Bible Rank: 182
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. KJV
Bible Rank: 182
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. KJV
True love suffers. Love entails vulnerability.
The Latin word for wound is vulnus, from which we derive ‘vulnerable.’ Similarly, passion means to suffer. Suffering in Latin is patior, from which we get the English word ‘patience’ and ultimately ‘passion.’ It’s the vulnerability ANR creates that scares people away. The intimacy is too much for them to handle. Man likes to love on his own terms and be in control.
Human beings fear love. Thank God for perfect love that casts out fear.
[Verse 1: Stephen the Levite]
I remember before my church started
A season that I called the darkness
Saved but still living in bondage
Not know the problem was not just my pride and lust,
But that life was so autonomous
But at Epiphany I had an epiphany
Realizing community was the way it was meant to be; why?
In the beginning He who gave us identity was,
Eternally, co-existing as the Trinity
Saying it’s not good for man to be alone
It’s impossible for Him to model us on His own
He gave man a companion not a clone
Commanding reproduction, expansion, and a throne
And now the new Adam is starting it all over
Sparking it with bride who glorifies Jehovah
Submit, you wanna know who you are then know your role cause
Your ID’s in Christ and Christ is part of a whole bruh
Back back, them church boys are back
Oh! That’s that the new life is that
Oh! FOTU with my crew till He comes back
Oh! Live in community, walk in community
Back back, them church boys are back
Hey! That’s that the new life is that
Hey! FOTU with my crew till He comes back
Hey! Live in community, walk in community
[Verse 2: Sho Baraka]
Before Real Talk were Ambassadors chopping
Up that milk and meat, having all things in common
Before church planting was an option
Before the albums start dropping
We were in community stomping
Patience with your boy when I was loud and obnoxious
Before I turned my life up in at a concert
Before I learned the truth over nonsense
Before I hit a stage they were caution
Accountability, yeah awesome not produce a man selfish or pompous
Know the process of Learning the scriptures in it’s context
Bible study sometime it made me nauseous
But know I never grow sick of spitting up those synoptics
Constantly keeping others upon my conscious
Being honest not just robbing them of their knowledge
Promise to serve one another in righteous conduct
It’s common sense I’m something like a communist.
Back back, them church boys are back
Oh! That’s that the new life is that
Oh! FOTU with my crew till He comes back
Oh! Live in community, walk in community
Back back, them church boys are back
Hey! That’s that the new life is that
Hey! FOTU with my crew till He comes back
Hey! Live in community, walk in community
[Verse 3: Tedashii]
Give me a sec just to put it in perspect’
He’s God, and He deserves more than just your check
He deserves your breath, every one you’ll ever get
We deserve death, something (by grace) we’ll never get
So, hands, devoted, cause He rose and beat death
We could be right-handed but we all went left
See in order to redeem me He gave up Himself
So I’m laying on the altar till they lay me to rest
What you expect, man we give God our best
Plus, knowing Him, is how we know our, self
So, we learn of Him in the way that He set
Up, so we can get it, Christian fellowship
As I imitate God and conform more to Christ
In the bond of community, I look more like
Him (Him), Him (Him), and the image I was meant to have
Praise God for the Church, showing me just me who I am
Back back, them church boys are back
Oh! That’s that the new life is that
Oh! FOTU with my crew till He comes back
Oh! Live in community, walk in community
Back back, them church boys are back
Hey! That’s that the new life is that
Hey! FOTU with my crew till He comes back
Hey! Live in community, walk in community
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b]3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”[c] 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[d] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him,“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me*? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
*My Study Bible notes have this to say on verse 10: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Though there is a complete mutual indwelling of the Father and the Son, the Father and the Son remain distinct persons within the Trinity, as does the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14), and the three of them still constitute only one Being in three persons.”
A bodily invasive, intimate, intrusive, visceral, soul-tying, mutual indwelling of Bridegroom and Bride is very much a biblical concept, cf. John 17:23.
48 “I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.
66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
Man is deathly afraid of true intimacy.
Even lesser forms of intimacy scare him.
I have a friend from Minnesota who has been influential in my walk. When new to the Christian faith, he once reminded me how being a Christian doesn’t mean we must change our personalities. “If you’ve always liked a certain style of shirts”, he said, “you don’t have to change styles after conversion.”
I’ve never seen anything wrong with an ANR. I have even imagined it to be the default for every couple, at least for a season. Extreme intimacy is part of my genetic make up, it’s the language I speak, and it’ll be uncharacteristic of God to require the abandonment of the very personality and physical longings He blessed me with.
Let’s recall that a fetish is:
a. a strong sexual attraction to objects or body parts that are typically non-sexual,
b. something that’s more commonly held by men, and
c. something without which the person cannot fully enjoy sex.
In the case of Couples Nursing, none of the above is true, so for most people, it doesn’t meet any of the criteria required to be considered a fetish.
Jesus came to change our characters, not our personalities. If you’re a person who requires more intimacy than most people, the Bible gives you the freedom to pursue it to your heart’s delight, as long as it doesn’t eclipse your devotion to God, and is kept within the covenant of marriage.
I’ve found that it takes a certain “type” of person to really want an ANR. ANR desire completely transcends sex, religion, race, color, socio-economic background and sexual appetite.
Now, when we consider the profile traits of the ANR-interested woman, especially the trait of being a nurturer, we see that Couples Nursing goes beyond personality and also touches on character. Even the most ferocious ANR bashers would likely admit that being a good nurturer is a noble Christ-like character trait. Jesus came to change our characters, not our personalities. As the Holy Spirit progressively sanctifies us, we become more open-handed, open-hearted, agape-loving nurturers.
Imagine how life would be if we were only able to speak languages others prefer we’d speak. As a kid, I often acted this out. I usually cracked up whenever around people who spoke unrecognizable foreign languages. Thank God I never got to hear any of the ‘clicking’ languages of Southern Africa, or else I would have made a complete fool of myself. I’ve since come to realize that because the language sounded funny and weird to me doesn’t mean it didn’t make sense to the speakers.
But if we have to walk by the Spirit WITHOUT rules, then we must also live with this uncomfortable truth: God may call other Christians to live in a different way than He calls you, because they have different backgrounds, different temptations, and different personalities. That’s why the Spirit will convict us in different ways about different things. And that’s perfectly okay! So let’s not assume that because a family doesn’t follow the “purity culture” or doesn’t believe that kissing is always wrong that this means that they are somehow lesser Christians. We all serve God; let’s stick to the heart of the gospel, and let our kids do the same.
-Sheila Wray Gregoire, 10 Things That Scare Me About the “Purity” Culture, on her blog, To Love, Honor and Vacuum (emphasis on “personalities” mine)
As Sheila and Gary Chapman, the author of the Five Love Languages indicate, not all Christians were created equal. Some speak the language of physical touch much more fluently than others.
Virtually all women who engage in ANRs list intimacy and nurturing as motivating factors.
Many CN-minded folks are very affectionate, and considering how there are people in this world who are so affectionate they get paid to hug or even cuddle with strangers, strange as that may sound, we realize that it’s simply our God-given differences in physical and psychological wiring that prompt some bashers and critics to label a non-sinful desire as a fetish.
One objection I’ve kinda gotten in modified form is “if you weren’t obsessed, you won’t talk about something sexual on the first date.” But it’s more like “I’m so convinced of its benefits, I lose no time in discussing my favorite blend of love languages.” Few would have any qualms discussing on the first date a lifestyle they hope to enjoy in marriage, be it an athletic lifestyle or traveling the world, so it shouldn’t be any different for CN. The fact that CN is more sexual only calls for more discernment in word choice.
The triune God delights in the personalities and differences He’s created in all 7.4 billion of us, despite the intimate, erotic nature of some of our desires. God gets His glory when His saints strive for unity — including and very importantly on the marriage bed.
Disclaimer: I like much of Elisha’s riddle, but their doctrine doesn’t completely align with mine, especially with regards to salvation. The article below though, is a gem.
Are you familiar with “entangled particles” from the world of quantum physics? Far more mind-blowing than anything in science fiction is the reality of God’s creation, and how it reveals deep truths about Him–and us. Here is an excerpt from an io9 article on the reality of how particles become entangled and will instantaneously and seamlessly mirror each other across great distances of space (and even across distances of time as well) …
“Quantum entanglement says that two particles can become intertwined so that they always share the same properties, even if they’re separated in space. Now it seems particles can be entangled in time, too. Who’s ready for some serious quantum weirdness?
Of all the ideas in modern physics, quantum entanglement is a serious contender for the absolute strangest. Basically, entangled particles share all their quantum properties, even if they are separated by massive distances in space. The really odd part is that any changes made to the properties of one particle will instantly occur in the other particle. There are some subtle reasons why this doesn’t actually violate the speed of light, but here’s the short version: this is all very, very bizarre.”
This message appears as a chapter in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ and expanded in the book, Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know.
A smile crossed the king’s face as he dipped his quill into the inkwell one last time. With firm, smooth strokes the final lines flowed freely onto the parchment.
Pushing back from his writing desk, he sighed with satisfaction. The project had gone very well. This was some fine work. Rising from the chair and lifting his hands to heaven, Solomon the son of David offered thanks to the Lord. Here, complete at last, was his greatest song, one of the most important pieces of writing he had ever done. With satisfaction he lowered his eyes to the finished work spread out before him. Today, we call it the Song of Solomon.
It’s about sex.
In his lifetime, Solomon would produce 3,000 proverbs and more than 1,000 songs and hymns. The son of a legendary king, and a great king himself, he would be esteemed in Scripture as the wisest man who had yet lived. And his “Song of Songs” is nothing less than an explicit and unblushing celebration of sex within marriage.
To Solomon, this may have been simply a deeply personal reflection on love. But really it was much more than that. Because one day, as we know, it would be counted among the perfect and infallible words of Scripture, inerrantly inspired by the Holy Spirit, and intended God as a primary source of guidance for mankind until the return of the Son.
That’s right, gentlemen. Solomon’s Song of Songs is an entire book of the Bible devoted to the promotion of sexual intimacy within the covenant of marriage. It’s an eight-chapter feast of unbridled, uninhibited, joyous immersion in verbal and physical expressions of passion between a man and a woman.
Not a couple of verses. Not a chapter or two. God didn’t consider that enough. He decided to give us a whole book!
But can the Song of Solomon really be about sex? Isn’t the Bible about, well, spiritual stuff? It sure is. And as we’ll see, sexual intimacy within marriage has profound spiritual significance.
Let’s put ourselves back in King Solomon’s study for a moment. As husbands called to lovingly lead our wives, we need to try to understand this book of the Bible. And when you want to understand what a section of Scripture really means, you have to start with what the original writer actually meant. So let’s briefly consider this book through Solomon’s eyes.
When Solomon was writing his Song, what do you think he had in mind? The question is important because some Christians see Solomon’s Song as a book of symbolism. Men more godly than I, and a lot smarter, have believed that this book of the Bible, if it’s about marriage at all, is only about marriage in a secondary way. They see all its talk of love and longing as primarily symbolic of the relationship between Christ and the church, or Christ and the soul of the individual believer.
Maybe that’s how you see Solomon’s Song. If so, please understand: While I don’t share that view, I’m not attacking or ridiculing you or anyone else. But I am going to try to persuade you otherwise!
Marriage does, of course, point to a greater reality: the unique relationship that will exist forever between Christ and the church. But there are five reasons why I think the primary purpose of the Song of Solomon is exactly what it appears to be: to celebrate and promote intimacy and the gift of sex between a man and woman in the context of marriage.
