Thoughts on Marriage Compatibility

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“Thoughts on Marriage Compatibility,” Ensign, Sept. 1981, 45–46

Thoughts on Marriage Compatibility

Intimacy in marriage—a time for sensitivity, understanding, sharing, unity. Following are some thoughts on this important part of the relationship between husband and wife:

Marriage—Lasting Happiness Is Possible

“While marriage is difficult, and discordant and frustrated marriages are common, yet real, lasting happiness is possible, and marriage can be more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. This is within the reach of every couple, every person.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Marriage & Divorce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976, p. 16.)

“In marriage all of the worthy yearnings of the human soul, all that is physical and emotional and spiritual, can be fulfilled.” (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1981, p. 15.)

“This power [of creation] within you is good. It is a gift from God our Father. In the righteous exercise of it, as in nothing else, we may come close to Him.” (Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975, pp. 260–61.)

Purposes of Intimacy in Marriage

“The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God, not only as the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and nobler traits of human nature, which the love-inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure.” (Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era, June 1917, p. 739.)

“‘The Bible celebrates sex and its proper use, presenting it as God-created, God-ordained, God-blessed. It makes plain that God himself implanted the physical magnetism between the sexes for two reasons: for the propagation of the human race, and for the expression of that kind of love between man and wife that makes for true oneness. His command to the first man and woman to be “one flesh” was as important as his command to “be fruitful and multiply.”

“‘The Bible makes plain that evil, when related to sex means not the use of something inherently corrupt but the misuse of something pure and good. It teaches clearly that sex can be a wonderful servant but a terrible master: that it can be a creative force more powerful than any other in the fostering of a love, companionship, happiness or can be the most destructive of all of life’s forces.’” (Spencer W. Kimball quoting Billy Graham, Ensign, May 1974, pp. 7–8.)

“We know of no directive from the Lord that proper sexual experience between husbands and wives need be limited totally to the procreation of children, but we find much evidence from Adam until now that no provision was ever made by the Lord for indiscriminate sex.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Oct. 1975, p. 4.)

“The object of the union of the sexes is the propagation of their species, or procreation; also for mutual affection and cultivation of those eternal principles of never-ending charity and benevolence which are inspired by the Eternal Spirit; also for mutual comfort and assistance in this world of toil and sorrow and for mutual duties toward their offspring.” (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978, p. 105.)

Importance of an Intimate Relationship

“The sexual side of marriage is closely linked with the emotional and personal elements in the relationship. … What the married couple have to achieve, therefore, is a sex relationship that expresses, sustains, and renews their deepest and most tender feelings for each other.” (David R. Mace, Success in Marriage, Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1958, pp. 47–48.)

“Love is like a flower, and, like the body, it needs constant feeding. The mortal body would soon be emaciated and die if there were not frequent feedings. The tender flower would wither and die without food and water. And so love, also, cannot be expected to last forever unless it is continually fed with portions of love, the manifestation of esteem and admiration, the expressions of gratitude, and the consideration of unselfishness.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Marriage & Divorce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976, pp. 22–23.)

“Prophets have taught that physical intimacy is a strong force in strengthening the love bond in marriage, enhancing and reinforcing marital unity. Indeed, it is the rightful gift of God to the married. As the Apostle Paul says, ‘The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.’ Paul continues, ‘Depart ye not one from the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.’ (JST, 1 Cor. 7:4–5.) Abstinence in marriage, Paul says, can cause unnecessary temptations and tensions, which are certainly harmful side effects.” (Ensign, Aug. 1979, p. 24.)

Love vs. Lust

“It is not love if it manipulates; it is selfishness; it is irresponsibility. If sex relations merely become a release or a technique and the partner becomes exchangeable, then sex returns to the compulsive animal level.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Love Versus Lust, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Publications, 1975, p. 15.)

“Love is far more than physical attraction. It is deep, inclusive, and comprehensive. Physical attraction is only one of the many elements; there must be faith and confidence and understanding and partnership. There must be common ideals and standards. There must be great devotion and companionship. Love is cleanliness and progress and sacrifice and selflessness. This kind of love never tires or wanes, but lives through sickness and sorrow, poverty and privation, accomplishment and disappointment, time and eternity.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972, pp. 157–58.)

Intimacy Is Private

“Sometimes in marriage there are other cleavings, in spite of the fact that the Lord said, ‘Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.’ (D&C 42:22.)

“This means just as completely that ‘thou shalt love thy husband with all thy heart and shall cleave unto him and none else.’ Frequently, people continue to cleave unto their mothers and their fathers and their friends. Sometimes mothers will not relinquish the hold they have had upon their children, and husbands as well as wives return to their mothers and fathers for advice and counsel and to confide; whereas cleaving should be to the wife or husband in most things, and all intimacies should be kept in great secrecy and privacy from others.” (Marriage and Divorce, pp. 24–25.)