My good friend, Julie de Azevedo Hanks, is holding a monthly “Cultivating Sexual Desire in Marriage” workshop for women. This is a great way for women to learn to embrace sexuality and find greater fulfillment in their marriages.
The next workshop is Saturday, April 25th from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Wasatch Family Therapy clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah (7084 South 2300 East #120). The cost is $50.
For more information check out the online flier, then call to reserve your seat. Julie shares great insights from our book And They Were Not Ashamed–Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment to help women awaken desire, and find greater enjoyment in the intimate relationship of marriage.
Register today by calling 801-944-4555 or emailing email@example.com.
Visit Wasatch Family Therapy to learn more.
About the Author: Laura M. Brotherson
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Certified Sex Therapist, Laura M. Brotherson is the founder of "The Marital Intimacy Institute"" with a mission to help couples create "sextraordinary" marriages. She counsels with couples and individuals in private practice (and online) and is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy--specializing in healthy sexuality, sex therapy, and sex addiction. She is the author of the best-selling book And They Were Not Ashamed — Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage, and her latest book --From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After: 23 Keys to Prepare for a Sextraordinary Marriage, with nearly 100,000 copies sold. She also has a fabulous online course for women to help them develop their "Sexual Wholeness."
As a Certified Family Life Educator, Laura is also actively engaged in helping to build strong marriages and families by providing marriage education through Couples Cruises, articles, newsletters, radio and television broadcasts, "The Marital Intimacy Show" podcasts, and presenting at conferences and workshops. Laura is a regular contributor to the KSL Television "Studio 5" morning show.
Subscribe to our newsletter, blog, videos and podcast and join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Learn more at StrengtheningMarriage.com — your trusted resource for education, products and services to strengthen marriages … intimately!
I would love for my wife to want to attend this workshop. I have not communicated this desire because I do not know how.
My wife has seen the ad for this workshop thankfully through your newsletter; when she saw the ad her only comment was in essence “talk about sex and look people will pay $50.” Her comment hurt me because I know she knows how important sexually intimacy is for me to be intimate in all other areas of our relationship; I felt as if she was downplaying this “need” of mine and/or saying “I am not going to try to even improve.”
Our sexual intimacy has improved but I would love for her to want to attend this workshop. How do I communicate that to her without offending or coming off selfish and being gratiful for what we have?
I am continuing to try to bond with her emotionally. She is able to better bond physically/sexually when we have emotional intimacy; I am better able to bond emotionally when we have physical/sexual intimacy.
Well, I think many of us would love our spouse to attend such an event. But the truth is, attending would only help the situation if the spouse really wanted to go and wanted to learn.
I think there is a fine line that we walk in marriage. We can and should try to lovingly encourage, influence, and persuede our spouse toward righteous ideals. But we really can only do so to the extent that they are willing. At some point, we simply have to honor the other’s agency and continue loving the best that we can even though (and maybe especially when) the other’s choices are contrary to what we would choose.
So, I wouldn’t get to hung up about this particular seminar. I think timing is key, and now may not be the right time for your wife. It can be easy to think that a seminar like this would be the answer to all of the troubles that you have but it rarely is that easy. Hang in there and focus on being as attentive to your wife as you can….
I do think that JustMe is correct in saying that there may not be a way for you to get her to attend. If you somehow “force” her she is likely go be resentful of the pressure. She needs to want to do it and the only things you can do is pray for you and your situation and try your best to love her.
Having said that, I think when she made the remark I do think it would have been appropriate for you to make a comment back. Something that gently let her know that she was hurting you by saying that. Something like, “I am sorry we don’t see this subject the same and that does hurt, but if you would tell me some seminar that I could go to that you think would greatly improve me as a husband – I would be willing to pay much more than $50 to try and make you happy and loved.” Just my $0.02.
My wife and I had a “discussion” (not a very pleasant one) along these lines, and I like to get your opinion on it.