Just look at all the sensual and erotic language in this book! It certainly looks like it’s about physical and emotional passions between a real man and a real woman. When Solomon was at his desk writing the Song, do you think he had in mind some symbolic, spiritualized relationship between God and his chosen ones? I don’t.
No New Testament writer (or Old Testament writer) suggests that this book ought to be understood primarily as an illustration of spiritual realities. This compels me to read Solomon’s Song according to the plain meaning of the words.
The Song is full of erotic phrases, yet our relationship with God is never portrayed in the Bible as erotic. The church certainly is the Bride of Christ. But although the marriage between Christ and his Bride will be many unimaginably wonderful things, it will not involve sexuality. Will it be extraordinarily and supernaturally intimate? Yes. Infinitely rewarding and fulfilling? Absolutely. But not physically erotic.
When describing our relationship with God, or when communicating our passion for him in prayer or worship, it’s right to use a vocabulary of love. But this language should never include anything erotic. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
When many of the passages from Solomon’s Song are viewed as symbolic statements, the results can get very strange.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine” (1:2). Now that sounds an awful lot like a particular woman saying she wants to be kissed by a particular man. But some commentators say that this verse is actually about a spiritual yearning for the Word of God.
“My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh that lies between my breasts” (1:13). There are commentators who somehow find in this passage a reference to Christ appearing between the Old and New Testaments. Guys, I’m no scholar, but I don’t think so!
“Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters” (7:7). Again, one commentator — a godly and sincere person, I have no doubt — suggests that “breasts” here refers to the nurturing effect that sound biblical teaching has upon the church. You know, that idea never occurred to me. When the man says to the woman that her breasts are like fruit on a palm tree, seems to me he’s talking about . . . her breasts!
Spiritualizing the Song of Solomon just doesn’t make sense. What’s worse, it denies to us the powerful impact that God intends for it to have on our marriages.
If marriage is immensely important to God (and it is), and if sex is a marvelous gift from God to married couples (which it is), it’s entirely appropriate for God to tell us in Scripture how to understand and enjoy it.
Would God leave us, his most beloved creatures, on our own when it comes to something as powerful and universal as sexuality? Would he give us such a gift without also giving guidance? Where is a Christian couple supposed to look for a model of God-glorifying sexuality? If not to Scripture, where? To Hollywood? Pop culture? Pornography?
We must not — cannot — take our sexual cues from the sinful impulses of ourselves or others. And we don’t have to. God has not left us in the dark. Scripture illuminates the path of marital intimacy. The Song of Solomon shines brightly, showing us the way to the best sex we can possibly experience.
So I trust my point is clear. I don’t believe the Song of Solomon is allegory, or typology, or drama, or an elaborate diary entry. I agree with the biblical commentator Lloyd Carr: “The lover and the beloved are just ordinary people” (Carr, The Song of Solomon[InterVarsity Press, 1984], 49).
“The Song of Solomon is about sex.”
Tom Gledhill, in his commentary, puts it this way: “The two lovers are Everyman and Everywoman” (Gledhill, The Message of the Song of Songs [InterVarsity Press, 1994], 23). That’s encouraging. The Song’s about your marriage and mine. These eight chapters of Scripture can speak to us, and in doing so, make a dramatic difference in our lives, for the glory of God.
There is a clear lesson at the heart of Solomon’s Song, a truth that threads through the entire book. I have sought to weave that same thread into this chapter. It is a truth that should be emblazoned on the heart of every husband. If you remember nothing else from these pages, remember this:
In order for romance to deepen, you must touch the heart and mind of your wife before you touch her body.
This, gentlemen, is a truth that can change your marriage. Nothing kindles erotic romance in a marriage like a husband who knows how to touch the heart and mind of his wife before he touches her body.
Too often we reverse the order. We touch her body prematurely and expect that she will respond immediately and passionately. Normally that’s not how it works.
Let’s begin now to examine Solomon’s Song in greater detail, studying specifically how these lovers model the use of communication to first touch one another’s heart and mind. After that, as we seek to apply the lessons of the Song, we will explore how, through study and planning, we can develop the creativity to lead our wives well in this area. Through this combination of communication and creativity we can unlock the passion already present in our wives and cultivate a fresh and growing passion for the rest of our life together.
They call it “intercourse.” But the word doesn’t refer just to sexual union. In fact, the first couple of definitions in my dictionary don’t refer to sex at all. They basically involve human communication and interaction of every kind, especially the exchange of thoughts or feelings. It’s only when you get to about the third definition of the word that any direct reference to sexuality appears.
On this point, the dictionary echoes the authoritative teaching of Scripture. A clear lesson from Solomon’s Song is that speech and sex are intimately connected. Duane Garrett writes of the lovers in the Song:
They relish their pleasure in each other not only with physical action, but with carefully composed words. Love is, above all, a matter of the mind and heart and should be declared.
The lesson for the reader is that he or she needs to speak often and openly of his or her joy in the beloved, the spouse. This is, for many lovers, a far more embarrassing revelation of the self than anything that is done with the body. But it is precisely here that the biblical ideal of love is present — in the uniting of the bodies and hearts of the husband and wife in a bond that is as strong as death. Many homes would be happier if men and women would simply speak of their love for one another a little more often. (Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, The New American Commentary [Broadman & Holman, 1993], 379)
I believe genuine romance, such as we find modeled in the Song, is meant to be a growing reality within every Christian marriage, not a dimming memory. And I am convinced that a key to consistent growth in romance is found in the regular use of “carefully composed words.”
You communicate with words every day, don’t you? For many of us, our days revolve around giving and receiving short bursts of information, whether in person or through some form of technology. Often the success of our careers depends on how good we are at coming up with words that communicate clearly, creatively, and with purpose.
So why do so many of us go home at the end of the work day — home to our wife, the most important person in the world to us — and suddenly stop communicating clearly, creatively, and with purpose? It’s no mystery. We can all be selfish and lazy. So let us heed Duane Garrett’s words: We could have a happier home if we would simply speak of our love for our wives . . . even a little more often.
Husbands, it is our privilege, joy, and God-given responsibility to romance our wives . . .really romance our wives. As we look to the Song for guidance in romance, we are immediately struck by the obvious, central role played by language.
Let’s look at one of the most remarkable features of the Song of Solomon — how the lovers speak to one another. Solomon’s Song contains the finest examples of carefully composed, romantic words I know of:
(He) How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. (She) How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant. (1:15-16, NIV) (He) You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! . . . You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits. . . . You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. (4:9-10, 12-13, 15, NIV) (She). . . at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover. (7:13, NIV)
This is miles away from simple chit-chat, or practicalities like kids, carpools, and church meetings. This is a category of communication set apart from the stuff of daily life, reserved for a unique and wonderful purpose. It is highly intentional, creative, provocative, erotic language. Its purpose is to arouse romantic passion — to inflame, slowly and intentionally, all the while honoring and delighting one’s spouse.
The whole book resonates with this sort of exotic, extravagant verbal foreplay between the lovers. Long before they begin to enjoy one another’s bodies, they excite one another’s minds with tender, creative speech. They model for us what it means to feelsexual passion and to articulate that passion.
The best sex begins with romance, and the best romance begins with the kind of speech we read in the Song of Solomon. It begins with “carefully composed words.”
In the language of these lovers is a variety of expressions that you just don’t hear too much anymore. Not only is it poetic. It’s a kind of poetry rooted in Hebrew culture one thousand years before Christ. To learn and properly apply the lessons of Solomon’s Song, we need to examine what these odd-sounding phrases really mean. Here’s an ideal example.
Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus. (7:4, NIV)
In Solomon’s day these were, without question, tender and heartfelt expressions of deep admiration for a woman’s physical beauty. And that is how they would have been received. A woman hearing those lines would have understood them to mean something like, “Your nose is lovely, a feature perfectly suited to the rest of your face. It adorns your face the way a tower gives breadth and character to the horizon. It transforms and compliments you wonderfully.”
So let’s not make the big mistake of simply parroting such phrases. If you try telling your wife that her nose is kind of like a big stone tower, it probably won’t arouse the specific passions you had in mind.
Here’s another passage. The man speaks to his beloved, saying,
I liken you, my darling, to a mare harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh. (1:9, NIV)
The phrase, “My darling,” establishes a tone of tenderness and admiration right from the start. He then uses an analogy that we can thoroughly misinterpret. In commenting on the use of the word “mare,” one writer suggests the woman must have had very large hips, suitable for childbearing. Another indicates she is no doubt a fast runner! But more accomplished scholarship reveals the beauty and the vibrant sexual overtones of this high compliment.
It seems that in Solomon’s day mares were never used to pull the king’s chariot, but only stallions were so used, and always hitched in pairs. Yet in this picture, a mare has been harnessed to the chariot alongside a stallion. This puts the stallion into a frenzy of galloping desire. So this analogy has nothing to do with comparing her to a horse. Instead, it declares the overwhelming sensual impact she makes upon him. Her very presence drives him wild!
Here is a magnificent passage, packed with carefully composed words carrying a potently erotic intent:
How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. 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 temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (4:1-7, NIV)
These verses begin with a declaration of the beauty of his beloved. But generalities are not enough for him, nor should they be for us. In this passage alone he praises seven different parts of her body, using clear and complimentary analogies. This is some serious creativity!
“Your eyes behind your veil are doves” speaks of her gentleness and tenderness. You see, he has studied her eyes. He has thought about what he sees in them. And he has made an effort to express that to her in terms that will bring her joy.
In describing her hair as “a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead,” he evokes the image of a distant hill, completely covered with black-wooled goats moving toward its base, so the entire hill seems alive. In Solomon’s day, this was a reference to thrilling, state-of-the-art special effects!
Her teeth are white and fresh, like newly shorn and bathed sheep that glisten in the sun. Best of all, “each has its twin” — no missing teeth! Three thousand years ago, that was a big deal.
He goes on to praise in specific, compelling, poetic terms, her lips, mouth, and temples. The word he uses for her mouth suggests that he finds her very speech a thing of beauty. One’s words reveal one’s heart. So here he is seizing an opportunity to honor her for godly character.
Gazing lower, he speaks in tender and radiant language of her neck and breasts, declaring with breathtaking delicacy and understatement his unmistakably erotic intentions. He then ends this love poem where he began, assuring her that, in his eyes, she is “all beautiful . . . no flaw.” Perfection itself.
And note this well, gentlemen. Throughout the passages in which one lover describes the body of the other — for the woman in Solomon’s Song also compliments her man — there are both beauty and brilliance. In these phrases, the most private emotions about the most intimate parts of the lover’s body are expressed appropriately, romantically, erotically, and tastefully. There is no medical language, no crudeness, and no profanity anywhere in the book. Every word is tender and sensual, and carefully composed to produce appropriate and passionate arousal.
In the man’s description of his beloved, notice that we have very few clear statements of fact. We know she had no missing teeth — a real plus — but there’s little else we can really nail down. The overall description we have of this woman is filtered almost exclusively through the man’s impressions of her. He even goes so far as to call her flawless.
Now, is he lying? Is he flattering her? Does he need glasses? Not at all. He is not describing so much what she looks like, but how he feels about her. There is a huge difference.
“You must touch the heart and mind of your wife before you touch her body.”
So many Christian husbands and wives have been deeply influenced by the fashion and advertising industries that we may have a challenge really understanding these descriptions. To a certain extent we have been conformed to this world, and it is compromising our ability to understand truth clearly. When we read these statements, we make the error of applying them culturally, not biblically. But as romance is biblically cultivated, these really can be very apt and accurate descriptions.
