Fidelity in Marriage

Building An Eternal Marriage Teacher Manual, (2003), 74–77


Doctrinal Overview

“Thou shalt not … commit adultery … nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6).

“Fidelity to one’s marriage vows is absolutely essential for love, trust, and peace. Adultery is unequivocally condemned by the Lord.

“Husbands and wives who love each other will find that love and loyalty are reciprocated. This love will provide a nurturing atmosphere for the emotional growth of children. Family life should be a time of happiness and joy that children can look back on with fond memories and associations” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Salvation—A Family Affair,” Ensign, July 1992, 2; or student manual, 283).

“The high moral standards of this church apply to all members in every country. Honesty and integrity are taught and expected everywhere. Chastity before marriage and absolute fidelity to wife or husband after marriage are required of members of the Church everywhere. Members who violate these high standards of moral conduct place their Church membership in question anywhere in the world” (James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 82; or Ensign, May 1995, 62).

Principle

Strict fidelity in marriage is essential in honoring the covenants we have made with our spouse and the Lord.

Student Manual Readings

Selected Teachings from “Fidelity in Marriage” (111–14)

Selected Teachings from “Pornography” (264–67)

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (83–84)

Note: This lesson may take more than one class period to teach.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Ask students to turn to the section “Doctrine of Fidelity” in the student manual (111–12). Have them take turns reading President Gordon B. Hinckley’s statements. Invite them to feel free to comment after any paragraph.

Have students answer the following questions from the statements by Elder Ezra Taft Benson:

  • In the marriage ceremony, which parties make covenants? (The spouses and God.)

  • How important is fidelity in a marriage? (“Absolutely essential.”)

Ask students what the main point is in the statement by Elder Robert D. Hales.

Case studies. Read and discuss one or more of the following case studies. Ask students to identify behavior that qualifies as infidelity or could lead to it. The questions following each case study may help your discussion.

  • Nathalie and Marc had a warm and affectionate relationship during the first year of their marriage. They were happy. Their first child was born early in the second year, and they both enjoyed being parents. Now, in the third year, they seldom hug or kiss or express any kind of physical affection for each other. Other than that their marriage is stable, they enjoy each other, and they work closely together to raise their child.

    Nathalie, however, has developed a close friendship with their neighbor Gérard. There has been no physical intimacy between them except for a brief, one-time kiss. Because of the trials in their lives, Nathalie and Gérard find that they enjoy sitting together on the couch at Gérard’s apartment and talking for an hour or two before Marc returns from work. Nathalie thoroughly enjoys being with Gérard and feels that she has complete control over her emotions. She is much happier in her own marriage since she has been receiving attention from Gérard. She is not concerned about breaking the law of chastity with Gérard because they have talked about it and each claims to love the Lord too much to do such a thing.

    1. 1.

      What is wrong with this relationship?

    2. 2.

      Is there any infidelity between Nathalie and Gérard? In what ways?

    3. 3.

      If Natalie and Gérard’s relationship goes no further physically, is it harmless?

  • Hiro likes the world of academics and hopes someday to teach at a university. He enjoys the rich interchange of ideas found in that setting. Since he finished his undergraduate program, his work and financial obligations have prevented him from seeking an advanced degree. He is disappointed that his wife Yoshiko, with whom he shared so much during their courtship, no longer enjoys reading and talking about world issues. By sharing his books and ideas with his friends at work and being involved in a weekly book club, he has been able to fill his needs. Mika, a young woman from work, joined the club after hearing about it from Hiro. Hiro especially enjoys the insights that Mika contributes.

    1. 1.

      Is there infidelity between Hiro and Mika in this arrangement?

    2. 2.

      What are the potential dangers?

    3. 3.

      What can Hiro do to build a better relationship with his wife?

  • After they married, Dave was surprised to discover that his new wife Joan liked to stay at home most of the time. Dave has always loved sports and the outdoors. Joan, though, loves keeping house and taking care of Dave and their baby. Dave plays for a local sports team, and sometimes Joan is unhappy with the number of evenings it keeps him away. Several weekends a month he goes fishing. Once he even saved his money for months to buy Joan a fishing pole and waders and tried to teach her to fish. She tried to show interest but never really enjoyed it. Dave wishes Joan were more like Trisha, a young woman at work who loves to play and talk sports. Trisha attends many of his sporting events.

    1. 1.

      What are the danger signals in this marriage?

    2. 2.

      What are possible solutions to the problem?

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Ask students what the seeds of infidelity are in the case studies above. What are the costs of infidelity? Review the story of David and Bath-sheba and the heavy price that David paid for his adultery. Include the following scripture passages in your review:

  • 2 Samuel 11:2–3. David chose not to turn from temptation when he saw Bath-sheba but instead lusted after her.

  • 2 Samuel 11:4. David took advantage of his position as king to seduce Bath-sheba.

  • 2 Samuel 11:5. Bath-sheba conceived a child because of their sin.

  • 2 Samuel 11:6–13. David attempted to deceive Bath-sheba’s husband Uriah and conceal their sin.

  • 2 Samuel 11:14–17. David conspired to cover the embarrassment of their sin by having Uriah killed in battle.

  • 2 Samuel 12:1–7. Nathan the prophet exposed David’s sins by telling him a parable and saying “Thou art the man.”

  • 2 Samuel 12:11–12. Nathan prophesied future punishments for David, all of which came to pass.

  • 2 Samuel 12:15–18. David and Bath-sheba’s child died.

  • Doctrine and Covenants 132:39. David has “fallen from his exaltation”; his family has been taken from him.

Group work. Have students turn to “Costs of Infidelity” in the student manual (112–13). Divide the scripture section and the statements among class members and ask them to identify the costs of infidelity. Have them summarize their findings for the class.

Have students turn to Jacob 2:7–9, 31–35 and identify the costs of infidelity in these verses.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Discuss with students the concept of prevention. Ask students to turn to the section “Precautions That Help Prevent Infidelity” in the student manual (113–14). Have them summarize on the board the steps we can take to avoid committing adultery or “anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6).

Case study. Roberto, a married member of the Church with two young daughters, enjoys surfing the Internet late in the evening when everyone is asleep. He recently happened on a site with pornographic materials. Although it was offensive at first glance, he found himself drawn into it. For the next several evenings, after everyone was asleep, he returned to that site and additional sites with similar material.

One night his wife, Ana Maria, came into the room and caught him looking at pornography. She was devastated and became angry. She insisted on an appointment with the bishop and threatened to divorce Roberto. Roberto knows what he was doing was wrong but feels that Ana Maria was overreacting.

  1. 1.

    Where do you think Roberto erred?

  2. 2.

    Why is Roberto’s behavior serious?

  3. 3.

    What can Roberto do to rebuild his wife’s confidence in him and strengthen their marriage?

  4. 4.

    At what point would you recommend Roberto seek counseling?

Discussion. Have students turn to Selected Teachings from “Pornography” (student manual, 264–67). How does pornography harm a marriage? Divide the statements among the students and have them look for ways that pornography can destroy a marriage. Invite them to summarize their findings, and have a student write them on the board.

Conclusion

Write on the board the letters L V G T T U. State that these letters represent a way to insure that we never stray into infidelity. Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 to discover what these letters represent. (“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.”)

  • What does the word garnish mean? (“Beautify” or “adorn.”)

  • What are the benefits of virtuous thoughts? (see D&C 121:46).