Lesson 15: Counseling with Our Families

The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, (2000), 108–14


The purpose of this lesson is to help us strengthen our family by counseling with our husbands and children.

The Father Leads in the Home

  • Sing the hymn “Love at Home” (see Hymns, no. 294, or Gospel Principles, 352–53).

Our earthly homes are the beginning of heavenly homes. We need to establish the kind of atmosphere in our homes that will continue with our families forever. President N. Eldon Tanner said, “Every Latter-day Saint home should be a model home, where the father is the head of the household, but presiding with love, and in complete harmony with the righteous desires of the mother. Together they should be seeking the same goals for the family, and the children should feel the love and harmony that exists” (“Fatherhood,” Ensign, June 1977, 2).

The father is the patriarch and presiding authority in the family. It is his responsibility to lead in family affairs. Parents have the responsibility of rearing a righteous family, but of course neither does it alone. Each is important. We and our husbands are partners. Together we can build strong marriages and bring our families back into the presence of the Lord. We need to counsel with our husbands in order to enjoy the Lord’s Spirit in our homes.

Showing Love and Consideration for Our Husbands

As wives, we should each establish a house of order and love. A pattern of sincere loving and sharing will bless and strengthen our marriage. We should pray together regularly, show love and respect for each other, and read and study the scriptures together. We should keep the commandments of God and the covenants made at marriage.

In describing the perfect home, President J. Reuben Clark Jr. stated that “true love … blesses and hallows every thought and act” of husband and wife. “There must be respect in this home, and honor. Patience in abundance and … loyalty in thought and word and deed must there abide. …

“Faith must cover the home as a kindly light.

“Obedience to God’s commandments must guide and cheer them” (“Our Homes,” Relief Society Magazine, Dec. 1940, 809–10).

  • What can we do to show love and consideration for our husbands? How would showing love help us establish order in our homes?

Counseling Together

  • Display visual 15-a, “A husband and wife working together.”

It is important to have good communication between husband and wife. Then we can work together to solve problems that arise in marriage. Most problems can be met and overcome when we and our husbands are guided by the Lord.

  • Read Alma 37:37. How can counseling with the Lord help us?

We must talk frequently with each other. We must prayerfully discuss problems and goals with our husbands. We demonstrate love for our husbands by seeking their leadership and assistance in solving family problems. All major family decisions should be made together. We should set aside a specific time to discuss and resolve issues related to finances, children, religion, and other individual and family concerns. Once decisions are made, parents must be unified in carrying them out.

The following experience demonstrates how one married couple counseled together:

My parents were wise and well educated. Each could have easily made many family decisions alone. But instead, they always sat down and discussed problems and possible solutions with each other. At least once a week, usually on Sunday evening, they sat at the kitchen table and talked over problems. Sometimes we children were brought into the discussion. By counseling together my father and mother nearly always agreed on how we should be raised. Even though my father had a small income, we always had enough money. I do not remember my parents arguing or fighting. I am grateful for wise parents who set a pattern of a near-celestial home that all of us now try to follow in our own homes.

  • How could counseling together help us avoid arguments and problems in our homes? How could counseling together increase love in our marriage?

Counseling with the Family

  • Display visual 15-b, “A family during family home evening.”

After father and mother have counseled, they should call their children together to discuss family goals and plans in a family council.

Holding a council with the entire family is valuable. It can improve family life, deepen affections, and expand joy. Children will be aware of family plans in advance. When each family member knows what the others are doing, order and harmony result. Children should be allowed to share in decision making whenever possible, and they should help carry out these decisions. When we are counseling with our family, we should respect the opinions, problems, and schedule of each individual.

  • When is an ideal time to hold a family council? What are some areas that could be discussed in such a council?

  • Display visual 15-c, “A mother informally counseling her young daughter.”

Counseling with our children does not always occur in a formal situation. As mothers, we should take every chance to listen to their problems. We should try to see their point of view. We should not laugh at or minimize their concerns. Instead, we should lovingly try to understand and counsel them. We can also encourage our husbands to counsel privately with each child.

“It is wonderful when a father or a mother will sit down with a son or a daughter and discuss a personal problem. … There are pressures, and enticements … against which our sons and daughters need to be fortified. …

“In such heart-to-heart talks, parents will help to set objectives for their children” (ElRay L. Christiansen, in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 43; or Ensign, July 1972, 55).

  • As a young woman, what would you like to discuss with your parents? As a mother, what would you like to discuss with your children? You may wish to remind class members to always seek direction from the Holy Ghost in giving and receiving counsel. The Holy Ghost can help us know what to say and how to apply the counsel we receive.

Elder Richard L. Evans, in talking about counseling with our children, said: “You and they together have the privilege, the right, the duty, to sit down and share your thoughts and consider your decisions with one another, that both of you together may be listened to and respected—and work and pray and plan together for the wholeness of your happiness—always and forever” (“As Parents and Children Come to Common Ground,” Improvement Era, May 1956, 342).

Conclusion

Since we will live in peace and harmony in the celestial kingdom, we must begin now to achieve unity and love. It does not just occur naturally. President David O. McKay said: “I can imagine few, if any, things more objectionable in the home than the absence of unity and harmony. On the other hand, I know that a home in which unity, mutual helpfulness, and love abide is … a bit of heaven on earth” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 7). As we counsel with our husbands and children, we can strengthen our families. We can feel greater love and closeness for each other.

Challenge

Become aware of opportunities to counsel with your husband and children. Encourage them to prepare prayerfully for these opportunities. Encourage your husband to interview each of your children. If you are single, seek guidance from the Holy Ghost in finding ways to promote harmony in your family.

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Study Gospel Principles chapter 37, “Family Responsibilities.”

  2. 2.

    Plan to open the lesson with the hymn “Love at Home” (see Hymns, no. 294, or Gospel Principles, 352–53).

  3. 3.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.