LOOKING AT MASTURBATION
CHANGING YOUR LIFE
1. Fore Note
A masturbation problem is actually a lust problem. I would like to help FREE anyone with a masturbation problem from its cause, rather than just work on a symptom. Yet this is written to assist people either way.
The Apostle John writes, "Don't love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).
In other words lust and pride are opposite to that which produces love. This includes sexual lusts (ref Romans 1:26-32). Yet so many have wondered if it is possible to walk a thin line in which lust and righteousness can meet. Hopefully the following will assist you in understanding the necessity of ceasing masturbation and sexual fantasies: That these and true joy inside CAN’T mix. Also I provide a method to cease wrong habits.
There are 3 sections to this. The first looks at lust and its problems. The second looks at masturbation and its problems. And the last presents ways to cease these problems and change your life in very positive ways.
By applying the principles taught herein your life will take a wonderful change for the better.
1. Lust is Deceiving
Lust can confuse people into thinking that they can obtain total contentment from it, because they can obtain a feeling of temporary physical contentment after masturbation or lustful sex. However the spirit isn't contented at all. In fact you may notice a tendency toward seeking spiritual fulfillment or having it at that point. But you only feel this because your usual pursuit of pleasing the flesh is temporarily extinguished. It is an illusion, as lust actually drags the spirit down, and will not produce happiness inside.
Alma 41:10 tells us that wickedness never was happiness. The next verse states that those following carnal desires are "in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness."
People who don't feel this isolated from God and happiness may feel this is incorrect. It isn't that it is incorrect, however, it is that it is telling one side of the story. It is true that if you are applying good principles in other areas you will be blessed for those. Yet any following of carnal desires leads a person in the opposite direction to the degree to which it occupies their thoughts and actions.
To demonstrate how lust fits in with this idea it is important to examine lust and its results.
Lust is using another persons' body for self-gratification. This feeling is not love, even though you may also feel love for the person. There is often a strong attempt to greatly gratify the other person as a pride thing that feeds our ego. Therefore it is self-serving; not the giving you may have supposed it to be.
Without lust would there be rape, prostitution, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, incest, workplace sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, bondage, adultery, fornication, masturbation or any other form of sexual abuse or distortion? Lust produces broken marriages, broken lives, orphans or children with only one parent, jail sentences, murders (particularly in the case of child or adult rape or adultery) [often by abortion], violence, disease and death, self-focused societies and all things associated with these problems _ which is every evil bar none.
Lust seems almost harmless when considered that it is merely that happening inside one person. How can that cause such huge damage as is happening? People will say that it must be the people themselves, "I'd never do that!"
Please heed my warning that the moment you accept yourself to be above a sin you lay the biggest part of the foundation for it to happen, because you have no defenses up against it and you won't see it happening: You've got the door wide open. You AREN’T above it. Yes, it can happen to you regardless of why you may believe it can’t.
Sexual abuse is on a serious increase within society. Why? Certainly increased amounts of pornographic material and greater ease of obtaining it don't help at all. But there is far more to it than that. People have accepted to be mind-washed that lust is a good, healthy, safe and normal thing. Advertisements jump up in front of us on television, showing us partly dressed people with (what's regarded as) perfect bodies.
Some "experts" claim that masturbation is essential to balanced living. However many (including Jesus Christ) would strongly disagree with this claim. There are many who have been on both sides of the lust problem, who'll tell you that they have no desire whatsoever to go back to the dark side (lusting). They have been in the dark (that looked good at the time) and have come out to see the beautiful light of truth and learnt real love. A love that is deep and spiritual: That fills the heart with true joy and happiness, that only those who have experienced it can understand.
Sex is a good, righteous and natural thing for having children _ that is its purpose. In having sex with a husband or wife, a person is fulfilling this natural thing. Anything else is sex for gratification of lust. Lust drags the spirit down to serve the flesh, and kills the spirit to that degree to which it is dragged down. No one is exempt from these rules. No one lives above them. If anyone is honest with them self they'll see this and know that it's true.
These seemingly harmless relationships or actions (outside of a husband-wife marriage) create more physically centered people, and this affects others to think more in physical terms by contact and discussion within society. If mould is left untreated it will in time be all throughout the house. Yet the small bit of mould looks harmless and the real depth of the problem, in the wood, can't be seen at first glance. The physical or the spiritual must take precedence _ you can't keep swapping over, and expect to reach a spiritual peak. You are selling yourself short if you hold to the physical at all. The Apostle Paul states that by following the flesh he could never be free, and following Christ as is required. He states that it was only by submitting the flesh to the will of his spirit and that of the Holy Spirit that he could have true freedom and follow Christ (Refer Romans 8:4-14). The flesh will always lead astray. All sexual acts contrary to that which God ordained were born to the flesh, and servitude to its desires.
A person may go out and buy some pornographic material and get really stimulated about a person or people in the material. Some guy may feel the woman in there is the "hottest" thing he's ever seen. But very soon she becomes less exciting and he requires new material, and another woman to create these feelings at the same height. The other woman still gives him feelings, but not at the same height any more: the novelty has worn off.
Many men and women go "bed hopping" from person to person looking for the one who will satisfy them forevermore. This is a fruitless pursuit that will never end, as there is no such person. Someone may do well for a while, but eventually it will fail. A couple can only have novel sex so many ways, and sooner or later the boredom will set in and eyes will look elsewhere. The physical can never find true happiness, only the spiritual can.
I remember there was a couple on a TV program. Both were considered really "hot stuff" by the viewing audience. The woman was young, had an attractive face, blond, tanned, slim, spoke well and kept really fit. The guy was considered a "hunk" by the women, was well built, fit and spoke well. They both said what great hot times they had in bed with each other. After some time, however, they split up. When asked why, they both had virtually the same response. They both admitted that they'd just got bored of having sex with each other _ the spark had gone from it.
Divorce and adultery are also rife within our society. Why? Why aren't people happy enough with their partners? They saw them as the "right" one at marriage, so what happened to that? So many people just "put up with" their situation, rather than have it grow. And that is because it's missing the most important ingredient _ following our Heavenly Father. We can tend to throw in all these extra demands of a marriage that just aren't realistic or good. A lustful marriage won't bring true joy at all: In fact it's opposed to it. Lust seems to bring a union, but this is just an illusion that will show up in time, leaving the couple wondering why.
Many times, in my personal life, I've also come across the supposed "perfect couple" who have eventually separated. Only real love built upon respect and trust of a spiritually good person with God solidly in their life can be a firm foundation (provided you're the same of course) to a marriage. And commitment to that person, expressed in the vows of marriage is one sign of such a person. Anyone wanting to "try you out" in the bed first isn't committed. We hear all these claims of "sexual incompatibility". However this can only be a problem if you're looking for sexual entertainment. Males and females are naturally sexually compatible. God made us physically sexually compatible with each other. It hardly takes a genius to see that. And people themselves would be aware of any physical deformity problems, and discuss that amongst themselves with prayer (in RARE cases where such may exist). This is just another poor excuse for poor behavior _ don't accept it.
The sooner a person can get rid of the idea that lust and true happiness can come together somewhere, the sooner they'll actually find true happiness. God knew this, and said so thousands of years ago. And it's never changed since.
The most beautiful feeling you can have with a person is to feel the spirit of a spiritually wonderful person with your own spirit. Those who have never truly experienced this would be stunned at what they are missing. LUST JUST ISN'T IN THE RUNNING: It's off in the opposite direction. But you'll never truly experience this beautiful feeling without giving lust away permanently. Any focus on the body takes you away from this. You can't meet lust half way. There's no total happiness in anything other than that which God has told us.
