attach the insulation to the supports.

Did I mention that we were putting this up between floors? That means we were on a ladder doing this. Needless to say, the “any stapler” recommendation was not a good one. We spent way longer than we thought and were, in the kindest of terms, “having a moment”. We were hungry, frustrated, and not in sync on how to get this simple project completed. For that one moment, we were not partners.

We were rescued when my sister-in-law showed up with Subway sandwiches. We decided to get food in our system. This allowed us to calm down and discuss our next steps. We apologized to each other and tried to be better.

A lot was learned from that incident. We grew as a partnership, even though we weren’t very good at being partners in that project. We laugh at the experience now, but I feel as though it helped to open our eyes to the work that lay ahead for us in our marriage.

The Marriage Covenant

God put Adam and Eve together. He created a “sacred and eternal bond” between them. This is the marriage covenant. “They became one flesh, creating a dimension of unity that allowed them to walk together with respect, gratitude, and love, forgetting about themselves and seeking each other’s well-being on their journey to eternity.”

The marriage covenant, entered into through the holy order of matrimony by way of the temple, not only creates a partnership between a man and a woman, but also a partnership with God. “By way of this order of the priesthood, they are given eternal blessings and divine power to direct their family affairs as they live according to the covenants they have made. From that point on, they move forward interdependently and in full partnership with the Lord, especially in regard to each of their divinely appointed responsibilities of nurturing and presiding in the family.”

We covenant with God that we will share the responsibilities of the family. “One person may have a responsibility for something but may not be the only person doing it.” There are also shared responsibilities that both are accountable for.

I do not see myself as the one who has to solely “preside” over my family. Rather, this is a shared responsibility that Cheryl and I have. I am thankful that it is, because I could not do it alone. Making decisions together is one of the greatest experiences I have had. I love to hear Cheryl’s thoughts and understand what issues are of concern to her. A lot of times we are thinking along the same lines and it shows to me that God is part of our relationship because we both are inspired similarly.

Family Governance

We hear a lot today about the “patriarchy”. It is often shown in a negative light. Elder Soares gives us insight into this when he states, “It is important to observe that the government in the family follows the patriarchal pattern, differing in some respects from priesthood leadership in the Church. The patriarchal pattern entails that wives and husbands are accountable directly to God for the fulfillment of their sacred responsibilities in the family. It calls for a full partnership – a willing compliance with every principle of righteousness and accountability – and provides opportunities for development within an environment of love and mutual helpfulness. These special responsibilities do not imply hierarchy and absolutely exclude any kind of abuse or improper use of authority” (emphasis added).

Family governance is an extension of the marriage partnership. Decisions are made together as husband and wife counsel one with another on how to best lead their family. This is an ongoing process. Family situations change with time and something that may have worked in the past, might not work in the present.

This is especially true as children get older. An easy example is bedtime. When our children were younger, bedtime was between 7:30 and 8:00. This allowed their young bodies to get the right amount of sleep and also allowed us time to work on other things we couldn’t get to during the day. However, as they got older, bedtime needed to be pushed back. The time still had to be age appropriate, but Cheryl and I needed to counsel on what those times would be. We settled on times that would fit age groups and have stuck to those times even when the younger kids complained that the older ones got to go to bed later.

Another area of governance is around chores. In this, we have followed the principle of one person has overall responsibility for determining what the chores are, but everyone gets to help. Cheryl has taken responsibility for defining the indoor house chores, and I have the responsibility for the outdoor ones. I take on certain indoor chores as defined by Cheryl and she will take on outdoor ones that I have determined are needed. This has worked well for us and allowed us to help our children see an example of responsibility.


Husband and wife must work together as equal partners for a marriage to succeed. Neither is greater than the other in the partnership. Rather each must work and counsel with the other to be successful. This doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen once the marriage covenant is finalized. It happens over time, working together, learning together, including God so that inspiration can be received by both. The strengthening of the partnership also strengthens and magnifies the love between husband and wife.

Teaching Tips

When teaching this topic you may want to consider:

  1. Discuss what “help meet” means. Ask the class why it’s important to remember that we are all equal before God. Discuss how the gospel emphasizes the importance of both men and women.
  2. Describe what a partnership is. What does a good partner look like? Ask the class for examples they’ve seen of good partnerships and why they work?
  3. Explain what the marriage covenant is. Why is it important to include God in the marriage covenant? How can staying close to God increases the love and strengthens the partnership between husband and wife?
  4. Ask the class about how their family is governed. If necessary explain what governance is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: