We’re trying something new! Podcasts are so hot right now, and we’ve brought on a new team member — me, Mr. Blank — to convert some of our written material into audio. This is an experiment: we’re going to start with our most popular and helpful content, see how it goes.  Please enjoy our first podcast episode, based on the post “Can We *BLANK*?”

(We’re still learning how to do this, so your comments and feedback will be extra-appreciated.)

The Three Women of Proverbs, Part 3: The Wife of Noble Character 1

Finally, the Wife of Noble Character, the “Proverbs 31 Woman”, the final part of our series on the women of Proverbs!

This is the goal! Wouldn’t we all like our husbands to be “singing our praises at the city gates”? Here are some main points I pulled out of the passages about the Wife of Noble Character.

  1. Intoxicate him with your love. Being in a state of intoxication implies that you have been drinking. If you want to intoxicate your spouse, keep drinking love! Make sex a habit. Commit to being intentional. Sex should be maximally pleasurable for both people in the marriage. Find new things to try with each other. Make an effort!
  2. Be prudent. The definition of prudence is: having or showing careful good judgment. If you do a Bible search for prudence, no surprises, the book of Proverbs tops the charts. Here is a summary of a few verses: “doing what is right and just and fair” (1:3), holding your tongue (10:19), “fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult” (12:16), “keep their knowledge to themselves” (12:23), “act with knowledge” (13:16), “give thought to their steps” (14:15). I’m surprised what I learn about myself when I really pay attention to my actions. I want to be more prudent.
  3. Bring your husband good. This implies that you are not doing him harm. Make sure you are giving him your best. Sometimes I notice that I am willing to give my full effort to my kids, projects at work, ministries at church, etc. but at the end of the day I have nothing left to invest in El Fury. Know when you are spreading yourself too thin so that you can preserve enough of yourself at the end of the day to pour into your most important relationship.
  4. Be industrious. Reading Proverbs 31 is daunting. This woman is busy! I can’t tell you what exactly to do with your time, but I can recommend to be efficient in your time. Your time is a finite resource. It is valuable. Consider how you want to spend your time and formulate systems in your life that enable you to spend it well. Use a calendar. El Fury and I share a calendar through Google and it has been incredibly helpful, especially as our kids have gotten older and have things of their own going on. Plan your time. If you plan how you are going to spend your time you are more likely to do it. This has helped me to organize my time so that when El Fury and the kids are home I am able to be present in my time with them. Get up early. I need to tell myself this, especially during the winter months. However, the days that we are disciplined and get up early are often the best days!
  5. Refrain from idleness. This is different from being industrious, but the two go hand-in-hand. When I looked up idleness, it says: not having any real purpose or value, not having much activity. Ask yourself, what is your purpose? What are your goals? Idleness will prevent you from fulfilling your purpose and achieving your goals. When I think of idleness I think about Stephen Covey’s Importance-Urgency Matrix (see: How to Have Time and Energy for Great Sex).  In summary, your time is spent four ways. Urgent and Important (emergencies, etc.), Important but Not Urgent (this is where you want to spend your time – relationships, etc.), Urgent but Not Important (often this is what other people impose on your time), Not Urgent and Not Important (the time wasters, the phone scrolling). If you analyze your time and much of it is spent in the Not Urgent and Not Important category, consider that some of that time might be in idleness. I’m not saying that all of the time in that category is bad or idle, sometimes you need some mindless activities. However if other areas of your life are lacking you might need to reallocate your time.
  6. Fear the Lord. People often confuse the word “fear” with respect, but that sells it short. God is to be feared and respected. I touched on this already in the Adulterous Woman post. Don’t be flippant in your attitude towards God. He is a loving, good God, but He is also that same God in Hebrews that says “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31)

Proverbs 5:18‭-‬19: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

Proverbs 12:4: “A wife of noble character is her husbandʼs crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”

Proverbs 18:22: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”

Proverbs 19:14: “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

Proverbs 31:10‭-‬31: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Other parts of this series:

The Three Women of Proverbs, Part 2: The Nagging and Quarrelsome Wife 2

Continuing this series on the women of Proverbs, we come to the nagging and quarrelsome wife. These verses are convicting. Nothing needs to be said on exactly what you are doing when you are nagging or quarreling. You know. When you are this type of wife, it is better for your husband to “live on the corner of the roof” or “in a desert”. If that doesn’t inspire self-loathing I don’t know what will! It is intolerable to be around someone that nags you and wants to pick a fight with you. According to Proverbs you would be better off living in extreme conditions than sharing a home with such a person. This makes me think twice before picking a fight with El Fury. James refers to the tongue as “a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8) We would be wise to bridle it and think twice before nagging.

