marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Friday, September 19, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) -- Intimate TRADITION!!

Happy Continue-The-Courtship Night!

One of the cool things about being married: you can make it any way you want it.

I know there are a few months in the year where there are no federal holidays. Why not make up your own?

For tonight's date idea, create your own national holiday as husband and wife.

Pick a month in the year to celebrate that day. Plan together what you want it to be about. It could be National Sock Day, or national Traditional Marriage Day, or National Pizza Day, National Sleep-In Day, or Finnish History Day - or whatever ancestral ethnicity you most identify with, or something to reflect on a significant religious event like the Second Coming. You decide!

Write down together what day it will be. Will you take time off? How will it be celebrated? What kinds of foods will you celebrate with? Will there be costumes? Decorations? Music? Songs? Special kinds of worship? Gift exchange? Service project? Plan whatever you want.

Special family traditions are an excellent way to tie you closer together.

Happy Dating!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) -- Need A Sitter?

Happy Continue The Courtship Night

Tonight's date idea is courtesy of WWW.Six Sister's Stuff.Com:

BABYSIT FOR A FRIEND

If you have kids, offer to watch a friend's kids while they head out on a date and then trade them the following weekend. If you don't have kids, watch some kid movies, play with Play Doh, and eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. Don't have any friends with kids? You could always try dog-sitting! You'd be surprised how many people would love someone to watch their dog and/take it out for a walk.

For more of their great stay at home date ideas visit the Six Sister's Stuff website:

Happy Dating!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Continue-The-Courtship Night (At Home) -- Chocolate!

Happy Continue The Courtship Night!

This idea is courtesy of "The Dating Divas" who also had some other wonderful ideas. The way to a woman's heart is through her...chocolate?

This one will cost about $20, but well worth it.

Have a chocolate tasting night:

Go to your local supermarket and/or health food store and purchase 10 to 20 bars (one of each) of the most "gourmet" or exotic looking chocolate they have. Be sure to pick something you've never tried before.

Make up a simple grid chart showing type, look, touch, sound, smell and taste. Share your findings with your eternal lover.

You can do the free printables at the Dating Diva website, or just make your own.

And, it can all be done at home - but be sure it's just the two of you.

Happy Chocolate Flavored Dating


Friday, August 29, 2014

What's the difference? Abuse vs Miscommunication



We all get tired and hungry and cranky at times, so it’s not always easy to know if we are being abusive. The good news is, we can repent and correct our habits.

Abuse in a marriage inevitably leads to terrible sex. Mark Gungor teaches that the formula for the best sex possible is a turned-on man and a turned-on woman.[i] Abuse can come in many forms, but always retards the trust and arousal capability of the offended spouse.

But when is abuse not really abuse?

I’d like to share with you what my Neuro-Linguistic Programming professor David Glenn teaches about how to identify an abuser. I invite you to ask yourself “Is this me? Am I behaving like this?” Then make the appropriate course corrections. This isn’t gender-specific. A husband or wife can be abusive and not even be aware of it.

To identify the patterns of abuse Professor Glenn taught,

“…an abuser can easily be identified by simple warning signs.
  • An abuser makes alterations to the victim’s environment.
  • They intend to bring about a change in a victim’s mental condition by changing his or her external circumstances.
  • The abuser is always defensive, and has a tendency to blame every mistake, failure, or mishap of theirs on others. They also may blame them on the world at large.
  • They never assume personal responsibility, never admit their faults or miscalculations, and always blame the victim or others. For example, they say “You provoked me”, or “Look what you made me do.”
  • They are hypersensitive, picking fights by arguing unnecessarily.
  •  They treat animals, children and mostly the opposite sex impatiently or cruelly.
  • They express negative and aggressive emotions toward the weak.
  • They may have a history of violent behavior coupled with vile bad language, threats, and hostility.
  • Sex with an abuser is almost like rape, as they want to control. They are forceful in and out of sexual intercourse.
  • They like physically hurting others, or find it amusing.
  • They do not respect people’s wishes.
  • They treat the victim as an object, or an instrument of gratification.
  • The abuser always has to be in control of any situation and interrogates the victim if they have not seen them for a few hours.
  • They make insulting jokes or remarks.
  • Permission is needed if the victim wishes to go out, or do new things, even if it is simply meeting a friend or family member.
  • They are patronizing, condescending, and criticize people often.
  • They are wildly unrealistic in their expectations from others, and life in general.
  • In short, they have a low opinion of themselves and take it out on others. It makes them feel better when the victim feels worse than they do. It gives them a sense of pleasure feeling that someone else is weaker than they are.

…They need a sense of control over others to give them a sense of power, which is delusional.”


Our habits of abuse come from many sources within our culture or subculture and are many times a trained reaction to a given situation…TV, our parents’ examples, how we interacted with our friends, etc... All of these can train our subconscious mind. However, we can change these patterns into patterns of love, humility, patience, forgiveness, and charity.

As I mentioned in the beginning, some abuse isn’t necessarily due to an individual’s lack of self-esteem, and unhealthy desires to be in control. Abuse can arise for many different reasons. One can arise from a couple’s inability to communicate.

