The ART of Intimacy, Part 2
About the Guest
On the broadcast today, pastor Tommy Nelson, author of the book, The Book of Romance, looks to Solomon's Song of Songs for wisdom regarding intimacy.
Tom NelsonTom Nelson has been the pastor of Denton Bible Church, in Denton, Texas since 1977. Each year, Tom speaks to over 20,000 Song of Solomon Conference attendees and countless others via radio. In addition to the Song of Solomon materials, he is author of three books: The Book of Romance, The Big Picture: Understanding the Story of the Bible, and The Problem of Life with God. Tom has been married to Teresa Nelson for more than 30 years, and they have two grown sons, Ben and Joh...more
On the broadcast today, pastor Tommy Nelson, author of the book, The Book of Romance, looks to Solomon’s Song of Songs for wisdom regarding intimacy.
The ART of Intimacy, Part 2
Tommy: You have a spiritual commitment, an emotional commitment, a financial commitment, a domestic commitment, and then you mesh your bodies, you mesh your emotions, you take your DNA, you wrap it around her DNA, you create a being in the image of the God that looks like the both of you. That is oneness.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, February 5th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. There is a lot more to intimacy and romance and passion than what you find in most Hollywood movies today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. I don't know how many of our listeners know this, but I've been told that prior to a Jewish boy being bar-mitzvahed at the age of 13, he was not supposed to read the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament in the Jewish Bible because it was considered for mature audiences.
And I mention that because we're going to be hearing a message from the Song of Solomon today from Pastor Tommy Nelson that is also for mature audiences, and I just want to encourage parents to use some discretion about who ought to be tuned in, because we're going to be listening in as Solomon and the Shulamite woman talk about their honeymoon.
Dennis: We're going to the Song of Solomon, and we are going to visit the Shulamite woman and Solomon as they start out their marriage, and it is one of the more intense and perhaps the most intimate passages in all of Scripture as we look into the marriage bedroom of a couple who are starting out their relationship together.
And here on the broadcast to help us do it today is Tommy Nelson. He is the pastor of Denton Bible Church since 1977. He speaks for Campus Crusade for Christ Christmas conferences, for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he has taught this book for – well, I don't know, how many years he's been teaching this at this singles Bible study in Denton, but he has a Metro Bible Study that's weekly. And, for this series, he had 3,500 single people jammed into an auditorium wanting to get God's perspective of human sexuality.
Bob: And if they did not sign up for marriage after this session …
Dennis: … whew …
Dennis: Well, you know, and some of our listeners are going to feel uncomfortable for those single people at this point, and I would say to you, if so, why did God put this book in the Bible in the first place? This book is just as inspired as the Book of John, and this book needs to be visited especially among singles, among those who are preparing for marriage, and, most importantly, I think this book needs to be dusted off for married couples and revisit the whole spiritual context of romance and how God designed us to experience that in the first place, Bob.
Tommy Nelson has been married for more than 20 years, and I like his sense of human because, frankly, you need it at points in this study. But he is on target as he helps us regain God's perspective of human sexuality within the context of a marriage relationship.
Bob: Well, once again, we are headed to the honeymoon, and so some of this material will not be appropriate for younger children, but I'm sure our listeners will agree, as they listen, that it is inspiring to hear God's view of human sexuality, and that's what Tommy Nelson is going to bring us today.
Tommy: (From audiotape.) Fellows, write it down – "Sex is gentle." I'm going to give you guys some help right here that's going to save you more trouble, because you're all inept, you just don't know you're inept.
Number one, whenever you have sex with your wife, especially on your honeymoon, you most slow. One of the guys that taught me when I was in college said to me, he said, "Listen" – and he was a pretty hardened kind of a guy that came to the Lord and married this little girl that had never been kissed, and he said he got the idea that in their honeymoon he could now exercise every fantasy he ever had.
And he came out of the bathroom like Conan, all right, and just kind of poured out all of his passion on her, and he said, "I scarred her, and it took years of counseling to get her to where she needed to be and me where I needed to be." You move slow on your honeymoon night – and anytime.
Secondly, a big one – there are parameters that you and your mate will share. When you make love to your wife, a man's parameters of sexual enjoyment generally will be a lot more erotic than a woman's. How far can a man go? As far as your wife is not demeaned. If she has a problem with something, then you stop.
