Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sexual Intimacy According to the Bible III

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As time goes on sexual intimacy continues to be an very important part of marriage.  In this post we will look at what the Bible says about a maturing sexual intimacy between husband and wife. 

In Song of Songs 6:2 the couple is continuing in their passionate love making (going down the garden).  They are continuing in passionate kissing (feeds among the lilies).  As relationships mature it is wise to make sure that sexual intimacy continues to be a part of that relationship.  There can be times of ebb and flow in the relationship, and unfortunately the husband and wife may not always be in sync of who is ebbing and who is flowing.  However, if you continue to practice 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 then you will be more interested in the wellbeing of the other rather than whether you "feel like" being sexually intimate.  In any case our couple in the Song of Songs has continued to be sexually active. 

I am my love's and my love is mine; he feeds among the lilies.
Song of Songs 6:3 (HCSB)

I wear the ring to the right.  On one side it says "My beloved is mine" and on the other it says "I am my beloveds."  It is a sort of summary of 1 Cor 7:3-4 as well as wedding vows in brief.  Notice that this statement of commitment and mutual belongingness is sealed with a kiss ("feeds among the lilies" See previous posts).  I get the sense that God is telling us that kissing is an important aspect of sexual intimacy. 

The husband has continued to note the ways that he is attracted to his wife.  Some of the language is the same, but there are some new elements as well.  He complements her eyes and her hair saying her eyes captivate him (Song 6:5).  He talks about her teeth (Song 6:6).  He again mentions pomegranates as mentioned before indicating that he was excited sexually.  He talks about her loveliness and beauty comparing to an awe inspiring army of Banners (Song 6:4).  He compares her to 60 queens, 80 concubines, and young women without number and concludes:

But my dove, my virtuous one, is unique; she is the favorite of her mother, perfect to the one who gave her birth. Women see her and declare her fortunate; queens and concubines also, and they sing her praises:
Song of Songs 6:9 (HCSB)

She is unique and favored in the eyes of her husband.  That is a powerful statement.  To be unique and favored is powerful emotional intensity to a woman.  His love for her is seen by other women and they say she is fortunate.  Think about that for a moment.  I believe that the reason they say she is fortunate is because the husbands declaration of her beauty, love, devotion that they have for each other is standard for him.  A Godly man who has eyes only for his wife is a beautiful thing.  It is a blessing to his wife and it forges sexual intimacy.  Notice also in this section the husband points to his wife's inner beauty as well by calling her virtuous and pure.  As you grow in your love together you become aware of the beauty of the person as a whole not simply in the physical attraction.  Sexuality of the world is Lustful, degrading, licentious, and nasty.  Sexuality according to God's plan is lovely, devoted, virtuous, and pure.  We should strive for the latter in our marriage. 

One thing that is striking at this point is that the husband never stops telling her how beautiful she is.  His expressions started in the courtship, expanded on the marriage night, and continues into the maturing love. 

Who is this who shines like the dawn- as beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awe-inspiring as an army with banners?
Song of Songs 6:10 (HCSB)

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid art far more fair than she.
-Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

Romantic language is powerful to capture the heart of a loved one.  We would do well to take some time to pay attention to this.  If you struggle with this then consider reading romantic quotes and finding one that you can put into your own words.

We again see the husband praising the beauty of his wife.  Guys are you seeing a pattern here?  

In this verse he comments on her feet  and thighs (Song 7:1).  He is talking about her curves.  The curves of her thighs in particular.  Now talking about a woman's thighs seems like dangerous territory in our modern culture.  We are obsessed with thinness.  It is a cultural sickness that makes women feel inadequate for being... ... well women.  God intended for women to have curves and curves are beautiful.  The husband in this case in is stating as much.  Whose handiwork is her curves?  The Master.  Who is the master that designed his wife?  God.  You see God made a beautiful woman for each husband.  We need to appreciate the beauty of her.  She is a precious creation that is better than fine Jewelry.  And her curves should be satisfying to you!  In addition by appreciating your spouse as a gift from the Master you avoid turning them into a sexual object (idol). 

He continues moving up to her belly (Song 7:2).  He describes her navel as a drinking bowl that is never empty.  He is continually satisfied with her navel.  He says that her belly (waist) is like a mound of wheat.  There at least three interpretations that could be made here.  The husband is talking about the color of her belly, she is pregnant, or he is continuing to describe her curves (my interpretation).  Again describing her belly may seem like dangerous territory.  However her husband is describing how beautiful it is regardless if it is color, with child, or shape it is beautiful to him!  He also is imagining kissing her body (surrounded by lilies).

As before he talks about her breasts (Song 7:3).  He talks again in this section about how he plans to caress her body and hold her breasts (Song 7:7-8).  He is talking to her an a romantic language and not degrading manner.  Her breast are fruit and sustenance to their sexual intimacy.  Not object of his personal gratification. 

There is an interesting sequence of comparisons that on the surface seem a bit humorous if the try to imagine them.  He neck is a tower of ivory, her eyes like pools Heshbon, and her nose like the tower of Lebanon (Song 7:4).  The neck of ivory is a symbol of noble purity.  The term "ivory tower" has taken a negative connotation in modern times with the rejection of nobility.  In this case she is not stuck up and above others, but has an air of nobility and white is purity.   The pools of Heshbon are deep series of pools that are supplied by underground springs.  They are still since do not have flowing water.  Stillness and calmness are in her eyes.  The tower of Lebanon is a "watchtower."  We do not know what this particular tower looked like so it is not clear if her nose looked like this.  It is more likely though he is praising her watchfulness.  It seems to fit with context Damascus was hostile to Solomon reign (1 Kings 11:23-25).   It says in Song 7:4 that the Tower of Lebanon looks over Damascus.  If this is the case then he is praising her ability to smell (see) danger (mixing metaphors).  Once again as love matures the appreciation of personal characteristics become a part of the attractiveness of your spouse. 

The husband is caught up in looking at the beauty of her hair and her complete loveliness (Song 7:5-6).  He says that her hair is captivating to him.  He can't stop looking at her.  Sad when men stop looking at their wives.  If they stop looking then we can't be captivated.  All to often a man is moving away and it his wife that is chasing him for intimacy.  Look at her.  Love her.  Cherish her.  This will build up your sexual intimacy in your marriage. 

At this point the wife takes over the dialogue. 

It seems they are kissing (Song 7:9).  She is aware and acknowledges her husband's desire for her (Song 7:10).  She then again invites him to the Garden (love making) with all of it's pleasures, passions, sexual excitement, and mutual belongingness (Song 7:11-13).  She talks about mandrakes.  Mandrakes were seen as a fertility drug so it seems she desires to become pregnant (See Gen 30:14-17).  She also says the doors are open to sexual intimacy both new and old that she is treasuring them up.  It seems she is expressing her openness to her husband, remembering old times of sexual closeness, and looking forward to new experiences as well.  Sex is a treasure and not an obligation or dread.  When a spouse begins to dread sex it is no longer intimacy.  It is a good indicator that something is missing in your marriage.  Intimacy has been lost.  Look to see what that is and address it so that you can return to your gardens of pleasure as God intended. 

My hope is that you have found this series on "Marriage Essentials" beneficial.  I pray for your marriage (all marriages) that they would find the original intent, beauty, love, devotion, respect, honor, and excitement that was present on your wedding day and is fitting with what God has intended. 



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