What may appear as abuse may actually be a couple’s ignorance in knowing how to communicate with each other. Every word or action seems to be misinterpreted by the other.

To illustrate, Professor Glenn goes on to share an example of one of the clients who visited him:

“I had a young male client who would shout at his [wife], and this caused them both great concerns. This was an anger management session.

They truly loved one another, but this shouting from the [husband] was slowly breaking up the relationship. My client knew the reason he was shouting, but did not know why he could not control his anger towards his beloved [wife]. Let me explain.

They were [newlyweds]. Before they were [married], they had travelled together for four years. For them it was bliss travelling together several weeks a year, and loving each other’s company.

The shouting from the [husband] only started once they [married] and moved in together. He would clean the house, make the dinner and perform other household jobs before his [wife] arrived home from work.

He would even run a bath for her, and have all her clothes washed, ironed and a warmed towel waiting for her.

He was a nice guy with highly respectable morals. By seeking my help to save his relationship, he demonstrated even more that he was a nice and caring guy.

However, this was the start of his problem. He assumed that his [wife] would have the same relationship expectations that he did, and would act accordingly once they moved in together.

At times, when he was home from work later than his [wife], he expected her to have done the same housework as he had done. However, he would get home and she would be sitting in front of the T.V. with no meal ready, no bath prepared, and the clothes unwashed and not ironed. He would shout at her for not doing the work, but at no point had he communicated with her beforehand what he would like done prior to his arrival home.

Also, he had not considered what sort of day she’d had. She could have had an extremely stressful day and just needed to relax. He was only considering himself; not the woman that he loved.

However, he genuinely did not know this. In his mind he had created a perfect world of what he perceives as ethically right. He would see his [wife] waiting for him in a perfectly clean home with everything prepared. This thought gave him a lot of pleasure.

So, when what he imagined was not the real situation on returning home, he would shout.

He knew why he was shouting, but did not know how to control it. This was due to his lack of understanding in his own mind. But, whether real or imagined, he was in a different mental reality to that of his [wife’s].

What he was shouting about was actually created in his own mind. He was unknowingly angry at the real situation not being what he had imagined. He was his own worst enemy.

The [husband] told me that he had expected the same nice treatment that he gave her, yet he had never told her this.

Lack of communication with his [wife] just added to the problem. He needed to tell her what he would like…again the [husband’s] fault, not his [wife’s]. Knowing this was a revelation for him. It created a sense of guilt in his mind for what he had done. This was the first steps on the path for change.

Now let’s look at this same situation from his [wife’s] point of view. She is sitting at home, knowing her [husband] will arrive home soon. When he enters the living room, the [wife] is expecting a nice “hello”. Instead, he starts to shout at her. This creates a startled response in the [wife’s] mind as she was not expecting a raised, angry voice.

The husband had unknowingly created a fear in his [wife’s] mind of him. From that moment forward, the [wife] will associate fear with her [husband]. He was pushing the woman he loves away. This was explained to him.”[ii]

In this case, the relationship was healed through improved communication skill between the husband and wife.

However, other forms of abuse may not so easily be healed. Elder Richard G. Scott offers this advice:

“The beginning of healing requires childlike faith in the unalterable fact that Father in Heaven loves you and has supplied a way to heal. His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, laid down His life to provide that healing.
But there is no magic solution, no simple balm to provide healing, nor is there an easy path to the complete remedy. The cure requires profound faith in Jesus Christ and in His infinite capacity to heal. It is rooted in an understanding of doctrine and a resolute determination to follow it.
Healing may begin with a thoughtful bishop or stake president or a wise professional counselor. If you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t decide to fix it yourself. Serious abuse can also benefit from professional help.
There are many ways to begin healing, but remember that a full cure comes through the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Master and Redeemer. Have faith that with effort His perfect, eternal, infinite Atonement can heal your suffering from the consequences of abuse.
As impossible as it may seem to you now, in time the healing you can receive from the Savior will allow you to truly forgive the abuser and even have feelings of sorrow for him or her. When you can forgive the offense, you will be relieved of the pain and heartache that Satan wants in your life by encouraging you to hate the abuser.
As a result, you will enjoy greater peace. While an important part of healing, if the thought of forgiveness causes you yet more pain, set that step aside until you have more experience with the Savior’s healing power in your own life.
If you are currently being abused or have been in the past, find the courage to seek help. You may have been severely threatened or caused to fear so that you would not reveal the abuse. Have the courage to act now. Seek the support of someone you can trust.
Your bishop or stake president can give you valuable counsel and help you with the civil authorities. Explain how you have been abused and identify who has done it. Ask for protection. Your action may help others avoid becoming innocent victims, with the consequent suffering. Get help now. Do not fear—for fear is a tool Satan will use to keep you suffering. The Lord will help you, but you must reach out for that help”[iii]

Likewise, if you are the abuser, there is hope. There is help and the Atonement applies to you as well. Find the humility and courage to get the help you need and correct the pattern of abuse. There is only sorrow down the path you are on. 

