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With Valentine's Day around the corner I thought I would take a couple days to muse on the Song that is Solomon’s. Yesterday I looked at two questions for husbands: Do you gush over your wife? And, do you pursue your wife? Today, two questions for the ladies.

For the Wife

Question 1: Do you desire your husband's desire? Yes, women, I am talking about sexual desire, because that's what Song of Solomon is talking about. She was so eager for "him whom my soul loves" that she started traipsing through the city looking for him, or at least had a dream that she was (3:1ff). Her desire for her man revved her chariot engines (6:12).

"But I can't just turn on a desire like this," you might say. True, but it was almost surely turned on once upon a time. So what will help turn the ignition again?

Marriages go through different seasons. We shouldn't expect the years with three children under the age of three to be like second honeymoon. But if the husband said, "Eh, I don't find my wife attractive any more; I don't really think she is "most beautiful among women" we'd tell that chump to check his eyes and figure out a way turn the ship around. So shouldn't we challenge women in the same way? Husbands should think their wives are beautiful, and wives should think their husbands desirable. It's time to catch the little foxes spoiling the vineyard of desire (2:15).

And here's a hint for the guys who want to help with catch: the little foxes are probably related to you, cry a lot, go stanky in their pants, and cling like barnacles to your wife's leg. Get a sitter.

Question 2: Does your husband know of your desire? "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love" (5:8). Jiminy Cricket! Guys, can you imagine the ladies at church approaching you at the nursery station, "Your wife is waiting for you in the car and she wanted us to pass along that she is sick with love for you." You would be out the door faster than a Baptist benediction. Dear wives, I don't know a single husband who wouldn't be absolutely thrilled to get a message like this. And if you don't trust your gossipy girlfriends to deliver it, an email from you to his work account at around 4pm will more than suffice. He won't be late for dinner.

But perhaps, ladies, you fear that your husband will expect the world if you ever spoke to him like this. That's possible, but I doubt it because you just gave him the world. You expression of desire means more than you can possibly know. Five carefully chosen verses from Song of Solomon will keep your man galloping for a week.

One last thought for husbands and wives: don't be afraid to say more than you may even be feeling. I know that sound ghastly, like forced romantic hypocrisy. But why do we always assume that it has to be wrong to say what we may not exactly be feeling? Maybe the problem is in the other direction, that we don't feel enough of what we are saying. If so, the antidote isn't to stop saying romantic things. In fact, maybe you've stopped feeling certain things because it's been too long since you've said them. It's ok sometimes to speak better than we feel. Share your attraction and share your desire. Say it loud and proud. Your spouse's heart will skip a beat, and yours might just run ahead to catch up with your mouth.

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14 thoughts on “Solomon’s Song for this Sunday (2)”

  1. Yes says:

    Good to find some good satire here from time to time. Good work.

    …this post was a joke, right?

    … right?

  2. Wendy says:

    You assume all husbands want to have sex. Five verses from the song of Solomon won’t leave every man galloping. Oh if it were so simple..

  3. Anonymous for a reason says:

    What Wendy said. There are a lot of women who will read this with tears in their eyes, not because they’re afraid to do things like this, but because they’ve tried, time after time, and been rejected.

  4. Rochelle says:

    I’d like to highlight the point of the importance of the husband’s pursuit within marriage because I believe it is most vital for a marriage’s success.

    One of the most common mind-sets that derail a woman’s desire for her husband is her frail self-image. Many variables stemming from, our sinful nature, society, adolescence, single-years, and even within marriage all act to weaken a woman’s confidence to be most vulnerable- the bedroom. However, if a husband is a Godly man then he must treat her with consideration and patience just as Christ forbears with His imperfect bride, the church. This sacrificial attitude of submitting his “personal agenda” or “expectations” to his bride conquers all her insecurities and she truly begins to find her worth within what her husband thinks of her. And yes, actions do speak louder than words in this department. Women really are the weaker vessel, but when a man is strong enough to be patient and humble with her she strongly comes alive!

    Men, according to scripture YOU are head of your marriage as Christ is head of the church. So, if your wife is not “responding” the way you’d like I’d suggest studying the scriptures till you gain a better understanding of what this all entails. She’s worth it- is she not?

    Ladies, remember our curse from sin in Genesis? It’s two fold, 1) We’ll give birth in pain and 2) We’ll desire our husband’s authority to lead. Perhaps our men try to lead us, but we weaken their wills. Ephesians 5 commands us to respect them. That means, right or wrong, when they make a decision (which leaves them most vulnerable because all men fear failure to some degree) we must do all we can to refrain from undermining the authority they just exercised. Otherwise he feels like a child or unfit to lead. Nagging to on an issue he closed for discussion- emasculating. I wonder, do we even humble ourselves to ask if the subject is open for discussion? “Well, if we communicated like that it’d be a dictatorship!” Not exactly. If you trust the “priest” of your home to be led by Christ than it’s more of a monarchy. He’s the king and you are his most trusted, intimate, and honored adviser- the queen.

    Here’s a few titles to help out your understanding of the issue, This Momentary Marriage by, John Piper and Recovering Biblical Womanhood and Manhood by, John Piper and Wayne Grudem.