When the man says, “All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you” (4:7, NIV), and when he calls her “my perfect one” (6:9), what’s going on is very clear. He is lavishing high praises upon his beloved in an effort to communicate her effect on him. These are expressions of his heartfelt evaluation of her. They are not based on cultural criteria. Others may not share his assessment of her beauty. But he doesn’t care. This is how he sees her, and together they rejoice in that assessment.
The same is true of the woman’s view of her man (see 5:10-16). She describes him in a way that few men could ever hope to deserve. Yet these are statements of integrity because they represent her personal assessment of him, an assessment informed by her exclusive, passionate love for him.
What we see in these compliments is simply a purified and well articulated form of something universally common to lovers: They view their beloved as uniquely special. You should be special in her eyes, just as she should be special to you — uniquely set apart, outrageously exceptional, with a value far above that of any other person, a value that others might even see as “inaccurate.”
There is, and should be, a marked difference between an emotional description of one’s beloved and an objective, factual description. A man may say to his wife, “My darling, you are five-feet seven-and-one-half inches tall, of medium build, with a birthmark on your left shoulder blade, and you are mildly allergic to shellfish.” In this, he may be entirely accurate, but he will not be telling her how much she means to him. And he certainly won’t be adding any fuel to the fires of romance.
Now, a lot of us think we’re doing pretty well if once in a while we say, “That dress looks nice on you, dear,” or “Hey, are those new earrings?” But I trust we’re seeing from Scripture that the standard is far, far higher. By all means, tell her when you think she looks nice, but recognize the world of difference between a simple compliment (however sincere) and phrases describing your appreciation and passion for her.
But I can hear you now: “C.J., if I can’t quote Solomon, how do I generate my own carefully composed words? I’m not a poet. I don’t even like poetry. And I’m definitely not Shakespeare.”
Well, neither am I. Where I grew up, if a guy revealed that he was interested in anything vaguely poetic, he would have been beaten up. Poetry was, by definition, effeminate and revolting. Real guys played sports. We talked about sports. And we read sports. Not poetry, and definitely not Shakespeare.
Just a few years ago, in fact, out of arrogance and deep ignorance, I said in passing from the pulpit, “Shakespeare was a bum.” One horrified literature teacher in our church very kindly offered to help me. A little while later, I spent an evening with a group of friends, including this teacher, watching a video of Henry V. As I watched, I came to understand something: it was really me who was the bum. Here was highly poetic speech, which I had once scorned, but it was incredibly powerful stuff, and not feminine in the least.
Solomon, too, was definitely masculine. Far from scorning carefully composed words, I should accept the lesson of Solomon’s Song and learn how to use them. Poetic language is a gift from God that can help me promote godly romance with my wife!
So let’s try to bring this home a little. How many times in the past week or month have you spoken to your wife in ways that she found to be romantically and perhaps erotically arousing?
Now, what are the things that would hold you back from doing this on a regular basis? What are the issues in your own heart that would prevent you?
Let’s try a few on for size. Maybe one of them will fit you.
“I’m not sure it really matters to her.”
Wrong. Remember: thanks be to God, our wives aren’t wired like men. The spoken word can be as alluring, provocative, and enticing to your wife as any visual stimulation you experience with her.
“I don’t think I can come up with anything creative.”
It might not be the easiest thing you’ve ever done. But if you will humble yourself and seek him for it, God is eager to give you that simple but effective phrase to say to your wife. The first such phrase will begin to break down the barriers of pride and self-absorption that hinder you. The second phrase will be easier. Then you’re on your way.
“It just seems silly.”
But it doesn’t have to. Find what’s genuine and works for you and your wife. Again, don’t let the poetry aspect turn you off. What sort of language appeals to both of you and comes naturally?
After I taught this material in our church, one man showed me a line he had written: “Honey, to me, you are like freshly shucked corn in a trough surrounded by hungry hogs.” Now, this didn’t quite fit my cultural background, but I was immediately able to encourage him. “If your wife is romanced by this, fantastic! If this speaks her language, and encourages her, and helps her understand your passion for her, then Solomon would be very pleased with you.”
The point is, guys, you don’t need to be a Shakespeare or a Solomon. You don’t need to imitate some specific style. But you should definitely follow the example given to us in the Song — by carefully composing words of a romantic and erotically suggestive nature that will express your love for her. As you do this, you and your wife will be drawn into a deeper and more satisfying relationship.
What changes, even something small, can you make this week to begin cultivating and expressing your passion for your wife?
Now, some of you may be more comfortable, creative, and effective when you communicate in written form. By all means, do so! But however you do it, I think you’ll find that after a little practice with carefully composed words, they will begin to come more easily. As you build the habit of delighting your wife with your words, the phrases can become more spontaneous.
Recently, Carolyn and I were in a mall while on vacation. We intentionally separated for a while, and as the time drew near for us to meet up again, I began searching the crowds for her. Finally, I caught sight of her. She approached and I embraced her. I said, “Love, I just want you to know that whenever I’m searching for you in a crowd, you are the only one who appears in color. The rest of the world is black and white to me.”
These spontaneous words didn’t come from any unique gifting in me. I think they were inspired by my study of the Song of Solomon. Words like these are far more effective than, “Hey, uh . . . you look nice.” So believe me, God is eager to help you grow in this area. That’s why there’s hope for every husband. Even those who call Shakespeare a bum.
Communication, as we’ve seen from the Song, is vital to the promotion of romance. We’ve also noted how, in order for your words to ring true — to be true — they can’t be patched together from convenient, onesize-fits-all phrases. All true romance is custom-designed. To produce phrases and actions designed especially for your wife, you must study her and then creatively apply what you have learned.
In this section, we’re going to get very practical about how to touch the heart and mind of our wives by creating and carrying out tailor-made plans for romance. But before we can creatively plan, we must first learn to study our wives.
Now, after that Shakespeare story, it will come as no surprise that when I was growing up, I hated school and studying. Well, I hated most studying. But I loved two local sports teams: the University of Maryland Terps — specifically, the basketball team — and my beloved Washington Redskins. Somehow I acquired an impressive body of knowledge about these teams, even as I continued to get lousy grades in school.
Why was that kind of learning so easy for me, when formal education was so hard? What made the difference?
No secret there. What we love, we want to learn about. And what we love to study, we come to love even more. That’s just the way God has wired us. I loved the Terps and Skins, so learning about them and growing in my zeal for them was a totally natural process.
I still enjoy following those teams, but my strongest passions now lie elsewhere.
The best sex begins with romance, and the best romance begins with “carefully composed words.”
My highest and greatest love will always be reserved for God, for when I was his enemy and worthy of his righteous wrath, in his great mercy he sent his only Son to live a perfect life and die a perfect death in my place. But after my love for God, nothing compares to the passion I hold for Carolyn, my wife.
It has been my privilege to be a student of Carolyn since before our engagement. As I have studied her — seeking to learn what pleases, excites, honors, encourages, refreshes, and helps her — my love for her has only increased.
And as I study her, I love to find new ways to please her. So I constantly keep my eyes and ears open for ideas to record. I’ve been known not to hear my name called at a doctor’s office because I was furiously scribbling information from a magazine article.
In my PDA I keep track of good getaway spots, ideas for dates, and many other bits of useful information. I know what to record because I have studied Carolyn — her life, her preferences, and her responsibilities — and have learned what makes her tick, romantically speaking. And I learned a long time ago that, no matter how amazed or impressed I am by an idea or thought, I almost certainly will forget it if I don’t write it down. These notes are my building blocks for creating and cultivating a more romantic marriage.
To learn how to touch your wife’s heart and mind, you must study her. Here are two lists that may be helpful. You can probably add to them.
Do you know how to surprise and delight your wife in specific ways in each of the following areas? Sex
Do you know how your wife is faring in each of these areas?
How much of this information do you have readily available to you, preferably in written form? How much do you really know about your wife in each of these areas?
Studying our wives and gathering information, of course, is only step one. We must not confuse being informed with being transformed. Transformation doesn’t just happen automatically or effortlessly. It is the fruit of application and action.
This is precisely where most men fail, including me. And it should be no mystery why, gentlemen. We have a tendency to be lazy and selfish. Genuine growth involves grace-motivated work, even extended effort. Our information gathering must be followed by detailed planning and follow-through. Romance is what you know about your wife specifically applied.
Here is a practice I’ve been observing for years and have found immensely helpful. You might want to consider trying it . . . or create your own practice. The important thing is that you have some pattern you observe on a frequent, regular basis. Otherwise, all your efforts to learn about your wife will have little actual effect.
Every week, on Sunday evening or Monday morning, I get away to the local Starbucks. The heart of this time is when I define what is most important for me to accomplish during the next seven days. (I do this with respect to all my roles, but here we’ll just focus on my marriage.)
With respect to Carolyn, I identify no more than three important goals I can accomplishthat week, and I plan them into my schedule. These may be a date night, a surprise I can bring her, a scheduled time to discuss an issue I know is important to her, or something else.
Outwardly, it appears there’s nothing special going on. I’m just another bald guy in a coffee shop communing with a piece of technology, a wrinkled sports page by my side. But I assure you, great fruitfulness flows from these times, regularly and faithfully invested. This is how the things that are most important in my life are defined and protected. This is how mere information leads to actual transformation.
This is where hope and desire begin to become reality. Without some practice like this, I simply would not be able to touch my wife’s heart and mind before I touch her body.
Time and energy, lovingly invested, will increase romance, which will increase marital intimacy. But what, exactly, should you plan for?
Ultimately, any detailed answer to that question must come from you. But in general terms, there are specific things that for most marriages, most of the time, can bring about genuine romance. Here are seven practical ways that I hope you will find helpful in touching her heart and mind before you touch her body.
Time away from the routine busyness of life is essential for the cultivation of romance in any marriage. A regular date night provides a couple with a reliable, peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy world.
At this point, three of our four children are married. But I’ve been practicing the priority of a weekly date night since before any of them were born. (That’s right. I said weekly.) If you have small children, I recognize that challenges can exist. Certainly there is the matter of child care, an area in which you should bear the burden of finding a solution if one is not readily available. But also, the maternal instincts of many mothers of small children can kick in hard, leading a mother to think that it’s more important for her to be with her children than to take a regular date night to grow closer to her husband.
If that is your situation, let me encourage you to lead with love. These are critical years for you to invest in your marriage relationship. If you have small children, your wife is even more in need of your care and attention during this season.
If you do not have a consistent date night now, my first recommendation is . . . do it! Do whatever it takes to establish a regular date with your beloved. And let me suggest that you take the plunge. Unless it’s simply impossible, go ahead and make your date night a weekly event, starting right now!
Now guys, date night is not about running errands or visiting the local mega-hardware store together. A date night is intentional. It has a goal and a purpose. The main goal is not so much to relax with each other, as to relate to each other.
Sure, there’s a place for the relaxation-oriented approach to dates once in a while. But don’t let that become your standard fare on these critical evenings. Over a period of months, you ought to be able to look back and see that your date nights have been drawing you together as a couple, not simply giving you an opportunity to get out of your home and relax at the same time.
And date nights don’t have to be expensive. A date can simply be a few hours together — walking in a park, looking into one another’s eyes while sitting in a coffee shop — and talking about anything and everything, from the boringly practical to the strikingly romantic.