She said she didn’t like being “addicted to pornography” and felt that ALL THINGS that make her sexually aroused are porn. She didn’t like reading Laura’s book, because it made her think sexual thoughts that got her excited and that was “porn like”. She doesn’t like this website or the blog for the same reason. She doesn’t like sites like “The Marriage Bed” either because they get her sexually excited, which is her definition of porn. She doesn’t like watching TV shows that imply too much sex, because those are “porn like”.
While I guess I see her point at the extreme, I think she has pushed it too far to the other extreme. In “shielding” herself from anything and everything that could be sexually exciting, she almost never gets aroused.
So, where does something like this blog, or this kind of seminar move from being “educational” and “fulfilling” and being a good thing, and move to being “titulating” and “pornographic” and being a bad thing?
“Titillating” is not in and of itself evil. It depends on the context. My wife could titillate me and it would be a very positive thing. I believe that the decision of when something crosses the line must be answered after you analyze the effects on the marriage relationship. The answer will likely be different for each person and change over time. For example, a book with suggested positions and techniques could be read together as a couple and the suggestions used to greatly enhance the wife’s arousal and have a very positive, uplifting effect on their marriage. If I were to read the same book, it may only serve to excite me alone to the possibilities of intimacy and heighten the sexual gap between my wife and I. This would have a detrimental effect on our marriage.
I believe that there is some material that is produced with the intent to cause unrealistic sexual expectations. This material is never beneficial to anyone. Any positive effects that could be derived from this stuff could also be obtained from other sources without supporting an industry with evil intent. There is other material that is intended to edify, instruct, and uplift marriages. The application of this material depends upon individual situations. Just as you wouldn’t feed a baby picante sauce, you need to apply, teach, and study the correct principles at the right time in your life.
I believe that this website is tremendously beneficial. There are certain pages here that are more beneficial to my situation than others.
As for the discussion you had with your wife, I am sorry. There is not an easy answer for those situations. There are certain situations that are impossible to fix yourself. Once a wife gets the idea that sex=bad and that the husband is just a seething mass of hormones bent on his own pleasure, any (even slight) encouragement from him towards a loving, passionate, intimate relationship only serves to reinforce her negative views of sex. There is nothing you can do or say to stimulate a change of heart in her. This change could be inspired by another woman, if she would talk to others about this topic, but usually wives with this attitude do not. Really she must gain an understanding on her own. There is nothing you can do. Your options are to either drive a deeper wedge between the two of you, or to leave this subject entirely alone and try your best to build intimacy in areas that she is receptive too. Give her all the love you can in the ways that she enjoys and appreciates. If she is still open to discussing your intimate relationship (just not reading or studying) than you should continue to do that. But not all the time. I’m sure you have a good idea already about what will irritate or inspire a negative reaction in your wife. Don’t discuss those things. Don’t bring them up. You will not convince her of anything other than that her husband has an unhealthy focus on sex. Be kind, loving, generous, understanding, and caring. Become an expert on making her happy. Study out how to please her (not sexually). Convince her that you live and breath for her. Help her feel physically and emotionally safe with you. Always compliments, never criticism. If she is able to find her way to intimacy, it will only be in this type of environment.
Very well put.
I am reminded of the story of the lightbulb (or losing sight of what matters most) from President Uchtdorf’s talk from conference titled “We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down.”
For those that might not be familiar with the talk, he spoke, of course, about airplanes. Specifically, a plane in Florida was preparing to land when the crew noticed that the light did not illuminate that indicated whether the nose landing gear had extended properly. The crew became so focused on this one problem that they failed to realize that their plane was gradually descending. The plane crashed and everyone aboard was killed. It turns out that the landing gear had extended properly, and the only problem was a burned-out light bulb.
The lack of intimacy in marriage can be like this. We can become so focused on this one issue that we lose sight of the overwhelming good within the relationship. If we aren’t careful, we can allow this one little burned-out light bulb to seriously damage a strong relationship.
Yet, it isn’t easy to overlook and to dismiss what seems to be such an essential part of marriage. It isn’t easy to extend love to a spouse when it seems that the spouse is unwilling to extend love to you. In fact, I cannot think of anything more difficult.
In such cases, I believe our only hope is to recognize God’s pure, complete love for us and for our spouse and to begin to love our spouse as He does.
