It should come as no surprise that Satan has many tactics to try to get marriages and families off course in an effort to weaken and destroy them. That seems to be his number one objective. What’s really irksome to me is how Satan is using the sexual relationship in otherwise good marriages to weaken them.
Some like to believe that sexual difficulties only occur when there are other major problems in the marriage. While there are always things that can be improved in other dimensions of a relationship, I have found that there are many couples that have really good relationships in almost every other dimension except the sexual one. It can take a real toll on the marriage.
It bothers me that good men and women who have so many good qualities and do so many good things as parents, friends, neighbors and church-goers, and yet they have such a dangerous void in their intimate relationship. I think Satan is thrilled. He’s simply delighted that while he couldn’t catch these people in his regular snares, that the sexual relationship in marriage alone has proven to be a wonderful source of contention and disconnect for many couples. This sexual disconnect renders many couples virtually impotent in otherwise being a force for good in building God’s Kingdom.
God wants strong and happy couples who are intimately connected emotionally, spiritually and sexually. Satan is overjoyed when they are not.
I encourage all those who might be ignoring, discounting, or neglecting the sexual relationship in their marriages to consider this as an Achilles heel that gives Satan access to their lives. Satan is real, and he’ll do anything he can to get good couples into a weakened position.
Thank Laura for speaking out on this. I agree with you 100%. Couples in this position need to understand this and to do all they can to build and maintain there armour and not allow Satan to weaken them in any way.
Thank you Laura again for your insight and perspective. I wish all couples could hear you! The subject of fulfilling sexuality in marriage is taboo in many minds.
I would like to add a comment and a question concerning building and maintaining intimacy in marriage and overcoming pornography.
I have heard that the underlying cause of viewing pornography is a spouse’s inability to develop true intimacy. Pornography is one of Satan’s counterfeits to true intimacy. Spouses turn to pornography when they are unable to establish, maintain, receive intimacy with their spouse. I have also heard that pornography has nothing to do with your spouse; that it is not your spouse’s fault.
Nothing excuses the use of pornography, but how should a couple best deal with this issue?
How do you communicate to your spouse that you are not feeling loved, cherished, valued, appreciated, needed, wanted, desired while at the same time loving, cherishing, valuing, appreciating, needing, wanting, desiring your spouse?
Many husbands’ “love language” is physical touch. If I do not feel my wife wants me, needs me physically I feel like nothing – that I do not even exist!
How does a marriage deal with differences in the desire for sexual intimacy?
I know my wife likes flowers, words of love and acknowledgement of her feelings, and I like and want to give those to her. My wife has initiated physical intimacy 2-3 times in our ten years of marriage. Is it selfish to wish, want, need, desire my wife to initiate physical intimacy? Is it the same as me giving her flowers when SHE ASKS for them verses then I give them to her because I WANT TO?
How does a marriage handle pornography? Sharing your whole soul (even the problem of pornography) with your spouse builds intimacy, but revelation of infidelity also damages it. When a spouse is struggling with pornography how can the other spouse best help? The spouse that has not had this struggle is hurt. The spouse that is struggling (or has struggled) with this problem needs more than ever to feel intimately loved.
How can pornography not be about the spouse when we are told that the underlying cause of its use is a problem with intimacy?
Laura, you have probably already addressed this issue, but I could not find an answer. I would appreciate your perspective and those of your readers.
You ask many great questions here. I think I may need to start responding to some of these emails and blog posts in my upcoming weekly podcasts, as there are so many for me to answer individually, and it’s easier and faster to answer verbally than in writing. I’m sure many others could benefit as well from the answers to these questions.
I apologize for putting you off here, but wanted to let you know that I’ll try to answer some of these questions (anonymously, of course) in our podcasts.
I hope others will comment and share their insights as well. I appreciate your willingness to seek out answers, and to continue to learn and grow in your marriage.
Ok, I don’t know if this is the right section to ask this, but ….
In church today, I was teaching Gospel Essentials on the Law of Chastity. Since we had no investigators and just one recently reactivated member in the class today, as we usually do, the class turns into more of a “how do we teach Gospel Essentials to our kids and friends” rather than “teaching the lesson material to an investigator”.
I thought of a similarity between the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity that we discussed for a while, and I wonder what others here think of this idea.
Often when we teaching or discussing the Word of Wisdom, we focused or stress the “Don’ts” – No coffee, No tea, No smoking, No alcohol. But there really is much more to the Word of Wisdom than the don’ts – there are all the “Dos” as well – Do eats fruits and veggies, Do eat grains, Do eat meat but sparingly, etc. And there is great benefit and blessings to be gained from the “Dos”. The Lord DIDN’T just say “No No No”, but also “Do Do Do”. And if all you focus on is the Don’ts, you are missing many blessings that Heavenly Father has for us.
Now, what about the Law of Chastity? I think that if we think about the Law of Chastity as JUST the “Don’ts”, you will similarly miss out on blessings that are there for the offering from a Loving Heavenly Father. The Law of Chastity, as it usually is stated, implies a “Dos’ Section as well. “No sexual relations outside of legal marriage” implies “DO have sexual relations inside of legal marriage”. And I think, if we did a better job of teaching the Law of Chastity as having both a “DON’Ts” and a “DOs” section, we would have heathlier and more satistifying marriages and a deeper and more fulfilling relationships in marriage.
We talked about that idea a bit in our class – How do we model for or teach our children that there are things that are special and unique in the marriage relationship? How do help teens and young adults focus on the future Dos and not just the present Don’ts.
If someone JUST didn’t smoke or didn’t drink, I guess that is “living the Word of Wisdom”, and similarly JUST not having an affair or prematial sex, is “living the Law of Chastity”. BUT, I think that there is much to learned above and beyond the don’ts. Perhaps the “don’ts” are the “for the least who can be called saints”, while the dos are a higher law somehow. In both cases, the dos are are left much more to our own personal discretion. No one really asks “how much meat did you eat last month” or “Did you have your Fruits and veggies today” to determine if you are living the Word of Wisdom. Similarly, no one really asks “how many times did you have sexual relations with your legally and lawfully married spouse last month” or “Did you fulfill your spouses sexual needs today” to determine if you are living the Law of Chastity. BUT, I think those are questions we ought to be asking ourselves.
Xenon, very well put. I have had the same thought regarding Chastity and the dos that are much less emphasized. We are blessed for obeying the don’ts, but I think the greatest blessings are there for those that strive to “do,” not just in terms of chastity but really in all aspects of the gospel.
It is easy to comply with the don’ts and to have a false sense of security that we are obeying the commandments. In most cases, the don’ts are the minimum, and we should strive to do.
I Agree that sins of ommission are common within marriages and that the do’s are critical as are the don’ts. The one thing I would add here is that while men need physical touch to be validated, women need what I’ver heard Laura refer to as the FOur T’s. Tenderness, Touch, Time, and Talk. So, it go both ways for us husbands. We need to remember to make non-sexual touch and tenderness a part of our regular interactions with our wives. This may very well push us out of our comfort zones, but initiating sex to please her husband might be out side such a zone for more than a few wives. So, let’s all “Just Do It!” (I apologize for the potential pun and specifically to Nike and Spencer W. Kimball 🙂