Once in high school, a friend pointed out that if you add “in bed” to the end of any fortune cookie missive, it becomes a dirty joke. Yes, yes, innuendo, hawhawhaw.
In the years ensuing, I have heard dozens of people blame lack of sex ed in religious communities, and or Church Teachings themselves, on their failed/ miserable/ dysfunctional sex lives. This is tragic to me. Every–and I mean EVERY– good thing in my marriage has come from the two of us internalizing and applying gospel doctrine.
When people mentally separate or compartmentalize sex from church, they miss out on hours of beautiful sex education. In case you have done this, please reread these teachings of the prophets, keeping in mind that “healthy sexual relationship” is, excepting illness, disability, death, etc, an integral part of “marriage.” In short, take the sniggering immaturity of teenagers with fortune cookies and put it to work on something that’s actually true and useful.
1. “Marriage is a relationship that cannot survive selfishness, impatience, domineering, inequality, and lack of respect. Marriage is a relationship that thrives on acceptance, equality, sharing, giving, helping, doing one’s part, learning together, enjoying humor.” David O. McKay
True Doctrine, which, if properly followed, eliminates the need to watch British police videos about serving tea. Build your relationship by embracing equality, sharing, giving, helping, doing one’s part, learning together, and enjoying humor. In bed.
2. “A good marriage requires time. It requires effort. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate it. You have to forgive and forget. You have to be absolutely loyal one to another.” Gordon B. Hinckley
One of the nastiest lies around is that “some people are just [intimately] compatible, and some aren’t.” Excepting the above mentioned exceptions, if you love each other and are willing to learn, grow, and communicate, the mystical caprices of nebulous ‘incompatibility’ are laughable. We are sentient beings, capable of learning, and as such, we can grow and change. A marriage relationship isn’t a cute accessory that you wear when it suits you and throw out when it no longer pleases. It’s a dynamic, living thing, something greater than both its participants, something that takes time and effort to nurture.
3. “The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other. The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth.” Ezra Taft Benson
If both parties are more interested in serving one another than seeing to their own gratification, consent is a non-issue. Because when we are service oriented, we choose to put other’s needs above our own carnal appetites. When we’re concerned with the needs of others (and we all practice the gospel principles of honesty and candor), all the fretting and hand-wringing about how to not accidentally rape someone becomes, well, silly. When both parties strive for honor, unity, and service in the relationship, all the nuances of consent are as basic and instinctive as breathing.
4. “Marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriages is a gift from us to Him.” L. Whitney Clayton
Men (and women) are that they might have joy. God gave us our bodies, instituted marriage, and established the church, and he did not do those things so we could go moping around blaming the church for our complicated feelings. He did those things so that we could apply gospel principles, get married, and find happiness together. Misery is complicated. Joy is not. Happiness comes from true doctrine, consistently and earnestly applied, in every facet of our lives.
5. “Marriage was ordained of God. It is a righteous principle when in holiness it is received and practiced. If men and women today would enter into this covenant in the spirit of humility, love and faith, as they are commanded to do, walking righteously in the ways of eternal life, there would be no divorce, no broken homes; but a happiness, a joy, beyond expression.” Joseph Fielding Smith
When I read this, I see Joseph F. Smith dropping the mic at the end. Teachings of the prophets are sexy, friends.