Choosing to get help will put you on a path with a much brighter future.
Our goal is to create healthy happy relationships that will want to be together through all eternity. Abuse is one of the tools the Adversary uses to prevent this from happening…to separate us for eternity.
Your marriage can win. The best sex possible is still attainable. 

But, like anything worth having, it requires work, patience, consideration of the other spouse, humility, good communication, and careful planning. 

Most people are not born knowing how to recognize abuse or how to be great communicators. These have to be learned. Marriage is the ideal lab to perfect these. Repentance is your best tool. Be patient with each other and make it a marriage you want to keep for eternity.



[i] Gungor, Mark. Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. DVD. Crown Comedy, 12 Jan 2009.

[ii] Glenn, David, Learn beginner to advanced NLP Hypnotherapy Psychology Course Practitioner & Self Help, Amazon Digital Services, Inc.


[iii] Scott, Richard G, To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse, Apr 2014 Gen. Conf. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/to-heal-the-shattering-consequences-of-abuse?lang=eng

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) --- Romantic Rendevous

As I talk about in my blog, men and women each have a different love language. That is, in the way they express and receive love.

To keep the relationship balanced and to make sure we are taking care to fill our lover's love tank, remember to take turns on date night. Selflessness builds eternal marriages.

For most men, the deepest way we communicate and receive love is through sex. For most women, the deepest way they communicate love is through service, nurturing, and self sacrifice.They feel loved when these are acknowledged and appreciated.

Tonight is his night to choose. Here is a great idea, one that is relatively inexpensive, can be done at home, and tends to the love languages of both sexes.

But, you husbands may have a better idea and that's okay too!

Have you ever played Romantic Rendezvous? It sells at Amazon between $20 and $40 (I get nothing - wish I did) but, you may be able to find it cheaper elsewhere.

It's worth the price and it will give you years of enjoyment. But for heaven's sake, don't leave it laying out where the kids can get hold of it and play it. It's a game meant only for a married couple. It's a sacred activity for a married couple, but profane to allow those not married to play it. I didn't find it crude, vulgar or obscene, or offensive to the Spirit.

It's a great relationship game that gets you both talking, gives you permission to express yourselves intimately with each other, and gives you an opportunity to discover some things about your comfort zones.

Bet you both don't make it to the finish line. Happy Dating!



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Reader Asks, "Don't Erotic Words Offend The Spirit?"





Chris asked...
“I think that's kind of odd to talk about erotic words that do not offend the Spirit. I just wonder what words would have an erotic meaning and not offending the Spirit?”

Coach Sam said...
Great question Chris, and thank you for reading.

When speaking or referring to erotic or sexual words, I try to think of it in the same context as the name of God or our Savior Jesus Christ.

Their names are sacred. That doesn't mean their names can't be spoken ever and if we do it will offend them and the Holy Ghost. If we speak their names in the right context and with reverence,  not only does it not offend the Spirit, but allows Him to testify of them.

I feel the same is true for sexual or erotic words. The Spirit is only offended when we use them in an irreverent or defiling (profane) manner.

Using an erotic term to arouse your spouse, or communicate with them what you want or need is a reverent use of those words and shouldn't offend the Spirit.

However, discuss with your spouse what words are erotic for them. In the culture your spouse grew up in, there may have been sexual words that are designed to be offensive, and will offend the Spirit for them.

On the other hand,  a term may be offensive to your spouse, but not to you. Let them know what it means to you and that it's the only word you can think of to clearly communicate what you want or need in your sexual relationship.

Also let them know that you will use it reverently and in the correct context.

Who knows, your spouse may already have a term that better communicates to them what you are trying to achieve.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) -- Hot Bath

I hope you will all try this fun date idea at least once in your married life.

This one came to me while I was coming up with homemade sex-toy ideas for married couples.
You will need:
  • Solid plastic Easter eggs - remember, no holes, but they must be able to open
  • pencil
  • 10 strips of paper
  • small pieces of chocolate (optional)
  • candles (as many as you like)
  • bathtub
  • Your spouse
Each of you take five strips of paper (or more if you plan on playing a long time) and write one thing on each one of what you would like your spouse to do on or for you. Don't show your spouse. 

Put the strip of paper with a piece of candy in each egg and close up good and tight. If you like candles, light up and put a few around to help set the mood.  

After you put the kids to bed, or find a suitable distraction for them, fire up the hot tub, or run a hot bath.Wherever it is, make sure you both can fit. Then, put the eggs in the water and get in. Take turns opening the eggs and doing that activity.

  For some extra fun, put on some goggles and a snorkel while you take a bath or play in the hot tub together.

Happy Dating!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Continue - the - Courtship Night (At Home) -- Frenching

Happy Continue-the-Courtship Night!
 

No excuses, and no combining. Date night deserves its own sacred activity; consecrated for the purpose of strengthening and protecting the eternal marital relationship. Driving to a friend's house, or doing your bills or weekly shopping trip together can be a date night if that is something fun for you and you focus on talking with each other.

 If it is something that generally causes you or your spouse stress, it's important to avoid these activities for date night. Couples should avoid anything that could subconsciously cause them to associate date night with stress.