Proverbs 14:1 is very interesting. It doesn’t speak directly about nagging and quarreling, but I included it with those verses because I thought it related well. “The wise woman builds her house.” Remember how it was during those first years of marriage? I was so attentive to our home and to El Fury’s needs. I built my house with care. I looked after others more than myself. The second part of this verse should serve as a warning. “But with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” What happens? This sounds like self-sabotage. Does this wife stop being intentional, stop tending to her marriage with care? Does her speech become characterized by nagging and quarreling?

Of course nobody wants to be the one that is tearing their home down. The problem is that your home might already be falling apart before you are willing to identify the problem. You might not even see that it is falling down until you are standing in the midst of rubble. Now, I’m not saying that it is solely the responsibility of the wife to keep her home intact. It takes two people working together to make a home thrive.

How do we identify if we are becoming nagging and quarrelsome? Watch yourself. Pay attention to what you are saying. It’s so hard to accept that you might be contributing to the problem. I can look back over the years of my marriage and see how in my pride I wanted to point the finger only at my husband. Somehow I forget that my marriage is not about keeping score and proving I’m right. The goal is peace. The goal is sharing your life in a way that builds your home in a beautifully integrated way that makes it hard to tear down.

Sex is a good reset button. Don’t withhold sex from your spouse as a means to get them to do whatever you are nagging them about. That’s manipulative and wrong. Similarly, if you are quarreling, try to follow up by being intimate. I’m not saying to forget about your problems and just have sex. Fix your problems together. Then re-engage physically. I know if El Fury and I have had an argument, I often feel like things are back to normal after we’ve had sex again.

When I find myself being nagging or quarrelsome, I try to picture El Fury standing on the corner of the roof. I don’t like it when he has to go up on our roof for anything, so this is an especially good exercise for me. The point is, I love him. Whatever it is that I’m nagging about or picking a fight with him for, if I can re-approach it from a solution minded viewpoint then the communication can become about the problem instead of the person. It takes effort! Your marriage is worth the effort.

Proverbs 14:1: “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Proverbs 19:13: “A foolish child is a fatherʼs ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.”

Proverbs 21:9: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

Proverbs 21:19: “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”

Proverbs 25:24: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

Proverbs 27:15‭-‬16: “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.”

Other parts of this series:

The Three Women of Proverbs, Part 1: The Adulterous Woman 3

Proverbs is an amazing book, and I’ve made a habit of reading the chapter of the book that corresponds to the day of the month. There are three types of women that are highlighted in Proverbs: the adulterous woman, the quarrelsome wife, and the wife of noble character. This three-post series will examine each of these types, starting today with the Adulterous Woman.

Proverbs has a lot to say about the Adulterous Woman. She is dangerous — and no wonder. This type of woman has the capability to burn up everything you hold dear in your life. Your marriage, your family, even your career. Her house “leads down to death” and “none who go to her return or attain the paths of life”. This is a serious warning. How often have we seen this happen? How do we protect ourselves from this danger?

  1. “Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman.” Wisdom is a lifelong acquirement, so this is no easy suggestion. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” This statement could fill up a book. God is powerful, sovereign, and holy. You should have a proper fear of God, and that fear should humble you. If you live your life through that lens a lot of things will orient in a good way, including your marriage. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Fear God, pray for wisdom, and read God’s Word which is full of wisdom.
  2. Guard your marriage. This could also be another book. Your marriage is the most important relationship in your life, and it is worth guarding. Guard your time together, guard your speech to one another and about one another. Be truthful to each other and identify problems as they arise. Do not slander one another to your friends and do not make friends with people that will entice you to engage in that sort of conversation. Trust your spouse and assume they want the best for you. People don’t typically set out to intentionally commit adultery. But if you aren’t diligently tending to your marriage you might unknowingly be taking small steps towards that path.
  3. Make sex a priority. You need this. Intimate contact creates physical and emotional bonding. The more satisfied you both are in your sex life the less likely you will be to look for satisfaction outside of your marriage.

Proverbs 2:16‭-‬19: “Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.  Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead.  None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.”

Proverbs 5:3‭-‬6: “For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil;  but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.”

Proverbs 6:24‭-‬29: “Keeping you from your neighborʼs wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.  Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.  For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another manʼs wife preys on your very life.  Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?  Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?  So is he who sleeps with another manʼs wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.”

Proverbs 7:10‭-‬12: “Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.  (She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home;  now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.)”

Proverbs 7:26‭-‬27: “Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.  Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.”

Proverbs 23:27‭-‬28: “For an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well.  Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.”

Other parts of this series:

"Is this site for real?" 4

An email from new reader “YN”:

Is this site for real? When I started reading I thought it might be a satire like “The Onion”.

My wife and I have been best friends and married for more than five decades, and swallow? Pearl necklace? Maybe in my dreams. Most Christians that I know think intercourse is just for the purpose of procreation, period. Is this a fringe group?

The most frequent emails we get about about more sex and oral sex, but emails like the one above aren’t uncommon and they made me sad. Maybe that feeling is misplaced — YN and his wife might have a great sex life that satisfies them both. But that he says “maybe in my dreams”  makes me think not, and isn’t that tragic?

Fifty years is a long time, but it’s never too late to take your sex life to the next level. Don’t wait! You may not be blessed with fifty years together. Have the hard conversation soon — tonight. Be honest and open and vulnerable. Your sex life with your spouse can be amazing! That’s God’s will.

Proverbs 5:15-20

Drink water from your own cistern,
   running water from your own well.
Should your springs overflow in the streets,
   your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
   never to be shared with strangers.
May your fountain be blessed,
   and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—
   may her breasts satisfy you always,
   may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
   Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

Sleep and Sex Are Better Than Wealth 5

Proverbs 15:16 says: “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.”

Psalm 127:2 says: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to those he loves.”

Proverbs 5:18-19 says: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

Maybe the Bible is on to something! Scientists have recently discovered that sleep and sex make you happier than wealth!

The new happiness index, developed by Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research, and commissioned by Sainsbury’s, has found that sex and sleep are the two things that have the strongest association with a person’s happiness and wellbeing – well above money. Researchers found that while upping your income (even if you quadruple it) causes very little increase to your happiness, being well-rested and well-sexed have a significant impact on how joyful you feel. The study involved polling 8,250 Britons, finding that the average person has a Living Well score of 62.2.

Those who get the most sleep were found the score 15 points higher on the index than those who struggle with sleep, while people who are deeply dissatisfied with their sex lives scored seven points lower than those who said they’re very satisfied. To be clear – very satisfied doesn’t mean these people are having loads of sex. It just means they’re very happy with the quality and frequency of the sex they’re having. Increasing your household income from £12,500 to £50,000, meanwhile, results in an increase of only two points.

So quit working late, leave the chores for later, and go to bed with your spouse!

Sex Q&A: Christian Wife Swapping, Swinging 6

We’ve gotten enough emails on the topic that it’s worth addressing: is it ok for Christians to engage in swinging or wife swapping? (None of the emails we’ve received are suitable for quotation.) I suppose we get these emails because it’s obvious from our blog that Sexy Corte and I are pro-sex and enjoy some kinky stuff that isn’t discussed at church. I’m not sure if the folks who email us are genuinely wondering what the Bible has to say on swinging or if they’re looking for someone to help rationalize existing behavior, but I’m going to give a sincere answer.

Swinging or wife swapping is a sin called adultery, and is never acceptable to God. It doesn’t matter if you, your spouse, and the other couple all consent — God doesn’t consent. The Seventh Commandment is short and to the point:

Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery.”

Jesus raises the bar set in the Old Testament:

Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

A person might claim, “It’s not adultery if my spouse knows about it and approves.” However, the definition of adultery makes no such distinction, and never has throughout human history.

voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.

The bottom line here is similar to an earlier Q&A on threesomes:

God’s will is that sex should be reserved exclusively for a husband and a wife. So, while there aren’t many limits on what you and your wife can do together, you can’t bring someone else into your sexual relationship. Neither spouse can give the other spouse permission to commit adultery — adultery isn’t just a sin against your spouse, it’s a sin against God. Permission from your spouse doesn’t make adultery acceptable to God. It is never acceptable to have sex outside of your marriage. See also: Proverbs 5, “be intoxicated always in her love”Hebrews 13:4, and Proverbs 7.

If your marriage is happy, swinging won’t strengthen it; if your marriage is unhappy, wife swapping won’t fix any of the underlying problems. We strongly exhort every married couple to keep their sex life exclusive to themselves. This is what God commands through the Bible, and worldly experience says the same thing.

See also: Are There Any Sexual Limits or Boundaries in a Christian Marriage?

