Thursday, March 16, 2017

FAML 300 04 Week 11: Transitions in Marriage: Fidelity and Intimacy

Between husband

This week’s topic is a very sensitive one, and probably something most of us have a hard time speaking about. I know that I didn’t ask very many questions growing up or even when I was making plans to get married. The only preparation I remember making was having a doctor appointment making sure I was physically healthy. I also read “Between Husband and Wife: Gospel Perspective on Marital Intimacy” by Douglas E. Brinley and Stephen E. Lamb. I truly don’t think anything really sunk in, because I was too embarrassed and naïve to allow myself to learn that this was something important. 

Intimacy is not something to be embarrassed about
 President Hugh B. Brown said, “Thousands of young people come to the marriage altar almost illiterate insofar as this basic and fundamental function is concerned. The sex instinct is not something which we need to fear or be ashamed of. It is God-given and has a high and holy purpose. . . . We want our young people to know that sex is not an unmentionable human misfortune, and certainly it should not be regarded as a sordid but necessary part of marriage. There is no excuse for approaching this most intimate relationship in life without true knowledge of its meaning and its high purpose” (Hugh B. Brown, You and Your Marriage, Bookcraft, 1960, pp. 73, 76).

Intimacy is fun, comforting, romantic, and spiritual.
 I was one of those illiterate young adults, feeling too embarrassed to talk. Sean E. Brotherson wrote an article for Miridian Magazine, “Fulfilling the Sexual Stewardship in Marriage,” in which he told how he was preparing to get married and realized he only had a basic understanding of marital intimacy. He turned to his mother and asked “what that experience was really supposed to be like. My mother laughed and said that sometimes it was fun, sometimes it was comforting, sometimes it was romantic, sometimes it was spiritual, and sometimes it was just a willingness to love. I still think that's about the best answer I've ever heard on that question” (2003).

 An image of a man’s hands and a woman’s hands folded in prayer, combined with a quote by Elder Neil L. Andersen: “Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers.”
It is okay to ask someone you trust answers to these questions. It is especially important for us to turn to our spouse after we are married and freely talk to each other about this aspect of marriage. Marital intimacy is a unifying aspect of marriage. Just as Sean Brotherson’s mother taught. Intimacy is fun, comforting, romantic, spiritual, and a way for full expression of love. It is way to bind a husband and wife’s hearts together as one. 

 Six pairs of feet are seen standing in a circle around a heart drawn in the sand, with the sun shining in the background.

This intimacy between husband and wife is good, and even though we need to be careful to only talk about it in respectful ways it is good. We don’t speak openly about sacred experiences, because that would diminish its special-ness, this too applies to intimacy. Elder Parley P. Pratt said, “Our natural affections are planted in us by the Spirit of God, for a wise purpose; and they are the very mainsprings of life and happiness—they are the cement of all virtuous and heavenly society. The fact is, God made man, male and female; he planted in their bosoms those affections which are calculated to promote their happiness and union.” (Parker Pratt Robison, ed., Writings of Parley Parker Pratt, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1952, pp. 52– 53.)

 A woman sitting outside with a man while hugging him from behind and kissing his cheek in an engagement picture.

My purpose in sharing these thoughts is to help married couples to feel more comfortable opening up with each other about their intimate relationship. Be able to talk about how each one feels. To have couples feel the way Sean Brotherson’s mother taught her son. If husband and wife are striving to love and fulfill the needs of the other, they will feel more love and unity toward one another.

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