SEX! Whoo! Its the blogpost on Song of Solomon we’ve all been waiting for! But perhaps to the disappointment of some and the relief of my mother, this won’t be a cosmopolitan type post giving 10 ways biblically to blow his mind in bed. While this book is explicit, it’s not porn stars and popsicles graphic. Rather, I believe the intent of the Song was to exemplify God’s heart towards sex within the confines of marriage. And further digesting God’s design as spoken in the Song of Solomon and overcoming our personal struggles woth it is my intent in this blogpost.
My personal sex life constituents of both the best and worst moments in my life. While times with my husband have been truly transcendent, I’ve also have times in my past that bear my deepest shame. The concept of completely a guilt free sex life eluded me for years. I was under the impression that all the grilling the church did into me about the detriments of premarital sex (very rarely following it up with the beauty and gift of marital sex) would leave me when I entered into marriage. Instead, I found I just brought guilt and shame with me into the marriage bed. And I don’t think I’m the only one carrying unnecessary baggage.
Yet, the woman in the Song of Solomon walked freely into the bedroom. After almost a whole chapter of her new husband swooning her and breaking down every insecurity she might have, she responds in Song of Solomon 4:16, “awake, north wind! Rise up, south wind! Blow on my garden and spread its fragrance all around. Come into your garden, my love; taste its finest fruits.” The same woman who three times warned her friends not to have sex before marriage was walking freely and confidently into her wedding night. While we know from 8:10 she was able to enter into marriage a virgin, she unlike some who put a high value on purity was able to enjoy consummating her marriage.
So if this is in the Bible and God approves of it, why is it so hard for some of us to let go of guilt and shame in our marital sex life? I think this could be broken into two reasons: christian history and rejecting grace.
A better wife sees the passion and glory in sex.
Christians inadvertently strayed away from God’s love and passion for sex by abandoning some of the foundational ideas of the root of our faith. Jewish people understood how meaningful sex was relationally and spirituality. Because they were God’s chosen people, procreation became immensely important. They knew God’s presence was powerfully there when a man and woman came together to make a child. An ancient Jewish text, The Holy Letter, even stated, “through the act, they become partners with God in the act of creation. This is the mystery of what the sages said, ‘when a man unites with his wife in holiness, the Shekinah is between them in the mystery of man and woman.'” The shikinah is the same glory of God that made Moses face shine when he went and talked with God face to face.
We as Christians now know that a bloodline doesn’t save us. Unfortunately, this idea that sex and procreation is not vital was taken too far in the middle ages when Christian leaders of the time began to abandon the idea of sex even within the context of marriage being holy. In particular, a man named Origen pushed the idea of sex being meaningless by interpreting the Song of Solomon as purely an allegory of the love relationship between God and his people, not the sensual relationship of a husband and wife.
While there has been improvements throughout the church’s history in the department of love making, it still can seem like the red-headed stepchild. It’s a subject that everyone is eager to shy away from as we’d rather talk about brotherly love than romantic love.
To be sure, as Otto Piper put it, “sex is a heavy burden that God had laid upon mankind.” It’s a deep subject that is hard to navigate. The church does a wonderful job of warning about sexual sins. I can fully appreciate this as someone who has fallen into sexual sin and knows first hand the detriments of it. Yet, I would propose that perhaps in addition to the warnings, the blessing of martial sex, should be taught just as readily. I hope that we as a people and as a church can begin to embrace sex inside of marriage with the attitude of our Jewish roots seeing it as a sanctified, glorious gift God has given us.
The better wife knows the glory of becoming one with her husband. She sees it as a vital part of their relationship that she enters into not just physically but also spirituality. She knows there is glory in procreation as well as in her and her husband serving each other in this very intimate, physical way. She is a good, godly wife not in spite of her sexuality, but, in part, because of it.
A better wife accepts grace for past mistakes.
I believe we can also struggle accepting grace. Maybe you’re not like the woman in the song. Maybe you didn’t enter your marriage pure. Maybe you have had more than one partner. Maybe you don’t see how God could forgive you and you could enter freely into sex with your spouse. Maybe you’re just like me.
I’ve carried some heavy weights with me for a long time. While I am a Christian and did rededicate my life to Christ about two years ago, I still felt like I had to carry my past sexual sins up until recently. I brought a whole load of bricks with me into my marriage because I thought they were just too heavy to give up to God. I thought it was too much for him to forgive me of premarital sex. It was too much to be forgiven for being unfaithful. It was too much to be forgiven for multiple partners. And it was way too much to be forgiven for a marriage and divorce then getting married again.
You know what I was actually saying when I thought this? “What you did on the cross, Jesus, how you died the most brutal death and rose again victorious, that wasn’t enough.” When I was believing that God couldn’t forgive me of my past and carrying my own sin myself, I was in essence believing that God isn’t strong or powerful enough to actually conquer all sin and, frankly, he needed my help.
I hope you know but if you don’t and you find yourself here, I want you to know that this idea that God can’t forgive you from a sexual sin is an utter lie. 1 John 1:9 says, “but if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” This is one of the countless verses that speaks on God’s forgiveness towards us. Don’t think that you have done something so far out of God reach that the moment you repent he won’t snatch you back up into his big, loving arms.
I won’t lie to you and say your sexual freedom will come flooding back the moment you confess sin. Frankly, when you believe you have to earn forgiveness, that free gift from God can be rater anticlimactic. Though it may be somewhat more pivotal as you confess to your spouse if you haven’t already. But if you are in a solid Christian marriage and you are truly repentive and remorseful, it is our duty and honor to forgive one another as the Father has forgiven us. Counseling from a good Christian therapist may be needed, and I would highly advise it. From there, you can work towards a truly fulfilling sex life that is free of baggage and guilt.
Past guilt is a serious roadblock not only in a couple’s sexuality but also in their spirituality. God ordained the first marriage between Adam and Eve encouraging their sexuality when he told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:18). It’s a selfless, holy act to become one with your spouse. But bringing in shame and guilt we don’t need to carry directs our attention off our spouse and towards ourselves. We can’t experience the glory of oneness when we’re confined to selfishness. Confession and repentance are pivotal to regain the original beauty of marital sex that God designed in the garden of Eden.
A better wife knows her past doesn’t have to dictate her future. She knows that she is forgiven and freed. She isn’t so arrogant to think that Christ needs her help in salvation. She can walk confidently and freely into marriage which is the only situation sex is sanctified. Instead of hiding in shame from her sexuality, she is bold in it knowing that God is blessing her and her husband. She can live life to the fullest in every aspect, including sex, thanks to grace.
Since marriage is a reflection of our relationship with God, it only makes sense that sex is a vital, glorious part of a marriage. As Gary Thomas put it in his book, Sacred Marriage, “stoicism has never been a Christian philosophy. We serve a passion God who feels deeply.” Similarly, we are to be passionate with our spouse. We don’t have to let legitimate or illegitimate guilt stifle our passion. We can be free to enter into oneness with our husbands. We must simply remember God’s heart towards sex and his grace towards us.