When I was a missionary, I was not a very good senior companion. I drove myself very hard, and my companions were along for the ride. This is probably why I never trained anyone. My failures as a senior companion—the "presiding" role in a companionship—illuminate principles of divine leadership and power. What does it mean to preside? What does it mean to nurture, provide, protect? What does it mean to be a good wife, or a good husband? How is the Lord's power different from mortal power?
My thoughts on this topic are a product of my marriage, my dating, the Family Proclamation to the World, some feminist mores, conversations I've had with people, and my observations of others' approach to romantic relationships, divorce, leadership, and parenthood. I talk a lot to people. I'm interested in them, in learning how they deal with life, God, and others. My opinions do not come only from my own experiences, though they are of course filtered through my understanding of others' experiences.
I know most feminists and liberals read the Family Proclamation to the World (the Proclamation) with a critical eye. To them, words such as "preside" conflict with "equal partners." But I have learned to delight in the balance it strikes. It is a remarkable document, especially considering when it was issued. In a recent conversation with my brother about dating, I realized it is what I want out of marriage.