marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Best Possible Sex – Jealousy



 In case you missed it, click here to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4 , Part 5 Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8
 
What is Jealousy?

“Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses feelings ranging from fear of abandonment to rage and humiliation. Jealousy strikes both men and women, and is most typically aroused when a person perceives a threat to a valued relationship from a third party. The threat may be real or perceived.”[i]

How Can Jealousy Interfere with the Best Possible Sex?

Dr. Noam Shpancer, Ph.D. in his article “Jealousy Hurts Love or Does it?”  said:
“It is no surprise that research has often linked romantic jealousy with strife and dissatisfaction in a relationship.”[ii]
An emotion that brings with it fear and rage and humiliation will clog up the finer emotional channels, so that love and affection cannot be felt nor expressed with any sincerity. Unless they’re into “hate sex”, attempting to arouse your spouse while they experience such emotions, or trying to get turned on yourself, can be near-impossible under this kind of emotional turmoil.

If sex happens at all, it might happen on the wave of an intense emotion such as rage, which is not an emotion that edifies nor uplifts or emotionally unifies either spouse. Good sex and healthy progression is unsustainable under such conditions.


When your child is the catalyst of your fear of losing your spouse.

Jealousy isn’t always about a romantic rival. A particularly toxic situation that can sometimes happen is when one spouse feels competition with a child for the affections of the other spouse.

In case you new mothers out there are wondering why your spouse doesn’t seem as into the baby as you are, this is normal. Men (in general) only produce about 10% of the oxytocin (the bonding hormone) that women do.

You could hear the audible exhale of relief when I told my male friends and clients this. They thought something was wrong with them because they didn’t have the rush of feelings of love and bonding at seeing their new born baby – that the movies promised they would feel. Men don’t always feel that, and that is normal. 

Because of this, a husband may find himself jealous over his wife’s attention to the new baby if she neglects her spouse’s feelings and needs, or a wife might find herself jealous of her child’s relationship with her husband.
 
How to Overcome Jealousy in an LDS Marriage

*It may sound simplistic, but sometimes the simplest answer is best; continue dating each other.

“It's completely normal to be jealous of your wife's relationship with your new baby — especially if she's bonding with him through breastfeeding. But it's important to ask yourself who's really making you jealous: your wife, for being so close with your baby? Or your baby, for coming between you and your wife? My guess is probably both.
Whatever the cause of your jealousy, it's best to get your feelings out in the open. Start by talking to your partner as clearly and honestly as possible.
As important as talking is, it probably won't be enough. Create a date night or go for a walk with your wife.”[iii]

*After the children come, there is no such thing as “spontaneous” anymore

Time together must be planned and scheduled to keep the relationship balanced. But, if you think about it, regularly scheduling time for your spouse can be very romantic. It shows your spouse that you care enough about them to make and keep time for them in your busy and demanding life.

*Be conscious of your spouse’s feelings. Usually you can gauge when something is not right or the spirit of harmony has left. Communication is 80% of a relationship, so make yourself a safe place to express what the other is experiencing and to come up with ideas for resolution.


Jealousy doesn’t have to get in the way of the best possible sex if you’re both willing to put the other first.
“There is a never-failing formula which will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage; but like all formulas, the principal ingredients must not be left out or limited. The selection before courting and the continued courting after the marriage ceremony are equally important. But they are not more important than the marriage itself. Its success depends upon both partners.”[iv]

Join us next time as we discuss how gynocentrism and androcentrism affect the best possible sex.








[i] Psychology Today – Jealousy Basics. https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/jealousy
[ii] Shpancer, Noam Ph.D., Jealousy Hurts Love, or Does It?, Psychology Today, Apr 01, 2015, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy/201504/jealousy-hurts-love-or-does-it 
[iii] Brott, Armin, Babycenter.com, 2017, As a new dad, how can I get over my jealousy toward my new baby?https://www.babycenter.com/404_as-a-new-dad-how-can-i-get-over-my-jealousy-toward-my-new-ba_3568.bc
[iv] Kimball, Spencer W., Oneness In Marriage, June, 1978, LDS.org, https://www.lds.org/liahona/1978/06/oneness-in-marriage?lang=eng

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Best Possible Sex – Loss of the Spirit

In case you missed it, here are the first 7 articles in this series:Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4 , Part 5 Part 6 , and Part 7

How can a loss of the Spirit disrupt the formula for the best possible sex?

Sister Wendy Watson Nelson, in her talk Love and Marriage[i] , shared this insight about the role the Spirit plays in marital sex:

“Marital intimacy is ordained by God. It is commanded and commended by Him, because it draws a husband and wife closer together AND closer to the Lord.

True marital intimacy involves the whole soul of each spouse. It is the uniting of the body AND the spirit of the husband with the body AND the spirit of his wife.

Just imagine…He can purify your feelings! Therefore, ANYTHING that invites the Spirit into your life and into the life of your spouse and your marriage will increase your ability to experience marital intimacy. It really is as simple, and as profound, as that.

