If a husband will put his wife’s needs above his own, his love for her will increase. That’s the counsel given by President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who repeats a three-word teaching often given to husbands by prophets and apostles: “Love your wife.”
“It will take faith and humility to put her interests above your own in the struggles of life,” President Eyring says. “You have the responsibility to provide for and to nurture the family with her while serving others. That can at times consume all the energy and strength you have. Age and illness may increase your wife’s needs. If you choose even then to put her happiness above your own, I promise you that your love for her will increase.”1
A Sacred Responsibility
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explains the responsibility that husbands have to love their wives. He says that of all priesthood duties, a husband’s primary responsibility is to his wife.
“Priesthood offices, keys, callings, and quorums are meant to exalt families,” he says. “Priesthood authority has been restored so that families can be sealed eternally. So brethren, your foremost priesthood duty is to nurture your marriage—to care for, respect, honor, and love your wife. Be a blessing to her and your children.”2
Another way husbands can be a blessing to their wives is by “[keeping] alive the spirit of romance in [their] marriage,” Elder Nelson says. “Be considerate and kind in the tender intimacies of your married life. Let your thoughts and actions inspire confidence and trust. Let your words be wholesome and your time together be uplifting. Let nothing in life take priority over your wife—neither work, recreation, nor hobby.”3
Elder Nelson teaches that “expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. … As grateful partners look for the good in each other and sincerely pay compliments to one another, wives and husbands will strive to become the persons described in those compliments.”
And he adds: “Above all, do not be selfish! Generate a spirit of selflessness and generosity. Celebrate and commemorate each day together as a treasured gift from heaven.”4
Lead Out in Love
Husbands can be a blessing to their wives by “lead[ing] out in family activities such as scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening,” says Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He also teaches that husbands should frequently express love to their wives: “Do you tell your wife often how very much you love her? It will bring her great happiness. I’ve heard men tell me when I say that, ‘Oh, she knows.’ You need to tell her. A woman grows and is greatly blessed by that reassurance. Express gratitude for what your spouse does for you. Express that love and gratitude often.”5
Help Each Other
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches about the love and support husbands and wives should share: “One of the great purposes of true love is to help each other. … We can endure almost anything if we have someone at our side who truly loves us, who is easing the burden and lightening the load.”
He also explains that “love is a fragile thing, and some elements in life can try to break it. Much damage can be done if we are not in tender hands, caring hands. To give ourselves totally to another person, as we do in marriage, is the most trusting step we take in any human relationship. It is a real act of faith—faith all of us must be willing to exercise. If we do it right, we end up sharing everything—all our hopes, all our fears, all our dreams, all our weaknesses, and all our joys—with another person.”
Elder Holland points to the need for selfless caring: “True love blooms when we care more about another person than we care about ourselves. That is Christ’s great atoning example for us, and it ought to be more evident in the kindness we show, the respect we give, and the selflessness and courtesy we employ in our personal relationships.”6
Show Love and Gratitude
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explains that expressions of love and gratitude “do not need to be flowery or lengthy. We simply should sincerely and frequently express love.”
Husbands also show their love by how they treat their wives. As Elder Bednar says: “We should remember that saying ‘I love you’ is only a beginning. We need to say it, we need to mean it, and most importantly we need consistently to show it. We need to both express and demonstrate love.”
Couples can enjoy a richness of joy, trust, and strength, Elder Bednar promises. “Feeling the security and constancy of love from a spouse, a parent, or a child is a rich blessing. Such love nurtures and sustains faith in God. Such love is a source of strength and casts out fear (see 1 John 4:18). Such love is the desire of every human soul.”7
“We know that the marriage of a man and a woman is necessary for the accomplishment of God’s plan. Only this marriage will provide the approved setting for mortal birth and to prepare family members for eternal life.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “No Other Gods,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 73.
Henry B. Eyring, “Families under Covenant,” Ensign, May 2012, 64.
Russell M. Nelson, “Nurturing Marriage,” Ensign, May 2006, 37.
Russell M. Nelson, “Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women,” Ensign, May 1999, 39.
Russell M. Nelson, “Nurturing Marriage,” 37, 38.
Richard G. Scott, “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage,” Ensign, May 2011, 95.
Jeffrey R. Holland, “How Do I Love Thee?” (Brigham Young University devotional, Feb. 15, 2000), speeches.byu.edu.
David A. Bednar, “More Diligent and Concerned at Home,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 17, 18.