Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Relationships/marriage, Part 1
Dear Readers: The feedback on these Mental Health Vitamins leans heavily toward the relationship/marriage topics, so I am writing three installments that are specifically dedicated to relationships/marriage and how each of us can learn to be better. Thank you for your feedback!
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
The marriage covenant: God places two imperfect people under one roof, hopefully closing all doors for escape, and says, “Make it beautiful for My glory!”
He even gave us a script, the Song of Solomon, a chapter in the Bible specifically dedicated to providing an allegory of marriage, from the stages of attraction to the later years of marriage. If He gave us the “how-to’s,” then why is marriage sometimes so difficult?
As the Author of marriage, God bestowed the gift of marriage to Adam in the very first book of the Bible.
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” — Genesis 2:18
So from the very beginning we learn that God ordained marriage and that He intended it to be a good thing.
In the Song of Solomon, we can find a beautiful picture of ideal human love and marriage. It follows the attraction between Solomon and his bride, the couple as a bride and bridegroom (where we learn God’s recipe for sexual intimacy), the later years in their marriage as well as issues that surface (and how they handled them), to the ultimate unbroken communion between them as the chapters close.
The honeymoon between Solomon and his wife declare the mutual sensitivity, respect and declaration of love as they consummate their union. What can we learn?
- Women are more responsive to emotional connection first, then to sexual connection! On their honeymoon, Solomon looks deeply into the eyes and face of his bride, declaring her beauty and becoming more sensuous with each statement. “How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice. Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride: milk and honey are under your tongue.” (SS 4:10-11) “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon, your mouth is lovely … Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.” (SS 4:1b-5)
- Solomon is adoring his wife with words first.
- He is connecting to the passion she is feeling but has not resorted to touch until he can assure her of his love.
- He uses very sensuous terms to describe what he sees in her and goes slowly to build the passion within her.
- Men are visual and their response to sexuality is usually quick and passionate! “Awake north wind, and come, south wind. … Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choicest fruits.” (SS 4:16)
- Solomon’s wife has received his verbal and sensuous love for her; she is now telling her body to “wake up!” so that she can allow the sexual intimacy to be pleasing to him.
- When she sexually responds to him, Solomon can then feel that she is “his” – he “claims her”! “I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrhh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk.” (SS 5:1)
- Notice that Solomon calls her “my” (mine) nine times!
So what are the lessons in intimacy, specifically sexually, that we can learn from Song of Solomon’s cast of characters, the bride and bridegroom?
- Each gender responds to sexuality differently – and that is the beauty in making marriage healthy and exciting! Because men are more visually wired and can respond sexually in a more urgent manner – and because women are more emotionally wired and respond with sensuality when the loving act is more slow, patient and tender, each (the man and the woman) must take the time to really know their mates, to find out what is pleasing, and to make love in an honoring and yet passionate way!
- After becoming “one” in the sexual act, husbands and wives can clearly and tenderly “claim” the other! Be proud to introduce your mate as … “This is MY husband!” and “This is MY wife!” It is a privilege to have a mate whom one is devoted to and loves – be open in declaring this love, in showing the “possessiveness” of your mate, and walking proudly alongside him/her in life!
You see, when we follow God’s script, marriage can be wonderful! He gave us the gift of sexual intimacy; He wired us differently so that we must spend time in discovering what is pleasing, then He binds us together as we walk through life!
Marriage – what a gift!