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“What of the meek? In a world too preoccupied with winning
through intimidation and seeking to be number one, no large
crowd of folk is standing in line to buy books that call for
mere meekness. But the meek shall inherit the earth, a pretty impressive
corporate takeover—and done without intimidation!
--President Howard W. Hunter[1]


Defensiveness in Marriage

One core problem in marriage that fights against meekness is criticism. According to marriage expert, Dr. John Gottman, criticism leads to defensiveness, and defensiveness leads to withdrawal. In fact, Dr. Gottman has identified in his research that criticism and defensiveness are two key components in marriage that predict separation and divorce. Defensiveness is an automatic, emotional reaction to criticism which is hard to resist engaging in in. Being defensive is a defense mechanism.


Meekness in Marriage

In Alma 7, we can learn how to live a life of meekness. Alma taught his followers,

And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandment of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things you do receive.

And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works (Alma 7:23-24).


Practicing Meekness

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned my friend Rob and how his defensiveness hindered his marriage.  A few weeks later, Rob related to me that his wife is not a complainer.  In fact, he said that she is actually a positive person.  Because I knew his wife, I agreed with his assessment.  Furthermore, since Rob was a good friend, I asked him, “Why would you be so defensive when your wife makes suggestions that will improve your finances, or your home, or a child’s life?”  Rob related to me that because of his own lack of confidence in some areas of his life, he perceived some of his

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