I must confess that I have been surprised by the feedback on our new Sermon series, “Lessons on Love”. It is amazing how timeless and needed are the biblical teachings on marriage, relationships and intimacy. Due to time restraints and a commitment to honoring the privacy of sexual intimacy, I want to address various sections of Song of Solomon through the blog each week. My hope is to present to you additional helps and discussions that time or audience would hinder. This week we are walking through the second chapter of Solomon’s epic work on marriage. One of the major points from Sunday morning’s message is the necessity of speaking to our mate in the proper way.
We all remember the old nursery rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words won’t hurt me”. There is a greek phrase that comes to mind when I hear that…A whole bunch of bull. Words hurt and they have the potential of wounding not only our hearts but our marriages. Steve Stephens in his book, Stories for the Heart, lists 27 things we should avoid saying to our spouse.
- “I told you so.”
- “You’re just like your mother.”
- “You’re always in a bad mood.”
- “You just don’t think.”
- “It’s your fault.”
- “What’s wrong with you?”
- “All you ever do is complain.”
- “I can’t do anything to please you.”
- “You get what you deserve.”
- “Why don’t you ever listen to me?”
- “Can’t you be more responsible?”
- “What were you thinking?”
- “You’re impossible!”
- “I don’t know why I put up with you.”
- “I can talk to you until I’m blue in the face and it doesn’t do any good.”
- “I can do whatever I like.”
- “If you don’t like it, you can just leave.”
- “Can’t you do anything right?”
- “That was stupid.”
- “All you ever do is think of yourself.”
- “If you really loved me, you’d do this.”
- “You’re such a baby.”
- “Turnabout’s fair play.”
- “You deserve a dose of your own medicine.”
- “What’s your problem?”
- “I can never understand you.”
- “Do you always have to be right?”
Maybe sometime this week you can sit down as a husband and wife and read over this list. Discuss the ones that have been used and how they have wounded you. Be willing to listen to your spouse share those hurts. Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Therefore, don’t be defensive or justify your intent, instead, listen and recognize that while unintended, your words have hurt your spouse. Acknowledge that hurt, ask for forgiveness and move on knowing what to avoid in the future. Marriage is hard work and it requires lots of grace.
Another aspect of Sunday’s text is the unspoken sexual tension that exists. While veiling in metaphor there is no denying the passion that is between these two people. Although Shulamite is seeking to withhold love until its proper time (2:7), her desire to be intimate with Solomon is clear. Sexual intimacy is a God-given gift that should be celebrated between a husband and wife. Allow me to share with you 5 biblical guidelines that should govern such a gift.
- Sex within the marriage of a husband and wife is good, right and even holy. God created sex not just a means to an end (Children) but as a good gift to enjoy. The word of God even warns us against refraining from in marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:5, “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
- Sexual enjoyment is both healthy and expected in a marriage. Proverbs 5:15-19, “Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from your own well.16 Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets?17 Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you.18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.”
- Sexual activity and enjoyment should always be guided by the principle of looking after the needs of your mate as of greater importance than your own. Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
- Sexual activity should be normal in a marriage. There is no exact number of times per week a couple should be engaged in sexual relations. However the bible teaches us that we are to provide adequate satisfaction to our mate so that desires and temptations are not sought outside of the marriage relationship (Adultery/Pornography). 1 Cor. 7: 5 & 9 “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” We must also remember that moderation, physical limitations and putting the needs of our spouse before our own will always guide the Christian couple.
- Finally the bible teaches that the body of each belongs to the other (1 Cor. 7:4). While our bodies belong to our spouse, neither the man nor the woman has superior rights over the other. We should never demand from our spouse that which is painful, harmful, degrading or distasteful to the other. We are not to use sex as a bargaining chip in our marriage under any circumstances.
My prayer is that this series and the blogs will aid your conversations and enrich your marriages in the days to come. Despite the popularity of such books like, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”, a more troubling reality is before us. Men and Women are both fallen, sinful human beings from earth. Therefore, we must work harder than simply recognizing our differences, but instead, we must lay down our rights and lives for each other.