On the other hand, anything that offends the Spirit will decrease your ability to be one with your spouse. Things such as anger, lust, unforgiveness, contention, immorality and unrepented sin will reduce your attempt for marital intimacy to be something that’s nothing more than a sexual experience.

While worldly sex is under the influence of the world and the Adversary, and involves carnal, sensual, and devilish passions, God ordained marital intimacy as under the influence of the Spirit and involves Spirit-enhanced and purified passions.
The truth is, the more pure you are, the more marvelous your marital intimacy will be.

With worldly sex, anything goes. With marital intimacy, exquisite care is taken to avoid anything and everything, from language to music to movies, that offends the Spirit, your spirit, or your spouse’s.

While worldly sex is lustful, and kills love, marital intimacy generates more love.
Worldly sex degrades men and women, and their bodies, degrades the body as a plaything, while marital intimacy honors men and women, and celebrates the body as one of the great prizes of mortal life.

With worldly sex, individuals can feel used, abused, and ultimately, more lonely. With marital intimacy, spouses feel more united, loved, nurtured, and understood.

Worldly sex ravages and eventually ruins relationships. Marital intimacy strengthens marriages. It supports, heals, and hallows the lives of spouses and their marriage.

Worldly sex has been likened to the toot of a flute, while marital intimacy has been likened to the grandeur of an entire orchestra.”

Repent…for the best possible sex…?

The best possible sex is not just intercourse.

It includes sex, but it’s not just sex.

It’s all the functional forms of love, operating together as part of that full symphony of intimacy. Marital intimacy is the coming together of a man and woman, sexually, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Two people united in purpose and heart and mind and spirit.

We can literally be sanctified and worthier to have the Holy Ghost with us by having sex with our spouse – if we do it the right way.

World Cannot Teach Sexuality with the Spirit

This turns the world’s reasoning on its head, where the worldly peak of experience involves having the best, most involved, ‘non-vanilla’ physical experience possible.

The secular world doesn’t consider the spiritual aspect of our lives at all. They do try to use the physical to access the spiritual, but to them, it’s in a temporal perspective – using the tantric energy flows in the body, which is still using the body. The Holy Spirit cannot be accessed that way. Using chemical means or harder, more physically punishing experiences to help drown out the pain of life is not the same thing as accessing the Spirit.

But this is what the gospel promises (and delivers on)[ii]. Those who trade this promise away for mere physical experience in the wrong context are getting only a fraction of what’s available to mortals sexually.

Those who focus strictly on the physical in marriage, or seek worldly sources for learning without incorporating spiritual improvement, often find themselves equally frustrated, and are unable to truly find the sweet, liberating peace that comes from the Holy Ghost.

No Shortcuts

A loss of the Spirit shuts us out from having the best possible sex. Only repentance, humility and obedience will open that door and keep it open. There’s no cheating the Holy Ghost. We either do what is required of it or we don’t get to have the “full orchestra” promised from having it with us in our married sexual relationship.[iii]

**

Join us next time as we discuss how not scheduling time for marital intimacy affects the formula for the best possible sex.



[i] Watson Nelson, Wendy. Love and Marriage. From a young adult devotional given in January 2017. https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/worldwide-devotionals/2017/01/love-and-marriage?lang=eng

[ii] John 14:26-27 – No one but the Savior controls who gets the Holy Ghost and how they get it. No one can legislate that, no one can create laws to change how we access it, or cheat or protest or steal their way into it. There’s no equivalent counterfeit of the Spirit. We either do what Christ requires, or we don’t get it.
[iii] D&C 121

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Best Possible Sex – Lack of Intimacy



It would be nice if intimacy were a more straightforward concept. It is instead very complex and deserves care and respect, as each individual defines it differently.

A lack of sexual intercourse killed no one ever. Lack of intimacy, however, can be detrimental to mental and (sometimes) physical health. It affects the health of the marriage and when intimacy is lacking, the recipe for the best possible sex is seriously disrupted.

What is Intimacy?

“As we Brethren travel about the world, sometimes we see worrisome scenes. On a recent flight, I sat behind a husband and wife. She obviously loved her husband. As she stroked the back of his neck I could see her wedding ring. She would nestle close to him and rest her head upon his shoulder, seeking his companionship.
In contrast, he seemed totally oblivious to her presence. He was focused solely upon an electronic game player. During the entire flight, his attention was riveted upon that device. Not once did he look at her, speak to her, or acknowledge her yearning for affection.His inattention made me feel like shouting: “Open your eyes, man! Can’t you see? Pay attention! Your wife loves you! She needs you!”[i] ~ Russell M. Nelson

Intimacy is more than intercourse; in fact, sometimes sexual intercourse can be anything but intimate.