Set up the children with an activity that they enjoy and will keep them safe and occupied for at least two hours. Playing a video game, watching a movie, board games, all these with snacks...or an early bed time is appropriate as well. Date night should not to be combined with Family Home Evening. Find a way to distract them for at least two hours.

Then, have a French night! Watch a French movie, eat fondue or chicken stuffed crepes with a white sauce and french bread, enjoy some French pastry like chocolate croissants or eclairs, and french kiss all night. Be creative and see what other French flair you can add to the date, like doing your hair up in a French braid and wearing a French manicure. Or dressing like French aristocrats from 1700's. Have fun with it!

Happy Dating! :0)


Friday, August 8, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night ( At Home) - Celestial Feast

Happy Continue-the-Courtship Night to all you married lovers out there.

This one is not free or at home. Even on a tight budget, make sure to schedule times to get a sitter and get out of the house for a minimum of 4 hours. Time for just the two of you to reconnect. If you've been sealed in an LDS Temple, renewing your covenants is vital for spiritually protecting your marriage and family.

Do a session at the temple. I found that there are only a few temples left that are a full-service temple. This means they have a cafeteria. The cafeterias are actually in danger of being closed because of lack of use.

Find a temple near you that is full-service and have dinner in the cafeteria. The price is pretty reasonable and the food is always great. Having once served as a sous chef in the Washington DC temple, I can attest to the care, skill and love that goes into preparing the dishes. If the budget is tight, share a plate - the portions are pretty big anyway.

Then, do an endowment session together. See if you can time it just right so you can sit together and hold hands. Then ask each other in the celestial room about any new insights you received. I always come away with something I never thought about before. If you have a few more minutes, renew yourselves to each other by doing a couple of sealings. The temple workers are always appreciative of any help you can offer, and the blessings to your marriage are immeasurable.

Happy Dating!




Friday, August 1, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) - Really into Her

 I hope all you married lovers out there will take this prescription to making your marriage great!

Dating is a habit like saving for retirement - it will provide you with wonderful memories to look back on later. It will protect you when the hard times come. Don't save money and food, and not invest in your treasure in heaven - your marriage. Start now!

Tonight, it's her turn to choose, and here's a great idea if you find yourself stumped:

Sit and talk.

Remember when you were first dating, and you could talk for hours over everything? or even...nothing?

That gets harder to do as the infatuation state of limerance wears off, but it's a good habit to get into (and stay in) when you're married.

Schedule a set amount of time - at least fifteen minutes of your two-four hour block for a date, if you're new to this. Find a distraction for or reschedule of all of your precious distractions and interruptions. Lock yourselves in a room if you have to.

Brothers, act as if your wife is the center of the universe for that fifteen minutes.

Avoid shifting the topic to your issues, and don't watch the clock - just let her talk. Ask questions that draw her out. "How did you feel about that?" "What else happened?"

If she mentions problems, DO NOT try to solve her problems, unless she asks for your advice. Just...listen. Hold her hand. Give her a hug and a kiss when she's done.

(Hint: Men who listen to women are a major turn-on. Don't go into it to get lucky, but you never know what might happen...)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) - Hot Girlfriend

 Time for another fantastic Continue-the-Courtship Night. 

Tonight, it's his turn.

Fortunately, most guys are pretty simple and practical in our needs. 


After a hard day at work or school, sometimes we guys just want to get away from the house, go someplace quiet, and have your full attention with no distractions. This is especially true when the children come and they require most of mommy's time. Hubby starts to miss the attention he received when you were in "girlfriend mode".

Getting out of mommy mode is not always easy, but is necessary in order to help him feel that his girlfriend hasn't been permanently replaced with someone's mom.

Your stuck-at-home (because you are on a tight budget and/or have small children) date idea is this:


Take a couple of hours before he gets home to freshen up and put your "girlfriend" on. Take a nap if you need to, and put on some music or do other rituals that get you in the mood. You can be proactive. Don't wait for him to get you in the mood to be a girlfriend.

Set up the children so they have a safe activity to distract them.

Make him a simple meal that he likes. When he comes in, greet him warmly. Take off his shoes and put some slippers on his feet (if he has them).

Put on a film that he enjoys (don't know? ask him before hand), and bring him his meal. Feed it to him if he likes that. Then sit with him and give him your full attention as he talks to you. Focus on saying "yes" to  whatever he suggests or initiates
(within reason).

Next week is your turn, but tonight, let it be all about him. Remind him that his girlfriend is still in there.

Happy Dating!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) - Hot Poetry

Welcome to a very special Continue-the-Courtship Night!
Well...they're all special actually. :-)

Stuck at home? On a tight budget? Small children and no sitter? Medium children and no sitter? No problem!  Tonight it's her night. 


Most women (not all, but most) are aural and love aural stimulation. This means they respond best when they feel listened to and get sexually aroused most easily when the words you say are right. 


Brethren, if you want her to eagerly make love to you or let you make love to her, you have to be nice to the girl. This means doing things you think are boring and stupid, but are romantic to her. Sisters, don't worry if you think he doesn't like it. He likes you, and he's doing it for you. It's a gift he's giving to you. You can do the same for him at a later date.