Please use the contact pages for Sexy Corte and El Fury to send us your questions. We will only share your question if you give us permission, and we’ll never reveal your name or any other identifying information. You can ask questions anonymously, or use a free anonymous email server like Mailinator.

Sex Q&A: Can Christians have Threesomes? 7

Reader “B” asks:

What are your thoughts on FFM threesomes?

My wife has expressed interest in a FFM threesome where I as the husband would only interact with my wife and she can interact with the other female. We are both Christians and are struggling with this desire. While wanting to pursue this we are also burdened with the sinful nature of it. What are your thoughts regarding this? There has been some girl/girl stuff happen in the past as part of some experimenting while we were married and I was present for it. But we are looking into the swinging lifestyle and have rules and boundaries in place and nothing has happened yet. Wanting another Christians viewpoint on this situation.

As we wrote in our post about sexual boundaries in marriage, God’s will is that sex should be reserved exclusively for a husband and a wife. So, while there aren’t many limits on what you and your wife can do together, you can’t bring someone else into your sexual relationship. Neither spouse can give the other spouse permission to commit adultery — adultery isn’t just a sin against your spouse, it’s a sin against God. Permission from your spouse doesn’t make adultery acceptable to God. It is never acceptable to have sex outside of your marriage. See also: Proverbs 5, “be intoxicated always in her love”Hebrews 13:4, and Proverbs 7.

If that’s not enough, it’s easy to Google for something like “threesome ruined my marriage” and find hundreds of horror stories. Of course, you think your marriage is differentbut everyone thinks that. 93% of Americans think they’re better-than-average drivers. If you and your spouse are currently pretty happy in your marriage, having a threesome is very likely to cause a huge amount of damage. You can read one such story in Genesis 16 and 21, about Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar.

On the other hand, if you and your spouse aren’t happy in your marriage, a threesome won’t fix things. There are a zillion reasons for marital dissatisfaction, but think about it: why would adding a third person to the dynamic strengthen your relationship with your spouse? It may temporarily distract you from the pain and frustration you’re feeling — like becoming an alcoholic — but it won’t resolve any of the problems that are actually causing dissatisfaction. If your marriage is having trouble, drinking more alcohol isn’t likely to improve things… you’ll just self-medicate yourself into oblivion. In the end, you’ll be worse off than you are now. Peruse our blog or any of the links on the sidebar for ideas on how to spice up your sex life with your spouse.

We strongly exhort every married couple to keep their sex life exclusive to themselves. This is what God commands through the Bible, and worldly experience says the same thing.

“B” replies:

Thank you for your response. We have done a lot research and we agree that it is sinful and should not be pursued. That being said, the feelings are still there for us both and that will be a struggle. Our faith was strong when we first got married and there have been bumps in the road but we are both very happy in our marriage and in life. I do struggle in my faith because of my job as a firefighter/paramedic and the stuff I have to see and deal with makes it hard to believe that there’s a God that loves us and watches over us.

It’s good that B and his wife have avoided this sin. It’s common to look at the evil, pain, and death that surround us in the world and wonder why God hasn’t prevented it — but he’s given us the ability to stand against evil by the power of the Holy Spirit. The choices we make can be holy, glorifying to God, and healing to mankind, or they can be selfish and evil. Resist temptation and make good choices! We’re grateful for people like B who put their lives on the line to protect us.

See also: Sex Q&A: Christian Wife Swapping, Swinging

Please use the contact pages for Sexy Corte and El Fury to send us your questions. We will only share your question if you give us permission, and we’ll never reveal your name or any other identifying information. You can ask questions anonymously, or use a free anonymous email server like Mailinator.

Can we *Blank*? 8

This post is also available as a podcast: Podcast #001: Can We *BLANK*?

Are there any sexual limits or boundaries in a Christian marriage? Long-time readers of our blog may not be surprised at the short answer: no! But, of course, there are a few caveats worth discussing. In general, God has given us a wide field of freedom that is fenced with a few rules for our protection. Some rules are precise and explicit (example: “do not commit adultery”) while others require discretion (example: “love your neighbor as yourself”), but we think the principles are pretty easy to apply to sex in marriage.

