I’ll begin my post this week with a quote from an article on marital fidelity.
Human sexuality is more than a physical matter. Chastity and fidelity begin in the spirit, not in the body. They are an expression of the condition of our spirit. When our spirit is in tune with godly thinking and gospel truths, we want to live high standards, and our actions reflect that desire. Thus, chastity and fidelity are more than sexual abstinence before marriage and sexual fidelity after marriage. They express the quality of our spiritual life. Terrence D. Olson
Writing about chastity before marriage and fidelity in marriage in our current highly sexualized society may have the potential to bring on the ‘boos’ and ‘hisses’ from those who align with the current notion that sex before marriage is a good way to be sure you are sexually compatible. Or that the current hook-up culture is acceptable in today’s society. Those who have a problem with sexuality are prude or too religious and need to get a grip.
Over the past few decades the acceptance of casual sex as normal increases, turning this sacred experience into just another adult recreational activity.
Might I be so bold as to state — There is nothing casual about human intimacy.
In truth casual sex is an oxymoron really, as there is nothing casual in this sacred experience — is fragmentation. It is giving only part of ourselves. It can never be more that a selfish gratification of the physical body.
If we relate to each other in fragments, at best we miss full relationships. At worst, we manipulate and exploit others for our gratification. Sexual fragmentation can be particularly harmful because it gives powerful physiological rewards which, though illusory, can temporarily persuade us to overlook the serious deficits in the overall relationship. Two people may marry for physical gratification and then discover that the illusion of union collapses under the weight of intellectual, social, and spiritual incompatibilities. . . .
Sexual fragmentation is particularly harmful because it is particularly deceptive. The intense human intimacy that should be enjoyed in and symbolized by sexual union is counterfeited by sensual episodes which suggest–but cannot deliver–acceptance, understanding, and love. Such encounters mistake the end for the means as lonely, desperate people seek a common denominator which will permit the easiest, quickest gratification. [Victor L. Brown, Jr., Human Intimacy: Illusion and Reality (Salt Lake City, Utah: Parliament Publishers, 1981), pp. 5-6]
The core doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teach one of the main purposes we are here in mortality is to form and build a family unit. This unit begins and thrives on a marriage built on trust and fidelity. Marriage survives when you give your all, your heart, your soul, your devotion to your spouse.
A marriage cannot survive without fidelity. Intimacy cannot survive without fidelity.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in a 1998 address stated, “may I stress that human intimacy is reserved for a married couple because it is the ultimate symbol of total union, a totality and a union ordained and defined by God. From the Garden of Eden onward, marriage was intended to mean the complete merger of a man and a woman—their hearts, hopes, lives, love, family, future, everything. Adam said of Eve that she was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, and that they were to be “one flesh” in their life together.13 This is a union of such completeness that we use the word seal to convey its eternal promise. The Prophet Joseph Smith once said we perhaps could render such a sacred bond as being “welded”14 one to another.”
I have written of the whys of marital fidelity. I have written about fidelity being an expression of our spiritual self, something we do not want to give away as a fragmented physical act meant only to self-gratify. I have shared Elder Holland’s wise counsel of intimacy being the “ultimate symbol of a total union.”
Now if by chance, some of the welding is beginning to weaken your union, BYU Professor, Kenneth W. Matheson, in his address, Fidelty in Marriage, It’s More Than You Think, has prepared a check list to see where you stand.
“Are you turning to your friend for comfort rather than turning to your spouse?”
“Do you find yourself thinking about your friend even when you’re at home?”
“Do you seek opportunities to be with your friend even when work doesn’t require you to be together?”
“Do you e-mail and text your friend when you’re not together?”
“Have you told your spouse about these messages?”
“Does the relationship with your friend take more of your time and energy than your relationship with your spouse?”
“Do you compare your spouse to your friend?”
“Would you be uncomfortable introducing your spouse to your friend?”
Do not justify or rationalize the interactions. Do not let the visual or spoken images of the media contaminate the beautify of your marriage. Lust has no place in an intimate relationship. It will rob from you all the good and beauty that God wants for you and your marriage.
Watch your step! A pertinent reminder for our day. There are so many ways the adversary works to destroy marriages and families. Weak places in our relationship and our lack of attention to those areas that need our care, give an open invitation for temptation to wander in and take from us what was once cherished.
“The divine impulse within every true man and woman that impels companionship with the opposite sex is intended by our Maker as a holy impulse for a holy purpose, not to be satisfied as a mere biological urge or as a lust of the flesh in promiscuous associations, but to be reserved as an expression of true love in holy wedlock” (Teachings of the Church, 2000, p.112).
Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Treasure the intimate relationship of your marriage. Take good care of your spouse. Give yourself in love. Take care that no influence will erode the faith and fidelity of the most important relationship in this life — and the life to come.