In my counseling with rapists, when I've asked how it was that they could treat a woman that way, the main response is that they didn't see her as a woman at that point, but as an object. How does someone come to see a human being merely as an object? In the case of sex offenses it's focusing on her body only. This thinking is promoted by sex magazines - particularly where body parts only are shown. But also that the females in the magazine have no, to little, personality shown. Even though a person may imagine otherwise, being only pictures, there isn't really any person there at all. You can't communicate with them and they don't communicate back. Pornographic videos also share these problems. With prostitutes the person gets the opinion that he can have sex with anyone without feeling there needs to be a full-time loving relationship involved. Once again the focus on these things is lust. And the lust becomes the master not a servant. The person becomes a slave.
Some may feel that God is asking them to give up their freedom, by asking them to end sexual fantasies, lust, masturbation and other improper sexual activities. However nothing is further from the truth. God wants to set you free from these things. It is these things which hold you prisoner.
If I don’t smoke I have complete freedom to either smoke or not smoke. But if I smoke, my freedom to not smoke becomes diminished. Therefore full freedom only continues where we make the right choice. Yet in making the right choice we are still free to make the wrong choice.
If I go to buy a car I lose some cash in the process. This is an exchange of the cash (which is useful) for a car (which is also useful). But imagine if you could take down your garbage bin and pay for the car with your rubbish! Would you consider that the salesman had taken away your free right to your garbage? Do you consider that the garbage man is taking away your freedom when he comes and takes your rubbish away? God wants to help people get rid of their rubbish. He's even sent His Son to help remove the old rubbish we've stored up over our lifetime. All we need to do is make the changes He's asking us to make so that we stop collecting more rubbish. Is that a loss of freedom? On the contrary: I feel far freer for the things that I have ceased because He told and showed me they are contrary to my happiness. But only by giving them up completely could I begin to see, over a period, the amazing transformations that He can make in our lives.
Lust is rubbish. You can't meet it half way. There is no line of happiness in the middle between God and lust. If you play with fire you will eventually be burned through and through. Sin always burns, it's just sometimes we don't see it, or associate the problem with the action.
Some may still hold to the concept that it can be met halfway. They may feel an exception to the rule. They may feel that there must have been some that found joy in lust. The first answer I would give to this is a question; "Do you have total happiness inside regarding sex at this moment?" If you aren't already living a lust-less life then the truth is, no, you don't. If you are waiting for this or that to happen, feeling it may bring that happiness, let me assure you that it won’t be as you hope. The only complete answer to this is for you to give God a complete go. Give up lust and all sexual fantasies for one year, and watch your life change. Focus your mind on being sensitive to others for that time. Is one year much to give if your life could be so much better thereafter?
In Alma 32:26-43 it talks about faith and knowing the truth of what God is saying. It says that God's words require testing to see if they are true. So conduct an experiment by trying out what He says. Just have a go at trying to believe, and seeing how you feel as you obey His principle that you are having trouble with. He then compares this to a seed, that you are planting in your heart. If it is a good and true seed that you don't cast out because of disbelief you will start to feel something good about it (it will probably only be a very mild feeling at this stage). If you feel this you can know that it is good, as it is enlarging your soul, and your understanding is beginning to be enlightened. Now at this point your faith in this is increasing, but you aren’t sure of it yet. As you start to feel this you should start to realize that maybe He's right, and so your faith in the idea will grow. As this proceeds you will feel a light of truth as you open up to God and that which is happening within you. But your knowledge in this thing isn't perfect yet. So you can't just lay aside your faith. Use it to persist, and see it through to the end. So as it begins to grow you must nourish the seed (concept) and take great care of it so that it can grow up and become strong. If you neglect it, it will fade away, and you will say that God must be wrong, and that His idea didn't work. Now this isn't because the idea wasn't good, but because you didn't really persist with it fully. So if you don't nourish the word, looking forward in faith to the results you will never pluck from the fruit of the tree of life. But if on the other hand you nourish the word, with great diligence and patience, looking forward to it's fruit, it shall take root in you. And then you will come to know that the principle is true by the beautiful feeling this will create inside, and the change in your life.
Alma's statements point out the importance of persisting to finally see the benefit of obeying a concept. Sometimes I've heard a person say that he has tried obeying God and it didn't work, things even seemed worse.
