I read Mosiah 19-22. This is the story of Limhi and his people, beginning with Limhi's father Noah telling the people to flee from the Lamanites who are coming to attack. At one point, Noah urges all the men to leave behind the women and children so they can flee faster. There is a group of men who choose not to leave behind their wives and children; they stay with them to face the Lamanites. There is a second group of men who after fleeing for a couple of days, regret that they left their wives and children. They fight what hinders them (read: kill wicked King Noah) and return in search of their wives and children, hoping they are still alive. (They have as it turns out been mercifully spared by the Lamanites.) The third group are Noah's wicked priests. They refuse to return to their wives, and later on not only lust after other women, but kidnap them as well.
So in this story I was able to see that there are 3 types of spouses. (Even though it is men in the story, I think the principles can apply to wives as well as husbands.)
1. There are the spouses who remain true and loyal to their spouse. They stick by them no matter what the danger or trial. They love and protect. Their spouse (and children if applicable) are their focus, their purpose.
2. There are the spouses who get caught up in other things. They are distracted from what truly matters. What their focus should be. But they can realize their mistake, and repent, and return to their families.
3. The last group gets distracted away from their family. And then they choose not to return. They are selfish and neglectful and abandon their responsibility to their family.
Obviously, the first kind is the ideal to be. It will take constant work and effort to be that. Definitely worth it though. The second kind is the more human one. Meaning, the category I think many tend to accidentally fall in to on occasion. We're human. Distractions happen. But it isn't too late to return to our families and our responsibilities.
The third kind is what we don't want. Some of those in that category may have things end up in divorce. But there are others who stay in the marriage, but have mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. checked out. Their marriage is a marriage in word only. They do nothing to strengthen, support, and deepen it. It is obviously the category that we don't want to be.
But we have all 3 categories to help us measure where we are in our relationships and what we could or should be doing better. if it is needed. And as I write this, I see that it isn't just for spouses. This can be applied to family members in general. Have I checked out as a daughter? Or a sister? Or an aunt? Do I need to re-focus and help my family? It would have to be in different ways than it was when I was younger and surrounded by my family. But there are still ways I can be supportive.
And how about applying this as members of the Church? Members of a ward? Have I gotten distracted from my role in building the Kingdom of God? Where is my focus? Could I be doing better?
I really like how this application just jumped out to me today. I want to be the 1st category, but I'm determined that if I slip, I will be Category 2 and do what I need to to return to my responsibilities.