Differences Inherent between Men and Women

“Difference Inherent between Men and Women,” Building An Eternal Marriage Teacher Manual (2003), 42–44

Doctrinal Overview

The Apostle Paul taught of the differing gifts of Church members: “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us” (Romans 12:4–6).

Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles applied this concept to the marriage relationship: “A man and his wife learn to be one by using their similarities to understand each other and their differences to complement each other in serving one another and those around them” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 89; or Ensign, May 1998, 68).


Appreciating and building on the differences between men and women can increase sensitivity, understanding, and happiness in marriage.

Student Manual Readings

Selected Teachings from “Differences Inherent between Men and Women” (63–65)

“For Time and All Eternity,” Elder Boyd K. Packer (66–70)

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (83–84)

Selected Teachings from “Equality of Men and Women” (79–80)

Teacher Enrichment

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Cornerstones of a Happy Home (pamphlet, 1984; or student manual, 127)

Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 100–104; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 73–75; student manual, 360)

Suggestions for How to Teach

Group work. Distribute handout 6, “Questions on ‘Differences Inherent between Men and Women,’” found at the end of this lesson (p. 44). Divide the class into small groups, and assign each group some of the statements in Selected Teachings from “Differences Inherent between Men and Women” (student manual, 63–65). Invite each group to find answers to the questions based on the teachings in their assigned readings. Have them report their findings to the class.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Have the class turn to Elder Boyd K. Packer’s talk “For Time and All Eternity” (student manual, 66–70), and discuss the following questions:

  • What strategies does Lucifer use to corrupt romance, love, marriage, and parenthood?

  • In what ways has the Lord shown that He values men and women equally?

  • What does the responsibility to multiply and replenish the earth mean to you today?

  • In difficult economic times, how can mothers fulfill their responsibility to give their children “the full needed measure of watchful care”? (p. 68).

  • What is the eternal purpose for the difference between the roles of men and women?

  • What in the parable of the treasure and keys symbolizes the equality of men and women?

  • What blessings can be had when men and women each use their keys to open the vault?

  • What philosophies today are represented by those who try to change the keys to suit themselves?

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Have students read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and find sentences related to the complementary roles of men and women in the family. Have students read their sentences aloud, and discuss them as a class.


Review the statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve on the complementary natures of men and women:

“In the Lord’s plan, it takes two—a man and a woman—to form a whole. Indeed, a husband and wife are not two identical halves, but a wondrous, divinely determined combination of complementary capacities and characteristics.

“Marriage allows these different characteristics to come together in oneness—in unity—to bless a husband and wife, their children and grandchildren. For the greatest happiness and productivity in life, both husband and wife are needed. Their efforts interlock and are complementary. Each has individual traits that best fit the role the Lord has defined for happiness as a man or woman. When used as the Lord intends, those capacities allow a married couple to think, act, and rejoice as one—to face challenges together and overcome them as one, to grow in love and understanding, and through temple ordinances to be bound together as one whole, eternally. That is the plan” (student manual, 65).

Differences: Men and Woman