What we sow catches up with us sooner or later. All our sins do so piece by piece, and sometimes in mass. The good we do also does fortunately. The good and bad within the society as a whole also affects us. But when we turn from our sins, it is true that we tend to cop a face full of the mud we have created in sin, which we were receiving anyway and awaited us in the future in the course we were pursuing. However, with patience and in time this will pass and we will go on to receive the blessings of the improved life we now are living. Satan will use the mud to try and convince you to quit, and turn back to sin (which he knows will really just build up even more mud). Don't accept his nonsense. Persist in trying out what God has said. I can tell you that you will find that He is right and your illusions that it might be otherwise will fade and die. Listen to the Holy Spirit in this, and follow his counsel.
LOOKING AT MASTURBATION
Masturbation is a problem that troubles many people. It gives a strong deception, producing a sense of fulfillment at its completion, and a feeling that they interpret as joy even during the process. So what is it all, and what is wrong with it? Why does God speak against it?
Many people get on a roller coaster and take a ride, which creates a strong sense of fear. The exhilaration gives them the feeling that they have enjoyed the ride, and they may be eager to go again. Why? What really happened? They have put their life in danger (they are feeling that inside – their heart [spirit] is feeling it) and their spirit wakes up. It has a strong sense of fear. The person feels the feeling inside and likes their spirit being awake. They feel more alive. But the feeling isn’t good from the point of view of your spirit inside. It doesn’t like it at all. These emotions can confuse us as without strong investigation we interpret our heart feelings badly. We haven’t created the joy that we interpret the sensation to convey. It is an illusion. It shouldn’t be done. These types of confusions also exist in lust.
There is a song that says, "there is a fine line between pleasure and pain." In truth there is no line between sexual "pleasure" and pain. In fact some use pain to increase the sexual "pleasure." The two feelings can be blended together for greater effect because your spirit isn’t happy with either. Our mind’s interpretation of the experience is false. Regardless of how good a person may propose this confusion to be it is really damaging them. True joy can only come from ending this confusion.
Several other problems generally accompany masturbation. People buying pornography usually hide the fact that they are either buying it and/or using it. This creates a sense of deceit in the user. It also makes them more withdrawn inside than they otherwise would be. While this may not always be demonstrated in outside actions (though it usually will be) it will affect family and other relationships negatively.
If a persons' life is this devoid of love surely its time to admit that trying God’s way can't make you worse off. Following God will fill a person with real love: A love that will fill you with true joy. This doesn't promise peace on the outside and a trouble free life at all. It means that you are free on the inside. As Jesus Christ put it, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not in the way the world gives it. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27).
I'm sure we all realize that as children we thought we understood so much yet knew so little. And life should teach us just how little we really know, the more we learn. Things seem certain ways, and others (proposing to be experts) promote these concepts. Yet in reality we're just a pack of kids with a long way to go. Our science puts forth claims of truth which are later on disproved; to be proven again (maybe) decades later; and then disproved again later still. It turns facts into theories, and theories into facts. In some ways we've gone so far, yet in others we've gone backward. All past civilizations have been just the same _ they've had their women's lib., scientific theories, philosophers, false religions (some with the true one), and felt that now they had got it all worked out basically. In the 1960’s people said, "ah, but it's the 60's now", as if to suggest being that decade people knew better. The same was said when it was the 70's, 80's, 90's, and when the new millennium arrived, as if to suggest that somehow what date it is means we know everything (or there about). I remember reading a statement from a German writer, who was living in Germany at the coming of the 1900's. It stated that they were in such an enlightened age now and world communication so good that there'd be no more wars. What does a person say to that?
There was a time in my life (at 17) when I put one foot out to see how good it was on the other side _ to test the water, so to speak. After 3 years of this, and having made what I could see was an absolute mess, I pleaded for God's help, and He helped me drag myself out of it.
The world can give a strong illusion that it knows where it's going. This can confuse anyone if they start to look away from God. But these lifestyles will not produce the true joy that you really want inside. Your conscious and subconscious minds will always be in conflict, and your spirit won't feel good.