Poetry Night:

Consider the old tried-and-true poetry reading. Put the kids to bed or put a movie on for them and then it's just the two of you for 2 hours (minimum) with no interruptions. Snacks can make the evening nice, and a fire in the fireplace or candles can add to the excitement, but they are optional.

Break out her favorite poetry books and take turns reading them to each other. Poetry doesn't have to be dry. Humorous poetry is perfectly acceptable, and making her laugh can be very sexy. Best of all, they are free at your local library.

Here are some suggestions:

Romantic:
Thomas Wyatt
William Shakespeare
Oscar Wilde
Elizabeth Browning
A collection of Romantic Poems
100 Best Love Poems of all time

Humorous:
Where The Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein
A Light In The Attic - Shel Silverstein
Funny Love Poems
Limericks are okay too (yes, there are non-offensive limericks)

Happy Dating!



Friday, July 11, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) --- Happy Feet

SALUTATIONS ON THIS GLORIOUS CONTINUE-THE-COURTSHIP NIGHT! 

For all you married lovers out there, here is your free (or inexpensive) stuck-at-home date idea.

Tonight, IT'S HER TURN! :0)

HOME PEDICURE

I don't know of many women who wouldn't consider having their feet pampered as romantic. Below is a video of how to do one at home. You may have to buy a few things, but your wife may already have these things in your bath.

Be sure to put the kids to bed early, or put a movie on for them, or utilize any of their favorite distractions. For the next two hours - it's just the two of you. 


Candles are optional, but can help with the relaxed mood. You could do her feet first, or she could do yours to show you what she likes, or both. Brethren, you don't have to have your nails painted (sisters, please respect him on this) unless you want them painted.

Who knows, it could boost his ego. " Honey, wait 'til the guys at work get a load of these." Happy dating!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Reader Question: Do We “Need” Sex?



Coach Sam:

This post came across your Facebook feed the other day, and it intrigued me. I am reminded of an article I read a few months ago: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/maybe-its-just-me/201404/does-sexless-relationship-justify-infidelity I brought this topic up to a conservative LDS community on the internet to discuss the relationship between sexual "needs" (if sex is a need) and sexual "obligation" (if sex can even be considered an obligation). It was interesting how many comments from conservative LDS denied that sex was any kind of need and did not want to accept that a spouse had any kind of sexual obligations (other than not committing adultery, obviously).

From your concluding statement here, and other statements you make (your sexless marriage and the sacrament post, for example), It seems that you believe that spouses have at least some level of obligation to engage and reach out to each other sexually. You tend to use these kind of "Sex is allowed in marriage" statements to support that position. My question is, -- do you really think that the LDS Church (institution) and/or our general authorities believe this? Is it really correct to extrapolate "sex is allowed in marriage" to "you should have sex in marriage"? It seems to me that, as a church and community, we are rather uncomfortable with that extrapolation.

~ Mr. Shorty


Dear Mr. Shorty:

Thanks for your comment – I read the article you included, which was, I believe, closer to the question you really wanted to ask me.

Please let me know if I’m wrong, but it seems your question goes beyond the surface question of ‘Is sex a need or a want?’ and into the realm of what we should be free to do, or not do, in marriage.

This is certainly a very sensitive issue, touching on whether or not a spouse can refuse to have sex with their spouse, or even has the right to do so. We work very hard to keep coercion and abuse out of our relationships, yet we very seldom look at the idea that a spouse should be held responsible for equal and opposite inaction or sexual rejection.

The article discusses the ethics of whether or not we should be allowed to refuse our spouses sexual contact when we are angry/tired/overwhelmed/upset, when we have married them and made a commitment to build that relationship, yet they are not allowed to seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere if we are unwilling or unable to provide it.

Am I going too far to say that sex is any kind of an obligation for each spouse in a marriage? What would be the purpose of getting married to be celibate? And, from an eternal perspective, in what way would a sexless marriage prepare a couple to live a celestial life?[i]

When I write and speak, it is not to a secular or worldly audience. Also, it is only in the context of developing a relationship that not only fulfills the covenants made in LDS ordinances, but also building a relationship where the couple wants to be together for eternity. So when I look at sex and its role, I look at how it benefits the relationship as a whole.

Let’s look at what the gospel tells us.

In the first chapter of Genesis, after Adam and Eve were married by the Lord, the very first commandment given to them was to ‘multiply and replenish the earth’ – the commandment to procreate.[ii] This commandment remains in force for every couple married today. This commandment cannot be easily accomplished without sex then or now.

Beyond the requirement given to man to procreate, sex is also a valuable tool for building a good-quality relationship – one that, in our faith, is expected to be happy, and one where the couple wants to be together for eternity.[iii]

But is sex a need in marriage?

In worldly pagan cultures, it is often spoken of or treated as a physical need, like eating or bodily elimination, in order to emphasize the importance of this most basic desire to their minds. In reality, this is not true. Without either eating or eliminating, the physical body will die. As most people have had some kind of sexual activity in their lifetime, I have not found a report of anyone who chooses a celibate life not being able to survive or even thrive.