Excellent article. I agree. We can focus on one principal to the point of damaging the relationship. We must recognize that intimacy is more important to marriage than the 20 cent light bulb was to the airplane. There was nothing wrong with the airplane, just with the indicator. When intimacy is lacking in a marriage, there is something seriously and fundamentally wrong with the marriage. It can’t fly like it was created to do. However, if one spouse is unwilling to work, focusing on it does no good.
Another talk that I thought was very helpful was Elder Holland’s talk “None Were with Him.”
“For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.”
The loneliness is the hardest part of this situation. The companionship and closeness that I crave is not to be found. Elder Holland’s talk was very inspirational and comforting. Christ experienced rejection and betrayal infinitely deeper than I have. He truly does know how to succor his children. He showed the path that I must follow. It is not guaranteed to be without pain and tears, but a glorious exaltation awaits. He has not left me comfortless along the away.
I must confess that my own Via Dolorosa has gotten harder in the past few weeks. I have found myself on the verge of tears on an almost daily basis, with a throbbing ache in my chest that will not go away. I pray to God that I may have the strength to endure, and that my demeanor around my wife and children will not be influenced by the hole in my heart.
Hi Sir John,
It pains me to hear of your continued suffering. I wish there was an easy fix. I hope you are able to find some solace here by sharing your pain and seeing that others too experience similar pains.
I can only imagine how much endurance it is taking for you to keep on keeping on, especially with a smile on your face. I hope you know what a source of inspiration you are to others. I know you are to me. I don’t know if it helps or not to know that your pain might at least be a source of comfort to others who similarly struggle in their marriages.
You have chosen a path much less travelled. You have chosen the path of overcoming the natural man. That is simply not easy for any of us. I wonder if it would ease your pain at all if your wife were struggling with some chronic physical disease like cancer or M.S. I wonder if it might make you feel less personally rejected. I watch those I know who are in such circumstances and wonder how they handle the “lack” in their lives.
I just wanted you to know that I think of you and all of you here on this blog often and pray for all those seeking something more in their marriages. I don’t know how long your heartache will last, but I will continue to pray that you and all of us will have the faith and strength and sustaining to overcome that which we struggle with and long for.
“I wonder if it would ease your pain at all if your wife were struggling with some chronic physical disease like cancer or M.S.”
Why, Laura! I am shocked! Brotherson doesn’t even sound like a Mafioso family. I had no idea your services were so “all inclusive.” How do you propose going about this anyway? Never mind. I don’t want to know. 😉
I’m sure that it would be easier to not take rejection personally if there were some physical reason. When I factor in the added stress of watching my wife suffer, all the complications of increased physical needs, and the mental and emotional stress and fear of an uncertain future, it doesn’t compare. As it is, she has some fairly serious impediments to a passionate sexual relationship. Those reasons are so irrational that sometimes it’s hard to believe there real. It’s taken some fairly lengthy conversations with her psychologist to convince me that “irrational” is a solid “reality” for some people. Still there are times when it’s hard to not take it personally and feel all pitiful, rejected, and self absorbed. That’s my own irrationality: taking it personally when I know that it’s not.
Thanks for your faith and prayers.
I imagine many wives having grown up in the LDS church are like mine and Xenon’s — they believe and have been effectively taught in Young Women that any sexual thought or desire is EVIL and should be DESTROYED.
Sorry, for the caps if I am being too emotional but I am so extremely resentful of the teachings taught or not taught to my wife in the Young Women’s Organization and by her parents that I do not want my daughters to attend Young Women. — What exactly does “return to virtue” mean, and how will it be taught?!
I would love Laura Brotherson to talk to the Young Women’s Presidency about this!
I would have to say I also struggle with wanting to help correct imbalanced teaching that I “think” is going on. My dear wife is very a private person and concerned about how she is perceived by others. Out of respect for her I don’t make a bigger deal out of it (I can say things here due to the anonymity).
I so admire Laura for her courage to step out of her comfort zone. It seems there are very few others that have this understanding and combined with the willingness to raise the issue.