While I can't claim knowing the whole mind of God in regard to His laws, some things stand out as rather obvious and observable (others can be found by sincere prayer). God has logical reasons for all the laws and advice that He's given. If you love others you do feel good inside. If you hate others you feel bad inside. God is right in this. He has made the claim that this is how it is, and you can prove God is right by trying it. So it is with all God's laws. They all have a point. And they all apply to everyone the same. By following them completely for sufficient time to make them part of you, you will see the difference that they make in you for good.
I remember when I was in the army (for 3 years) I was swearing. But I felt it was OK as it was part of the language. When I left the army I quit swearing, and within a couple of months I was surprised about how much cleaner I felt. Yet at the time of swearing I felt it had no effect at all.
Some try to actually BLAME God for all the things wrong in the world and their life. It's like proposing that God forces people to hate each other. The case is closer toward the opposite, though God doesn't force anyone. God is the promoter of all the good in the world, and the opposer of all evil. If a parent teaches a child not to do a particular thing, and teaches the child this often, can the parent be to blame if the child goes out and does it as a 20-year-old? If God forced us all to do what He said we'd just be machines, and have no life.
With free choice comes the right to make wrong choices that cut away at our freedom, and the freedom of others. There won't be peace in the world until everybody obeys God in everything He's saying _ not just the ones that suit them. God has wisdom and experience far beyond ours. He is the wise and all knowing parent, and we are the little children who need to place all our trust in our Father and ignore the confusion of the world. Only by doing so will we come to see that He's right in a good and positive way. He knows the laws that naturally exist, and can help us understand them, and gain happiness by following them.
CHANGING YOUR LIFE
Hopefully I've said something, so far, that has sparked interest in those who are trapped by lust to get it out of their lives. The problem that then arises is how to make such a change: For some lust, masturbation and other sexual perversions may have become a habit followed for decades.
I'll tell you of a guy we'll call "Paul". Paul wanted to cease smoking (he was smoking 3 packets of cigarettes a day) and drinking alcohol (he drank very heavily also). He didn't know how to handle it, after trying several times, but with only minor successes. He heard a talk (upon going to church) about how to give up such problems. The speaker said that you needed two things _ 1. Solid reasons why you wish to quit, that you can't dispute. 2. Belief in your ability to quit, and that God is behind you. He recognized that I had the reasons, but lacked self-belief. He was led by the Holy Spirit to some reading material that helped him gain that belief in himself and that God was with him. That material was the book called "The Power of Positive Thinking", written by Norman Vincent Peale, and is fairly easy to obtain. Paul only needed to read the first chapter, and apply its principles. I'd advise any having difficulty overcoming bad habits to read the book. The main concept that helped Paul was the use of positive affirmation cards to reprogram his abilities.
Anyone can quit bad habits as surely as anyone can start them. At some stage in your life you probably didn't have that habit. So you've proved that you can live without it. Others giving it up are also proof that you can do it, as they are just a person, as you are. Paul, along with many others, used those ideas presented and succeeded. Don’t be conned by Satan into believing you can’t do it, because you certainly can. It would be wise to use cards that can fit in your pocket. You can obtain them at most newsagents or stationary stores. The best thing is little white cardboard cards. They generally are lined so that you can write your affirmations in lines (pocket organizers could also be used. And put it on your computer where that’s possible). On these you can write things that will help you re-see yourself. A classic one that is often used is the Scripture Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". It's generally suggested that you repeat this around 10 times in a row at least 3 times a day. So that's at least 30 times a day. More often would be good at first (I'd suggest at least 5 times a day saying it 10 times in a row for at least the first 4 weeks). Say it with conviction and, if possible, aloud. If you can't say it aloud due to where you are at least say it in your mind.
Another one that is commonly used is Romans 8:31, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us who can be against us?" God wants you to succeed and is for you. He wants us all to be happy and free to do that which makes us happy. He wants us free to refrain from things that only bring misery and regret. Lust, cigarettes, alcohol and all other things that God has and is speaking against, have never brought true happiness to anyone yet. And he is for anyone wanting to end these pursuits.
