marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Quiz: Am I Approaching Marital Burnout?

From Nijole Benokraitis, Marriages and Families, Fifth Edition, 2005, p. 275:

“All marriages have ups and downs, and checking off even as many as seven of the following items doesn’t necessarily mean your marriage is in trouble.

However, the more items you check, the wiser you may be to look further into these symptoms of burnout. The earlier you recognize symptoms, according to some practitioners, the better your chances of improving your marriage…

  1. You’ve lost interest in each other.
  2. You feel bored with each other
  3. There’s a lack of communication; neither of you listens to the other.
  4. You seem to have little in common.
  5. Deep down, you want a divorce.
  6. There’s a lack of flexibility; you can no longer compromise with each other.
  7. Minor irritations become major issues.
  8. You no longer try to deal honestly with important issues.
  9. You find yourself making family decisions alone.
  10. You have no desire for physical touching of any kind.
  11. Your relationships with other people are more intimate than your relationship with your spouse.
  12. The children have begun to act up; they have frequent trouble at school, get into fights with friends, or withdraw.
  13. One of you controls the other through tantrums, violence, or threats of suicide or violence.
  14. You are both putting your own individual interests before the good of the marriage.
  15. You can’t talk about money, politics, religion, sex, or other touchy subjects.
  16. You avoid each other.
  17. One or both of you subjects the other to public humiliation.
  18. You have increasing health problems, such as headaches, back pain, sleeplessness, high blood pressure, recurring colds, or emotional ups and downs.
  19. One or both of you is abusing alcohol or other drugs.
  20. Shared activities and attendance at family functions decrease.
  21. One or both of you is irritable and sarcastic.
  22. You are staying in the relationship because it is easier than being on your own.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How Close Is Our Relationship? - A Quiz

How Close Is Our Relationship?
By: Gottman and Silver (1999,81-82)

Put a T (true) or F (False) next to each of the following. At the end, add up the total of each.

  1. We enjoy doing small things together, like folding laundry or watching TV. 
  2.   I look forward to spending my free time with my (spouse). 
  3.   At the end of the day, my (spouse) is glad to see me. 
  4.  My (spouse) is usually interested in hearing my views. 
  5.   I really enjoy discussing things with my (spouse). 
  6.   My (spouse)is one of my best friends. 
  7.  I think my (spouse) would consider me a very close friend. 
  8.  We love talking to each other. 
  9.  When we go out together, the time goes very quickly. 
  10.  We always have a lot to say to each other. 
  11.  We have a lot of fun together. 
  12.  We are spiritually very compatible. 
  13.  We tend to share the same basic values. 
  14.  We tend to spend time together in similar ways. 
  15.  We have a lot of common interests. 
  16.  We have many of the same dreams and goals. 
  17.  We like to do a lot of the same things.
  18. Even though our interest are somewhat different, I enjoy my (spouse’s) interests. 
  19.  Whatever we do together, we usually tend to have a good time. 
  20.  My (spouse) tells me when he or she has had a bad day.

If you score 10 or more, your marriage is strong. If you get a total less than ten, your marriage could use some development.[1]

[1] Benokraitis, Nijole, Marriages and Families, 5th Ed., (2005,272)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Is It Okay To "Lust" After Our Spouse?

A reader writes in this week:

Dear Coach Sam,

Is it lusting to desire my spouse sexually? I read these blogs that talk about the dangers of lust, and I’m wondering…What’s the difference between the lust the scriptures warn about and my ‘lusting’ after my spouse? Am I displeasing the Lord somehow?

Unsure Husband

Dear Husband,

That’s a valid question to consider. Is it good to feel lustful for our spouse in an LDS marriage?

I have yet to find a positive context in the scriptures for the word ‘lust’. But we do have to look at it in the context that it was given.

For example, Christ said, “He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”[i]

Since it’s impossible to commit adultery with someone we’re married to, that gives us our first indication that lust doesn’t quite apply to our sexual desires for our spouse.

We know from Romans 7:7 that lust is a related sin to coveting, which Bruce R. McConkie defines as ‘an eager, extreme and ungodly desire for something’[ii]:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”

However, Paul also shows us there is also a righteous context for coveting – if we covet the things of righteousness.

“…covet earnestly the best gifts…”[iii]

If there’s a righteous context for coveting, is it possible that there’s a righteous context for lusting as well?  Well…sort of.

There may be some who would consider sexual desires and activity in marriage to be lustful. It may look or sound or feel the same as lust. But when the focus of our desire is our spouse – that is no longer “lust” but instead true love.

When sexual desire is combined with covenants and commitment, it leaves the profane; carnal, worldly realm of lust, and enters the sacred, holy and God-blessed realm of love.[iv]

Faithfulness and fidelity, and exercising those desires in marriage, is not lust.
Lust is the unbridled rebellion against commitment, loyalty and love, by allowing our hearts to wander outside of or away from our present or future marriage relationship. It is instead coveting something God has not licensed us to take.

We can still lust in marriage if we choose – by viewing profane erotica materials, or by fantasizing about people other than our spouse – and if we do find ourselves getting into the habit of doing these things, we do have need to go to the Lord with humility and realign our lives with that of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

However, if we feel attraction and powerful sexual desire towards our spouses, there is no shame in that. This is Love. It is Eros, or romantic love. It’s Storge or the committed kind of love. This is not lust. Lust does not bring joy and progression and eternal increase.[v]

[i] Matthew 5:28
[ii] McConkie, Bruce R. Mormon Doctrine. Bookcraft. 1 Apr 1958. See ‘Covetousness’, page 168.
[iii] 1 Corinthians 12:31
[iv] “Someone said once that true love must include the idea of permanence. True love endures. But lust changes as quickly as it can turn a pornographic page or glance at yet another potential object for gratification walking by, male or female.” – Jeffrey R. Holland, “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul”. April 2010 General Conference.
[v] “There is a great difference between love and lust. Pure love yields happiness and engenders trust. It is the foundation of eternal joy. Lust will destroy that which is enriching and beautiful. A husband must have no private, hidden agenda that is kept secret from his wife. Sharing everything about each other’s personal life is powerful spiritual insurance. When you travel, take along a picture of your wife. Set it before you. Remember how you are loved and trusted. You will not be tempted to contaminate your mind or violate your covenants.” – Richard G. Scott, The Sanctity of Womanhood. April 2000 General Conference.