  • Sex in marriage must involve only the married couple. The only holy sex is sex between a married husband and wife. Spouses cannot agree between themselves to bring other people into their sexual relationship. Any sexual practices that involve anyone other than the husband and the wife are sinful. There are numerous passages in the Bible that command strict monogamy; consider this post about Proverbs 5, “be intoxicated always in her love”Hebrews 13:4, and Proverbs 7.
  • Sex in marriage must be consensual. The Bible is pretty heavy on love and humility, and there’s no place for non-consensual sexual activity in a loving relationship between humble spouses. You’re free to play at non-consensual sex if both spouses desire it, as long as it’s play that is founded on real consent. Power exchanges, like bondage play, can be quite fun, as long as it’s play. Consider Philippians 2:3 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
  • Sex in marriage must be satisfying for both spouses. Sex in your marriage must satisfy your sexual needs and your spouse’s. One aspect of satisfaction is frequency — sex needs to be as frequent as is required for each spouse to avoid temptation into sexual immorality. When one spouse is feeling angsty, the other spouse must satisfy that need (to the extent possible, given health, distance, etc.). Each spouse must also make a good-faith effort to satisfy the other’s specific sexual desires, as long as those desires don’t violate one of the other bullet points in this post. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

  •  Sex in marriage must be done in faith. It’s beyond the scope of this post to explore the topic exhaustively, but consider Paul’s teaching about eating food offered to idols in 1 Corinthians 8. Some of the Corinthians believed it was a sin to eat such food, while others knew that the idols had no spiritual power and that therefore the food offered to the idols was no different from any other food. Paul instructs each person to follow his conscience with regards to such food, but to be careful that the strong do not cause the weak to stumble. Applying this principle to sex: as long as you don’t violate an explicit command as described in the points above, you can have sex however you want in your marriage — but don’t push your freedom on others and thereby cause them to stumble. See also 1 John 3:18-21 and Titus 1:15.

1 Corinthians 8:8-9 — However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

We get a lot of emails asking, “can we do X, Y, and Z?” The purpose of this post is to give couples a framework they can use to decide that for themselves. As long as the activity is only between spouses, is consensual, meets both spouses’ needs, and is done in faith, then the answer is yes, you can do it! In fact, our prayer is that as your marriage matures spiritually you will agree with each other to push back your boundaries and enjoy the full breadth of sexual freedom that God has given you in your marriage. God’s plan is for you and your spouse to have an amazing sex life together!

Finally, Sexy Corte and I want to give you our personal recommendation: don’t forget to prioritize traditional intercourse — penis-in-vagina.

Be Intoxicated Always in Her Love 9

The first half of Proverbs chapter 5 contains warnings against adultery — what will happen if you succumb to temptation. The second half of the chapter, verses 5:15-23 are an exhortation to delight in the joy and sexuality of your marriage. The imagery is beautiful and erotic, which shouldn’t be surprising since it was written by King Solomon.

Drink water from your own cistern,
    flowing water from your own well.
Should your springs be scattered abroad,
    streams of water in the streets?
Let them be for yourself alone,
    and not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
    a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
    be intoxicated always in her love.
Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
    and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?

The encouragement here is directed at husbands, and the first metaphor is the wife as a fountain overflowing with fresh water. Why would a man drink from another person’s well, when his own is overflowing? Likewise, why would he share refreshment that is meant for him with another? Water sustains, refreshes, and purifies. A husband’s desire for his wife is like a man trudging through a desert who comes home to an oasis.

Then the husband is reminded of the love he had for his wife in their youth, when the first blush of romance was fresh on their hearts. Both husband and wife have matured over the years and experienced all the ups and downs of life, successes and disappointments, children, illnesses, separation, reunion, hopes and fears. They’ve fought and made up, surprised each other, lifted each other up, and let each other down.

The relationship is far more complex now than it was when you first met, but remember the joy you felt when you first kissed! Remember the excitement of your first all-night conversation, when you shared your hopes and dreams with each other. Remember when you proposed, got married, and first made love. Don’t let the passage of time steal your joy.

Instead of fantasizing about some forbidden fruit, be intoxicated by your spouse’s body! And on the flip-side, intoxicate your spouse with your body. The responsibility goes both ways! Husbands, if you don’t put in the work to learn your wife and give her orgasms, how can she be intoxicated? Wives, if your husband rarely gets to see or touch your breasts, how can he be filled with delight?

You are each other’s fountains! Be a flood, not a trickle.

(Side note: what young Christian man hasn’t been filled with longing by verse 19? “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight.” Yes, please.)

And the final three verses of the chapter are again words of warning. Which would you prefer? Joy and delight, or aimless wandering and ultimately death?

For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord,
    and he ponders all his paths.
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
    and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
He dies for lack of discipline,
    and because of his great folly he is led astray.