The Rocky Shore

Friday, August 25, 2006

Let's Talk About Adultery

Guess where my husband is now? He is currently at his boss’s house helping with computer problems. The only thing is that his boss is not home. The only person home is his boss’s wife. As he left, we joked about the obvious taboo he was making. He is breaking the unwritten church rule, thou shall not be alone with anyone of the opposite sex other than your spouse.

These unwritten rules, (or perhaps even written rules,) are everywhere in Mormon society. They are there to protect us from breaking bigger, more known commandments. However, the rule of not being alone with another for fear of adultery seems wacky at best. Men can be alone with women without fornicating. It has been done millions of times before and is occurring right now as my husband helps his boss. Rather than harping on the benign act of merely being with another of the opposite sex, why not discuss the actual steps that lead to adultery? Why not discuss the importance of maintaining a positive sexual relationship with your spouse or satisfying friendship with your partner?

My father fell in love with his tennis partner while married to my mother. Yes, they spent many afternoons alone playing tennis together. However, years before the “illegal” acts of spending alone time ever occurred, my parent’s relationship was falling to pieces. The reasons for their destroyed relationship was because their lack of intimacy, friendship, and companionship. They did not have a good marriage.

So, let’s be real. If the church is truly concerned about its members committing adultery, there should be more discussion on the importance of sex, partnership, and friendship in a marriage. Sex should be discussed more openly as an essential, healthy aspect of marriage. It should not be a topic avoided like the plague.

The pitfalls of marriage occur way before a man is alone with a woman. These pitfalls should be the unwritten taboos of Mormon society.

My husband just came home.


  • I was with you all the way to "If the church is truly concerned about its members committing adultery, there should be more discussion on the importance of sex, partnership, and friendship in a marriage." I can't accept this for two reasons:

    1) Your use of the word "if" implies that the Church really is not concerned about adultery. Is that what you meant? Perhaps you meant to say, "Since the Church is truly concerned about..."

    2) You also imply that the Church does not openly talk about "sex, partnership, and friendship in a marriage." Perhaps you mean that there should be more dialogue, but when you claim that these topics are "avoided like the plague," you sound like there is no such talk.

    Otherwise, this post is very helpful to people concerned about this topic.

    By Blogger BrianJ, at Saturday, August 26, 2006 11:21:00 AM  

  • Hey Jilopa,
    I made a comment over at FMH's awhile ago that I think leads into this subject. It was in response to the post "He's Fallen and I can't get up" written by Shelley.
    Her problem wasn't adultery...yet....just a husband acting like a turd: smoking, drinking and going to strip clubs behind her back. Anyway when you said in your post that adultery is a process that the relationship with your father and his tennis partner, I remembered my response to Shelley's post. I'm pasting it below:
    *Isn’t the bigger issue here the lying and covering up? I know plenty of people (not members) who drink and smoke, and I’m sure doing lot’s of other behaviors that LDS people shouldn’t engage in, who are great…. outstanding…. people. But that isn’t really the issue here is it?
    I’m curious if Shelly knew her husband well before she married him.
    I have never bought into the idea that “as soon as you get home from your mission you start husband/wife shopping”. I’ve seen toooooo many couples that have nothing in common with each other except:
    A) They are members of the church
    B) They have some kids together
    That’s it.
    No interests the same. No real romance. No deep connection to each other besides the church and kids.
    Sorry, I don’t think it is enough to sustain a really happy life. A life yes, but not a down deep, bone satisfying “love affair” life.
    Comment by ladyinthehat — August 17, 2006 @ 12:19 pm
    *I'm wondered if you wouldn't agree with the part I wrote about just being members of the church and having some kids together isn't enough to build a great marriage on.

    By Anonymous ladyinthehat, at Saturday, August 26, 2006 12:43:00 PM  

  • brianj,

    You wrote,
    "Perhaps you meant to say, 'Since the Church is truly concerned about...'"

    This is what I meant. And my implication of the church not being concerned was not intentional.

    In my experience, sex in a marriage is not discussed openly in the church. (I should have clarified; partnership and friendship are discussed.) I have had some good conversations about sex with close friends. However, I have not had a good open discussion in RS or any similar setting. Perhaps my experience is limited and I would love to hear if there are women and men out there that have had good conversations about sex.

    I understand why conversations or discussions are avoided. Sex is sacred, and intimate. However, in the right spirit, it can and should be discussed more.

    By Blogger Jilopa, at Saturday, August 26, 2006 2:44:00 PM  

  • Hmm, I've a friend who is having a torrid affair with a co-worker. He had partnership and friendship with his wife ... he just spent too much time with someone who had a fair amount of frission.

    I suspect his wife is more torn up about it than he is, though he's a mess too.

    But, if he hadn't been spending the time, he would not have formed the emotional attachment that led to the rest.

    Sex, partnership and friendship are important, but he had all of those.

    By Blogger Stephen, at Saturday, August 26, 2006 3:26:00 PM  

  • Stephen,
    Some men are just dogs. It doesn't matter what they have, it's never enough.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, August 26, 2006 5:38:00 PM  

  • jilopa,

    Thanks for clarifying; we're back to eye-to-eye. As for sex-talk, my ward recently had a fireside about "intimacy in marriage." Most of the time (ie. 95%) was spent describing female anatomy in order to explain why sex can be painful/unenjoyable for the woman. Not information my wife and I really needed, but it was a good discussion nonetheless. A couple of forces had to align just right for this to take place: a liberal bishop, a fireside speaker who was both retired gynecologist and current temple president, and an oft-repeated disclaimer stating that the discussion would be "very frank."

    By Blogger BrianJ, at Saturday, August 26, 2006 9:39:00 PM  

  • Brian J,
    What an awesome fireside. It does take just the right people to pull that off. Even though you and your wife did not need to hear much of what was said, I'm sure there were a lot of people, (women) who were relieved, and needed to hear the info. I wish those discussions happened more frequently.

    What an interesting scenerio. I guess there are situations that just evolve from being with a person and forming that emotional attachment.

    I think to say that attractions to others does not happen during your marriage is practically impossible. I've been highly attracted to others and my husband and I just talk about it. Likewise with him. We've been open and then we can just remove ourselves from the situation.

    By Blogger Jilopa, at Monday, August 28, 2006 8:41:00 AM  

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