Chapter OneWhere 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
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
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
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.
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
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:
Explicit sexual instruction
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
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."
"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