Sexual release cannot prove itself to be a physical need. As Mark Gungor likes to say, “no one has ever died from a failure to ejaculate.”[iv] But does that mean sex is also not a need in order to protect the life of a relationship? Is it going too far to say that sex is required when we are married?

That depends upon what each person in the relationship values.[v]

There is no one who believes in maintaining agency as much as the Lord does.[vi] If a person in a marriage chooses to neglect or even shut down the physical aspect of the relationship, they are free to make that choice.

However, they are not free to choose the consequences of that choice.  The consequence of this choice is often that the feelings of love and closeness in that relationship will suffer, and if the problem is not addressed and resolved, most likely the relationship will wither and die over time.

Is this what the Lord desires for us? I believe not.[vii]

Can a sexless marriage last eternally? Section 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants stirs my doubts on that.[viii]

I’d like to additionally make a distinction between the physical act of sex (intercourse) and intimacy here. You mentioned that in your comments on the forum, you asked if they thought sex was a need or not, and most people answered you in the negative. If I can make a suggestion, as an experiment, you may wish to return to that same forum and ask them if they feel that intimacy is a need, and if they would make a distinction between intimacy and intercourse. I think you may get different answers.

Sexual intercourse is not a life-saving need. Humans do not perish if they do not receive sexual release. Intimacy is as important to life as eating healthy food. We cannot thrive physically, mentally, socially or spiritually without some kind of intimacy.[ix]

Sex (meaning intercourse and other forms of physical contact) and intimacy are not synonymous with each other. You can have sex without being intimate. You can have intimacy without sex. Sex is a tool to increase intimacy, and ideally this will happen in a marriage context. God ordains sexuality to be used in marriage, so that our full potential for intimacy can be realized.

More often, in a sexless relationship, there is a lack of intimacy as well. The withholding spouse may withhold intimacy for many reasons. If there is no intimacy, the temptation to stray outside the marriage relationship becomes much stronger.[x]

In rare cases where a couple is happy without intercourse or other forms of sexual release, they are usually happy because they have found other ways to have intimacy.[xi] More often though, one spouse is satisfied, while the other is deeply dissatisfied, and this is the relationship that suffers.

We take the sacrament to renew our baptismal covenant. There are many parallels to sexual intimacy being the ‘sacrament’ that renews the covenant of marriage. We renew our baptismal covenant once a week. It’s my recommendation (as well as the recommendations of other marriage counselors and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland) that we regularly do the same with our marriage covenant (see Sexless Marriage and the Sacrament article)

Going outside the marriage to find sexual satisfaction is clearly inappropriate, according to the Lord.[xii] Adultery and fornication is just not an option – if you want to maintain the Lord’s trust and be worthy of his inheritance.

Forcing or guilting our spouse to have sex with us, just because we’re married, is also inappropriate. Intimacy can only be achieved through the Lord’s prescribed means.[xiii]

Withholding all intimacy and sex from a marriage for one month or more is a sin of omission, and should be repented for and dealt with if the marriage is to last into the eternities. If sins of omission and/or commission destroy a marriage relationship, both parties will be held responsible before the Lord in the time of judgment. Persistent withholding of intimacy can also be a form of abuse and unrighteous dominion according to 1 Corinthians 7:4 and D&C 121.

We in the LDS church believe in covenants. We have many commandments given to us in many areas of our lives, and sexuality is no exception. Commandments are given to afflict the comfortable, and often involve moving out of our comfort zone in some way, in order to develop our bodies, hearts and minds in eternal directions.

Our differences as men and women are carefully designed to force us to become selfless in order to develop our Christ like attributes[xiv], When each spouse cooperatively sacrifices their selfish desires to arouse the other spouse and meet their emotional needs, this can lead to the most intense form of intimacy and the best possible sex.

If having sex with our spouse is uncomfortable or unpleasant, I believe that’s a critical issue that should be openly explored and resolved in appropriate ways by both spouses.

What if we are momentarily upset/tired/overwhelmed/out of town and unable to have sex? Do we have the right to refuse our spouse?

It may be better to say we have the right to delay sexual contact until a more convenient time. It’s entirely appropriate to say to your spouse, “I’ll be happy to be with you in the morning/next weekend, etc…”  Pin down a time that happens soon, and treat such an agreement as an important appointment that should not be pushed back indefinitely.

If sex cannot happen, intimacy should. Remember – intimacy doesn’t necessarily require sexual intercourse, and there are multiple ways to have sex that does not involve intercourse.

Spouses who neglect the gift of sex are losing a great opportunity to renew and strengthen their relationship. Marriage, like a testimony of the gospel, requires frequent attention and renewal if it is to stay strong. If members come to a true understanding of sex vs. intimacy within a gospel perspective, I think you’ll find most are much more comfortable with this concept.

I hope this helps answer your question. If not, let me know what questions you still have that you would like help getting better clarification on.

