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Intimacy Ignited: Conversations Couple to Couple

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Parable recommended!

Overview

Looking for more romance in your marriage? by studying the Song of Solomon, you'll get a timeless look at God's design for love in marriage.
This verse-by-verse Bible study of the Song of Solomon can strengthen your relationship with your husband or wife.
Includes discussion questions.

Details

  • SKU: 9781576836408
  • SKU10: 1576836401
  • Title: Intimacy Ignited: Conversations Couple to Couple
  • Qty Remaining Online: 7
  • Publisher: Navpress Publishing Group
  • Date Published: Sep 2004
  • Pages: 315
  • Weight lbs: 1.23
  • Dimensions: 9.30" L x 6.27" W x 1.07" H
  • Features: Table of Contents, Dust Cover, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Category: CHRISTIAN LIVING
  • Subject: Christian Life - Love & Marriage

Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

Where Did All the Passion Go?

"I woke up one morning and discovered a stranger in my bed - my husband."

"My dog is more affectionate and loving toward me than my wife is."

In speaking with thousands of couples across the country, we've heard many comments like the two you just read. Intimacy in America is in trouble. More specifically, intimacy in Christian marriages needs revival. Read on:

Eric slipped under the covers, filling the bedroom with the musky scent of Pleasure. The message was not lost on his wife. Inwardly, Katie groaned, Oh, no, not again - not tonight!

Eric slowly stroked Katie's arm, hoping she'd respond to his unspoken plea: I wish you'd roll over and attack me as if I'm the most desirable man in the world.

Katie lay there, silent and unmoving, but her heart rebelled: How can you be so insensitive? Can't you see how exhausted I am, what kind of day I've had, that my brain and body are dead?

* * *

Jennifer and Jeff sat on the couch, munching popcorn and watching The Family Man. During a playful scene in which Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) chases his wife around the bedroom in an attempt to seduce her, Jennifer sighed. Why doesn't Jeff desire me sexually? Is it because I don't look like the sexy blonde in this movie? What's wrong with me?

Jeff crunched down hard on his popcorn, angry. Why do movies always portray men as sex-crazed maniacs? I don't get it.

* * *

Candace pulled the covers over herself and turned onto her right side, a signal to Jared that she was going to sleep. She lay only six inches from him, but emotionally they were miles apart. For the thousandth time, he cursed his stupidity. The affair-if you could call it that-was over. One night of foolish indiscretion with a coworker had cost Jared fifteen years of trust with his wife.

They had been to counseling. He'd begged her to forgive him, and she said she had, but they hadn't made love in a month. Jared lay awake, staring into the night, trying to figure out how they had come to this. In the early years of marriage their love had been a blazing bonfire, but even before the affair, it had cooled to a few dying embers. Now all that remained was a flickering spark. God help us! Will we ever feel close again, or are we destined to live forever like strangers?

Wait a minute! God never intended sex to be the cause of such heartache between a husband and wife. The Creator of the universe gave the gift of sex so that the two could become "one flesh" ((Ephesians 5:31-32). How is it that the very thing God intended to unite married couples often tears them apart? How is it that something God created to bring pleasure causes so much pain? Why does sex in marriage often move from passion to boredom? Why are the sexual relationships of so many Christian couples in such a mess? How did we get here?

We'll answer the last question first, as we address the other questions throughout the book. It's a fair question, one that deserves an answer. How did we get in the mess we're in?

FROM PURITANISM TO PERVERSION

We doubt that the church fathers ever called a meeting and declared, "Let us make it our goal to distort biblical teaching on sex and thereby weaken the mortar of this cornerstone in marriage." Yet, certain events formed a collective mindset on the part of the church, a mindset that viewed sex as an indulgence of fleshly pleasure that must be restrained.

Let's go back in time, way back to the year AD 200,and see how the church viewed sex:

Church authorities issued edicts forbidding sex on Thursdays, the day of Christ's arrest; on Fridays, the day of his death; on Saturdays, in honor of the Blessed Virgin; and on Sundays in honor of the departed saints. Wednesdays sometimes made the list too, as did the 40-day fast periods before Easter, Christmas, and Pentecost, and also feast days and days of the Apostles, as well as the days of female impurity. The list escalated until only 44 days a year remained available for marital sex!

Now leap forward a thousand years and look at the prevailing mindset. We see a gentle shift from piety to propriety as England's influence resulted in Victorian attitudes characterized by extreme modesty and utter silence on issues related to sexuality. A woman wasn't even supposed to expose a naked ankle. Such behavior was considered brazen and shameful. This attitude so permeated Victorian society that people began covering the legs of furniture lest they arouse impure thoughts!

