I think most of us want to be righteous. We want to do what is right. But where is that line when it comes to sex in our marriages? That’s what we’re talking about in this episode. Where is that line in the sand is? And which side do you fall on? The answer may surprise you. Have you been thinking you are unrighteous for too long? Listen in!
I was recently listening to a podcast by Jennifer Finlayson-Fife where she talked about righteousness versus goodness, and I thought it would be such an interesting topic for a podcast episode because I have so many listeners, followers, and clients who want to be righteous. They want to be sexual. And they have a really hard time understanding how they can be righteous and also sexual. So that’s what we are going to talk about here today.
What does it mean to be righteous? I think true righteousness is about following God’s laws. He is the Lawgiver, and it’s about being right in the eyes of God, including character, attitude, and in action. And to live a righteous life, we live according to those laws. A life of high moral standards that reflect our relationship with Him.
On ChurchofJesusChrist.org it says “Being Just, holy, virtuous, upright; acting in obedience to God’s commands; avoiding sin” is what righteousness is.
So being righteous basically means following God’s laws. But that is not how we often think of righteousness. Dr. Jennifer said that we often think of righteousness as a way of fitting into an external expectation of what a good woman or man is. But it’s not about fitting into an external expectation. It’s about fitting into an eternal expectation. So, if we are thinking about righteousness about what God expects, how can we be righteous and sexual?
A lot of us got strange ideas, from very well meaning parents, teachers, and leaders about what it means to be righteous when it comes to our sexuality. Many put their own meanings and interpretations of what should be covered under the Law of Chastity.
When I was growing up, my dad used to tell me this story:
There was a man who owned a business back in the 1800s that transported goods in covered wagons. And he hired drivers to drive the goods to different areas. One of the routes had some difficult mountain passes, and so he wanted to make sure he hired the best drivers to keep his shipments safe.
He was interviewing some new drivers and asked them all the same question:
- When you are driving this specific route there is a corner. On one side is a steep hill and the other side is a drop off. How close to the edge do you think you can get?
The first driver responded “I can get within a foot”
The second driver responded “I can get within six inches”
The third driver responded “I can get within 3 inches”
Each thought they were the best driver.
But when he asked the fourth driver, his response was “my job is to keep your goods safe, so I am going to stay as far away from the edge as possible.”
You can imagine who got the job.
This story was told as a cautionary tale that to truly stay safe, we want to stay as far away from the edge as possible. So guidelines were put into place, things like the For Strength of Youth Manual, to help the youth stay safe. But the misinterpretation came when we interpreted those guidelines to keep us safe as the Law of Chastity itself.
So let’s just review what the Law of Chastity is. According to the Gospel Principles Manual it says: We are to have sexual relations only with our spouse to whom we are legally married. No one, male or female, is to have sexual relations before marriage. After marriage, sexual relations are permitted only with our spouse.
But, in the current For Strength of Youth Pamphlet it also says “Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression.” And then lists a bunch of things that could lead to breaking the Law of Chastity, such as
- Passionate kissing
- Arousing sexual feelings in yours or someone else’s body
What we often miss is that doing those things don’t actually break the Law of Chastity, they can just lead to breaking the Law of Chastity.
But…these are also from For the Strength of Youth. It is not meant for adults and especially MARRIED adults. For married adults, in order to be righteous, there is one line when it comes to sex…after marriage sexual relations are only permitted with our spouse. That’s it! That’s the ONLY law, the only guideline we have been given.
So, as long as you are having sex with your spouse and only with your spouse, you are righteous.
Now, I’m sure we can throw out other examples of things like “what about pornography? What about emotional affairs? And I think they kind of follow the same kind of guidelines as the “passionate kissing” or “arousing sexual feelings in yourself or others bodies.” They are things that can LEAD to breaking the Law of Chastity. But here is where we get into the righteousness vs goodness.
There are only a few things (infidelity, having a threesome, etc.) that make you “unrighteous” when it comes to sexuality when you are married. Now there are things that may feel “unrighteous” because you are holding on to the beliefs that you had from your youth, and if that’s the case, come into coaching so we can work on it! But what we like to focus on more than righteousness when it comes comes to sex is GOODNESS.
There are a lot of sexual acts that seem crazy, or out there, or nasty, or gross, or might not feel in alignment with you, given your strict beliefs around sexuality. But it’s not because they are unrighteous. When determining what you and your spouse do in the bedroom, it comes down to goodness.
Dr. Jennifer says goodness is about being strong within yourself and at peace within yourself. A deep sense of freedom with each other and yourselves.
Does whatever you are doing create goodness? Does it create peace and freedom in your marriage and your sexual relationship? Does it create loving feelings between the two of you? Does it create connection and intimacy? Does it help you know and understand each other better?
Matthew 7:20 – By their fruits ye shall know them.
This scripture pertains to the bedroom too!
Now, another concept I learned from Jennifer Finlayson-Fife is that sex is not good or bad. It’s how we use it. Sex is powerful. And it can definitely be used for evil. Sex can also create a lot of goodness in our lives. But it’s not about positions or acts. Dr Jennifer said that evil has been perpetrated plenty of times in the missionary position.
We often see certain sexual things and label them as good or bad. Righteous or unrighteous. But it’s not about that. It’s about does it create goodness in my life and in my marriage? Does it create goodness in our sexual relationship? That’s the question to ask yourself.
Now, changing the way you think about this isn’t easy. When you’ve been thinking something for a long time, it’s not going to change overnight. But in my coaching program, I teach you how to change these ways of thinking in a very systematic way so that it will change.
I was talking to one of my good friends and her aunt is a long time follower and listener and she asked her “why aren’t you in Amanda’s coaching program?” And she said “I just get so much value out of her free content, I don’t feel the need.” And I know many of you feel that same way. What my friend told her aunt and what I am telling you is that what you learn from me for free will be magnified 100-fold with coaching. So many things that you want to work out on your own, will be simpler and easier with coaching. I give you the fast track to making things better. And give you the tools to take everything to the next level. Even if you think your sexual relationship is great, it can always be better, and I can help with that. So come join me, in my Embrace You Elite Society, and let’s make everything better!