marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Friday, December 30, 2011

To My Unmarried LDS Readers

When you’re writing a blog, the last thing you should do is tell people to stay away. Whatever you do, don’t read what I’ve written. Very counter-productive to success in the blogosphere.

But I do. I tell members who are currently single (yes, even if they’ve been married or sexually active before) to stay away from this, or any other blog like this, that deals in matters of a sexual nature.

Why? What’s wrong with single members of the Church learning about sex and how to create a great marriage, you say? That’s what you teach, isn’t it?

Yes, I teach about sex. I teach married members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints about sex. That is who I am writing to, and the only people who should be reading this blog.

What you’re about to read in this article is what I teach to single people, who I believe should not spend their time learning or watching or reading about sex, and are breaking the law of chastity by doing so.

The world says exactly the opposite. You need the experience now, so you don’t look like a fool on your wedding night. You need to “try out” your partner, otherwise how can you possibly know if you’re compatible?

You can’t know. Furthermore, sexual knowledge before you marry may actually work against you on both a physical and spiritual level. Breaking the law of chastity can hurt you in ways you may not feel until many years later, whether you’ve repented or not. Repentance doesn’t remove all consequences.

The Temple

It’s no secret that people try to break into the temples all the time, sometimes simply because the door is guarded. I had a conversation once with a security guard at my local temple, and was told about fake recommends, imperious demands, and backdoor attempts to videotape or otherwise record the ceremonies.

Obviously some of these have been successful, as the many books from former members, websites describing the ceremonies, and even national TV shows have shown these very sacred ordinances to many people who would otherwise never have seen them.

They have succeeded…and they have also failed as well.

They have succeeded in showing the outward ordinances, but it’s not the outward ordinances I’m after when I go to the temple. It’s the inward growth, the revelations from heaven, the strength and enrichment that comes from worthy participation in those ordinances, that worthy members receive…members who have paid the price for entry.

Those who try to take what they have not earned get only the superficial outward appearance, which is dross and dust compared with what they could have had. Knowledge, growth, and the peace that comes from the Spirit cannot be stolen from the Lord. It’s impossible to do so. If you are not sealed to each other and earned the right to be sealed for eternity, you will never know what it is to reach that level of joy. There simply are no fake IDs in the eternities.

Learning About Sex

Likewise with marriage and sex. Granted, it’s a very compelling topic. We are sexual beings, and sex sells, and we are inundated with sex in our culture, which is one reason why so many indulge before marriage, even in a church that teaches and encourages chastity.

Those of you who are single and reading this blog are trying to storm the temple doors, and it will not work. You will learn a lot of theory, you may learn some technique. A successful marriage takes a lot more than theory, and technique alone will not bring you joy, or even a great sex life.

Only Way to Learn It is to Do It

The only way you’re going to experience sex the way it was meant to be is within the laboratory of marriage.

The lessons of marriage cannot be learned by living together, hooking up, friends with benefits, or in any other way other than the way He has sanctioned. It may seem on the outside that you are “married’, but in reality your results are very different.

When you try to learn about sex outside of marriage, sex loses its special nature. It stops being something holy or sacred and becomes an ordinary bodily function. We stop being children of God and become animals in need of relief, or bags of chemicals. Even something as simple as reading my articles when you’re single can begin this downward slide.

If You’re Single…

If you’re single and reading this, obviously you’re very concerned about creating a successful marriage and having a satisfying sex life. This is a righteous desire, but this desire has to be fulfilled in a righteous way in order to receive the full benefit. You may get part of what sex in marriage has to offer if you try to do it another way, but you won’t get the fullness. It is the gift that goes unwrapped.

Nor is that gift without risk. There is no way to predict whether or not the person you marry will be compatible with you. Not I, nor any other person on earth, can give you a list of steps that will guarantee marital happiness.

The person you marry will change after you marry them. They will revert to the person they always were after the intoxication of infatuation chemicals clears out of your system. It can take anywhere from nine months to four years for this to happen.[i] Hopefully at that point, that person is still a good person who will work with you to create a successful marriage. This is not always the case.

There will come a point in every marriage where we turn and look at our spouse, and think, “There’s been a terrible mistake. I should never have married this person.”

This is when marriage truly begins, and there is no better preparation for that moment than the daily ins and outs of living the gospel…the unglamorous work of prayer, the scripture study, the mundane daily service to others, gaining confidence in your relationship with God and with yourself…the small daily work of becoming a Christ-like person.

This should be the focus of those who are single.

Once you’re married, your focus will then properly expand to include the sexual and emotional care and pleasing of that particular person you’re married to, and your fun and pleasant practice (as well as the harder development stuff) will take all eternity to perfect.

If it turns out that you married badly and must end it, the daily ins and outs of living the gospel will provide you with protection in sorrow, and help you find another whom you can be married to happily. Mere sexual knowledge will not protect you in the same way.

So relax. Sex will always be there. Don’t try to experience or plan it before you’re married…you can’t anyway. Each marriage’s sex life is as unique as the individuals who commit to it. All that sex outside of marriage prepares you for is…enjoying sex outside of marriage and being an unfit marriage partner.

Repentance is always available for everyone to get them back on the path. Enter marriage with as few predetermined notions as you can, and learn together.  If you think misinformation is right (most of what I learned about sex on television and the Internet was totally wrong) and can’t break away from previous learning, great suffering can follow.

So farewell, dear single readers. I look forward to hearing from you again when you’re married, and ready to apply these sacred principles to the rites and privileges you’ve earned and are ready to exercise.

[i] Webber, Rebecca. “Are You With the Right Mate?”. Psychology Today. Feb 2012. pg. 56