And, incidentally, do you know what you're going to have to do? And I make couples do this before they get married – I make them talk, and they get to talk about – and the fellow will say, "What about that?" And it may surprise him. She'll go "Whoa, Solomon." All right?
Here's the big one, this is going to save you more trouble. How are you going to have sex when you get married? How are you going to know if your wife's excited? Guys are always excited. How do you know your wife is going to be excited.
Do you drop hints at dinner? "Boy, it was a real exciting day."
How do you let your wife know that you want to have sex? Well, what you do is you get signals, and you pick up signals. A lot of couples have frustration over this because they don't have signals.
When a bunch of guys get together, and they can laugh and all of them don't ever talk about it to their wives, but they all know that there are signals, and you've just got to learn your signals. For some guys, it's a certain kind of perfume, they may wear a certain cologne. One guy told me, he said, "When I put on a certain bathrobe," my wife knows.
Number three, watch this – sex is exhilarating. Look at that in verse 6 – "Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away" – that's talking about morning time – "all night long I will go to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense." What's the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense? See also the chapter before – the twin hills, the hills of Bether. He's talking about the breasts of his wife, and this guy says, "All night long I, the stag, am going on my wife in a joyous way until the morning rolls around." The Word of God, isn't that great?
How passionate is that? You let your imagination run, because you are meant to. This is why Jewish boys were not to read this book until they were older and down the line because it is exciting.
Incidentally, do you know that in England years ago young girls were told during their honeymoons to lie there and think of the queen – meaning that you endure sex to have babies to fight for the Empire. Isn't that terrible? It was an early Christian teaching that the original sin was sex – the original sin was sex.
"All night long this stag is going to his twin mountains." You won't find that in a Navigator verse memory pack, all right?
Verse 7 – something else, fellows, is that sex is scary – that's number 4. Sex is frightening. Look how this fellow speaks to his wife – "You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no blemish in you." Girls, do you remember in chapter 1 what she said? "Don't stare at me because I am swarthy, the sun has burned me." Fellows, let me tell you the most painful thing you can do to your wife is on her honeymoon night or at any time when your wife disrobes, and you look at her naked body, you say something disparaging, and she will never forget it, and you will hurt her so deeply. All women tend to be self-conscious about their bodies, and there are some things that they would change.
I knew of a couple once that was married, had a number of kids, three, four kids, and had never seen each other naked. That's a bad deal. No, this man lets her know – and fellows, you're going to marry girls that want to lose some weight, and when they have kids, they're going to get all stretched out. You're going to have some girls that wish this was different and wish that was different – you let her know from the top of your head right down your body, you are the most lovely woman on the face of this earth.
Ladies, do you think you would feel like giving yourself to a fellow that can take your teeth, your hair, your eyes, your cheeks, your neck, your breasts, your body, and say, "You are absolutely perfect." Of course, you'd feel like giving yourself. This guy is a loving man.
Verse 8 – number 5, sex is the means of union in marriage. He says, "Come away from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon and journey from the summit of Amana, from the summit of Shenir and Hermon, the den of lions, the mountains of leopards." He is calling her away, and the two are going to become one flesh.
I'll tell you where my opinion is on this – whenever I marry a couple, and I say, "I give you Mr. and Mrs. Whatever, what God has joined together let no man set asunder." Actually, that is not a completely correct statement, because you are not one until you have sex.
You have a spiritual commitment, an emotional commitment, a financial commitment, a domestic commitment, and then you mesh your bodies, you mesh your emotions, you take your DNA, you wrap it around her DNA, you create a being in the image of the God that looks like the both of you. That is oneness. And so marriage and sex is the means by which oneness occurs.
And if I married a couple right here that walked out, and they came back two months later and said, "We have never consummated the union. We fought, we've got some problems, we've never come together." I personally would not consider that a marriage. I marry them in the belief that they are going to consummate it.
In verse 9 – sex is sensuous. "You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride. You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes" – that's sight – "with a single glance of your necklace" – now watch verse 10 – smell – "How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride, how much better is your love than wine. The fragrance of your oils and kinds of spices" – he smells her.