One more important point, gentlemen. Our date night is my joy, privilege, and responsibility to plan. When Carolyn and I get in the car I don’t want to have to turn to her and say, “So, uh, where’d you like to eat?” I want to show her that she is important enough to me that I have planned ahead.
I try to speak with Carolyn from the office at least once a day. These don’t have to be long conversations. I’ll pick up the phone in a spare moment and call her just to say, “Hi, love. I just wanted to hear your voice. Is there anything I can do for you?” (Be sure to listen to her answer, guys.) And when our conversation is over, I may wrap it up with something like, “I love you with all my heart and I can’t wait to see you in a few hours. Bye.”
Calls like this can have a transforming effect on Carolyn. They allow me, in a matter of just a few moments, to touch her heart and mind.
The written word can be even more powerful than the phone call. How many times have you driven to the store, looked through perhaps dozens of greeting cards, and ended up with either no card or one that was less than ideal? Wouldn’t that time and energy be better spent in a quiet place crafting your own words? Let’s depend less on greeting cards and more on God’s grace to help us express ourselves romantically.
Romance can be communicated quite effectively through small gifts. They don’t have to be expensive, but they shouldn’t be exclusively practical, either. Giving your wife a dust buster or a waffle iron might serve her or make her life a little easier, but it does not qualify as romancing her.
Too many men try to make up for a lack of daily romance with the occasional extravagant gift, as if to apologize for the past and offer an excuse for the future. I would argue against the large, occasional, and expensive gift in favor of the small, frequent, and thoughtful (although, if possible, both are recommended!).
Buying perfume and clothing for Carolyn has been a joy for me over the years, as well as an adventure. When I present these gifts to her, I am always careful to remind her that she need feel no obligation to keep or wear them, and she knows I mean this (yes, I give her the receipt, too). I am thankful that romancing my wife has little to do with my fashion sense, and everything to do with the effort I make to express my feelings for her.
By the way, don’t rule out flowers. At one point, I thought that for Carolyn flowers had run their course. I don’t understand this at all, but flowers still have an impact on her. A dozen roses, or a large bouquet, are not necessary. A single flower speaks volumes.
If you are gifted musically, what a difference that can make. Play for your wife. Sing her a love song. Write her a love song!
But gentlemen, please exercise sober judgment about where you are gifted and where you aren’t. If, like me, you are not gifted musically, please don’t even try. In fact, if you decide to delight your wife with your nonexistent musical gifts — you didn’t read it here!
I’ll make this point again: time is absolutely necessary to the cultivation of romance and God-glorifying sex. Much time. Unhurried time. Undistracted time. While a date night creates an oasis in the middle of a busy week or month, a getaway creates an oasis in the middle of a year. When was the last time you took your wife away for at least two nights?
When Carolyn and I go away, we usually like to get out and do lots of things. We try new restaurants and search out interesting, off-beat locales to explore. But however much we see, and whatever activities we get involved in, I’m always careful to keep our focus primarily on one another. The heart of each of these events is our time alone together: talking, reading, making love, and taking long walks.
Is there a place your wife has been wanting to visit? What activities do you enjoy together? What’s keeping you from making those plans? What’s keeping you from saving the money for this very worthy investment?
Here’s a question to ponder during your weekly planning. “At this point in our life together, what would my wife define as a welcome surprise?” I ask myself that question all the time. I’ll start writing some ideas, and maybe not come up with very much, but somehow it gets the gears turning. Then the next day in the shower I get an idea, then another one three days later while driving. Or I might overhear a conversation in a store and it triggers a thought.
Every time I get an idea, I write it down. And it all begins with a simple commitment to try to surprise my wife. As a result, Carolyn lives with the constant and delightful tension that I am always planning some sort of surprise for her.
Study your wife.
Surprises make a huge and very romantic statement of your care. You can surprise her with any of the things I’ve mentioned — a phone call, a letter, a song, a gift, a getaway, or a date — or get creative and make up a whole new category!
But here’s a recommendation. Don’t “surprise” her on Valentine’s Day, or her birthday, or an anniversary. Sure, plan something for February 14. But a true surprise is unexpected.
So, in calling my wife each day — in writing her notes or buying her gifts or taking her on dates — I’m not just blindly following some recipe for a happy marriage topped off with good sex. Rather, I’ve studied what the Bible says, especially in Ephesians 5, about what it means to be a husband and a godly leader in the home, and I’ve tried to come up with practical ways to make my marriage actually be what the Bible says it should be. The result is the seven recommendations you have just read. For me, and quite often for others, these things work.
If they work for you, great. But if not — and you certainly don’t have to emulate them — create your own! What matters is that you are learning, leading, and loving your wife with creativity and intentionality. Because if you are not intentional in planning for creative romance, it just won’t happen.
Think back with me for a moment. There was a time when it was obvious to everyone that you were uniquely passionate about your wife. You couldn’t stop thinking about her. You constantly talked about her and to her. You were always eager to spend time with her, going out of your way to delight and surprise her, and you regularly spent serious money on her.
Is your passion for your wife still obvious to everyone? Is it obvious to her?
Here’s a way to find out. If you have children living in the home, ask your beloved this one simple question:
Do you feel more like a mother or a wife?
The answer may well speak volumes. In my book (of the same name as this chapter) I’m able to elaborate further on this and the other points made here. But suffice it to say that she certainly can feel more like a wife than a mother (or homemaker, employee, or professional). Whether she does, however, is primarily up to you.
Yes, the Bible calls us to a high, godly standard, guys. But it’s one we definitely can reach by God’s grace. We must touch the hearts and minds of our wives before we touch their bodies. As our words and actions touch their hearts and minds, much will be transformed — our wives will be transformed, our marriages will be transformed, and you will discover a marvelous and growing sexual passion, all for the glory of God.
How will you begin this glorious process? How will you touch your wife’s heart and mind?
Here it is, gentlemen. Time to talk about sex. For there comes a point when we have studied and planned . . . when we have spoken our tender and provocative words of love . . . when we’re ready to move beyond verbal foreplay. So let us prepare once again to learn from Scripture — where, beyond such foreplay, the lovers in Solomon’s Song definitely do move.
As this man and woman enter into lovemaking, they do not hold back, nor does Scripture refrain from recording intimate details of their mutually delightful encounter. Far from a mechanical recitation of “who touched who where,” we read of the extravagant indulgence of all five senses. Touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing are put to full use. Solomon’s Song teaches us that lovemaking is intended by God to be an elaborate and pleasurable feast of the senses — a holy immersion in erotic joy.
So let’s be inspired by this powerful piece of poetry — by the romantic, the sensual, the erotic, and the tasteful but specific descriptions of the physical relationship enjoyed by these two lovers. Solomon has given us the divine perspective on the gift of sex. Let’s explore that perspective, that with our wives we might experience its transforming effect.
There are numerous references in Solomon’s song to kissing. At one point the man declares, “How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips drip nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue” (4:10-11).
There was clearly some serious kissing going on here. The man delights in the kisses of his beloved — deep, long, passionate kisses. The “honey and milk” mentioned in this verse are symbols of fruitfulness, satisfaction, and pleasure. He’s a skillful kisser, too, so the enjoyment is mutual. His bride says of him, “His mouth is most sweet” (5:16).
These two are obviously very familiar with each other’s lips and mouths. They revel in the touch, tastes, and scents associated with their kissing. Their kissing is erotic, sensual, enjoyed, and apparently prolonged. In many marriages today, however, kissing is often neglected and can all too easily become routine. If your kisses rarely get much more passionate than a handshake, there is huge room for improvement.
So I suggest you take inventory. How often do you kiss? How long do you kiss? How passionate is your kissing? Ask your wife what she thinks of your kissing. What does she like or dislike about it? How does it compare with what is described here? How does it compare with your past kissing? How can you improve?
Don’t assume that kissing is a thrill that belonged mainly to some earlier point in your marriage. Kissing between a husband and wife is a unique expression of their passion for one another, and a unique means of cultivating fresh passion. In light of the divine encouragement found in the Song, let’s purpose to explore this rich gift of kissing.
Sexual touching and caressing of many kinds are found throughout the Song. “Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine” (7:7-8).
Touching and caressing are to be an ongoing part of the marriage relationship. How I touch Carolyn will certainly depend on where we are and what we’re doing. But if she’s near me, I’ll almost certainly be touching her in some way, even if it’s simply holding her hand.
A few years ago, after returning from a busy overseas trip that was full of meetings and responsibilities for both of us, Carolyn and I took an overnight together near our home. As we were checking out of the hotel, the man at the registration desk commented, “I noticed you two yesterday, and I’ve watched you today. You remind me of a couple of high school sweethearts.”
Now it wasn’t as if Carolyn and I had been doing anything inappropriate. We actually get those “sweetheart” comments with some regularity. When we respond that we’ve been married since 1975, it can open the door to a more meaningful conversation. What a great opportunity it gives us to testify to the grace of God in our lives!
Gentlemen, I want to encourage your frequent, imaginative touching of your wives (as appropriate given your level of privacy). Touching your wife in a variety of creative ways is not just a warm-up to your next sexual encounter. When practiced regularly as a genuine expression of affection, love, and passion it contributes to a closeness and intimacy that can help fuel your romance and sex life well into the future.
So talk to your wife about what she thinks makes for appropriate and pleasurable touching, in public and in private. In this process you may need to lead diligently, graciously, and with love. Do whatever is necessary to get beyond any embarrassment arising from pride that might be associated with such a subject. The two of you need to be able to discuss these topics openly and honestly. The better you learn how to touch her heart and mind, the better the two of you will be able to communicate freely and really learn how to love one another more and more.
In chapters 4 and 5 of the Song, Solomon gives us a glimpse of ultimate physical passion as this couple prepares to come together for sexual intercourse. The restraint that has characterized the book to this point no longer applies. The time has come for sexual union.
Their encounter begins with the woman inviting the man to come and enjoy her love. “Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow. Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits” (4:16).
In the next verse, the man eagerly responds. Even here, the poetry is discreet and restrained, bursting with passion yet completely devoid of vulgarity. “I came to my garden, my sister, my bride, I gathered my myrrh with my spice, I ate my honeycomb with my honey, I drank my wine with my milk” (5:1).
Myrrh, spice, honeycomb, honey, wine, milk — he likens her sensual delights to the most extraordinary luxuries available in that culture. Nine times he employs the word “my,” as one by one he claims her “choice fruits” as his own possessions. She is his, fully, completely, and without reservation.
Then, at the end of verse 1, we find this ringing affirmation of sexual indulgence within marriage: “Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!” Here, as elsewhere in the Song, Solomon employs a “chorus,” which stands outside the narrative as a witness and commentator. The chorus encourages the couple to enjoy lovemaking to the fullest, to be intoxicated with one another in their love. With God as Author of Scripture, can there be a clearer expression of the divine approval and encouragement of sexuality within marriage?
Let this chorus remind you that, when you make love to your wife, the two of you are not alone. God is present, and he is pleased when you and your wife find erotic satisfaction in one another. Indeed, he encourages you with the same unqualified approval with which they were encouraged: “Be drunk with love.”
Many passages of Scripture liken the experience of sexual intimacy to intoxication. (No hangover, either!) When was the last time you and your wife drank deeply enough of one another’s sensual joys to come to that place of sweet, godly drunkenness?
Because this is a chapter for men, we need to talk briefly about how selfishness can show up during lovemaking in a way that’s unique to us. Unless you just got married last week, you’re surely aware that effective lovemaking — the kind that really serves your wife — is not instinctive.
