Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sexual Intimacy According to the Bible II

Book of Love

Image by Thorne Enterprises via Flickr

In the last post the emphasis was on how the husband was talking to his wife.  In this post we will look at how the wife talks about her husband to others.  One of the most striking things about this passage is that it elevates man's sexuality from the ash heap and cultural stereotypes that have been sold, bought, and held up as a banner over the last 50 years.  Men are sexual no doubt, but whether we are aware of it or not we are every bit as complicated as women when it comes to sexuality and our sexuality is much greater than the act itself. 

What makes the one you love better than another, most beautiful of women? What makes him better than another, that you would give us this charge?
Song of Songs 5:9 (HCSB)

Two of the greatest gifts a wife can give her husband is to appreciate him (his strength, worthiness, adequacy, and masculinity) and be his friend. 

In the Song of Songs 5:10 the wife begins to tell others what makes her husband so special in her eyes.  She starts with saying he is "fit and strong."  Men generally struggle with a deep need to be perceived as strong.  Now the biological reality is that we cannot all be Arnold Swartzenerger.  So most men look to find their prowess in other realms.  Men long for this.  If they do not get it from their wives they will often seek it elsewhere.  This wife continues by saying she sees him as better than ten thousand men.  The word used here is dagal.  It is literally translated banner.  This is a military term used to describe the flag that represents the strength of the troop that it flies over.  Think about that statement, "My husbands honor, strength, protection, and worth is a banner over ten thousand."  That is powerful language.  You don't have to fake it either.  The reality is that your husband has a God given strength that is a banner over 10,000.  Celebrate that strength with him.

She moves on to complement his head of gold and wavy black hair (Song 5:11).  Gold is a symbol of purity.  Men we need to live lives that allow our wives to say that we have a pure head (mind).  If there is sexual brokenness then it must be addressed.  Women I am a firm believer in the restorative power of God's grace.  If your husband struggles with or has struggled with sexual brokenness he needs you to accept him as pure again (by the forgiveness in Christ).  His behavior has not been gold, but God has made him Gold by his grace and mercy.  Many men seem to love their hair or grieve the loss of it.  Some more than others.  It is nice to hear a complement from our wives that they like their husbands hair.  One thing men we should style our hair the way that our wives like it.

The wife talks about his eyes (Song 5:12).  Remember in the last post I talked about eyes being the window to the soul.  Catching each other in the eyes is an act of intimacy.  She continues to look at his face and notices that he smells good (Song 5:13).  That tells me two things.  One she is close enough to his face to smell it and two the husband has taken a bath and put on some cologne.  Both are necessary to have sexual intimacy.  She notices his lips and likely is thinking about kissing them (remember she is describing her husband here he is not actually there). 

She is again noting his strength describing his arms as rods of gold, and his body as a panel of ivory (Song 5:14).  Your husband's arms are there to embrace you passionately.  His strong embrace should be celebrated.  He may not have 6 pack abs, but surely there are physical/emotional/social qualities that you can find that are attractive to you.  

She then moves down to his legs and his physical presence (Song 5:15).  His legs are strong and stable like columns of marble.  It is interesting to note that of all the objects of architecture that seem to last through time columns seem to stand up.  I am not sure that this is what the writer of this meant, but strong legs seem to be a complement of stability and staying power.  Notice the place he is standing is one of purity and righteousness (Pedestals of pure gold).  She also complements his presence.  He is majestic as the choice cedars of Lebanon. 

She returns to his mouth and says that it is sweetness (Song 5:16).  This is likely a reference to what and how he talks to her (less likely his kisses).  Two things to note one he must be saying sweet things and two she is giving him credit.  Men may not admit it, but we like it when wives say, "Do you know how sweet my husband is..."  Most of the time that is not the direction of the conversation.  It more often male bashing.  We may laugh in the moment, but when a man is emasculated in front of others sexual intimacy suffers and that is not funny. 

She also says he is desirable.  Men long to be desired by their wives.  A whole industry is built around the false illusion that there is a woman that desires the man (pornography).  I don't say this to make you feel that you are in competition with the industry.  Rather you have an opportunity to give him what he longs for, a woman that desires him.  This is real and much more satisfying than the image.  What is more it is sanctioned by God as a good thing.  Having a wife that desires her husband is a real turn on to a man. 

She concludes with two very important statements about sexual intimacy with males (Song 5:16).  First she describes him as her lover.  She is saying that she is sexually available for her and he is sexually available for her.  It is destructive to a marriage to not be available to each other.  It is equally destructive to be available for the sex act, but not be available for sexual intimacy.  If you struggle with either of these problems it needs to be addressed.  You will strengthen your marriage bond in doing so.  Pretending like it will get better is foolish (because it usually does not).  Men who experience sexual intimacy with their wives do not go have affairs generally.  So it also protects your marriage. 

The last thing she says is that he is her friend.  There is a statement I heard once in a marriage seminar, "Men do not question if their wives love them, but they often question whether their wives really like them."  When I have shared this with men I get a strong affirmation that this is how they feel.  Women need to be heard, and men need to be liked.  By the way friendship in this way is different for men than for women.  So learn what it means to your husband to be a friend and become his best friend.  It will strengthen your sexual intimacy as a result. 

I hope that this post will elevate your husband's sexuality out of the gutter of "men are lustful visual creatures that need to engage in regular sex or they will stray" to God's ideal for masculine sexuality.  Men we need to aspire to confront the lies that are being told about our sexuality and that to a certain extent we have bought into and believed about ourselves.  It is time to tear down the banner lifted up by false view of male sexuality (created by a godless culture) and raise the banner that God has given us in his word.  We are more dignified than what the world says about us and it is time that we view our sexuality though God's eyes and act accordingly.

As always blessings to you!

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