It’s found in a smile, a caress of the hand, a kind word, an encouraging note. Intimacy allows everyone around you to be more themselves, and know they’ll be accepted and loved through the good moments, as well as the less-than-our-best moments. Intimacy approaches a Christ-like kind of love. When mixed into a special, exclusive relationship such as marriage, sex brings an added dimension of great joy and satisfaction to intimacy.

Can a Lack of Intimacy Affect Your Health or the Health of Your Spouse?

“Intimacy, I have come to believe, is not just a psychological fad,
a rallying cry of contemporary couples. It is based on a deep biological
need. … It is only in the last 20 years that we recognize that infants need
to be held and touched.
We know that they cannot grow--they literally
fail to thrive--unless they experience physical and emotional closeness
with another human being.
What we often don't realize is that that need
for connection never goes away. It goes on throughout life. And in its
absence, symptoms develop--from the angry acting out… to depression, addiction, and illness. In fact, researchers are just at the very beginning of understanding the relationship of widespread depression among women to problems in their marriages.”[ii] ~ Lori H. Gordon

Human beings need intimacy like they need food and water. All relationships need it, and particularly marriage and sexuality suffers when it is lacking.

Can a Lack of Intimacy Affect the Health of Our Marriage?

“…a sex-starved marriage is more about the fallout that occurs when one spouse is deeply unhappy with his or her sexual relationship and this unhappiness is ignored, minimized, or dismissed. The resulting disintegration of the relationship encapsulates the real meaning of a sex-starved marriage.”[iii]
~ Michele Weiner-Davis

We have a lot of activities calling for our attention in this life. Our work is demanding and takes long hours. Church callings are a heavy responsibility. The temptation to renew ourselves in outside interests and special projects that seem all-important can be strong.

Anyway, we’ve been sealed in the temple, so that part of our lives we don’t have to worry about anymore, right? The love that we feel, and our temple marriages will always be there for us, no matter what happens, right? 

This belief couldn’t be more wrong.  

“If her husband places other things first and is unable to find time to develop intimacy in other parts of his relationship with his wife, she will probably not be very interested in sexual intimacy.” ~ Brent Barlow [iv]

Wives, however, can also do themselves a great disservice by demanding their form of intimacy, but disregarding – even denying – their husband’s definition of intimacy. A husband can only give so much of his wife’s form of intimacy alone before his intimacy tank runs dry. Actively keep each other’s intimacy tanks full and overflowing.

Because men and women are not cookie-cutters of every one of their gender, these typical intimacy roles could be flipped and many times are. Even through the course of your marriage and life, these roles can change, so keep an open mind and stay flexible.

So how do we know what our spouse’s definition of intimacy is?

Your Definition Vs. Your Spouse’s Definition of Intimacy

Our spouse is not us, nor is our spouse the same as every man or every woman. What makes us feel loved does not necessarily translate to our spouse, so it’s important to discuss and observe them to find out what makes them melt.

Dr. Harley has a couple’s test for their “affection/intimacy” definition.

On two separate pieces of paper, write down the following. Each of you take a copy into a separate room and (numbering them from 1 – 10), each of you prioritize these terms. No peeking.

When you’re both done, come together and exchange pages. Observe and acknowledge what each spouse put at a priority.

Each of these are forms of affection or intimacy. What your spouse puts as the top three is what they most closely associate with comfort, affection and intimacy. Don’t be shocked if they are different from yours. For most couples, they are different. By acknowledging and putting aside your feelings about what they consider to be “intimacy”, we allow marriage to teach us to be selfless.  

1.      Affection
2.      Sexual fulfillment
3.      Conversation
4.      Recreational companionship
5.      Honesty and openness
6.      Physical attractiveness
7.      Family Commitment
8.      Domestic support
9.      Financial support
10.  Admiration[v]


Another great tool for helping you both learn your spouse’s definition of intimacy is Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages.[vi]

Taking the time to encourage intimacy in our marriages is a small investment that pays huge dividends in the bedroom, and across the eternities. If you want your spouse to be passionate about your intimacy, feed their intimacy need.

**

Join us next time as we consider how the loss of the Spirit affects the formula for the best possible sex.



[i] Nelson, Russell M. Nurturing Marriage. Ensign. April 2016: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/04/nurturing-marriage?lang=eng

[ii] Gordon, Lori H., Family Therapist, Intimacy: The Art of Relationships, Psychology Today (2016,1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/196912/intimacy-the-art-relationships

[iii] Weiner-Davis, Michele, The Sex Starved Marriage, Simon & Schuster, NY (2004,8)
[iv] Bar low, Brent. They Twain Shall Be One: Thoughts on Intimacy in Marriage. Ensign. September 1986. (I highly recommend this entire article – lots of good information here): https://www.lds.org/ensign/1986/09/they-twain-shall-be-one-thoughts-on-intimacy-in-marriage?lang=eng
[v] Harley, Dr. W.F., Ph.D. His Needs Vs. Her Needs. 21 July 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGjriUcN39Q