Wednesday, July 2, 2008

FIRST: The Five Senses of Romantic Love



It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!






Today's Wild Card author is:





and his book:



The Five Senses of Romantic Love


Dpi (February 1, 2007)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sam Laing is the author of seven books on the topics of marriage, parenting and spirituality. Known for his spiritual wisdom and insight, Laing has ministered to people for more than thirty-five years both in the US and abroad. His books include Be Still, My Soul, The Guilty Soul's Guide to Grace and Friends and Lovers. He and his wife, Geri, have a passion to help others find the joy and meaning that they have found in their marriage. They live in Georgia where Sam is a teacher and an evangelist.


Product Details

List Price: $13.00
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Dpi (February 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1577822234
ISBN-13: 978-1577822233

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter One

Holy and Hot


Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—

for your love is more delightful than wine.

Song of Songs1:2


“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” Sounds a little like dialogue from a torrid romance novel, doesn’t it? Or, maybe a line from one of those x-rated sexual enhancement manuals flooding the market these days. We read these words and think they came from the kind of book we would read with hesitation and misgivings, and with the fear that we might be found out.

Worse yet, we might even assume that these words are the come-on of a loose woman, the sultry enticement to a passionate, but illicit sexual liaison.

But the words above are not taken from a trashy romance novel or a vulgar sex manual, nor are they the alluring invitation of a woman of the night. No, these words are the opening line of a book in the Bible—in the Old Testament, mind you—and they are spoken by a virtuous wife to her faithful husband, the man she married and loves. And this is only the beginning—it just keeps on heating up! There is much more that this married couple have to say to each other about their sexual desires, feelings and experiences.

The title of this oft misunderstood and neglected book in the Bible is the Song of Songs, or as it is sometimes called, the Song of Solomon.1 Similar to the double appellation “Lord of Lords” given to Jesus—meaning that that he is the greatest of all Lords—so the title “Song of Songs” means that this song is the greatest of songs, or perhaps, the greatest of Solomon’s songs.

Let’s think about that for a minute. Whatever that title may precisely mean, we begin to get the idea that God, in his wisdom and love, has placed in the Bible a book devoted to telling us how exciting, adventurous and fulfilling sexual love in marriage can be—and should be.


God Says Sex Is Good

As we noted earlier, Song of Songs is found in the Old Testament. That’s right, in the Old Testament—the first part of the Bible that some of us erroneously think of as the dusty, negative, rules-laden, joy-robbing volume; that part of the Bible written before Jesus came along and brought the good news. It is right in the middle of this Old Testament that God showed he is a life-affirming Father who plans for his children to have zest and excitement in marriage.

Now let’s be honest: most of us think that when it comes to sex, the Bible has nothing but warnings and condemnation. We have the notion that the Bible only identifies sex as the forbidden fruit, the tool of the devil, and the destroyer of our souls. At best, we may think that the Good Book permits sex for the practical purpose of procreation. The idea that married couples could or should have a passionate, delightful, adventurous, all-five-senses love life together seems, well…a little heretical.

And down through the ages the church has been one of the greatest culprits in perpetuating this notion. In failing to recognize and proclaim the beauty of God-given sexual pleasure in marriage, and in its one-sided preoccupation with the biblical prohibitions against sexual sin, the church has done us a great disservice. Let me say it straight up: this wrong-headed teaching is one of the greatest travesties ever foisted upon the human race by well-meaning, but misguided, churchmen and theologians.2

Even to bring up the subject of sexual enjoyment in marriage raises eyebrows and caution flags. Some think that such a discussion is outside the bounds of God’s word and inappropriate for Christian people to talk about; that to address the topic is immodest, undignified and borderline unholy.

I beg to differ. Furthermore, God, in the Bible, begs to differ. If you want to learn from God about having a great sex life with your spouse (and who doesn’t!), read the Song; understand what is really going on between these married lovers, and imitate their example. In the Song we have an unbeatable combination: the holiest and hottest sex manual ever written!


Warnings to Protect the Gift

Yes, there are plenty of warnings in the Bible about the abuse of sex. But we need to ask ourselves why they are there. These prohibitions are not in the Scriptures because sexual pleasure is innately wrong, dirty or selfish. Quite the opposite. It is because sex is such a wonderful gift that such ominous warnings are issued concerning its abuse. With its great potential for good, there is an accompanying possibility for evil if the gift of sex is used apart from the way God designed it.

Listen to this warning to young men from the book of Proverbs:


For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,

and her speech is smoother than oil;

but in the end she is bitter as gall,

sharp as a double-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death;

her steps lead straight to the grave.

She gives no thought to the way of life;

her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.


Now then, my sons, listen to me;

do not turn aside from what I say.

Keep to a path far from her,

do not go near the door of her house,

lest you give your best strength to others

and your years to one who is cruel,

lest strangers feast on your wealth

and your toil enrich another man’s house.