    Marriage really is a modern-day parable of Christ and the Church. We should do well to remember this, as to not shame such an incredible privilege.

  5. anonymous says:

    Amen to Wendy and anonymous for a reason.

    Women aren’t commanded to love their husbands because God already wired them that way. Although we don’t always love well.

    “Dear wives, I don’t know a single husband who wouldn’t be absolutely thrilled to get a message like this.”

    If you could to open up this forum, assure complete confidentiality, you would not write these words so confidently.

    Yet for me, and hurting women reading this thread, let me encourage the many out there- the inexplicable joy in this dark season of my marriage reminds me that the ultimate relationship is not human, but Christ. I have a sense the Lord is as active in teaching my husband as he has been with me. One a day God will heal our marriage, as He will all broken relationships, be it tomorrow, or years from now, or even in heaven. Until then, I will rejoice in all the mercies the Lord has given me. He loves me and is faithful.
    Psalm 91:14 says, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.”
    Am I still in love? You bet. I’m in.
    I still do. In faith I’ll send that note, again-if the Lord loves me, I can take a risk.

  6. Deborah says:

    These comments are hard to read — very difficult situation these women are in. Just wanted to encourage the author, from my experience talking w/ lots of friends about these things, your post will hit home with the majority of circumstances, tho. It’s still the normal for husbands to be hungry all-the-time for sex with their wife. But perhaps the fact that more than 1 woman left a comment otherwise, we as the Church should look into what bigger issue a husband’s lack of desire could be a symptom of??

  7. Kevin DeYoung says:

    I admit I didn’t see the thread taking the direction it has. It is true, as I said, that I don’t know any men who wouldn’t respond enthusiastically to an expression of their wife’s desire. But the comments above help remind me that just because this is my experience in talking with men, and is no doubt the general rule, doesn’t mean it is the universal rule. So I sympathize with wives out there who have tried to “quote five verses of Song of Solomon” but to no avail. Because of the general rule, the exceptions must be all the more painful. If I preach from this book sometime I’ll now have another angle to explore, one I haven’t thought much about in the past.

  8. mark says:

    I followed a link from twitter here.
    boy was I in for a surprise.

    I can’t think of a single thing which was helpful.
    One might have thought that there would be some sort of
    catalyst to desiring one’s spouse-other than “lie and hope you
    live up to it”

    like all things in life, (in this case sexual problems between married believers) one can’t treat the symptoms in hopes of curing the malady.

    if husbands lack drive, or feel undesirable, what ever happened to older godly women who can counsel their sisters who are having trouble with an unwilling husband, or who themselves (as the post points out) are disinterested and unloving.
    the last thing I would think of as helpful or appropriate is a man giving sexual advice to married women.
    what is going on in our society that even professing believers have seemingly no sense of propriety?

  9. We were surprised by the direction this thread took as well and sympathize with those whose efforts have been rejected. However there are countless, godly marriages who sincerely desire to grow their marriages to glorify God and emulate Christ’s love for the church. We applaud this excellent post as we have experienced the Truths of Song of Solomon in our marriage. Thank you, and we’re glad to have found your blog! Happy Valentines Day!

  10. Teri M says:

    Nice. This is dead-on. I love the message as well as the delivery, and pray that many couples may more greatly enjoy their Valentine’s Day because of it! The disruption of sin in our marriages does not negate the need for truth to be spoken. Exceptions? Surely. Excuses? Not anymore! Preach it, brother! :)

  11. Gaye Clark says:

    I’m certain that these women who spoke so poignantly of their pain are not debating Kevin’s core message as they speak honestly of their personal struggles. And Kevin, in turn, I applaud your empathy toward these women. God bless your pastor’s heart. My sense is like, Debbi and Tom and Teri, these women too, long for a godly marriage and do indeed sincerely desire their marriages to glorify God and emulate Christ’s love for the church.

    The fact that they are honest about their brokenness and yet remain faithful to pursuing this goal even when it’s painful should speak volumes to all of us. What Kevin has spoken, is a prayer card for all those who were labeled “exceptions.”

    God does not love these women or their husbands less because their marriages are imperfect models of Christ and the Church.

  12. Thea says:

    Song of Solomon is my favorite book in the Old Testament, which is a mysterious thing, since my childhood was not a happy one due to sexual abuse which also affected my marriage, even though both of us are Christians and love Jesus Christ.

    We have been married 20 years and God had worked out some things in our lives through the pain we experienced. And I support and agree with Kevin 100% on his post about keeping the romance alive. His tone is light and witty, and also a celebration in keeping with God’s desire for marriage.

    Which is hard to bear when one is not experiencing a loving marriage–the mourning over what should have been and hadn’t been in my own life does not discount the truth of Christian romance in others’ marriages.

    Song of Solomon gave me hope to perservere, and a basis for prayer that God would make our marriage like that one. A prayer that He has answered and continues to answer.

    Don’t give up, put your trust in Him who loves you and will never forsake you.

    Right now, I’m enjoying a small bouquet of red roses, and on this Valentine’s Day we have company coming over to make a Chinese New Year meal for us and I have the flu (and I look like it). Not a perfect Valentines, but a good one.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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