I think we need to be very careful to not diminish the power and importance of teaching virtue. A return to virtue could only be a good thing. I do think that our youth need to be taught that a healthy passionate sexual relationship in marriage IS virtue. That wonderful ideal relationship is best obtained by abstinence before marriage. I don’t think that I want my church leaders describing in detail how wonderful sex is to my kids. Just the fact that it is wonderful is enough. Too much information would be inappropriate at this time. The goal needs to be briefly stated, but the bulk of the time should be spent in helping them with the struggle particular to this stage of their lives, which is abstinence.
I remember getting a lot of the thou shalt not’s in my ward growing up. I only remember once (I believe it was during a standards night, or similar event) when the bishop made it clear to the youth that sex is good and of God. He was very clear although very brief about the positive experience in store for those who follow God’s divine plan for intimacy. For me that was enough. My parents limited my sex instruction to the mechanical process. They certainly could have done a better job of instructing me on how sex fits into God’s plan of happiness. I am not sure how this level of instruction would have impacted me had I been female instead of male. I get the idea that young women internalize the “do not” and forget the “do” a lot more readily than young men do. Even so, I think the major failing would have been with my parents, not with church leaders.
Even when church leaders are not doing an adequate job of stating the end goal (healthy sex in marriage), adequate instruction at home can, I believe, make up for that entirely. And truly, the teaching of proper sex in marriage is best done in the home any way.
Perhaps the biggest change that needs to be made in the church is not with the leaders of the youth organizations, but the priesthood and relief society leaders. I don’t believe that I have every heard of a special lesson for parents on how to talk to their kids about sex. That lesson could start by teaching the parents correct principles about sex! It seems that would do a lot more good than any change in the Young Women’s teaching methods.
By the way, the teaching manuals for the youth organizations already include statements about the positive role of sex in marriage. It is also taught in “True to the Faith” and “For the Strength of Youth” which each youth should have and read on their own. Some time ago I collected a list of quotes from Church leaders which indicate that sex is good and not just for procreation, but for expressions of love within marriage. I considered posting it on Laura’s blog, but the list is much longer than I expected.
I am interested! Will you share the list with me? Email or leave on open discussions…which ever you are more confortable with.
Pretty Please 🙂
Hey Sir John,
It would be great for you to share any quotes you’ve found on sexuality. I gathered every one that I was able to find to put in Chapter 2 of my book (which talks about the sanctity of sexual relations in marriage). Please do share!
I did not know that you had a list in your book. I would love to read your book, but I don’t think that my wife would respond favorably to having it around the house.
I gathered this list of quotes after hearing several people say, “sex is only for procreation. If you’re not trying to get pregnant, don’t have sex.” I started looking for quotes in official LDS publications and from the prophets and apostles that indicate that sex is good for love, unity, and joy in marriage. I intentionally left out many quotes that say that sex is either good for procreation or were ambiguous about possible limitations on sexual expression in marriage. All the “multiply and replenish the earth” quotes are not here unless they also discuss this other aspect of sex. Also missing are the quotes teaching only the sanctity of the sexual relationship. One could argue however, that all sacred things are to be developed and encouraged. Why is that many people believe sex in marriage is too sacred to be developed and encouraged? That makes no sense to me.
This was for my own edification. I felt certain that this was God’s plan for intimacy, but I could not recall any specific teachings from the prophets and apostles. I have not shown this to my wife. I would not recommend that a big pile of quotes be used to guilt someone into “putting out.” That sort of sexual bible bashing seems repugnant to me.
Encouragement for sexual expression within marriage.