I’m talking, obviously, about that extremely common tendency for husbands to find satisfaction in lovemaking sooner than their wives. Does the Bible have anything to say about that? You bet.
If I am living in obedience to 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, I will take my thoughts captive during lovemaking, disciplining my body in order to focus primarily on giving to my wife sexually, rather than only receiving from her. (“The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”) Indeed, any married person who rightly sees these verses as commands from God will bring to the marriage bed a servant’s mind-set that places primary emphasis on the sexual satisfaction of his or her spouse.
“Effective lovemaking — the kind that really serves your wife — is not instinctive.”
Are you a skillful and unselfish lover? Don’t assume you know what your wife likes, or what arouses her. She is aroused differently than you are. You must discover what arouses her — and what does not — by engaging her in extended conversation.
Making love is not simply a technique. It’s a key part of the marriage relationship. A couple that enjoys great sex, as biblically defined, is a couple that has good, open, honest communication about lots of things, including sex.
You need to lead your wife into conversations where you can ask very intimate, personal questions. Any reluctance we may have in this area, guys, is simply due to our pride, and the solution is simply to humble ourselves — before God and our wives. We need to approach our wives with an attitude of genuine interest, an attitude that says, “I want to be an unselfish lover. How can I serve you through this gift from God?” “What can I do, or what do I do, that arouses you prior to and during the sex act?” “Is there anything I sometimes do that you’d rather I not do?”
As lovers, many of us have plateaued, but none have arrived. We can all improve. To really find out what brings pleasure to your wife, you have to ask her.
Now, just to set the record straight, I’m not promising that this chapter will turn your every sexual encounter with your wife into a sweating, shouting frenzy. I am confident that a consistently God-glorifying approach to marital intimacy can improve any couple’s sex life significantly. But let’s keep in mind that we’re human, with human limitations. Moreover, eventually all of us will find that age is more of an issue than it used to be.
On the subject of sexual expectations, Douglas Wilson has pointed out that while some meals are steaks, and some are macaroni and cheese, both are enjoyable (Wilson,Reforming Marriage [Canon, 1995], 83). That’s wise counsel. So let your expectations be realistic, and enjoy.
Enjoy the humorous moments, too. More than once I’ve found myself in a situation where all I want to do for the next minute or so is stay very, very focused on what my wife and I are doing right now. But then this leg cramp shows up out of nowhere. Now, a cramp has a way of demanding your full and complete attention. So in about five seconds I go from the heights of sexual enjoyment to incapacitating agony. I want to keep my attention on Carolyn, but suddenly all my attention is on my leg. I want to keep my hands on her, but they have to go to my leg, too. What do we do? We laugh like crazy. And hope the kids don’t hear.
So you see, ultimately, sex is not a matter of performance. We’ve talked a lot about getting better at sex, but I’m not suggesting for a moment that your marriage should become a multi-decade quest for the ideal set of orgasms. While I do want to please my wife whenever we make love, sex is not primarily a goal-oriented activity. It’s an event, an experience. It’s about expressing passion to my wife, and receiving her expressions of passion for me. If a couple is living with a biblical understanding of and attitude toward sex, then every experience can be enjoyable and glorifying to God.
We close where we began, learning once more from the Song of Solomon. It’s remarkable how Solomon’s language, while obvious in its intent, is never biologically specific in a way that is either vulgar or clinical. As a result, while we can clearly say that the Song features some pretty provocative stuff, and that sexual intercourse is definitely included in the subject matter, we cannot point to a specific phrase and say, “Yes, look, right here, in thisverse the language clearly indicates that they are engaged in sexual intercourse.”
But that fact is itself full of meaning. Although sexual intercourse is certainly an ultimate expression of a married couple’s erotic encounter, it is not the outstanding central feature of the Song. The book is not about the act of sexual intercourse. Rather, it is about the remarkable nature of the couple’s overall relationship — in all its romance, yearning, desire, sensuality, passion, and eroticism.
These two desperately desire to be together, but not simply so they can experience sexual gratification. They want to be together because they are in love, and the sex they enjoy with one another is an expression of that love. Their mutual attraction is not primarily hormonal. It is primarily relational.
Five times in Solomon’s Song, the man calls his beloved “my sister, my bride,” or “my sister, my love.” She refers to him as “my beloved” and “my friend.” Their love is comprehensive and complete; they love one another on multiple levels. As a married couple, they have great sex because they love one another so completely, not the other way around. In a strong Christian marriage that glorifies God, a couple’s enjoyment of one another takes place on a long continuum of romantic affection and expression. Toward one end are things like “companionship” and “fellowship.” Toward the other end of the continuum are things like “playful intimacy” and “really serious sex.” But exactly where one category begins and the other ends isn’t always clear. That’s because solid Christian marriages are not primarily about one category or the other.
They’re about the entire continuum: the relationship itself.
This chapter has focused on the romance-and-sex end of the continuum — but without disconnecting it from any other aspect of the marital relationship. That’s what Solomon did in the Song. That’s what you should be doing, too, by God’s grace. Because it’s all about touching her heart and mind before you touch her body.
We made it to the last characteristic in our profile of the typical ANR lover.
I’m referring to the lower case ‘spiritual’ in this context. I’m only using the human definition in the non-biblical sense of being soulful and deep, as not all women with ANR desires are indwelt by God the Spirit, and conversely, being Spirit-filled has little to no bearing on ANR desire, although wanting an ANR in itself is God-glorifying.
By definition, all Christians are spiritual but some more than others. Apparently, God designed some individuals to be more soulful, extramundane and have stronger yearnings for intangibles. Sadly, non-Christian ANR women greatly abuse their imago-Dei by pursuing things like positive energy, solstice rituals, unbiblical meditation and Tai-chi. Christian ones have lots of depth and are less materialistic than average. They are likely to be into things like gardening, healthy living and non-spiritual breathing exercises, nothing more ominous, therefore absolutely no Yin-Yang, Feng Shui or New Age earth-universe worship.
I’ve noticed that ANR ladies have ethereal inclinations and desire a deep, organic connection. They can also be superlatively poetic.
They’re all about peace and harmony, and want to be as united as humanly possible with their husbands. They want one system. A living, breathing, dynamic connection.
There’s something about Husband Nursing that’s truly sacred and deeply meaningful, even more than sex, I think. Sexual intercourse places fewer mutual obligations on a couple, and for many working couples, it’s only on the mind as the need arises. However, Couples Nursing forces a couple to keep each other in mind all the time.
I believe CN brings a couple to a heightened level of mutual dependence, connection and synergy unattainable through any other physical means. It gives more meaning to the two becoming one flesh (Gen. 2:24) than anything else.
Although ANR-loving folks are often simple, when it comes to things that matter most in life, they’re far from clueless or naive. They have depth, wisdom and insight. Their astute understanding of the intensely profound nature of this relationship and its significance is precisely what attracts them to it.
Last summer, when my ANR research was well underway, I began noticing the abundance of words in Scripture that describe God and Christianity in organic, botanical terms. Throughout the Bible, we see words and phrases like roots, fruits, seeds, plants, soil, the sower, I am the Vine, you are the branches, abide in Me, springs, if a seed dies, it bears much fruit, living water and so on. I saw this as an epiphany.
I know this sounds like eisegesis, but it’s actually quite the converse. Perhaps how God intended the Christian life and marriage to play out aren’t readily apparent, due to being purposely obscured by translators. Perhaps God corrects this spiritual error by placing an insatiable itch for the Truth in people like John MacArthur, or anyone who has done some major investigation into Proverbs 5:19’s original Hebrew phrasing (scroll down a little, notice Proverbs 5:19 appears three times on this page).
I recall a teaching elder of a theologically sound church I once belonged to noting how Christians are commanded to be “organically connected” to a local body of believers. Without a doubt, the God of Scripture values deep, organic connections, where the whole is greater than the sum of parts, and individuals are well plugged into Him and each other, forming a vibrant ecosystem connected through and animated by His Holy Spirit.
The church … is not an organization; it is an organism. Christ is the head and He is responsible for its growth.
As far back as my teenage years, I’ve listened to music that brought an overwhelming sense of serenity. I often drifted off to sleep while it played. A non-believer in those days, someone who noticed this habit of mine remarked: “he’s obviously trying to get close to his god.” They were right. I wasn’t Buddhist or Hindu but was chasing a nirvana-like feeling, trying to fill the divine void in my heart, very much like ANR women who think they can fill the God-shaped hole in their hearts with anything other than being reconciled to Him through the slain Lamb.
When revealing the ANR lover’s romantic inclination, I alluded to this post. ANR women want a trance-like, dreamy, heavenly state, like romantics do. On your search, look for women who long for “heaven on earth”, in other words, want God’s Kingdom to come ASAP.
70% of ladies on the same ANR dating site mentioned here listed music as an interest. Music came in second to none. That’s because an ANR brings a welcome rhythm, a sweet melody, to the human soul. The refreshment it provides is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind, apart from drinking directly from the Source – the eternally refreshing, living water fountain Himself.
That’s it. Thank you very much for following along as I revealed all the characteristics all ANR women seem to share.
Please read the series afterword. It contains a pleasant surprise.
God created women to be softer, more delicate and innate nurturers. These women take pride in their femininity; they naturally and joyfully take hold of divinely established gender roles.
They are built more for comfort than speed, and their softness is multi-dimensional: physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. Their idea of a strong marriage is when both spouses are laid bare and vulnerable to each other. It’s in daily re-living Genesis 2:25: Adam and his wife naked and not ashamed.
Women who nurse their husbands often report being proud of what they do and feeling more feminine and attractive during the nursing, so this adds even more of a feminine glow to these women who are already very feminine to begin with. To them that have, more will be given, and to them that don’t have, even what little they have will be taken away, Mark 4:25.
One shouldn’t mistake these ladies’ softness for weakness, however. It’s possible to simultaneously be soft and physically strong. I came across an ANR woman who’s into fitness and weight training, and another that’s very much into all professional sports. They may be soft but they all possess quiet strength, not in-your-face aggressiveness. (Link contains an endorsement of evolutionary theory.)
I believe the description above mostly correlates with the ANR man, except of course, in a masculine way. The typical ANR man is probably gentle, well-built and filled with inner strength, not the highly insecure “macho” type.
Although popularly frowned upon, the Bible makes much mention of tenderness. Christ is often called a Lamb, or more accurately, a Lion and a Lamb. We’re commanded to be innocent as doves, shrewd as serpents. Tenderness and strength seem like inseparable concepts in God’s Word.
The preceding is dedicated to all the ladies out there who are tender on the outside, lioness on the inside. Nurse on.
(Six down, one to go. Monday, October 5th concludes our series. Have a blessed week.)
The recent Ashley Madison leak has revealed some telling data. 99.95% of the site’s users are male. How does this compare to other matchmaking sites? On those tailored towards mainstream sexual activity, about 75 to 80% of users are male. In comparison, only 68% of heterosexual accounts on ANRSpace belong to men, but I strongly believe the actual ratio of people desiring an ANR is even more balanced between the sexes.
Here’s why I hold that view: despite only 0.05% of Ashley Madison customers being female, I learned that 41% of marital infidelity is perpetrated by women. So the real issue isn’t a paucity of women who cheat or want an ANR, it’s twofold: 1. Women are more secretive, so when desirous of anything sexual or extramarital, they generally won’t resort to the World Wide Web to find an outlet, and 2. Women have a much easier time finding sexual partners.
The main reason I strongly suspect a 50-50 ratio for Adult Nursing Relationships is their unique nature.