As soon as you visualize yourself doing the habit (which will happen at times) throw out the thought and replace it with a thought of you not doing the habit or refusing it. Remember it is YOUR mind. You place in the images you want. You'll get there, as so many before you, only with persistence. Spend time visualizing yourself as the person you wish to be. The more you visualize it, the more it will be so. One statement that I like to say is "I think positive and uplifting thoughts largely related to my relationship with God and Jesus Christ". Another I like is "be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord". But I think you will see that there is a great opportunity to remake yourself in a very positive manner. You will be what you convince yourself that you are.
Another statement that can be used is, "I thoroughly admire the new person I've become". Another can be, "I can feel the presence of God helping and strengthening me". In regard this latter statement let me say from personal experience that if you convince yourself with this statement great things will start to occur between you and Heavenly Father. The biggest problem in our communication with The Father is our lack of faith that He would speak to us. But He loves you just as much as He loves anyone. He serves us all day by day to give us all this opportunity of being here. He will speak to you; you just need to be ready to listen. And as you make these positive changes you open yourself up to a wonderful relationship with Heavenly Father. Its up to you.
I know a guy we will call "Phil". He had a problem of masturbation that he'd had for over 30 years. When he finally accepted that this problem was responsible for his lack of contentment, and that also helped to cause serious problems in his marriage and family life, he knew it had to cease. With much prayer, commitment and perseverance Phil completely changed his life. While he now can't change the past, he is creating a great present and future with Gods' help. Lust always put that huge gap between himself and God, and himself and real happiness. He now has that real happiness. I can't emphasize enough that God wants all to succeed in overcoming that which holds our spirit away from true joy. He wants us happy inside. Jesus Christ promises us real peace inside if we will follow what He has informed us will bring us this.
Some tips on things to avoid include drugs, alcohol, being tired, brooding, getting angry, making quick decisions, blocking yourself off from people, being secretive or hurting people.
Some things to look at doing include thinking about your thinking, fasting and praying for God's help (but remember the actions come from you), talking to someone about your problems (a bishop/stake president/branch president would be advisable). Express your feelings and work out a plan for your life.
Try to avoid friendships with people who have problems with pornography or sexual morality.
Consider the justifications you've used before and after the wrong. Think about these justifications and pray to God about them, and listen to the spirit. Create a good set of answers to these justifications to prove them wrong _ which with Gods' help, and trust in Him, you will be able to do.
It is important to go through what you have done and what you should have done instead. An idea is to write down what you did in blue or black pen, and then writing what you should have done in another color (perhaps red). Then keep the list with you.
Yet in spite of this list, the greatest idea is to have that mental block against it. You need to be visualizing yourself not doing it _ remember that your mind and your hands are yours. Keep that focus _ DON'T LET GO OF IT and you will win.
Once a person has come to see that lust is the cause of many of their difficulties, they are at the beginning of the road to recovery. Although changing your actions can be done immediately, understanding it all won't be done in a week or month. Depending on the actions done, it may not even be done in a year. But without starting, a person will never get there. I should also point out that HUGE change can be made in your life within the space of a year.
To make this change successful you need to come to see, more and more, the connection between your problems and the cause, and also see that in the case of sex problems the cause is lust. You will eventually see that any sexual fantasy must go. Not having sexual thoughts (fantasies) won't stop you from having a full, loving relationship with your husband/wife _ don't be conned by Satan or others to accept that idea. Prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit is an important ingredient in making this more successful. As you strive to improve yourself the Holy Spirit will be helping you more and more, so don't feel that he won't guide you, because he'll guide anyone wanting to make a good change. Jesus Christ said, "And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost" (3 Nephi 12:6). Note that he doesn’t say we need be righteous already to get this blessing, but hungering and thirsting for righteousness - the other will just follow. To the degree that you are hungering and thirsting is the degree to which you will be filled.