Quotes from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
If we truly love others and desire their eternal joy—if we are our brother’s keeper—our intimate relations as husband and wife will uplift rather than degrade. ~ A Parent’s Guide
Virtuous behavior, however, does not reject the feeling and joy of the physical senses but provides a full and satisfying enjoyment of them. ~ A Parent’s Guide
The challenges and rewards of marriage come as two people learn to be one. It is no easy task for two previously separate individuals to learn what is needed to become physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually one while retaining healthy self-esteem. Becoming as one requires the best effort from both spouses. But since their goal is eternal life, all the effort is worthwhile. ~ A Parent’s Guide
If the two people take care separately to inform themselves of the body and all its parts and functions and practice basic, virtuous courtesies together during courtship, their sexual adjustment after marriage will likely be all that they want it to be. In fact by giving proper attention to social, emotional, and spiritual matters, the couple will create in courtship a foundation upon which deeply pleasing intimacies are built after marriage. ~ A Parent’s Guide
He has ordained that all married couples should participate in the union that makes them one flesh (see Genesis 2:24). ~ A Parent’s Guide
Once the couple is married, sexual expression is ordained of God. The Savior taught that a man should “cleave to his wife” and the two should be “one flesh” (see Matthew 19:5-6). ~ A Parent’s Guide
In the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself [between a husband and his wife], for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], p. 311). ~ A Parent’s Guide
And, they must realize that the greatest passions of marriage lie ahead, to increase over the years through experience and growth. A truth not generally known to newly married couples is that in virtuous marriages passions increase over the years between the couple. ~ A Parent’s Guide
Both husbands and wives have physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs associated with this sacred act. They will be able to complement each other in the marriage relationship if they give tender, considerate attention to these needs of their partner. Each should seek to fulfill the other’s needs rather than to use this highly significant relationship merely to satisfy his or her own passion. ~ A Parent’s Guide
Couples will discover differences in the needs or desires each partner has for such a relationship, but when each strives to satisfy the needs of the other, these differences need not present a serious problem. Remember, this intimate relationship between husband and wife was established to bring joy to them. An effort to reach this righteous objective will enable married couples to use their complementary natures to bring joy to this union. ~ A Parent’s Guide
Husbands and wives are not compelled to mate because their genes or hormones order them to do so. Sexual powers are voluntary and controllable; the heart and mind do rule. While sex drive is a myth, husbands and wives do have physical and emotional needs that are fulfilled through sexual union. If they perceive and appreciate their masculine and feminine natures as important, complementing, but not controlling, parts of their lives, becoming as one flesh can be one of life’s richest and most rewarding experiences. ~ A Parent’s Guide
There are times within the marriage when complete abstinence is appropriate for extended periods of time, such as during ill health, difficult pregnancy, separation due to employment away from home, or a need to restore respect and mutually decent emotional and spiritual relationships. There also are times when a spouse’s emotional and physical needs would make it desirable for the other to be especially affectionate. ~ A Parent’s Guide
We would do well to ever remind ourselves of our first mortal parents. Instructing them, Heavenly Father commanded them to give attention to the whole range of their powers and passions. They were to subdue the earth, create and nurture posterity, become one flesh physically, cleave unto each other socially and emotionally, and learn to serve the purposes of God. They, as we, were endowed with bodies, parts, and passions after the image of the Creator. This implies that as we, the children of God, develop virtuously within marriage we will discover ever more profound enjoyments of all his creations, including our own emotions, bodies, and spiritual capacities. ~ A Parent’s Guide
There is every reason to enjoy sexual intimacies among the various intimacies of a virtuous marriage. ~ A Parent’s Guide
Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love within marriage. ~ http://www.lds.org, Gospel topics, Chastity
Within the enduring covenant of marriage, the Lord permits husband and wife the expression of the sacred procreative powers in all their loveliness and beauty within the bounds He has set. One purpose of this private, sacred, intimate experience is to provide the physical bodies for the spirits Father in Heaven wants to experience mortality. Another reason for these powerful and beautiful feelings of love is to bind husband and wife together in loyalty, fidelity, consideration of each other, and common purpose. ~ Elder Richard G. Scott, “Making the Right Choices”, Ensign, November, 1994