Many ANR women have much girl next door charm. Some are even involved in church.
Ladies don’t view Couples Nursing as an exclusively sexual activity. To them, it’s a beautiful, loving, bonding act. On ANR blogs and dating sites, most mention the intimacy it creates before the sexual aspect.
God has designed women to be very society-friendly. A good litmus test of the social conduciveness of anything is to examine its male-female ratio. The more equal, the better.
It’s worth noting that the more lewd ANR dating sites have significantly fewer female users than ANRSpace, so if the clean, gospel-centered ANR dating site I envision were to come to fruition, I bet its male-female ratio would be an even 50-50.
There’s absolutely no activity I think men and women could agree on more than ABF. Women realize that it elevates intimacy to never-before-seen heights, and that’s what primarily draws them to it. The inherent sexual pleasure plays an important but slightly less significant role. For men, it’s both the extreme intimacy and a sexual attraction to breasts. Men approach ABF from a sexual and relational standpoint, women from a nurturing/bonding, before sexual one, so they essentially meet halfway. Husband Nursing lies at the confluence of our God-given, sex-specific hard wiring.
CN creates a win-win situation for both spouses. That’s why a healthy amount of it is only beneficial, never detrimental to marriage, also why every couple that partakes in it loves it and why a significantly higher proportion of women are interested, compared to other activities that are reserved for the bedroom. Indeed, of the dozens of ANR blogs out there, mine is the only one I know that is owned by a man.
One of the ladies who said no to an ANR had professed to having a high sex drive. She told me she found it interesting and peculiar that I insist on any one particular sex act in marriage. However, if one reads all the posts on this blog thoroughly and with an open mind, it quickly becomes obvious that an ANR is no mere sex act. It’s a way of life. It’s a spiritual mindset that elevates couples to unimaginable heights of intimacy, and is 100% biblical.
The mission and premise behind sites like Ashley Madison is antithetical to those of Christian ANR sites. Some sites are out to destroy the institution of marriage, others aim to strengthen it to the glory of Christ.
Therefore, ANRs have a lot more female fans than Ashley Madison.
November 2015 update: among search phrases leading to this blog are “how to start ANR with husband” and “how to convince husband about ANR”. I’m yet to see a single one about convincing wives about ANRs. This reinforces the belief that women are equally interested in ANRs, they’re just less likely to advertise their desires on dating sites or anywhere online for that matter.
December 30, 2016 update: today marks the first day I’ve officially seen a search query leading to this blog that’s about starting an ANR with one’s wife – over a year after noticing a pattern of women researching how to start ANRs with their husbands, although earlier this year, there were two queries for “husband wants anr” that went unnoticed.
I don’t think there’s a consensus within the ANR community. Personally, I don’t waste time. I’m completely convinced that an ANR is a huge blessing, so I’m upfront about it. My general principle is first or second date depending on how well we appear to get along, and if she’s an online prospect then it’s always the first Skype video chat. I feel something this beneficial and Christ-exalting should be brought up sooner rather than later. I really don’t want to lead a woman on.
Being candid serves us both. There’s no point waiting until our engagement party to reveal something of this magnitude. I always begin my disclosure by acknowledging how early it is to speak of such intimate matters, but I’m also always sure to let her know my firm belief that the earlier, the better. I have never had a woman get upset at my timing, most likely because of my gradual, cautious approach to broaching the subject, it’s quite the contrary as they always tend to be grateful for my early disclosure. I must reiterate the necessity of cordiality in this kind of situation. Needless to say, there has to be a certain level of safety and warmth between two people before something this intimate is revealed, whether that level is reached on the first date or the tenth, so I usually first chat about spiritual topics and other things for at least an hour before the revelation. Also important: be sure to reveal in a place that affords you no privacy, such as a restaurant. It is my firm conviction that when dating, Christians should have no visual privacy, auditory privacy is understandable.
I’m repeating myself by saying fifteen minutes into the date might be a tad early, and for me, fifteen dates is too long, because I don’t want to end up developing feelings for a woman who rejects this beautiful intimacy.
“Dating has enough pitfalls already. Why open the door to something additional to lust after, after only one date?”, some Christians might object.
Great question. To that I say individual results vary. I don’t recommend everyone follow my M.O. Personally, I don’t view any of the ladies any differently. With me, I honestly see zero chance of an ANR happening before marriage. I still see them the same way – as God’s daughters, with all purity, and I’ve seen little evidence of them lusting after me subsequent to the ANR revelation. To me, the foreknowledge of an ANR in marriage is like having foreknowledge of sex in marriage- and we all fall under that category. So talking about it cautiously before marriage does little to nothing to increase the temptation every Christian couple already faces when dating. Moreover, it’s hard for authentic Christians to have ANRs without being found out because of the major commitment required.
First, to maximize your chances of succeeding, only date the type of Christian that’s highly likely to say yes. For guys, it means aiming for the soft, nurturing girl. If you see no signs of feminine softness in her, you’re likely to be wasting your time and hers. Ladies, your best bet is a secure, open-minded gentleman who is anything but a sexually repressed prude.
Focusing on the spiritual aspects of an ANR and the unrivaled intimacy is the way to begin. Thus I always start by saying “I firmly believe a husband and wife should be as intimate as humanly possible.” Few would disagree with that.
Do not proceed before clearing any objections on this critical point. I’ve found that whoever rejects this fundamental biblical principle would obviously reject an ANR.
I always make sure we’re comfortable with each other, and have also usually begun with lines like “there’s something I want in marriage I must reveal. I’ve always desired this particularly beautiful and loving thing but most people don’t practice or discuss it. I want to guard your mind so I’ll be careful in how I describe it. It’s basically about a husband and wife bonding extremely deeply with each other, on a level no other physical act can match, in my opinion. Curious to know more?”
That’s only the intro. I continue to pique her interest by trying to convince her of CN’s benefits, before finally revealing it.
Very important is the need to quote some rave reviews given ANRs by members of your date’s sex. One possibility, if he/she is comfortable enough, is to show real, clean profiles of ANRSpace members of their sex expressing the beauty of Couples Nursing in their own words.
Be very gentle and patient; with something as intimate and “taboo” as an ANR, it’s better to take too much time than too little. Give him/ her time to think and pray about it. Remember to guard his/her heart and mind by pointing him or her only to Christian/non-arousing ANR resources. Failure to heed this warning nearly cost me a friendship or two with some amazing godly women.
If you’re like me, you’d preface it extensively, and the person would ask you to just go for it. This cautious hesitation on my part as I carefully deliver my long preface serves to build suspense, and by the time I tell them it has an erotic component, they’re dying to know more. The combination of being gentle, sounding sincere, not immediately shooting for it, first telling them the benefits before actually disclosing what it is, supplying supporting quotes from ANR-interested women and inserting a clear warning of its sexual nature has always served me well. The ladies’ curiosity alone helps ease the tension.
This gentle, gradual method is the only one that has consistently yielded positive results for me. Using this approach, I still enjoy good relationships with almost all the women to whom I revealed this desire, even those that declined the proposal.
I wish you God’s best as you disclose this beautiful, God-glorifying, marriage-enhancing desire to your potential spouse.
ABF, Adult Nursing Relationships, ANR, ANR apologetics, Bible, Biblical defense, Book of Proverbs, breast milk, Central argument, Doula, Doulos, Erotic lactation, Geneva Bible, Husband breastfeeding, Jesus Christ, Scripture, Sexual apologetics, Song of Solomon
One word changes everything
Centuries ago, English translators perpetrated a fraud in the New Testament, and it’s been purposely hidden and covered up ever since … the Greek word for slave (doulos) had been mistranslated in almost every English version- going back to both the King James Version and the Geneva Bible that predated it … translators … had obscured a precious, powerful, and clarifying revelation by the Holy Spirit. Undoubtedly, the cover-up was not intentional – at least not initially. Yet its results have been dramatically serious … I have no doubt that this perpetual hiding of an essential element of New Testament revelation has contributed to much of the confusion in evangelical teaching and practice.
– Excerpts from Slave: the hidden truth about your identity in Christ by John MacArthur.
The mistranslation of one word completely changes how we see ourselves in relation to Christ. Doulos, the Greek word for slave is often mistranslated ‘servant’ or ‘bondservant’ in our English Bibles. This has a profound undermining effect on how we view Christ and our salvation.
Some compelling biblical evidence for Adult Nursing Relationships is found in Proverbs 5:19, which in the original Hebrew reads “Let her breasts satiate you at all times.” According to Strong’s Hebrew, the word translated ‘satisfy’ in v. 19 of many English versions is yə-raw-wu-ḵā, whose root is ravah, Strong’s number 7301, which according to his Exhaustive Concordance and other concordances, means to bathe, make drunk, take the fill, satiate, abundantly satisfy, soak, water abundantly, slake the thirst (occasionally of other appetites), drench, drink, drink its fill and fill.
Don’t just skip to the next paragraph. Actually click on the three links above, especially the third one, and read the evidence for yourself.
Just like the mistranslation of the word doulos might be a reason some people now think Jesus is their “homeboy”, one mistranslated Old Testament word has undermined the marriage relationship through the centuries.
To prevent heresy, it is of utmost importance that the Bible be read in context, so if we look at the fifth chapter of the Book of Proverbs in its entirety, with words and phrases like fountains, wells, springs, streams of water and drinking from one’s own cisterns, we observe that it speaks volumes of the fact that God has ordained wives to be wellsprings of refreshment to their husbands. Verses 18-20 read
18 “Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satiate you at all times;
be led astray always in her love.
20 Why should you be led astray, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of a foreign woman?”
The biblical evidence for Adult Nursing Relationships hardly gets any clearer than the preceding.
I think the preceding verses and Strong’s definition constitute sufficient evidence in any case for ANRs, but there’s even more biblical and extra-biblical evidence that strongly suggests God had a specific purpose when He created breasts and the institution of marriage.
Though his sexual greed was certainly not divinely endorsed, King Solomon, with his thousand wives and concubines might have known a thing or two about how to maintain passion in the bedroom. ABF appears to have been a common practice in his day, but translators most likely obscured the nursing reference, likely to make the verse more palatable to readers.
Song of Solomon 7:8 likens breasts to clusters of the vine. What’s the resemblance of breasts to clusters of grapes? None. Except they both produce a sweet liquid. In my opinion, this most likely refers to Adult Breastfeeding. (I personally prefer the term Couples Nursing, as it sounds far more biblical than the two commonly used terms, and I’d love it if we Christians could popularize it).
In Song 8:2, the bride says “I would lead you into my mother’s house, to the room of she who taught me. I would give you spiced wine squeezed from my pomegranate”, an obvious reference to Couples Nursing, since a pomegranate resembles nothing on a woman’s body except her breasts.
The PRIMARY reason God gave women breasts is to breastfeed. Not to feel sexy when stepping out showing cleavage, or to sell Victoria’s Secret bras. Simply to produce breast milk. Now, many would agree with this but assert that the milk is strictly for babies, which is why milk production starts during pregnancy. If breast milk were meant for husbands, they might add, God would cause wives to start lactating immediately couples become intimate. On the surface, this seems like a valid argument, but let’s remember that men are involved in the childbirth process. Without men, it would be 99.999% impossible for women to lactate naturally.
A biblically knowledgeable woman on ANRSpace said if breastfeeding were for babies alone, breasts won’t develop until pregnancy, then they’ll quickly shrivel up after the child is weaned. Women who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding would be as flat as an ironing board. I couldn’t agree more.