What about my readers here? What are your views on the necessity or non-necessity of having regular intimate sex in marriage? What could a couple do to increase intimacy if they physically can’t have sex or their desire for sex is lower than their spouse?





[i] “Marriage, properly contracted, is therefore holy and pure, and its relations, unabused, are sacred and chaste. The notion that celibacy is purer than matrimony, that either man or woman is holier in the sight of heaven because of non-intercourse with the other sex, is a gross error, unwarranted by reason or revelation. There is no attribute of the mind or function of the body that is in itself, or in its legitimate exercise, impure or degrading. It is only the wrong use of any of our powers that is sinful.” – President Charles W. Penrose, Second Counselor to President Heber J. Grant, “Mormon” Doctrine Plain and Simple, p. 48-49. Also quoted in Achieving a Celestial Marriage, Student Manual, p. 78.
[ii] Genesis 1:28
[iii] Clayton, Whitney L., Marriage: Watch and Learn, April 2013 General Conference, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/marriage-watch-and-learn?lang=eng

[iv] Crown Comedy (producer), January 12, 2009, Gungor, Mark. Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage [DVD]
[v] Oakes, Dallin H. The Desires of Our Hearts, Ensign June 1986, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1986/06/the-desires-of-our-hearts?lang=eng
[vi] 2 Nephi 2:27; 2 Nephi 2: 15-16
[vii] “…This sacred temple ordinance is more, much more, than a wedding, for this marriage is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and the scriptures promise that the participants, if they remain worthy, ‘shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions’ (D&C 132:19). 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 [of physical intimacy] and use it worthily.” – Packer, Boyd K. The Fountain of Life, from the Eternal Marriage Handbook, Intimacy in Marriage, p. 139-146; https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/intimacy-in-marriage?lang=eng
[viii] Doctrine and Covenants 130:2
[xi] Goldsmith, Dr. Barton, PhD, Psychology Today, The Difference Between Sex and Intimacy, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-fitness/201309/the-difference-between-sex-and-intimacy
[xii] Doctrine and Covenants 42
[xiv] Zwick, Elder W. Craig, What Are You Thinking, Apr,2014 Gen. Conf., https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/what-are-you-thinking?lang=eng

Friday, July 4, 2014

Continue - The -Courtship Night (At Home) - Making Splitz

HOORAY FOR CONTINUE-THE-COURTSHIP NIGHT! and for all you married lovers out there, here is your lucky-to-be-stuck-at- home date idea.

It's his turn: Banana Splitz

Get two cans of whipped cream (they can be low-fat if you're watching your weight), marshmallow cream, caramel sauce, fudge sauce, Nutella, a jar of maraschino cherries, or any of your favorite topping. Put a movie on for the kids or put them to bed early. 


Take all of your clothes off, he's a banana, she's a banana, Bob's your uncle, and Betty is your aunt. :0)


Be sure to put down some towels, and for an added bonus, shower together after.

Happy Date Night!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Continue - The - Courtship Night (At Home) --- Mini Golf!

ARE YOU READY FOR ANOTHER GREAT CONTINUE - THE -COURTSHIP NIGHT!?

 It is SO cool being part of an exclusive club of married folks!

I know you don't want to waste a moment with those precious little ones, but remember that your marriage is the foundation those children are sitting on. If the marriage isn't healthy happy and strong, so go the children. 

Time needs to be taken to care for and nurture the love and relationship you have for each other. 

Broke? Can't find a sitter? Give the kids some of their favorite distractions, put on a baby monitor and try this one out - alone - together. 

Make your own mini-golf course out of common household items.YouTube had a few  really clever ones, but here are a couple to get your creative juices flowing:




HAPPY DATING!


Monday, June 23, 2014

On the Holy Ground of Sex



Unspeakable, or Hallowed?

I was attending a class this weekend in which the topic was how missionaries should teach the law of chastity.

I took the time to note the feelings, emotions and energies exchanged in the room as we discussed teaching investigators about sex outside of marriage, pornography, and the procreation of children.

As soon as these topics were mentioned, there was a strong feeling, emotionally and spiritually, that swept through the room. A feeling I knew all to well from my youth.

I, and I’m sure many others who have felt this feeling, could easily interpret that feeling as “I may be doing something wrong and I’d better shut my mouth.”

I know there are many parents who feel this way when it comes to talking to their children about sex and sexual matters. Sometimes, spouses feel this even with each other.

What I’ve come to realize is that the feeling we are experiencing is not a warning that we are doing something wrong, but rather a prompting that we are treading on holy ground and it’s time to take off the proverbial shoes.[i] As we would be entering into a discussion about a sacred topic, it would be appropriate to remove the shoes of worldly, lustful, or irreverent thought.  

The World Has a Sense of This, But May Struggle to Accept

So why then do members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints consider the use of the powers of procreation to be so sacred and holy when the rest of the world seems to disregard it so easily as meaning…..nothing?

The answer is, they really don’t. Very few are immune from those same promptings.

A few years ago I was having a discussion with a co-worker about the Church. He was not religious. In fact, he was vocally pretty anti-religion, and talked about how comfortable he was drinking his alcohol and living his lifestyle choices.