The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God, not only as the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and nobler traits of human nature, which the love-inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure. The word of Scripture is explicit as to the Divine intent and command with respect to the sexes. It is not good for man to be alone; and therefore hath it been ordained that “a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” [See Genesis 2:18, 24.] ~ “Chapter 18: Chastity and Purity,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith
Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife. ~ “Sexual Purity,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God
Sex is for procreation and expression of love. It is the destiny of men and women to join together to make eternal family units. In the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], p. 311). ~ “Lesson 41: Sexual Purity,” Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1
The powerful sex drives are instinctive, which is to say, God-given, and therefore are not evil per se. In order that these instincts may be controlled and directed into proper channels, they should be indulged only within the divinely instituted sacrament of marriage (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965], p. 70). ~ Young Women Manuel 2, Lesson 33: The Sacred Power of Procreation
Much of the happiness that may come to you in this life will depend on how you use this sacred power of creation. The fact that you young men can become fathers and that you young women can become mothers is of utmost importance to you. [Show the picture of a young couple with a family.] As this power develops within you, it will prompt you in the search for a companion and empower you to love and to hold him. (Elder Boyd K. Packer, ???) ~ Young Women Manuel 2, Lesson 33: The Sacred Power of Procreation
Then one day you can know the full and righteous expression of these powers and the attendant happiness and joy in righteous family life. In due time, within the bonds of the marriage covenant, you can yield yourselves to those sacred expressions of love which have as their fulfillment the generation of life itself. (Elder Boyd K. Packer, ???) ~ Young Women Manuel 2, Lesson 33: The Sacred Power of Procreation
Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love within marriage. ~ “Chastity,” True to the Faith, (2004) ~ For the Strength of Youth, pg. 26
But we also believe in the good that can be derived from the appropriate use of intimacy in marriage. We are well aware of the joy and unity that can come to a married couple when this particular dimension of the marital relationship is nurtured. ~ Brent A. Barlow, “They Twain Shall Be One: Thoughts on Intimacy in Marriage,” Ensign, Sep 1986
In reality, however, sexuality is a beautiful power given to mankind from God. President Kimball has observed: “The Bible celebrates sex and its proper use, presenting it as God-created, God-ordained, God-blessed. It makes plain that God himself implanted the physical magnetism between the sexes for two reasons: for the propagation of the human race, and for the expression of that kind of love between man and wife that makes for true oneness. His commandment to the first man and woman to be ‘one flesh’ was as important as his command to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ ” (Quoting Billy Graham, Ensign, May 1974, p. 7.) ~ Brent A. Barlow, “They Twain Shall Be One: Thoughts on Intimacy in Marriage,” Ensign, Sep 1986
It is also of interest to note that the word sex or sexuality does not appear in the scriptures. Rather, it is described in holy writ with the words know or knew. This idea of “knowing” or “becoming acquainted with” connotes a deeply satisfying aspect of married love. ~ Brent A. Barlow, “They Twain Shall Be One: Thoughts on Intimacy in Marriage,” Ensign, Sep 1986
Some problems in this aspect of marriage occur when one spouse or the other either unwisely limits its use or uses it inappropriately. Sexuality should be an integral part of loving and giving. Any use which doesn’t include these feelings is improper. ~ Brent A. Barlow, “They Twain Shall Be One: Thoughts on Intimacy in Marriage,” Ensign, Sep 1986
In my work as a marriage counselor, I have found that there are some couples who feel that sexuality should be restricted to one dimension—reproduction. Yet President Kimball has said: “We know of no directive from the Lord that proper sexual experiences between husbands and wives need be limited totally to the procreation of children.” (Ensign, Oct. 1975, p. 4.) While creating children is an integral and beautiful aspect of marital intimacy, to use it only for that purpose is to deny its great potential as an expression of love, commitment, and unity. ~ Brent A. Barlow, “They Twain Shall Be One: Thoughts on Intimacy in Marriage,” Ensign, Sep 1986
When we see sexuality as a vital part of marital harmony and happiness, it becomes more than something we simply give or receive. I like to think of it as something a husband and wife can share. It might be called a sexual guardianship. ~ Brent A. Barlow, “They Twain Shall Be One: Thoughts on Intimacy in Marriage,” Ensign, Sep 1986
The union of man and woman is sanctified and glorified in marriage and becomes an expression of the love, unity, and potential godhood of man and woman. ~ Achieving a Celestial Marriage, pg. 78