What if God wants husbands to continue long after babies are finished, or even induce before they’re born? Another ANR-loving woman opined “to have breasts almost all your life only to use for less than two years on each child is a waste.”
It’s also important to note that humans are the only creatures whose mammary glands permanently remain in a protruding state once developed. Even secular Wikipedia says “the constantly protruding breasts of the adult human female, unusually large relative to body size, are a unique evolutionary development whose purpose is not yet fully known… other mammals tend to have less conspicuous mammary glands that protrude only while actually filling with milk.” As an ANR-loving Christian, I felt vindicated reading that. Could it be the evolutionary purpose will never be known because there isn’t any? God’s sovereign plan is to confound human intellectual arrogance.
Verses like Proverbs 5:19, Ezekiel 23:3, 8 and 21 tell us that breasts also serve a secondary sexual purpose. So the only functions of breasts are to nurture and provide sexual pleasure, and the only way to combine both functions is to nurse one’s husband. As we’ll read further down, there’s no logical reason to keep the two separate.
I came across a believer online who reminds us that God could easily have created women to lactate only after giving birth. But the fact that lactation can be induced hints at some additional purpose for lactation, and the long time it takes to successfully induce and produce enough milk (sometimes up to 6+ months) weakens the counter argument that induction is only for feeding adopted babies, since these babies would likely starve to death or grow out of their need for milk by then.
In Matthew 21, Jesus Christ cursed the fig tree that didn’t bear fruit, and in the parable of the talents, the worthless servant who failed to multiply the only talent he was handed eventually got cast into the outer darkness, where there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth. God is extremely serious about His creation multiplying His gifts and bearing fruit. In His economy, nothing goes to waste. Not even our body parts.
Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus prioritizing people’s physical needs over the foolish legalism of the Pharisees, as He healed the sick on the Sabbath. Contrary to what some modern-day Pharisees assert, verses that tell us to flee sexual immorality don’t command us to suppress our beautiful, God-given desire for physical intimacy. God, the author of the Law and Creator of our bodies, cares about the Spirit of the Law just as much as the letter.
1 Corinthians 1 tells us God frustrates the wisdom of the “wise”. He uses things that seem foolish and simple to judge them but save His people. ANR definitely seems foolish to most. Men doing something associated with babies, and women feeding men in the most intimate way possible flies in the face of all we’re told to believe in our ultra-modern world. God, however, cherishes child-like simplicity and submissiveness. Verses 27-29 inform us that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; He chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” The Reformation Study Bible has the following to say about verse 21: “This passage is filled with intense irony. Those who are wise according to the standards of the world think the gospel is foolish. But even the most ‘foolish’ thing about God is wiser than human wisdom (vv. 25, 27). God can use the simplicity of the gospel to demonstrate that real foolishness belongs to those who oppose Him (v. 27). The arrogance of human wisdom blinds unbelievers to the truth. Jesus thanked the Father for His good pleasure in hiding these things from the wise and learned but revealing them to little children (Matt. 11:25, 26).”
This “foolish” act brings unparalleled stability and unity to marriages, and non-Christians also make this claim. One woman noted how it’s the single most stabilizing force in her marriage.
More women would participate in ANRs if not for the submissiveness they imagine it requires from them. One Christian woman actually admitted to this being the deterrent for her. Initially shocked to learn about a sister in Christ nonchalantly admitting her aversion to submission, the very thing God requires of wives, I later saw this as a watershed moment. Perhaps the heart of the matter is that some women are in rebellion against God’s mandate to voluntarily submit to their husbands’ loving leadership. Another Christian woman listed one of her reasons as not wanting the commitment an ANR requires to interfere with her corporate career. So we have an unsubmissive spirit and selfish ambition. At the root of excuses made to avoid an ANR usually lies sin. These two refusers only strengthened my resolve to marry an ANR-desiring woman.
From their objections, it’s clear many Christian women are heavily influenced by our 21st century culture, rather God’s unchanging Word.
My experiences mostly relate to women who reject ANRs but I know millions of men are also turned off by the idea, and in their case, the two things responsible, I think, are pride and insecurity. Women aren’t the problem. Men aren’t either. The real problem is that we’ve all been systematically deceived ever since Adam fell.
Though the saying “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” isn’t found verbatim in the Bible, its origins lie in it. In the case of ANRs, we can say idle breasts are the devil’s workshop, and society confirms God’s take on idleness as we use breasts for all the wrong purposes, everything except their natural function. It’s actually quite troubling how society is desensitized to this inconsistency and cries foul when breasts are used for their God-given purpose, as illustrated in the picture below.
So if we agree that
then it follows logically that every married woman should be lactating or actively trying to lactate, which is logically equivalent to saying that after a woman’s first pregnancy, it makes more biblical sense to continue to use her breasts to serve her nearest and dearest, namely her babies and husband, rather than the false productivity of having them serve as dry, self-image boosting tools or advertising props. While reading an apologetics book, I learned about intrinsic versus instrumental worth. Human beings have intrinsic worth because we were made in the image and likeness of God. A screwdriver, on the other hand, only has instrumental worth. A lady who uses her breasts to nurture while strengthening her bond with the object of her nurturing realizes her breasts’ intrinsic worth while one who uses them to get attention, increase her self-esteem, or manipulate male co-workers is deceived into viewing her breasts as instruments, as means to an end. Sadly, many ladies have believed the enemy’s lies. Thank God for His Truth that sets them free.
As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, roughly 90% of women on ANR dating sites are well-endowed. This strongly suggests that the more aware we are of our blessedness in any given area, the greater our craving to make use of those gifts with which we’ve been blessed. It’s simply how God has designed His creatures, to bring to Himself the maximum glory.
It is my belief that the longing to nurse her husband lies buried deep within every woman. Well-endowed women are leading the CN revolution because this yearning tends to be strongest in them.
I’ve come across a few ANR women who are birth doulas. ‘Doula’ happens to be the female form of the Greek term for slave discussed in the opening paragraph. This finding is extremely biblical, because the words doulos or doula appear throughout the original Greek New Testament. As John MacArthur reminds us in the aforementioned Slave, Christians by identity are slaves of Christ. We are also called to be servant-hearted towards our fellow human beings. I realized this ANR-doula discovery was no coincidence and was pleased with it, as I was to find out many women with ANR interests are involved in the nursing profession. It’s also no coincidence that these two biblical terms that seem suspiciously mistranslated are somehow connected.
There are several health reasons for engaging in an ANR. If female participants maintain their normal diet, they lose hundreds of calories daily. Since many women struggle with their weight and men burn calories faster, the idea is heaven-sent: transfer excess calories to your husband and he’ll burn them for you. To me, it appears to be a particularly efficient system, and there’s even more symbiosis occurring than that. God loves interdependence among believers.
Additionally, breastfeeding women have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, and ANRs mean women are more mindful of everything they ingest, as they’re eating for two. What unspeakable intimacy and consideration. Even a nonbeliever remarked “the bond is so deep, it’s spiritual.” There are monetary benefits as well, because an ANR couple can save up to $100 a month on food. I know that’s a very different way to look at it, but the savings really do add up.
There is a personal health benefit for me. Among many health-promoting ingredients, breast milk contains something that directly helps in my healing. What’s more interesting, the health problem I have makes it more difficult to prepare meals. 🙂
That I never heard of any couple who tried an ANR for a significant amount of time and had negative reviews, but have only witnessed the opposite, is evidence that there’s something uniquely special about this bond. It appears that for the most part, there’s only a one-way flow of traffic into the ANR lifestyle.
I have noticed the plethora of biblical qualities in ANR women: they tend to be traditional, very comfortable with their femininity, homemakers, very family-oriented, warm, dearly love their husbands and include them in everything, generous, humble, honest, simple, self-giving (not takers), down to earth, nurturers, comforters, caring, sweet, positive-minded, voluntarily submissive, sexual, bold, and the list goes on. In short, I’m convinced that godly women who love ABF are extraordinarily well-rounded and make the best wives, bar none. They exude much inner and outer beauty. They’re the truly beautiful women of old that our society wants us to forget.
Speaking of being comfortable with their femininity, I came across two ANR bloggers that although well-endowed, hate wearing bras and only wear them when in public. I pondered that for a little while and eventually came to the conclusion that it’s a praiseworthy lifestyle choice. I’ve also noticed that some ANR women include their men even in areas that most people deem off-limits to husbands, such as assisting with childbirth. These women realize that the majority of men aren’t jerks and reject our culture’s insistence that all men are insensitive perverts.
Simply knowing she’s providing her husband something good, knowing she has a man who looks forward to literally and figuratively drawing the sweetness out of her, boosts a woman’s self-image in a very meaningful, non-superficial way.
Also, ANR wives preach the gospel without words. Breastfeeding isn’t always smooth sailing, but as Christ “took one” for His spouse on the cross, they also make sacrifices for the good of their marriage.
God loves the unity that ensues from an ANR. Genesis 2:24 says the two become one flesh. One couple said their ANR makes them more in tune to each other’s needs. Each time a CN wife’s heart beats, it goes to work for her husband, as it pumps nutrients throughout her bloodstream, some of which eventually wind up in his.
ANR fans tend to be very passionate people who desire the deepest intimacy. I think these qualities point to God because He is the ultimate exemplar of passion and intimacy. He doesn’t mildly hate sin or slightly love His redeemed. A Christian husband and wife should similarly model this passion, and I believe the Bible teaches that Christian couples should be as intimate as humanly possible in every sense: spiritually, physically, emotionally, sexually, psychologically, and in every other way because Ephesians 5 tells us this reflects the intimacy Christ has with the church, plus the perfect intimacy in the Trinity isn’t a bad thing to emulate. Dr. RC Sproul again comments on Ephesians 5:28-32: “A person’s union with his or her own body is intimate and permanent, and marriage creates a similar union (Gen. 2:24). Christ has joined the church to Himself through the bonds of the covenant He fulfilled, and this intimate union forms an analogy for Christian marriage.”
People just can’t seem to get over the hang up that breastfeeding is supposedly for babies alone. Babies are adorable, but bear with me for a second. Imagine for a moment that they don’t exist. Let’s further imagine that all women lactate all the time. In this scenario, we quickly see that ANRs would be inevitable, we also see that there’s nothing wrong with a man enjoying a sweet, nutritious fluid from his wife. Again, lactation can be induced, which means no pregnancy or babies necessary for milk to flow. Besides, real life ABF sessions are nothing like most people imagine them: a horny husband – who some picture wearing diapers – moving a hungry baby aside in order to help himself. In the majority of real ANRs, there’s no baby at all in the picture. No diapers either, just two married, consenting adults bonding on a level that can’t be matched by anything except the spiritual disciplines.
I’ll venture to say people who can’t leave babies out of the ABF picture are really the ones with difficulty suppressing intrusive thoughts. Those who insist on mentally inviting children into the ANR bedroom are the real pedophiles, the ones with some psychological attachment issues, not us. Please forgive my bluntness but I also really think ANR bashers are being prudes. I don’t think milk from a breast has ever killed anyone, or caused any psychological damage.
Sexual attitudes change over time. I haven’t done my research but I’m willing to bet there was a time in antiquity when kissing was seen as taboo and the mouth as being only meant for its basic functions such as talking and eating. More recently, as recently as the ’50s, oral sex was widely viewed as part of the domain of prostitutes, far beneath the moral standards of “righteous” folks. Times have really changed because it is now ubiquitous and is often referenced on TV shows and in song lyrics.
