“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you! Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers” (Song of Solomon 1:2-4 NIV).
To be best interpreted, the Song of Solomon is not merely an allegory about Christ and the church. Solomon’s Song is a love poem between Solomon and his bride, celebrating their mutual love for one another, including the delights of the marriage bed. This is an up close and personal view – planted right in the middle of scripture of what being one in passion is intended to look like in a marriage!
Yet, there are many things that can affect the passion in a marriage, and we will look briefly at ten of them.
This is to get you thinking…to challenge your thinking…and to hopefully debunk some marriage myths that have snuck into your belief system.
Myth #1 There is a One and Only out there for me.
Fact: There are hundreds of people that would make a great mate.
Problem: If a person believes this, and then encounters problems in their marriage, they may conclude that they married the wrong person. Even worse, they may believe they should not have married at all. But it is God’s desire, once married, for that person to be the ONE AND ONLY for the rest of your life.
Myth #2 Love is all we need. If we really love each other, everything else will work out.
Fact: No amount of love can prevent problems of self-centeredness, dishonesty, and the reality of having unmet emotional and physical needs.
Problem: When either person believes love is all we need, they may not get help they need for critical issues that eventually arise.
Myth #3 If we are faithful in church, and serve in a church, we won’t have the problems that non-believers have.
Fact: It is very important that couples attend and perhaps serve is a good Bible believing church. However, the divorce rate is still considerably high among church attenders as it is with non-attenders.
Problem: church attenders may assume that because they ” go to church,” things will be okay, when in reality they are just as likely to have conflicts if there is a neglect of needs within the marriage.
If you have a spouse that is verbally or emotionally abusive or neglectful, the marriage will face the same consequences whether or not they attend church.
Perhaps a more common issue involves differences from the home of origin that are brought into the marriage. We tend to repeat the same unhealthy traits learned at home.
There is also a reality at work in our lives that cannot be overlooked: we have a real enemy working against us who is out to destroy marriages and any work of God in our lives.
Bonus Myth -(not counted in the ten) The closer you get to God and each other, the easier life will become.
Truth: The closer you get to God and each other, the more fierce the enemy is likely to fight against you!
Myth #4 If my spouse really loves me, they should be able to read my signals and know what I want or need or expect at any given time.
Fact: Your spouse is not a mind reader. Learning to communicate desires and needs is a sign of maturity and helps eliminate frustration and the pain of needs going unmet.
Myth #5 The use of pornography enhances marital intimacy.
About 64-68% of young adult men and about 18% of women use porn at least once every week. Research suggests that half of all churchgoing men have porn in their life and there is a rising percentage among women.
This all comes from our culture. I ran across a fb post from a guy I read this week that summarizes our culture’s view of this:
“If Porn is a distortion of God’s whatever, then so are all non-documentary films, television, comic books, and video games. Get over it. It’s fantasy. The human brain has a natural tendency to fantasize. It’s only harmful when it permeates one’s real-life expectations. I feel really sorry for guys whose wives flip out about porn. that must be like living in prison.”
The illusion of using porn in a marriage is that it creates a level of excitement that just being together as husband and wife cannot naturally create.
Fact: it creates a false reality that keeps true intimacy from being experienced, and opens the door for a constant battle of the mind that can lead to very unhealthy behaviors.
Porn is the food for lust, which is never satisfied. It is progressive in nature – meaning what satisfied momentarily last week, will eventually fail to satisfy in the days ahead. The person will have to have more and more, and the means to the end will have to become more hardcore. There is no line drawn in the sand that says enough!
Proverbs 27:20 The eyes of man are never satisfied.
God designed marital intimacy to be the most excitable and the most erotic experience between a man and a woman. But for that to happen, God says this in Hebrews 13:9:
“keep the marriage bed pure.”
One more note worth mentioning, while there can sometimes be physical issues involved, the majority of problems impacting physical intimacy are emotional and can be worked through. There is help available that doesn’t involve bringing other people into the marriage bed either literally or mentally.
Myth #6 There is nothing wrong with having a best friend (confidant) of the opposite sex who is not your spouse.
Truth: The majority of affairs begin with friendship. Very rarely does someone just happen to slip into bed with someone they just met. Your spouse is the only person deserving of your inmost thoughts, struggles, and dreams…in essence, your heart!
(Note: these next two are intentionally more inclined to one or the other gender)
Myth #7 I have the right to withhold intimacy from my spouse.
Let’s keep it real..most men won’t turn intimacy down, even if exhausted!! If their wife gives them the look or nudge, they suddenly will find energy!
Fact: this Myth is a very dangerous conclusion. Wife, if you have taken a stance of withholding intimacy from your husband, by that decision alone you have done two things:
– removed a much needed God-given layer of protection from your marriage, and;
-multiplied your husband’s already-existing battle of keeping his heart pure.
As described by a pastor friend of mine a few years back, While you’re saying no, every woman in every tv show, movie, on every magazine cover in the checkout of every store… is saying yes! Yes with their eyes, body language, and dress.
This is such a big deal in marriage that God designated a whole section of scripture on it to help us get it right:
1 Cor 7: 3-5 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
If you and your spouse have a legit situation, agree to a timeframe together of when you plan to come back together. I suggest 24 hours.
Myth #8 I have the right to expect intimacy from my spouse no matter how I’ve treated them.
Fact: husband: you can’t expect a woman to provide for you physically what you haven’t provided for her emotionally. This is more than putting food on the table.
Bill McCartney was formerly the head football coach at the University of Colorado, and led his team to the national championship in 1990.
He attended church one week and a visiting preacher said: ‘Do you want to know whether a man has character or not? All you have to do is look at his wife’s countenance, and everything that he’s invested or withheld will be in her face.”
That statement was a turning point in Coach’s life and marriage and ultimately led him to withdrawal from coaching.
Some of you may be sitting there and are now landlocked in your marriage. The wife is thinking we aren’t going there until he apologizes for how he’s treated me. And the husband is thinking I’m not apologizing for anything until she meets my physical needs.
HERE’S WHAT YOU DO: go home, put the kids to bed, lock the door and pull the shades, apologize and clear the air between you, and DONT LET THE ENEMY HAVE ANOTHER MOMENT OF VICTORY IN YOUR MARRIAGE!!
Myth #9 A really good marriage should not require a lot of work.
Fact: the best marriages are the ones where both partners have invested the most work and attention.
Ex: building a house. If money were no issue. If resources were no issue, and you could build the kind of house you’ve always wanted, why would you settle shy of your goal?
It is the same with marriage.
We have all the resources in God and His word that we need to build a godly marriage that far exceeds our expectations, but we have to work for it and invest in it!
Myth #10 Doing things as a family is the same as doing things as a couple. After all, we are together.
For those of you with kids in the home…
Definition of KIDS- Keeping intimacy Distanced Successfully
Back to withholding intimacy, often times the kids become the weapon a spouse will use to avoid intimacy when there are unresolved problems in the marriage. (I.e.: Letting them always sleep in the bed between you.)
Fact: most households are kid-centric. The schedule and checkbook are dictated by what the kids have going on, with little or no thought to how it is impacting the marriage.
For example, my concern for traveling sports year round is not just for the long term health of the young athlete and their motivation to play later, but for the wellbeing of the marriage.
“We only have them for so many years, and then they’re gone.” And in many cases, so is the marriage.
You cannot replace time alone together. Make time together and staying connected a “no matter what” in your marriage, before no matter what you try to do to recover your marriage just isn’t enough.