Side by Side

In the story of the Creation, after Adam was put on the earth, the Lord said this: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” The account continues, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:18-23). I remember a discussion in church about this story when I was on my mission in France, and a member highlighted the fact that the word for rib in French—côte—is nearly the same as the word as côté which means side. His point was that the removal of the rib from Adam to make Eve, whether figurative or literal, was a representation of the fact that these two were meant to be side by side. Indeed, ribs are found in the middle of our bodies and on our sides which was perhaps why this organ was used in the story. The fact that Adam and Even shared this body part was symbolic of how they would be at each other’s side in life. Neither one would be ahead of the other. Elder Soares in the most recent general conference put it this way: “In the Lord’s plan, a ‘help meet’ was a companion who would walk shoulder to shoulder with Adam in full partnership…. When spouses understand and incorporate this principle, they do not position themselves as president or vice president of their family. There is no superiority or inferiority in the marriage relationship, and neither walks ahead of or behind the other. They walk side by side, as equals, the divine offspring of God. They become one in thought, desire, and purpose with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, leading and guiding the family unit together.”

            In this talk Elder Soares further pointed us to the story of Adam and Eve found in Moses 5 to learn about how a husband and wife should be yoked together. He said, “To better understand the application of this principle, we can look at the sacred and eternal bond established by God between our first parents, Adam and Eve. 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.” We see them doing the most important things together in an example for all husbands and wives that would follow. Here are five things that as full partners they did together in their union described in this chapter. First, they worked together: “Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him” (v1). Second, they bore and raised children together: “And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth…. They made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (v2, 12). Third, they prayed together: “And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence…. And Adam and Eve, his wife, ceased not to call upon God” (v4, 16). Fourth, they worshipped together: “And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord…. And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God” (v5, 12). Lastly, they mourned together: “And Adam and his wife mourned before the Lord, because of Cain and his brethren” (v27). Surely in our marriage relationships these are the important activities that we should do together as full partners: working and praying side by side, worshiping the Lord and teaching our children about Him together, and mourning with each other when those children struggle. Elder Soares summarized the blessings that will come from this unity in these words: “I testify to you that as we—women and men—work together in a true and equal partnership, we will enjoy the unity taught by the Savior as we fulfill the divine responsibilities in our marriage relationships. I promise you, in the name of Christ, that hearts will be ‘knit together in unity and in love one towards another,’ we will find more joy in our journey to eternal life.” I am so grateful for my faithful wife with whom I can stand and kneel side by side in our efforts to make that journey back to Him with our family.

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