A thought struck me vividly while reading and again during the discussion. Usually when we talk about being chaste we talk to the youth...or even more frequently, about the youth. And to make it worse, not about our youth but those out there in the world preaching and participating in horrifying activities with regards to this sacred principle. But, when sitting in a classroom at church it's so easy to point the fingers at those who are "out there" doing "those things." Right?
So the thought that hit me was how does this apply to the married man or woman who is being faithful to their spouse? What does it mean for me, already married and faithful, to be chaste? Elder Bednar isn't talking primarily about "those out there," he's speaking to all of us, and specifically about the husband/wife relationship. So, what am I to learn from this talk?
Here's what I loved and learned from this talk.
"Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal existence. Thus our relationships with other people...are amplified through our physical bodies. In the school of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity (italics added)."
I guess I'd always imagined feelings were more from the spiritually minded side of our dual beings. I guess I'd equated emotions to spirit. But, if our physical bodies amplify our relationships, can you imagine what the intimate relations here on earth can then do for us and our marriages...good or bad? Elder Bednar actually equates our happiness in mortality to how we feel about this one sacred principle.
"How we feel about and use that supernal power will determine in large measure our happiness in morality and our destiny in eternity."
Again, he refers to our feelings. What are my feelings toward this part of my relationship with my husband? Do I see it as something sacred and a blessing in my life? And I'm not only referring to the bedroom here. What are my feelings in general toward this sacred relationship? Do I truly love, honor, appreciate and acknowledge my husband in my life? Do I put other things before him? Do I see him as "another one of my kids?" Am I truly helping to create an equal partnership?
This is, at least for me, what it means to be chaste within a "happy marriage."
Elder Bednar continues, "...[intimate relations] are in mortality one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature and potential and a way of strengthening emotional and spiritual bonds between husband and wife."
I'm sure I joined many of the other "happily married couples" out there who tuned out during this talk when they heard the topic, assuming once again it was "for them." How wrong I was. How true this is. How beautiful is the marriage relationship.
"Marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriages is a gift from us to Him."
- - Elder L. Whitney Clayton, CR April 2013 - -