Verse 11 – he touches her. "Your lips, my bride, drip honey. Honey and milk are under your tongue." What kind of kiss is that? That is a French kiss. France did not become a country until the Treat of Verdun in the 9th century A.D. This is 1,000 B.C. It predates a French kiss by 19 centuries.
No, this is a Hebrew kiss.
He keeps going – "The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon." Sex is sensuous.
Now watch verse 12 – sex is holy. "A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a rock garden locked, a spring sealed. A man's sexuality in the Book of Proverbs is spoken of as a spring, for very obvious reasons. Do not cast your springs into the street. That's what it's called for a man to go into a harlot – to take his sperm and to cast it into the dirt.
The woman's sexuality, for obvious reasons, is called a "well." A spring goes into a well. It's a classic picture. Fellows, do you notice what this fellow calls his wife prior to their sex act? He says she is a "Well of fresh water that is sealed." There is a spiritual hymen between this man and this woman. He will not touch her. Fellows, he has kept her a virgin.
Verse 15 – the well is opened. Do you see it, fellows? Look at it. The well is now opened. Her sexuality is now given to him. "You are a garden spring, a well of fresh water, and streams flowing from Lebanon." I think the interpretation of that is as blatant as you can see. It is the sexuality and the anatomy of that woman, and she is open to this man.
In verse 16 – sex is responsive. Number 8, she says – now, ladies, watch this – what's the phrase this man has said to her twice in the book? Ladies, have you caught it? "Do not arouse or awaken love until it pleases." In verse 16, girls, what's the first word she says to her husband? "Awake, north wind strong, come, wind of the south, gentle, and make my garden breathe."
Listen, that's the most erotic verse in the Bible. This is a woman who has been cared for, loved, nurtured, on the honeymoon night he talks to her, he looks at her naked body, he compliments her, he calls her to him. He looks at her, he kisses her, he excites her, and now she invites him into her sexuality, and she gives herself to him.
Make a note, ladies, this woman is responsive. What is excitement to a man? Four things – number one, what he hears. You're kidding? It's what he hears. You remember that on your honeymoon night. No husband will ever say to his wife during sex, "Shhhh."
You tell him how you feel, and there's going to be a lot of education you have to do with your husband. So first, it's sound. Do you know what the second thing is? It's what he sees. It's exciting to a man what he sees.
Ladies, invest, after you get married, remember this – invest in negligees. Guys, there is a negligee that women are issued, and it comes from Moosejaw, Alaska. They all have them. It's made out of seal, it's about that thick. It's got these big holes in it, all right, and it was passed down from generation to generation. And it ain't the most exciting thing in the world, and a guy gets excited by what he sees. That's one of the great investments a woman can make is a nightgown – something nice. A lot of women never know about that.
Well, we better move on. Chapter 5, verse 1 – sex is nourishing. "I have come" – now, in chapter 5, verse 1, we're about finished here – do you all notice the verb tense change? Look close at the verse. We shifted, didn't we? "I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride, my myrrh, my balsam, my honeycomb, my honey, my wine, my milk." But did you see what's mentioned nine times? You're mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, and "I am nourished on you."
Guys, do you know what's the most exciting thing in the world with your wife? It's to have a woman that you love, that you care for, that you're one with, that you romance, that you treat tender, and after you love each other, to take this woman and just to hold her on the crook of your arm and to hold her close and to pray and to say, "I thank thee, O God, for this woman." And for her to pray and just hold you close and say, "Father, thank you for my husband who loves me so tenderly." It doesn't get any better than that. Sex is nourishing.
And in your last two lines, sex is pleasing to God. This is the only line God speaks in the book. "Eat, friends, drink, imbibe deeply, O lovers," meaning, "It's my gift, go for it, and enjoy it." This is not sex done under an alias in a motel or in a back seat or hiding it from your friends. This is open in the face of God, and God says enjoy it. That's what sex is meant to be.
Bob: Well, we have been listening together to Tommy Nelson talking about what the honeymoon night was like for Solomon and the Shulamite woman from the Song of Solomon, and Tommy just kind of laid it out there, Dennis.
Dennis: Yeah, and, you know, Bob, the thing that hit me when I was reading through the Song of Solomon is this verse where God almost reaches down out of heaven and puts His stamp of approval upon the marriage bed, and He encourages them within their relationship, within the commitment of marriage, to participate, to drink deeply, to share, to enter into this privilege of physical, emotional, spiritual intimacy with your spouse.
