Earlier this week, I noticed the Daily Post asked the question in one of their prompts, “tell us about a thing you will never write about.” A few things instantly popped into my head, but when I get down to it, even those I might consider writing on if the time is right.
One of those topics that popped into my mind is sex.
Reasoning… Well, my parents read this blog. My inner teenager says, “EWWWWW.”
Realistically, I have broached the topic a few times, mainly around concepts of intimacy and such. And here I go again…
Our church has, for the past two-ish months, been doing a series on Song of Solomon. People tend to be of two minds on this chunk of scripture. Although I know most people won’t deny it is part of the Bible and relevant, many people (me included… the person who asks strangers about erectile function) feel uncomfortable with the poetry and the romance in this book. Some people are even more uncomfortable with the fact that it is the “sex” book. Other people are intrigued because it is different and it is about, well, sex and relationships.
It shouldn’t matter what any of us think because it is scripture and as rare and bizarre as it is to have it be a part of the discussion at church and small group, it is important. It is Biblical wisdom. Apparently it was shared at wedding celebrations back in the day (*gasps from the staunch).
The series isn’t quite done yet, but I thought I would share what I have gleaned from the experience… And this is nowhere near the depth of which we covered it, or the depth to which God probably intends it.
One thing that I found interesting before we even get into things is the concept that Solomon wrote this. Solomon with the million wives (okay, not a million, but a bunch). That kind of weirded me out. What does buddy with masses of wives know about real love? The notion that the pastor put forth, as have several commentaries I have read is that these are supposed to representations of “every man” and “every woman” and that Solomon may be writing in generalities from his experience as influenced by God. AKA… Don’t bash the book because of who the human attached to it is.
So, big themes that stuck out for me as a wife and as a woman.
Beauty is a huge concept throughout this book. There are lines and lines of nauseating poetry complimenting one another. Head to toe descriptions. And looks at how we measure beauty.
Even back then, culture and society influenced beauty (see S of S 1:5-7). She was influenced by her past and her present. But, the girl in this passage recognizes her own inherent beauty despite that stuff. A good lesson for all of us.
Bigger than her recognizing her inner beauty, despite what she points out culture would consider flaws, is the guy and how he sees her beauty. And talks about it over and over again. He measures her beauty from a heart of love and she is transformed.
I wouldn’t have noticed it unless it was pointed out to me, but she really is. As the cheesy dialogue progresses, she acknowledges her beauty more and loves him more.
God made us. Refer back to Genesis 1&2 for that stuff.
Full body beauty is appreciation of the fullness of God’s grace, God’s plan and God’s creation. Married people are God’s gifts to one another.
The couple in S of S is big on the full body appreciation. There are multiple chunks where they literally do head to toe descriptions of one another. This points back to God’s appreciation and beauty in His creation, but also to the overarching concept of beauty. That our denying our own beauty and uniqueness is basically, in a way, taking away from that of God and of our spouse.
Whoa. Hang on a second… That is tough stuff to swallow. Especially maybe moreso for women. Many of us from a young age feel shame about our bodies, our imperfections. But, our spouses don’t notice that stuff. That is just part of our awesomeness. And we should accept that. Because that is God’s grace.
I am still working on wrapping my head around that stuff.
There is the whole pursuit thing that goes along with the beauty and leads up to intimacy. God pursues us kind of like the young man. He thinks we are beautify. He thinks we are perfect. He protects us and shields us from others. We have a longing for wholeness and beauty and God is how we find these things. Fascinating parallels.
Then, there is the whole intimacy thing. Probably the other bigger concept.
Well, duh, you say… The whole book is basically about marriage and sex.
But, this is pure intimacy. As in the way God intended.
And no, it isn’t perfect.
Check out chapter 5 if you want not perfect. It is real marriage stuff (and some hilarious (at least to me) double entendre). Wife gets ticked at husband for being out too late and locks him out. He peels. Then she feels bad and goes out after him. And life gets really rough without him. In the end, it is okay. But bad stuff does happen, but it is important to remember that the security of relationship is huge. And that the intimacy of marriage is stronger than a silly fight. Marriage is a covenant. You can’t just walk out of a covenant. God makes it tough to do that. He is big on covenants (think Noah and the ark).
But right, back to intimacy.
One of the reasons God sticks someone in your life is holiness. He will remake you (refer up to the beauty thing). If God comes first, you worship your way out of the negative cycle of self harm and self indulgence. Christ died for the church. Man would die for his wife. But, realistically, do we care enough about our relationship, our witness to address hard topics with grace? To die to ourselves?
Intimacy does not equal nakedness.
Society teaches the opposite. Most of us spend life thinking sex=intimacy.
That isn’t true. Sex is a reflection of intimacy, but not intimacy itself. Just like lust is really the opposite of love, but we sometimes mistake them for the same thing.
Intimacy requires honesty, dedication and selflessness. Intimacy requires making room for Christ in a relationship and acknowledging a need for grace because we are flawed. Intimacy is a togetherness while acknowledging one another’s beauty and space.
Intimacy exists in the concept of redemption. Our identity needs to be rooted in Christ and not in our shame and guilt. We lose out on so much when we exist in fear and guilt and when we let our desires drive us to sin. We are all flawed, so grace comes up again and again. We are perfect for each other, but we need forgiveness and remaking to enjoy that intimacy.
Marriage was God’s plan. He made it to place protection for our humanness. A container for passion, if you may.
Nowhere does this passage say sex is bad, that one gender is “better” or that beauty consists of certain criteria. This passage simply addresses the importance of intimacy in a relationship in the realities of life and the importance of sharing in that kind of love in a covenant relationship.
Sex does not come until chapter 4. At least that is what is assumed to be the wedding night and why they keep saying “do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Because things actually drag along for awhile building intimacy and relationship before the sex comes along. Sex came from all of the intimacy. Not the reverse. And yes, there is plenty more after chapter 4 (well, minus that bit where she misplaces her husband…). Again, this does not go along with what society teaches us. But, it makes sense if you follow the poetry along. And it makes sense when you say that sex is a reflection of intimacy, not just intimacy alone.
Pretty cool stuff for a bunch of poetry.