Some forms of communication transcend that which can be spoken or written. Such is the ability of love’s intimate expressions: to say a thousand things more than the poet or the essayist, in a more sublime manner. That enduring love which unites two hearts finds its most poignant expression in the kiss, the caress, and conjugality itself, and brings its most complete mutual understanding in the attendant unity that makes a man and a woman virtually one flesh. ~ Achieving a Celestial Marriage, pg. 78
A single man or woman is socially and biologically incomplete. The one needs the other to set up the family, which is the basic unit of society. And the one needs the other to find wholeness and appropriate satisfaction of those yearnings that have their origins in God and his creations. ~ Achieving a Celestial Marriage, pg. 212
… the proper expression of physical intimacy in marriage is approved by the Lord. It brings great blessings to a married couple, helping them unify their souls and strengthen their love for each other. ~ Marriage and Family Relations, Lesson 3-Nurturing Love and Friendship in Marriage
Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and a lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple are those procreative powers released for the full expression of love. (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Things of the Soul, 105-17) ~ Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Intimacy In Marriage
Participation in the mating process offers an experience like nothing else in life. When entered into worthily, it combines the most exquisite and exalted physical, emotional, and spiritual feelings associated with the word love. Those feelings and the lifelong need for one another bind a husband and wife together in a marriage wherein all of the attributes of adult masculinity are complemented by the priceless feminine virtues of womanhood. (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Things of the Soul, 105-17) ~ Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Intimacy In Marriage
When we obey, we can enjoy these life-giving powers in the covenant of marriage, and from our fountains of life will spring our children, our family! Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all the days of their lives. (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Things of the Soul, 105-17) ~ Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Intimacy In Marriage
I think of the words of the sealing ordinance, which cannot be written here. I understand, in a small measure at least, the sacred nature of the fountain of life which is in us. And I see the joy that awaits those who accept this supernal gift and use it worthily. (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Things of the Soul, 105-17) ~ Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Intimacy In Marriage
As a righteous couple grow and mature in their love, they will come to know that the fine blending of the spiritual and physical dimensions of their relationship forms a solid foundation for their eternal union. (Elder Marlin K. Jensen, “A Union of Love and Understanding”, Ensign, Oct. 1994, 46-51) ~ Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Love
THANK YOU for sharing this list. I love collections like this…and I am especially in need of them at this time.
This is a great resource- thank you. It is reaffirming on one hand that marriage and intimacy is good, right, and ordained of God. It is frustrating, on the other hand, that something so potentially wonderful is also so elusive.
Thank you for sharing this….
Just to add one or two more to this list from Sir John …
“Abstinence, of course, is also a form of contraception, and like any other method it has side effects, some of which are harmful to the marriage relationship” ~Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Birth Control
“Prophets have taught that physical intimacy is a strong force in strengthening the love bond in marriage, enhancing and reinforcing marital unity. Indeed, it is the rightful gift of God to the married” ~Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Birth Control
“Abstinence in marriage, Paul says (see 1 Cor 7:4-5) can cause unnecessary temptations and tensions, which are certainly harmful side effect.” ~Eternal Marriage Student Manual, Birth Control
I think you may be correct. The problem is, that few distinctions are made (in YW OR in RS) that within the context of a loving marriage, sex is a wonderful thing, and a blessing. They fall back on suppression, abstinence, and other puritanical ideas that are great for keeping children and teens pure, but not well adjusted adults in a marriage situation.
I read your other post about your concern. (http://strengtheningmarriage.com/blog/sex/embracing-sexuality/#comments)
I have been thinking about the cooments made. I was wondering if you have taken the opportunity to share your concern with your bishop and your ward young women’s leaders? In my ward, the young women’s leaders happen to be therapists and counselors…I have heard that they do an excellent job with “return to virtue” and other chastity messages. I have read a lot of talks about intimacy from the brethren…I think that they are aware of this type of problem in the church. People are not perfect, but the church is.
(Laura touches on this in her book).
klover, Xenon & JustGettingBy,
I believe that you all must have some very good wives. Satan has a hard time getting to the good girls…so he has to try something, right? Unfortunately, it is often the delicious intimate relationship. People go to extremes…no sex, or sex with anyone. Heavenly Father has given us a fabulous guideline…and many people struggle with this aspect of the gospel…just like other aspects of the gospel.