And I think today it is so difficult for even Christians to maintain God's perspective of sex and marriage, because what God designed, the world has degenerated. It is twisted, and it has soiled it. But God is in the business of changing people's lives, He redeems us, and He wants to set our feet on solid ground, and He wants us to experience all that he intended in the marriage relationship in this area of human sexuality.
Bob: You know, I remember back when my sister-in-law got married, Mary Ann and I sent her a set of these CDs just before the wedding, and we said, "This may be a good time for you to listen to these and listen with a fairly attentive ear."
I think it is helpful for couples to have our minds renewed with God's Word on this subject, whether we're getting married, or whether we've been married, we all have become so culturally polluted on this subject, we need to be reminded again and again of what the Scriptures have to say about romance and intimacy.
We've given this as a shower gift to couples who are getting married, and if you're attending a wedding shower anytime soon, you may want to include a set of these CDs along with whatever else you give as a wedding shower gift.
We've go the complete audio series available in our FamilyLife Resource Center. It's more than six hours' worth of teaching from the Song of Solomon on six different CDs, and we include, along with it, a paperback study guide so that you can go through the series and follow along with the study guide or use this in a small group setting.
If you'd like more information about this resource go to our website, FamilyLife.com, click the red heart that you'll see in the middle of the home page. It's a red button that says "Go" on it, and if you click that, it will take you right to a page where there is more information about the CD series from Tommy Nelson on the Song of Solomon, and there is information about other resources on romance and intimacy available from us here at FamilyLife.
Again, our website is FamilyLife.com. Click the red button that says "Go" in the middle of the home page, and that will take you right to the screen where you'll find the information about the Song of Solomon series. Or call us at 1-800-FLTODAY, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and someone will be available who can answer any questions you might have about the resources we're talking about here or who can make arrangements to have this CD series sent out to you.
By the way, when you get in touch with us, someone may ask you if you'd like to help with a donation for the ministry of FamilyLife Today, and the reason for that is because we're a nonprofit organization. We are dependent on donations from folks like you in order to continue the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
In fact, we couldn't be on this station today if it weren't for folks who, in the past, have made donations to help support the ministry. And so when someone gets in touch with us, we ask if you'd like to help out as well, and we want you to know there's no pressure. We don't want you to feel like you're under any kind of an obligation.
But this month, if you are able to help with a donation of any amount, we'd love to send you a thank you gift. It's a CD that features two messages from our friends, C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney on the subject of romance, actually taken from a series they've done on the Song of Solomon. On this CD, C.J. speaks to husbands about what we need to keep in mind related to our wife's romantic needs, and then Carolyn talks to wives about understanding their husbands better.
The CD is our thank you gift when you make a donation of any amount this month to the ministry of FamilyLife Today, and you can do that online at FamilyLife.com, and if you fill out the donation form there online, when you come to the keycode box, type in the word "love," and we'll know to send this CD to you.
Or call 1-800-FLTODAY. You can make a donation over the phone. Again, it's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and when you make your donation just mention that you'd like the Mahaney CD or the CD on romance, and we'll know what you're talking about, and we'll be happy to send it out to you. Again, it's our way of saying thanks for your financial partnership and for your donation to the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
You know, as we've heard Tommy Nelson talk to us today from the Song of Solomon about a healthy relationship between a husband and a wife; a healthy marital relationship, there are undoubtedly some of our listeners who would look back over their lives with some regret; who would say, you know, "I've blown it in the past. I'm aware of my failures," or some who would look and say, you know, this standard that Tommy is talking about is too high. I don't feel like I can keep it. And we want you to know there's hope.
Tommy Nelson's got a word for us today about the hope and the help that God provides as you seek to keep God's standard.
Tommy: (From audiotape.) The marvelous thing about the morality of the Bible is that it simply doesn't give a standard. There is a person who died for our violation of it. There is a word that guides us in our illumination to righteousness, there is a Spirit we can yield ourselves. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior this evening, could I say to you that the only people that can have sex and can have it right are holy men and godly women. That's when it's to be done as it should.
Bob: FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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