At the end of your life you will groan,

when your flesh and body are spent.

You will say, ”How I hated discipline!

How my heart spurned correction!

I would not obey my teachers

or listen to my instructors.

I have come to the brink of utter ruin

in the midst of the whole assembly.” (Proverbs 5:3–14)


Pretty scary, isn’t it? We know what not to do. But what is the best defense against the illicit affair? What is the best reason not to give in?

Let’s keep reading…


Drink water from your own cistern,

running water from your own well.

Should your springs overflow in the streets,

your streams of water in the public squares?

Let them be yours alone,

never to be shared with strangers.

May your fountain be blessed,

and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

A loving doe, a graceful deer—

may her breasts satisfy you always,

may you ever be captivated by her love.

Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress?

Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife? (Proverbs 5:15–20, emphasis mine)


What is a husband’s best defense against illicit sex? What is the compelling motive to stay faithful to his spouse? It is the excitement and allure of lovemaking with his wife. Look at the passage again and see what it is actually saying. The breasts of this man’s wife were to “satisfy” him. The love of his wife—specifically, her sexual love—was to “captivate” him always (v19).”3 This doesn’t sound like boring, dutiful, mechanistic sex does it? It sounds like something thrilling, exciting, adventurous, and as I mentioned earlier—with all holiness and reverence—something hot. And no little part of the reason for the heat is because this intense pleasure is to be utterly enjoyed without shame, with the full approval of our holy God.

Like everything else God made, we can use sex selfishly, outside the bounds of his will. When we do that, we sin. The greater, the more powerful and the better the gift, the greater potential for harm there is in its misuse. That is why Satan, our enemy, has taken sex away from God’s purposes. Like everything else he lies about, he lies about this. He tells people that the best sex takes place outside of marriage. He tells people that the way to sexual fulfillment is one-night stands, or uncommitted relationships, or time-limited experiments with an escape clause. He tells us that married sex is at best routine, and at worst boring, and headed for obsolescence. And it seems there is some truth to his lies. Yes, the worst lie has an element of truth in it—but it is twisted truth, skewed truth, polluted truth.

Some people may have had some thrilling trysts and exciting encounters when they broke God’s rules, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The fulfillment of our sexual needs and the answer to our sexual frustrations is found only within marriage. The story goes on beyond one night, one week, or even many years. The story has to do with our long-term satisfaction, our permanent value as human beings, and our final standing before God. Any other approach, no matter how thrilling it may seem, just won’t work out in the end. That story ends in emptiness, heartbreak and disappointment…in this life and in the next.


Function Follows Form

God is a Father who loves us more than we can know, and who made us with the capacities we have for love and sexual pleasure. And certainly, God did not make us with a sex drive so he could torture us or test us. He made us this way in order to bless our lives; to give us joy, fulfillment, excitement; and to experience a loving union with our spouse

Think about it this way: in creation, function follows form. That is, the Creator built our bodies in the way he wanted them to function. We are given the drive of hunger and the taste for food to motivate us to eat and survive. We are given the reflex of breathing to supply life-giving oxygen to our bodies. We are given the instinct to socialize with others so that we may love and be loved. And we are given a sexual drive so that we may reproduce, to be sure, but also as a means, in marriage, of satisfying our needs and bonding us to another person. If, as some theologians contend, sexual union between humans was only for the purpose of reproduction, it would seem logical to me that we should conceive children after just about every encounter. But as we know, this is not the case (thankfully!). The physical union of man and woman throughout their married lives serves even greater purposes: the expression of mutual love, the enjoyment of sexual pleasure, and the experiencing of closeness and bonding.

What we need is a radical—really radical—alteration of our view of God and his intentions for us. We need to revise our view of how he made our bodies and of the purposes he had in creating sexual desire within us. We need to come to a true biblical understanding. We can then revise how we look at sexual love and sexual pleasure in marriage. And when we do, the truth, as Jesus said, will set us free.


Total Freedom in Marriage

The Song starts out with the woman—yes, the woman—calling for the man to kiss her, and to kiss her repeatedly. She talks about his kisses being more delightful than wine, and in a later passage she says how his kisses glided over her lips and teeth. She invites him to kiss and explore her entire body. She says these things so clearly that it may astonish you, but they are unmistakably there.

Her husband, her “beloved,” also says that her kisses are like wine, but he adds in rapturous, poetic language that her lips “drop sweetness as the honeycomb” and that “milk and honey are under her tongue.” He says that the fragrance of her breath is like apples and her mouth is like the best wine. She responds to this by saying, “May my wine go straight to my lover, flowing over lips and teeth” (7:9).

Are you with me? Do you think we may be on to something here?