I agree with Laura that Good Girls Do! (http://strengtheningmarriage.com/blog/sex/good-girls-do/)
I decided that I wanted to see what all the fuss is about this workshop. I called a friend, and we are looking forward to attending in 2 days! I still have so much to learn.
I will let you all know how it goes.
I really do not completely understand why some women do not see sexuality as essential in marriage. I remember how I was…but it seems that more and more women are fearful about this than faithful. It disturbs me.
H ave faith,
P ersistance, and an
E ternal perspective!
I had planned on sharing insights from Julie’s class. However, due to illness, Julie Hanks post-poned her class until May 23rd. So now you all can still make arrangements to attend!
On the idea above of YW and RS not teaching “the good” side of sex as much as the bad side ….
I teach periodically in our Gospel Essentials class, and when no investigators are there, we usually have the lesson be more of a “how do you teach this gospel topic to you kids and friends” rather than “what is this gospel topic.” Anyway, by sheer luck I got to teach the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chasity lessons ….
And I found what I think might be an interesting connection. When talking about the Word of Wisdom, MOST people focus mostly on the “Don’t”s … Don’t smoke, Don’t drink alcohol, don’t take drugs, etc. But there really is so much more to the Word of Wisdom … Do eat herbs, Do eat grains, Do eat meat in moderation, etc. Now, the DON’Ts are important, and are easier to measure, and are there to keep you out of trouble. The DOs on the other hand, are also important, but harder to measure, more personal, and are there to make your life better.
Now, I think the the Law of Chasity is probably structured the same way. There are the Don’ts, and they are important, easier to measure, and there to keep you out of trouble. BUT, there are also DOs for the Law of Chasity, and they are also important, harder to measure, and there to make your life better.
But, the Dos for the Law of Chasity are hard to measure in the same way that the Dos for the Word of Wisdom are hard. How many days a week is having meat in moderation? How many times a week is having sex mutually fulfilling? How much grain is enough? How many date nights is enough?
And since only the Don’ts for both laws are on the temple recommend question list, that is what we end up focusing on. BUT, if you ask someone if the living the Word of Wisdom, do they think about the “Dos” as well as the “Don’ts”? If they don’t consider the Dos, are they really getting all the blessings that Heavenly Father has planned for them? Would they life be happier and healthier and better in general if they worked on the Dos as well as the Don’ts? AND the realy kicker … Do all of those same ideas really apply to the Law of Chasity as well?
I am personally convinced that MANY of us are missing out on blessings that Heavenly Father has for us, that are “based on the law they are predicated upon” that we are missing because we don’t see the Dos in lots of God’s Laws, and only the Don’ts.
And if the YW and the RS (and to be honest, the YM and the EQ/HP too, since there are certainly LOTS of young men and men that are missing the Dos as well) spent more time focusing on the Dos, I think that would help out everyone.
But, just as it is really hard to say what exactly meat in moderation and fruits in their season mean in terms of objective counts, it is really hard to say what frequency and variety is good in the bedroom.
Very true, and a great observation. I think there had been a few posts several months ago with similar thoughts and conclusions.
The only thing I would add is that it will always be the principle that is taught. So for the Word of Wisdom, the principle should be that we have a stewardship over our bodies and that what take into out bodies is important (both things that we avoid AND things that we should seek). The application will always be individual and will never be taught. No one, for example, will say that we need to eat one apple every day or two bites of this and one bite of that. It is up to each of us to interpret the principle and to apply it.
I believe that is why the emphasis often seems to be on the don’ts- like you said, they are measurable. It is easy to comply with the don’ts, but that really is the minimum. We should be anxiously engaged and not compelled in all things. But too often we are too easily complacent with living the minimum, that as you said, we miss out on many blessings that Heavenly Father would love for us to enjoy.
Thank you for the reminder to focus on the “Do’s” in marriage. I think that many individuals (including myself) get hung up on the “Do Not’s”. Satan’s snare.
I love the connection that you made. Thanks for sharing it.