I forwarded myself this link with the title “best article ever on marriage from a Mormon perspective“.
And I seriously think it is. I read it out loud to That Husband as we were going to bed last night and we had a great discussion revolving around several of the topics. A few of my favorite points:
- Mormon divorce statistics aren’t really that different from the rest of the country [we have a lot of room to improve]
- We are not only marrying incredibly young, we are going from meeting-dating-engagement-marriage in a matter of weeks, and it’s not good
- Surprise, our sex lives are probably different [better] than what most people would expect for a group of mostly-conservatives
An aside prompted by the article:
So often in Mormon circles women will say “It’s a huge problem for so many females in the church to be told sex is bad one day, then you get married, and it’s okay the next.” This is why sex is an issue for my Mormon girlfriends.
But something Lambert said made me realize I don’t really think that’s the problem. I think our actual problem is differences regarding what is okay and what is not okay between husband and wife. The LDS Church position today is that couples should decide what is appropriate for their own relationship, and it is none of the leadership’s business, but several decades ago this was not the case. Couples were being asked very personal questions about their intimate life by their church leaders, and opinions were given regarding what should be eliminated from the bedroom. I feel like I can’t stress enough that we don’t live in that kind of time anymore, but I think that the culture hasn’t yet shifted to fully accepting that it’s between the couple and shouldn’t be determined by past statements from leaders. This is where a lot of marital troubles can arise, specifically when women do something with their husband that makes them feel “unholy”, and they don’t talk it out with their spouse. The solution here is better communication during marriage, but also before. If you think X is okay, but your spouse thinks XXX is okay, you’re in for some rough surprises if you don’t have sex until marriage. To my single friends: talk about this before the wedding night.
Back to my favorite points:
- Unrealistic expectations about how dreamy and easy marriage will be [prince riding in on a white horse and taking his princess to a castle in a fairyland] make a difficult thing ever more difficult
- Gender roles and living in a patriarchal society
- Judging our spouse if they don’t “choose the right”, based on what we think is right [he gives the example of a husband watching an R rated movie, and the wife struggling to deal with his choice]
- Dealing with change as our spouse becomes a different person than they were when you got married. What they believe might change, and that is hard to accept in a culture that stresses that a family must all stay together in order to sit down for family dinner every night in the Celestial Kingdom.
And the article titled “Thou Shalt Not Coerce They Spouse” is a must read. I’ve read it several times over the past few days and every time I like it more. Particularly this line:
Everybody changes, even if it’s just to become even more insecure and inflexible and dogmatic about their original beliefs. Assuming that everything else in the relationship is cool, it’s the height of irony to divorce someone over God, particularly since faith in him is supposed to be all about patience, forgiveness, and love. Frankly, who better deserves this kind of treatment than the person you vowed to love forever?
This post is all over the place. I wanted to share it with the Mormons who read, because I think it can make our culture/marriages stronger to talk about these things. I wanted to share it with those who aren’t Mormon because if you come from a religious conservative background some of these things will probably apply. And I know there are many of you who don’t fit into the former two categories, but have an abiding interest in these sort of things and will have interesting opinions to share below.