Ellen G. White Writings

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Testimonies for the Church Volume 4, Page 255

Chapter 23—Selfishness in the Church and in the Family

Dear Brother M,

I have been shown in vision that you have defects in your character which must be remedied. You are not right in your views and feelings in regard to your wife. You do not appreciate her. She has not received the words of sympathy and love from you that you should have given her. It would not lessen the dignity of your manhood to praise her for the care she takes and the burdens she bears in the family.

You are selfish and exacting. You mark little things and talk of small errors in your wife and children. In short, you seek to gauge their consciences by your own; you try to be conscience for them. Your wife has an identity of her own, which can never be merged in that of her husband. She has an individuality which she should preserve, for she is accountable before God for herself. You cannot, Brother M, be responsible before God for the character your wife forms. She alone will bear this responsibility. God is just as willing to impress the conscience of your God-fearing wife as He is to impress your conscience for her.

You expect too much of your wife and children. You censure too much. If you would encourage a cheerful, happy temper yourself, and speak kindly and tenderly to them, you would bring sunlight into your dwelling instead of clouds, sorrow, and unhappiness. You think too much of your opinion; you have taken extreme positions and have not been willing that your wife’s judgment should have the weight it should in your family. You have not encouraged respect for your wife yourself nor educated your children to respect her judgment. You have not made her your equal, but have rather taken the reins of government and control into your own hands and held them with a firm grasp. You have not an affectionate, sympathetic disposition. These traits of character you need to cultivate if you want to be an overcomer and if you want the blessing of God in your family.

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