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This verse-by-verse Bible study of the Song of Solomon can strengthen your relationship with your husband or wife.
Includes discussion questions.
"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.
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:
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 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."
"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
Excerpted from Intimacy Ignited by JOSEPH DILLOW LINDA DILLOW PETER PINTUS LORRAINE PINTUS Copyright © 2004 by Joseph and Linda Dillow, Peter and Lorraine Pintus. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
|Introduction: Sex At Its Best||9|
|Section 1||Ignite the Flame|
|1||Where Did All the Passion Go?||19|
|2||Give Permission for Passion: Song of Solomon 1:2-4||27|
|3||Soothe Insecurities: Song of Solomon 1:5-8||37|
|4||Offer Sexual Refreshment: Song of Solomon 1:9-14||53|
|5||Trade Sexual Compliments: Song of Solomon 1:15-2:7||67|
|6||Catch the Little Foxes: Song of Solomon 2:8-17||83|
|7||Create a Safe Place for Loving: Song of Solomon 3:1-5||99|
|8||Remember Your Vows: Song of Solomon 3:6-11||119|
|9||Be Romantic In and Out of Bed: Song of Solomon 4:1-8||133|
|10||Give Your Body as a Gift: Song of Solomon 4:9-5:1||149|
|Section 2||Keep the Flame Burning|
|11||Stamp Out Selfishness: Song of Solomon 5:2-8||169|
|12||Be Free in Your Mind: Song of Solomon 5:9-6:3||185|
|13||Be Free to Forgive: Song of Solomon 6:4-10||205|
|14||Be Free with Your Body: Song of Solomon 6:11-7:10||219|
|15||Be Free to Be Creative: Song of Solomon 7:11-8:4||239|
|16||Fan the Fire of Lifelong Love: Song of Solomon 8:5-14||255|
|Epilogue: The Flame||269|
|Appendix||Sexual Acts That God Prohibits||273|
|Eight-Week Bible Study: A Journey to Igniting Intimacy||275|
|Bible Study Facilitator's Guide||295|
Posted March 31, 2010
First, let's clear one thing about sex; sex is God's gift to married couple "Only" to enjoy and as a seal of their oneness. This is where "two become one" and also to glorify God's name by making love in its purest and most passionate way God told us to. Sex is not all about lust, its all about sensuality, unselfishness and enjoyment of each other's company.
Actually and honestly, I'm not a married man, though this book is for married couples only, it is still a good introduction about being intimate in a Christian perspective. In the trend of teens nowadays, where sex is their so-called proof of their love to each other, first thing that I learned from this book is that "sex is for married couples only" and getting a clear view of "if I am to do this now" I will not experience the full happiness of being intimate and the fact that it's a sin. Aside from intimacies, I have learned some bits about forgiveness.
For married couples out there, this book is highly recommended for you. For newly weds, it's a good investment to have a book like this, to have a clear foresight of the possibilities of hardships for your intimacy and how to handle such. For troubled husbands and wives about their intimacies, feel like the fire of intimacy growing weak by bondages and strongholds? Again, this book can help you both by viewing and repairing intimacies for you to last forever in accordance to God's teachings.
From King Solomon's wit and wisdom about intimacies, you will think again about what the Bible has to say about intimacy. Intimacy is one of the key things about an everlasting relationship of a married couple; this is where each other's company is privately enjoyed through passion, selflessness and freedom.
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Posted December 22, 2004
EVERY engaged couple should read this!!! The title makes it seem like it's for couples who need intimacy ignited (that too) but it's more about God's intention for Sex through the Song of Solomon and the way He intented it to be. It showed me many good and interesting things. But one of the things that stuck out the most was how Solomon always pleased his wife first and how he was a servent lover toward Tizrah (his wife), and how God loves women so much that he gave us the Song of Solomon to see that we women are uniquely designed and not crazy! There is also a lot of things that wives can learn that will help enhance intimacy with their husbands as well. This is a must read for both husband and wives-not just for women. My daughter is only ten, and I plan to keep this book in my closet for however many years until she is ready for marraige. I will definitely pass this onto her as well as buy it for wedding shower gifts.
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Posted April 14, 2010
Several years ago, I bought a copy of Intimate Issues by Dillow and Pintus. I was concerned about a friend and they had come to me for encouragement. I found a lot of sound biblical advice in Linda Dillow's book.
I didn't realize it until recently, but Linda Dillow and the gal she wrote that book with wrote a sequel to it several years ago. Dillow and Pintus set out to examine what the Song of Solomon says about sex. The book is called Intimacy Ignited. There are two ways that the Song of Solomon is usually interpreted--allegorically and literally. In this book, they have interpreted the Song of Solomon to be the literal story of the love between Solomon and Tirzah. Each chapter of the book looks at what the Song of Solomon says about making love for husbands and wives. There is a Discussion/Bible Study for couples at the end of the book as well as several good Appendices.
I'm not sure whether or not I think the Song of Solomon is meant to be interpreted literally or as an allegory of God's love for Israel or for the church. But, I found as I read through the introduction that I felt okay not being certain about this issue. I know that may sound very strange, but I found that I was willing to listen and open my heart to what the authors wanted to share. As I read through the rest of the book, all of the things the authors shared in the chapter sat well with me--there weren't any red flags in my heart that I needed to be concerned that the authors were being unwise in their advice.
Please note that the introduction is rather dry and is very matter of fact. The rest of the books is written in very different tone. So please keep reading after the introduction!
In some ways, it's a very awkward thing to write a review about book about sex. What I can say is that the book gave me some ideas about how I can love my husband better and it affirmed that I already am pursuing my husband and loving him well.
I would recommend this book over Sheet Music by Kevin Leman. They are different books. Sheet Music is much more practical in nature and this book talks more about the role that making love has in our lives and how we love our spouses well as a whole. Sheet music is practical in its approach and (from what I remember) talks specifically about the act of making love. Intimacy Ignited addresses the act as well as the stage and all of the things that affect it for both wives and husbands. This is one of those books that you feel good about after you've read. You know that you'll pick it up again and find the chapter you need. Ms. Dillow and Ms. Pintus share from their hearts they talk about the act, the stage, the things that get in the way, the things men want and those that women want, how keep your love alive, and more. It's the whole picture. There's even a chapter on how to continue to make time for each other after kids come into the picture.
This is a good book to read--whether your marriage is doing well or you are struggling. I hope that it will be encouraging to you.
Please note that I did receive a complimentary copy of this book for review by Navpress, but I liked it so well that I have already ordered and sent a copy to a friend. I do highly recommend it!