We laugh at such absurdity - being "turned on" by table legs!! - but truly it is not a laughing matter. The seeds of Victorianism were planted deeply into the minds of our church fathers and took root in the subsequent generations, as seen in this letter from the late 1800s, written by a pastor's wife to a young woman about her upcoming wedding night:

To the sensitive young woman who has had the benefits of proper upbringing, the wedding day is, ironically, both the happiest and most terrifying day of her life. On the positive side, there is the wedding itself; on the negative side, there is the wedding night, during which the bride must "pay the piper," so to speak, by facing for the first time the terrible experience of sex.

At this point, let me concede one shocking truth. Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.

This soon-to-be-bride was not the only one to be given such unbiblical advice. In 1907,a popular book expressed these words of instruction to a groom about how to love his bride sexually:

Thousands of married men and women are suffering from the effects of excessive sexual indulgence. They drain their physical powers, weaken the intellect, and fail to attain the happiness and grand results which would otherwise be possible to them. It might be said that no man of average health, physical power and intellectual acumen can exceed the bounds of once a week without at least being in danger of having entered upon a life of excess both for himself and for his wife.

Marital moderation is most easily secured and maintained where married persons occupy separate beds. Sleeping in the same bed is the most ingenious of all possible devices to stimulate and inflame the carnal passion. Often the best arrangement is to occupy separate rooms because then you can escape the sexual excitement which comes daily by the twice-repeated exposure of undressing and dressing in each other's presence.

For centuries, church leaders and laypeople have wrongly believed that sex is not to be enjoyed but rather it is a duty that husbands and wives must perform with restraint and propriety. We can see this attitude in the following quote from Lady Hillingdon, a British aristocrat:

I am happy now that Charles calls on my bedchamber less frequently than of old. As it is, I now endure but two calls a week, and when I hear his steps outside my door, I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, open my legs, and think of England.

Even if we have never read about how the church and society viewed sex or have yet to meet a woman who "thinks about England" so that she can make it through the ordeal of sex with her husband, these distorted views have affected us. Attitudes and beliefs such as these have filtered down through the years, leaving a residue of negative thinking about sex in our generation. In the twentieth century they spawned a revolt: the sexual revolution.

In the 1960s,America thrust off the constraining bustier of Puritanism and bared her chest in defiance. Sexual freedom became the cry of the country. Freedom meant no rules, no restraints, and society gradually slipped into a pervasive attitude that proclaimed, "Do it - anywhere, anytime, with anyone." This sexual "freedom" created its own kind of bondage; it resulted in unrestrained lust that sought sexual fulfillment but could not find it.

Today the sexual pendulum has swung from Puritanism to perversion. Flip on the computer and you can shop a wide assortment of pornography. Click on the television and see two men in bed together. Scan a current magazine and read about Washington's latest sex scandal or about some movie star's shock gimmick designed to promote personal fame. Sadly, our culture is so perverted that the shock factor is all but gone.

NOW WHAT?

While a look at the past can offer us insight into how we got to where we are today, it doesn't help us solve sexual problems or transform distorted and harmful attitudes. What we really need to know is this: How do we get out of this mess? Simple. Look to the wisdom found in the Song of Solomon:

The Song has answers. "I can't believe it! All this time, the answers to my marriage's sexual frustrations have been right in front of me - in God's Word. The Song of Solomon is beautiful and probably the most romantic thing ever written - a wonderful hidden secret!"

The Song is practical. "I learned new lovemaking techniques in the Bible - words to speak, ways to touch - that have put the sizzle back into our sex life."

The Song is holy. "After reading the Song, I understood for the first time how deeply God cares about our intimate relationship, that He wants to bless it and be a part of it."

The Song is life-changing. "I will never be the same again. Never. What I learned in the Song of Solomon literally saved our marriage."

The wisdom found in the Song can transform your marriage. We know this to be true because it has changed our marriages. As we've traveled around the country and taught these truths to thousands of men and women, we've seen transformation in their marriages as well. This book is about sex. Is sex the most important thing in marriage? No, but when the beauty, holiness, fun, and passion that God desires to be present in your intimate relationship are absent, it affects every other aspect of marriage.

Do you need to ignite intimacy in your marriage? The Song will show you how to make sex sing. It will show you sexual communication and creativity at its best. As you study the Song, you'll find:

Wisdom Passion Explicit sexual instruction Romance Honesty Inspiration to ignite intimacy in your marriage

And you will learn how becoming a servant lover will enable you to nurture a love between you that is so hot, so passionate, and so intense that nothing will be able to extinguish it. So get ready for passion at its best. Before you turn the page, we ask you to open your heart and pray,

God, I don't want my marriage to be mediocre. I want passion and intimacy, not boredom and predictability. Speak to me as I read. May the power of your Spirit and your Word transform my heart and mind and help me to become the lover you desire me to be.

Servant lovers: Are teachable and desire to ignite intimacy.

Selfish lovers: Have stubborn and unteachable hearts.

TIRZAH TO SOLOMON:

"May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine. Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you. Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers."

THE CHORUS:

"We will rejoice in you and be glad; We will extol your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you." SONG OF SOLOMON 1:2-4

(Continues.)

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