But that is just the start. There is more—much more—described in the pages of the Song. Their lovemaking is more intense, heated and intimate than kissing on the lips. Their entire bodies are involved. If this part shocks you, just hang on. Read the rest of the Song, and my brief exposition of it in this book, and you will see just how bold, exciting, excited and adventurous these married lovers really were. You will begin to see how they experienced and enjoyed their lovemaking with all five God-given senses.


It is the thesis of this book that sexual love in marriage is the hottest, best, and most fulfilling and enjoyable sex on the planet. It is so because it was designed by our Creator to be so, and God just flat-out knows how to do things right.


Married couples need to claim the Song of Songs as their ultimate love manual, their own divinely-inspired romantic handbook. More than that, married couples need to make this book their emancipation proclamation—the claim of liberation from a limited, shy, tentative, simplistic, functional, boring sex life. We need to let this book do what God intended: set us free—free to enjoy sexual love with our spouse and free to experience a lifelong adventure of discovering each other’s bodies, in all of their ever-changing intricacy and delight. God wants married couples to experience as a lifestyle the exciting, thrilling, adventurous and free sexual life that he, through the Holy Spirit, describes for us in this amazing book. If that is not why the Song is there, then why is it in the Bible at all?4


A Word of Caution


Remember that I do not intend to place pressure upon you or your spouse to perform sexually or to make either or both of you feel inadequate and guilty. Nor is my purpose to cause either one of you to compromise your conscience or your scruples. Those who are more adventurous must exercise loving and patient respect for their more modest mate; the more modest spouse should not judge the more adventurous one. Neither of you is “better” sexually than the other. The Song does not focus on performance, but upon love, encouragement and affection. The precise sexual activities and specific sexual results are left shrouded in mystery. And that is the beauty of sex in marriage: God gives each couple their own pleasures and joys, and these are treasured between the two of you as a private, sacred gift from him.

This book is written to educate, enlighten and inspire, and to help us think more biblically. My purpose is to uphold a fresh and freeing ideal, and not to create a standard of performance. Some of you face physical and emotional difficulties due to health, past experiences, etc. We all find that as our bodies change, so our romantic life changes. Also, our love life changes as we grow in confidence and in closeness to our spouse. The beauty of God’s plan is that each couple, in the privacy of our own marriage have the freedom to decide for ourselves about our sexual intimacy, and have a lifetime to work out a growing and satisfying response to the teachings we find here.


God’s Plan Is Not the Problem

It is a sad truth that many married couples are sexually unfulfilled. The joy, pleasure and sheer delight designed for married men and women is, for them, the great unclaimed gift. And what is sadder yet is that, many Christian married couples are sexually unfulfilled as well. Most couples just accept this as normal. They subsist with a sex life that barely has a pulse, when they could be having the time of their lives in bed with each other—and for that matter, out of bed in other unlikely—and exciting— places as well.

What is saddest of all is that some married people have gone outside of their marriage, into pornography or adultery, in a futile attempt to find sexual fulfillment.

The problem is not marriage. The problem is not that God’s plan is flawed. The problem is with us—with our ignorance, our unbelief and our low expectations. Though some married couples are not experiencing exciting or fulfilling sex in their marriage, that does not change what God says or promises—not one little bit. If we are not experiencing the promise, it is because something has gone wrong on our end of the bargain. We need to get educated so we can see what we have been missing and also what we have been promised. And that is what this book is all about!

The good news is that “with God, all things are possible.” We can change. And when we change, our marriage changes. As Geri and I wrote in our earlier book about marriage, Friends and Lovers: “Any two people can change. Any marriage can be fixed. Any marriage can become great.”5

And if you are a parent, one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your children is the example of your own exciting love life. Do you want your children to grow up and follow your footsteps of faith? Do you want to increase the chances of that happening? Have a great sex life. Your kids will see it (not literally!) and realize that the sexuality promoted out there in the world is bogus, and that they, if they do it God’s way, can look forward to one day having a great sex life just like their parents have.


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The purpose of this book is to help your marriage, especially your love life, become better than it has ever been. We will delve into the Song of Songs and mine it for its treasures—treasures that are meant to be ours and that every married couple is meant to enjoy. We will see how all five senses can be engaged in making love to your spouse.

Get ready for the ride of your life. Get ready to lose your confining inhibitions. Get ready to dismiss the false idea that out there in the world, out there among the glitterati, out there among those who disregard God’s plan—that “out there,” outside the bounds of marriage, is sexual joy and freedom, and that you and your spouse are consigned at best to righteous, but empty, sexual repetition. Throw out those false ideas and claim what is yours—rightfully and righteously yours—as a precious gift from your Father in Heaven. Claim the joyous union of sexual love that your Creator intends for you to have—a union he wants you to enjoy and celebrate all of your married life.

The Song—your song—is waiting to be sung!

1 comments:

J. Kaye Oldner said...

Considering the divorce rate, there can never be too many of these kinds of books. Nice to see it highlighted. :)

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