Then he related to me a story about a trip he took to Las Vegas. He told me that he and his friends always go to the late night adult shows, and that every time he did, he always left feeling dark, dirty, and gross.

If that feeling of defiling the sacred is only something we’re brainwashed into as Latter-Day Saints, then why would a non-member, who has made no covenants and didn’t intend to, feel a similar prompting in a place that openly profanes the procreative powers?

In my studies about human sexuality in our culture, one thing that I’ve observed is that there are many groups of people who engage in ‘swinging’ or other forms of adultery and fornication. What I’ve also observed is that many of these people take special classes, and go to special camps to help them learn how to “overcome their inhibitions” so they can feel ‘more free’ about engaging in these activities.

If sexuality is not sacred and those feelings are only reserved for LDS members, then why do those who don’t belong to any religion, or never attended any religion feel a need to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to take courses to help them overcome their inhibitions about their body and sexuality in order to engage in profane activities? Something that the teachers of those courses say should come freely and naturally?

The answer is that the Spirit of Christ, given to every man, tells us those procreative powers are sacred. We can ignore or disregard or push past that feeling, but that sense of the sacred is nevertheless still there.[ii]

What is Sacred? What is Profane?

To illustrate just how sacred it is, we members of the church are taught that the Lord considers the use of those procreative powers to be so sacred, he restricts us from using them until we have entered into the covenants reserved for the highest ordinance in the temple…the covenant of marriage.[iii]

The powers of procreation are that sacred to us. That means that our bodies are that sacred too.

This means that the visual portrayals, either on stage, television, or film, of the use of these procreative powers are often a profaning of something we hold sacred.

This means that open disrespectful displays of the human body are a defiling of something we hold so very sacred.

This also means that writing or speaking that discusses or makes light about the use of our bodies and or procreative powers in an irreverent manner is a defiling of what we hold so very sacred.

Conversely, we can profane the sacred by avoiding or neglecting the powers of procreation for what they were intended to be used for…a sin of omission, if you will.

Rejoicing in (Not Ignoring) the Sacred

There are many who have taken that first feeling that I discussed in the beginning to be just that. Something, that if we come across, we should just avoid and keep our mouth shut about. Some will take this belief even into their marriages.

I believe this is because they may not have been educated on how to speak of sexuality in a reverent manner. It is something that has to be learned.

To illustrate, imagine you and your spouse receive your temple recommends. You personally look forward to attending the temple as often as you can. You enjoy the sweet peaceful spirit that is there. You enjoy serving, listening and learning from the instruction that is taught there. You look forward to sitting in the celestial room, so you can feel the calm peace and obtain knowledge that only the Holy Ghost can teach you there. It’s a very precious and sacred time for you.

Now imagine your spouse telling you “I need to get my temple recommend, but I will never attend ‘that place. It’s far too sacred for me to even talk about. I went through my first time, but I just plugged my ears during the session because the things taught there are far too sacred, and when we went into the celestial room I quickly hurried myself out because it was far too sacred a place to even look at. I find it obscene to hear other talk about how they love to discuss with each other in the temple the things they’ve learned.”

Sound ridiculous? Yet you may be surprised to learn that there are many who feel that same way about their sexual relationship with their spouse. By neglecting the use of that procreative power as valuable tools to not only create children, but to build a relationship with our spouse, we are neglecting that sacred gift out of a mistaken assumption that it’s ‘too sacred to discuss under any circumstances.’

Just like when we’re worthy to attend the temple, in the bonds of marriage we are free to bask in the joy that our procreative powers give us. We are free to discuss and learn with our spouse about the use of those procreative powers.

Just like the temple, we defile those procreative powers when we discuss with others who will not treat the sexuality of our marriage with reverence and respect. It would be the equivalent of casting our pearls before swine. They will take something precious and trample it in the mud under their feet. We should always use wisdom and caution when deciding where and with whom you enter into a discussion about sexuality – especially your own.

Look to the Temple

I believe the temple is our best model when wondering how to discuss or learn about sexual things. Look to the temple. Remember how we learn to reverence it. Let this be your guide in matters of sexuality as well.[iv]

When we teach others about chastity, including our children, a better thing we can do than focus on “sex outside of marriage”, “what exactly counts as pornography”, and “the scriptural evidences of masturbation” is to help them understand the difference between what is sacred and what is profane. I believe this can have a much more profound ability to guide them in their choices than to just focus on the “thou shalt not’s’ of the law of chastity.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints know they should only exercise and use our procreative powers in marriage. We do this because we believe that power is a sacred trust. We keep it sacred by regularly using it to nurture our marriage relationship and build our eternal families. Telling people only what they shouldn’t do invites ‘why’ questions that can easily be satisfied by teaching and exemplifying the concepts of what is sacred and what is profane.[v]


[i] Exodus 3:5
[ii] Packer, Boyd K., The Light Of Christ, Apr. 2005 Gen. Conf., https://www.lds.org/ensign/2005/04/the-light-of-christ?lang=eng
[iii] Packer, Boyd K. Things of the Soul, 105–17
[v] Lev. 10: 10-11