I've decided that being a husband and father is hard work. However, I have also decided that no matter how hard it gets, it is more than worth it. After being married to Gauchay for over a year and a half before Luke was born, I thought I was getting the whole "being a family man" thing down. I thought I was a good husband, that I was learning how to take care of Gauchay and fulfill my responsibilities as a husband.
Then Luke was born and I learned about a whole other side to being the man of the family: being a dad. Being a husband is so much different than being a dad, and in some instances it's even easier. All of a sudden the sleep in my life disappeared, I got replaced as the one who spends the most time with Gauchay, and I feel like my body is training new muscles involved in bouncing, carrying, and rocking babies. While before I was partnered with a beautiful, talented woman, I now am in charge of a beautiful, uncoordinated, completely helpless baby.
And so I've been trying to figure things out. I've been trying to figure out what matters most and where I find true happiness in my life. Even though life is getting more difficult, I'm finding it more and more fulfilling every day I look into the face of my son.
So what is the key? I think there are many keys to having a happy home and especially a happy family. Something that is of supreme importance, something that if it isn't present in a family, the family won't survive, something that will bring your family closer to God than almost anything else, is serving each other and sacrificing for each other.
Men, how much do you sacrifice for your wives? Is it really a sacrifice to help her and watch over her, especially when she's a beautiful woman that consented to live with you? No, not really. At least not most of the time.
Women, how much do you sacrifice for your husbands? He seems so strong and self-confident, you may feel like there's nothing you can do to help him or give him comfort.
And parents, how much do you really sacrifice for your kids? How much love and care do you show them, love and care that doesn't come from rote parental duties and tasks, but love and care that comes from your heart and goes above and beyond what a "normal" parent does?
I humbly submit the idea that many of us are truly not sacrificing as much as we think we are for our families. We are not serving them nearly as much as we need to. Sacrifice and service are an essential part of family life.
Gordon B. Hinckley, a former prophet of the LDS church, said this:
If we are not sacrificing for our families, then we are not teaching them to worship God. Sacrifice and service lie at the core of Christian belief. If we wish to teach our children correct principles, if we wish to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to live it. We need to show in everything that we do that we are disciples of Christ. We need to be willing to set down our controller and go help our wife do the dishes. We need to be willing to set aside the computer and play on the floor with our son. We need to be willing to stay up all night to take care of a fussy baby, and not get mad at him. We need to be willing to give up what we think is vital to our existence in order to help someone else that is in need.
Ponder on the story of the young man who came to Christ and asked him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life:
Speaking of the commandments, the young man told Christ:
But that is what is required of us. If we are willing to sacrifice anything for our families, for Christ, then we will be able to teach our children how to truly worship God, to echo the words of President Hinckley.
I'd like to end with one thought that President Hinckley also shared. I invite you to think of it and decide how you can apply it to everything you do in your families, as a child, as a parent, and as a spouse:
I know that as we strive to give our all to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to sacrifice for our family, we will truly be living as God would have us live, and even more importantly, we will be creating a foundation of Christlike love, service, and discipleship that our family will build upon for the rest of their lives.