Love, Sex, and Romance (Married Men Edition)
As I mentioned in last week’s blog post entitled, “Love Sex and Romance (Single Men Edition)”, I had both single and married men in the audience at Morse Street Baptist Church’s Men’s Conference that I needed to teach God’s Word to concerning this topic. So today I want to share with you the three pastoral exhortations (along with some added commentary, since I turned this into a blog post) – based on the book of Song of Solomon – that I spoke to the married men about on that day, concluding with a final exhortation directed to both groups of men.
1. Befriend your wife regularly (5:16)
“This is my beloved and this is my friend…” (vs. 16b, speaking to the daughters of Jerusalem about her husband)
In this verse, Solomon’s wife, of course, doesn’t give any specifics as to how this looked in their relationship, but rather just simply states a reality. Solomon and his wife were not just romantic lovers; they were also friends. So it should be in our marriages. We should see the friendship of our wives as being central to our lives. All other friends that we have should revolve around it. Let me be clear, I am not saying that you have to stop being friends with the guys (beware of any woman who would seek to pressure you to do that with no justifiable reason) and make your spouse the one and only friend that you have. What I am saying is that she shouldn’t be consistently coming off the bench behind your homeboys. She is not the 6th (wo)man. She is one of the “Big Two.” You run the plays of your life with her in mind, not your boys. All metaphors aside, you give her priority over your partners. And guys, listen, any woman worth her salt generally will not take advantage of this. She will feel valued and important, and will consequently not mind making exceptions and adjustments when you tell her that you have plans to hang out with the fellas.
But becoming and staying friends with your spouse doesn’t happen by accident. It takes intentionality. So, what would befriending our wives look like today? Here are a few points of application:
- Date your wife. Don’t stop now that you are married. Go to the movies. Stop by the pond and feed the ducks. Eat out at an affordable restaurant. Oh, and don’t always take her to the gun range (unless of course she likes to shoot). Do something she likes for a change.
- Engage her in conversation. Ask her how her day went, listen well, and interact with her.
- Share your heart (i.e., your feelings, dreams, fears, etc.) with her. If there ever should be someone you can open up to, it ought to be your wife. Yes I know that there are some things that you need to vent to another brother. But as a rule of thumb, she should be someone in whom you can confide.
- Be present. First, she needs your presence. It’s hard to build or maintain a close friendship when you’re rarely physically there at home or with her. If you are always on the go without her, don’t be surprised if you wake up one day to find that you two have “grown apart.” Secondly, she needs you present. You can be present while at the same time absent. You know what I am talking about. You both are sitting on the couch. She’s talking to you and stops to ask, “Honey, did you hear what I said?” And you respond, “Huh? Oh, sorry, babe. What did you say?” because while she was conversing with you (or so she thought), you were watching T.V., reading, checking your email, looking over bills, etc. You were present, but not present. Be fully in the moment with her.
2. Adore your wife’s physical features (6:5-7; 7:1-5)
“Your teeth are like a flock of ewes…your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand…”
Solomon continues, “Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies. Your TWO BREASTS are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.” (emphasis mine) Yes, Lord! I know what you mean, Solomon. Because Lord knows…Oops, sorry. I got caught up for a second. I’m back.
Sometimes as Christians we can be super spiritual…well at least some of us. Don’t get me wrong. That is not a jab at living holy. We should all desire to please the Lord Jesus with our lives. What I am talking about is when we say stuff like, “The outer appearance doesn’t matter to me. It’s the heart that counts.” Okay, I get it. Yes, the heart of an individual (what we generally mean by heart is that person’s spiritual condition) is what is most important. I totally agree. But, c’mon. There is nothing necessarily wrong with being physically attracted to or desiring to be attractive to your spouse (Sure, this, like anything, can become an idol, influencing us to make some sinful or unwise decisions. So we shouldn’t base the stock of our relationship on it. Our marriage must be rooted in Jesus to be healthy and to last a lifetime.).
Back to the point. Adore her body, even if she has gained some pounds from downing too many Twinkies or from having a baby. Tell her how attractive she is to you and mean it. Nobody should out perform you in saying sweet nothings in your wife’s ear as it relates to her physical features. Heap it on her!
Side note: If you feel like your wife is letting herself go physically (i.e., her weight gain or appearance is not due to some issue beyond her control), then all I am going to tell you is to pray about it and tread carefully, my dear brother. Seriously though, if that is your situation, lovingly talk to her about it. Keep it positive. Tell her what you like. Book her a day at the spa. Let her go and get her hair did, I mean, done, along with her feet and nails. If you feel like the conversation might end badly, then pray and tread carefully, my dear brother. One last thing, only a few things seriously aggravate me, like seeing a beautiful woman being berated by a man for, according to him, her physical “issues.” Don’t be that guy! Yes, you should adore her physical features, but your wife is more than her body. Don’t get it twisted. She is a person made in the image of God and should be valued as such. And if she is a Christian, she is also a child of God. Don’t you dare flip out on one of His daughters over this. And by the way, don’t let yourself go either. Your wife wants you to take care of yourself for her as well.
3. Enjoy YOUR wife sexually (7:7-9, see also Proverbs 5:15-19)
“Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit…”
Enjoy your wife (not someone else’s or a single woman, for that matter) sexually and look to please her. Brothers, you only have one bullet in the chamber. She has a 15-round magazine. Pull her trigger a few times. I’m going to stay respectable and keep it moving, but you get the gist of what I am saying, right? Good.
Some of you might be a little upset with me regarding this point. Please don’t be. Can I remind you that God made sex to be enjoyed in the confines of heterosexual marriage? So let’s not be ashamed to talk about and celebrate marital sex!
Concluding Point: Keep Jesus at the center of your love life/relationship/marriage (8:6b)
“Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.”
After prayer, meditation, and looking this particular verse up in some commentaries, I came to humbly interpret it this way: Romantic passion/love in marriage, which is pictured as fire, comes from the Lord. It’s source is in Jesus.
So what I took this to mean was that if romantic love/passion is to be experienced in a God-honoring, relationally healthy way in a dating or marriage relationship, we must allow the Lord to define what that is and to lead us in its application, according to His Word.
If we allow the Lord to lead us in our relationships, He will keep the flame of romantic love/passion controlled and contained, like a fireplace. Conversely, to not let the Lord do so will cause our flame of romantic love/passion to turn into an uncontrollable wild forest fire, damaging and destroying everything in its path: lives, relationships, marriages, and families.