"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. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." -- The Family: A Proclamation to the World
We're on a journey in life. And to get where we ultimately want to go, we travel in families. Men and women—mothers and fathers—have been given different roles in this journey. This is made amply clear through the Family Proclamation. Fathers are to preside, provide, and protect. Mothers are to nurture. And we are to partner together in the execution of these roles and responsibilities, understanding that at times adjustments must of necessity be made.
I envision it being like a car ride. My family and I get into the car to take this journey to exaltation. “By divine design,” my husband is to take the drivers seat and I the passenger seat. Why? Because it has been dictated by God that it be so. We may not fully understand all of the reasons, but it seems reasonable to me that in each and every family we need a leader—someone with his hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road—and we need a nurturer. We need her to be free to give her attention to the children in the backseat, to teach and care for them, as they will soon grow up and join other individuals in their own journey.
We have not been left without direction on this trip. We have been given a map in the form of scriptures, modern revelation, and personal revelation. As husbands and wives we study these maps, discuss the course being taken and partner together in our responsibilities. I imagine the church being a caravan of these cars, all headed in the same direction with the same desired destination, led by prophets and apostles.
As males and females we come to earth with specific gifts that make us uniquely suited to our ideal roles. So many of the issues that we see coming to the surface at this time originate in a fundamental misunderstanding about these gifts and role differences. When I consider this analogy, it becomes clear how not only unnecessary but even detrimental it could be to have steering wheels and gas pedals installed in the passenger seat or drivers overly distracted by concern about what's going on in the back seat. As men and women we complement each other, and that is, again, “by divine design.”