There is evidence ABF is gradually coming out of the margins of society. I think in fifty to a hundred years, it will be mainstream, like other formerly taboo forms of intimacy that are now commonly practiced.
It will finally be the norm again, as it most likely was in biblical times.
Although the Bible contains an abundance of references to breastfeeding, even multiple hints at Couples Nursing, to the best of my knowledge, Song 8:2 is the only explicit, incontrovertible, unassailable Scripture reference that encourages it. Proverbs 5, especially verse 19, and Song 7:8 are also extremely strongly suggestive. The marital stability, deeper bond, loving comfort, better sex and increased mutual empathy that ANR-practicing couples of all faiths often report provide extra-biblical evidence of the divine gift of Couples Nursing. Further, if we consider the whole counsel of God, His character, His perfectly harmonious triune intimacy, His just desire to be glorified, His command that His creation be productive, the great love He has for His children, how much He values loving-kindness and warmth among Christians, how much He values good sex among married Christians, and weigh all those in light of the positive reviews ANR-practicing couples always give their relationship, we see that an Adult Nursing Relationship is nothing if not biblical and Christ-honoring.
P.S.: This blog as a whole aims to defend ANRs from a biblical standpoint, although this specific post you just read and this one have that exclusive goal. Throughout the blog are more biblically compelling reasons to engage in an Adult Nursing Relationship only within the bonds of marriage. I invite you to read all posts on Christ-centered ANR for more ANR evidence from Scripture.
A beloved Christian that God used in my salvation story often says something in the same vein as “being Christian doesn’t mean neglecting to apply practical wisdom that aligns with God’s Word.” In other words, we Christians must fight our tendency to over-spiritualize everything.
In our attempt to be spiritual, we sometimes lose our grounding in reality like the Gnostics did, and I’m no exception. Another quote I heard that illustrates this principle is “I’m a Christian, therefore I can go skydiving without a parachute”.
Fact: God has given us physical desires that can cause tension with our new nature in Christ. I struggled with this ANR dilemma for several years: discuss it with a woman who’s not my wife and risk falling into sexual sin. Don’t discuss it until after marriage and risk facing marital difficulties stemming from inadequate intimacy. Err on the side of caution vs. err on the side of marital satisfaction. Which am I to choose?
I recently spoke with my pastor (Pastor JH) about an unrelated topic that’s also had me confounded for some time. He said part of the struggle of living in this fallen world is that things aren’t always so cut and dry, we can’t simply point anywhere in Scripture and say “here’s the answer”, instead we have to wrestle with certain things for some time, learn from sins and mistakes and apply wisdom.
Most Christians agree on the importance of marrying someone who’s as close to our ideal mate as possible in terms of spirituality, compatibility, personality, character, physical appearance and so on, which makes perfect biblical sense, as this reduces the likelihood of infidelity. By the same token, if I were in a marriage that lacked an ANR, the knowledge that there are tens of thousands of Christian women out there willing to give me something my wife refuses would be a major burden and a huge opportunity for Satan.
So we see that being in a marriage in which my genuine needs aren’t met would also hurt my wife. (Is ANR a “genuine need”? In this post and this one, I write what I hope is a proof of the biblical legitimacy of ANRs).
One of the followers of this blog told me she may have no choice but to give up on her search for an ANR-interested man, since Christians don’t talk about something this intimate, and widely seen as taboo. Her frustration demonstrates something: many Christians have desires that, while legitimate and biblical, are also sensual, erotic and rare. What should we do? Suppress them? I contend that doing so is somewhat like skydiving without a parachute. Essentially setting one’s marriage up for a thundering crash.
I tried to suppress my ANR desire for years but it kept rising to the surface every now and then, so I started researching. During my journey, the lack of quality Christian resources led to having an improper covenant with my eyes but I won’t be throwing the baby away with the bathwater, and I’m glad an ever-increasing number of Christians are realizing the bundle of joy an ANR truly is. My research has uncovered a gold mine. I’m an even bigger fan of ANRs and I also see God’s fingerprints all over them. (Again, I pray you’ll find that the biblical defense of ANRs post corroborates this).
Some Christians have a notion that sex must never be discussed, except by married couples, and only in private. I say that notion is flawed, even dangerous.
Knowing you have some uncommon desires but never informing your girlfriend/boyfriend, not even in carefully worded, non-arousing ways, instead choosing to “keep your fingers crossed” until wedding night is superstitious and shortsighted. It only demonstrates false love and false purity, my sincerest apologies to those who have already made that mistake. It won’t serve my newly wedded wife to surprise her with a decades-old yearning. Marriage is meant to be an irreversible covenant, and since one partner’s satisfaction is inextricably tied to the other’s, I want to take careful, calculated measures to ensure my wife and I are on the same page on almost everything, not least of which is something with the capability to set the tone of a marriage like an ANR. Not mentioning my ANR interests before she walks down the aisle is very much like not discussing children, yet secretly hoping she wants exactly the same number as me. Christianity is not wishful thinking. Faith without works is dead, James 2:14-26.
Many would agree that the fight to stay sexually pure is one of the most difficult things about the Christian life. We’re commanded to be spotlessly pure before marriage, but are given the freedom to have tons of sex afterwards. Once again, this leaves those of us with uncommon, deeply ingrained desires in a quagmire. If ANRs were something guaranteed in marriage like sex, or as easy to discuss or popular as cuddling, this blog won’t exist and there would be one less tension point for me and several thousands of Christians worldwide.
But I know difficulty doesn’t necessitate absolute avoidance. In Middle Eastern countries, some young women become undercover lesbians because a primal desire is completely restricted by their religion. Regardless of belief system, we readily see that after a prolonged denial, something is bound to give.
Another example of my belief that some difficult things in the Christian life are necessary and some necessary things are difficult is my resume- it often impresses employers and lands me interviews in one or two job fields, sometimes leading to pride. To combat this, I see two options on the table: beg God for humility as I keep impressing employers, or make my accomplishments, gifts and talents seem average, in order to stay humble. Although there may be cases in which the latter is the more biblical choice, more often than not, an impressive resume belonging to a Christian brings God more glory than a mediocre one. To me, the choice is clear. Likewise, I choose to try securing an ANR with a prospective mate then beg God for purity before tying the knot. Discovering on our wedding night that my wife has no interest in an ANR is a bit like discovering both of your parachutes are malfunctioning immediately after you’ve taken the plunge, except it’s less of an emergency.
“Is it that serious?”, I’ve been asked. “Why do you insist on having an ANR? Aren’t you idolizing it?” As mentioned earlier and elsewhere on this blog, I’ve desired this special bond as far back as I can remember, so without it, I’m sure I’d feel something missing in my marriage and I’d experience the deprivation 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 warns against, because an ANR is a physical relationship like no other. It adds a thick layer of intimacy that can’t be replicated. In my opinion, it’s more intimate than sex, and God has given me the freedom to enjoy it in marriage, just like He’s implanted the same desire in some Christian women, so there’s nothing wrong with two Christians who share the same longing getting together and enjoying it only within the bounds of a strong Christian marriage. And God doesn’t torture His saints, so the same God Who instilled these non-sinful desires in us won’t turn around and forbid us from fulfilling them. See a more comprehensive list of reasons for desiring an ANR here. As far as idolizing it goes, yes, I sometimes struggle with this, but I’m willing to enter an ANR-naive marriage if years of efforts to secure a marital ANR prove unsuccessful. There’s more to life than an ANR. I’m a slave to Christ and His glorious gospel. Nothing else.
Say there’s a Christian that craves a certain ice cream flavor, then gets in the car and drives to the store to buy it, there’s no inherent sin in their actions. If anything, it brings glory to God. Suppressing the craving due to fear of being a glutton is what’s unwise. Yes, I know ANRs and ice cream are two different things, one of those is intrinsically sexual and can easily lead to sin, but my point is that taking steps to secure something we want isn’t always sinful. On the contrary, it can be a noble thing. Again, faith without works is dead.
Bearing in mind that God’s Word almost certainly encourages ABF as an adultery prevention measure, and that sexual repression breeds sexual sin and severe idolatry, I’m finally at peace with this plan:
1. Only pursue the Christian woman who best fits the ANR profile.
2. Discuss my desire in the most cautious way I can manage, directing her only to the very few Christian ANR resources available.
3. Once we reach an agreement, we fight for purity prior to marriage, dependent not on ourselves but on Christ alone. This fight includes being accountable to multiple Christians and letting our initial conversation be the only time we broach the topic before getting married.
The aforementioned conversation with my pastor was regarding the only battle that’s on par with my ANR desire as the most difficult tightrope walk I’ve ever done since meeting Christ almost a decade ago. I thank God for providing some closure.
If a Christian faces a dilemma that primarily affects only him/her as an individual, I strongly believe it’s better to err on the side of caution. If the dilemma has the power to affect the Christian’s marriage like an ANR can, it might be better to err on the side of caution and marital satisfaction. The mistake I and many Christians make is we think it’s one or the other. When considering marriage, God wants us to pursue both caution and mutual marital satisfaction. Which is why I choose to tell potential girlfriends- cautiously.
I don’t want to take a blind leap of faith into marriage.
Considering how few Christian ANR resources are out there, I am extending a warm invitation to guest bloggers. Although there are hundreds of web-savvy Christians with an interest in ANRs, I honestly know fewer than five internet resources that are exclusively Christian, exclusively ANR, so it would be a privilege to have you contribute.
Let’s put godly ANRs on the map so our brothers and sisters in Christ won’t feel alone in this struggle. Please leave a comment or reach me at email@example.com. Thanks, I look forward to teaming up with you for the glory of Christ.
I have visited virtually every active ANR dating site on the web, and while they vary widely in raunchiness or even “pornness”, their content invariably serves as a reminder that Christians are aliens in this fallen world.
I want to give ANRSpace some credit for their efforts towards family friendliness, especially their no-cleavage policy, however simply reading what some people have to say about ANRs sometimes leads to some sinful mental images popping up. To add to that, as a man, when I see picture after picture of well-clothed, albeit “well-equipped” women, I begin to lust. I can handle a few, but not dozens upon dozens.
My proposal is a dating site with the sole purpose of uniting Christians interested in ANRs. I’ve gotten a bit of feedback and discovered enough ANR-minded Christians to know this is a real need. I imagine steps to be taken to ensure purity, such as prohibiting any arousing descriptions of intimate encounters, a zero tolerance policy towards harassment and very importantly, not even allowing pictures in which a woman’s breasts are prominently displayed, among others. I’ve observed that a large majority of ANR-desiring women on dating sites are well-endowed, so I would go beyond ANRSpace in not emphasizing this physical attribute that’s practically granted. Anything necessary to keep our brothers from stumbling, see 1 Corinthians 8:13 and Romans 14:13-23.
The only potential pitfall I foresee is the small chance that members might agree to meet offline and engage in reproachable behavior. Thankfully, an ANR is something difficult for genuine Christians to maintain without being caught. Helps ease that concern.
Since beginning a draft of this post, I’ve actually purchased a domain to that end. If only I had more time and connections, my vision would likely be a reality.
What do you think of these suggestions?
Greetings, everyone. Welcome to a new member of a growing number of blogs dedicated to Adult Nursing Relationships and Adult Breastfeeding (ANR and ABF). I’m creating this blog for two reasons: to show that when done in the only permissible context, marriage, this loving act only strengthens a bond and points to an amazingly wise and compassionate God, and secondly, to meet a special Christian lady that’s just as passionate about it.
Please connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.