Jesus Christ asks us to have faith in him, and thereby see we have sinned. We then need to repent of these sins, and ask for forgiveness (we need to fix up what we've done wrong if we can also). We then need to symbolically bury our old self by baptism (Romans 6:4) and then "walk in newness of life" not repeating the old ways we've buried, but follow God by the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We must become obedient and accept our Heavenly Father's instructions as a little child, in humility (Matthew 18:3-4). It is a process that may take time. This will give you true joy inside and eternal life in our Heavenly Father's kingdom.
So all this requires a repentance process. Again, listening to the Holy Spirit to assist in this and lots of prayer, Scripture reading and service to others all help in creating a new person that you can feel proud of. Asking Heavenly Father to forgive you is also important in this process. Doing these things will also help you see it all in a much clearer light, as God is closer to you and the Holy Ghost inspires with truth.
But to get to a better point _ Any married couple, by putting aside selfishness, can achieve a wonderful, spirit centered marriage. But this also requires a putting aside the desires of the flesh. The marriage must be centered on the spiritual and your relationship with the Father and Son. You must be listening to the Holy Ghost for guidance in the ways of truth. Can a righteous man or woman not totally love and admire a righteous person? And if this person is your marriage partner, living in a relationship as God stated then what greater thing can you have? If your marriage isn't/wasn't like this it is because you aren't righteous, and therefore must change to become so. It's no good blaming the partner until personal righteousness is obtained (and then you'll know better than to do so anyway).
1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that any sin that tempts us is also given to everyone else, but that God won't allow you to be tempted beyond your ability to resist, and He'll make a way for you to get out of it. So you can overcome ANY sin. We all know that everybody has sinned at some time in our life (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8), but we don't need to continue doing so once we grab the point (1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 2:9-10). Of course becoming perfectly sanctified so that we are never greedy, angry, lustful, impatient etc requires years of work with the Holy Ghost.
With a marriage centered around love and Gods' commandment to have children ("..be fruitful and multiply.." Gen 1:28) a perfect and whole union will exist. As the couple serve God and mankind together so their love and respect for each other will expand and expand. Isn't this what anyone would want? Try God's way COMPLETELY for a year and see what you end up. God knows what He's talking about. That is the hardest lesson for us to learn. Children often think that they know better than their parents. We have the same problem with our Heavenly Father. Things SEEM different to the way He says they are, until we sincerely try it His way, and then we see in time that He's right. The law of tithing doesn't make logical sense until you do it sincerely wanting to follow God. Then watch what happens. Is it logical that you can give away 10% of what you have and end up better off (Ref Malachi 3:10-12)? The answer ought to be "no". But it works in spite of that, as I can tell you from personal experience. Equally so do all of Gods' instructions work. All sexual acts outside of a righteous marriage situation will not bring you happiness. God wants you to have true joy.
So let me pose the following suggestions in regard improving your marriage:
Missionary work is one. This can be done by inviting people who don't go to church over for a meal and mentioning your beliefs in God in the course of conversation. Or inviting people to church or church functions _ you have to sow a lot of seeds to get some results, but work together at it, and be patient.
Visiting old folks homes to make them feel better. And/or visiting the sick in hospitals. My mother used to take me to hospitals and find out who wasn't receiving visitors. We would then visit with them to help them feel better. As a boy I felt very bored listening to some old persons' chatter. But on the way home my mother asked me to think of the happiness we'd put on that person's face. And then she said, "doesn't that make you feel good inside your heart that you did that"? And on feeling how I felt inside, I had to admit she was right. So don't feel odd about involving kids in the visits also.
There are many worthwhile projects that a couple can be involved in. There are many people who need things done around their homes who are incapable of doing them due to health problems or they don't have the necessary skills. Start looking hard enough for these opportunities and you'll find them.
Seeing your partner working away at helping these people will deepen your respect for your partner and your partner will feel the same of your efforts. Things will take time, so be patient. But in time, with this increased respect and admiration you'll find a better ability to resolve problems together.
Praying together about the projects you are doing together will also help strengthen this. Reading Scripture together also increases the spiritual atmosphere.