Books on sex and romance, written by godly pastors are rare. C.J. Mahaney is no sexpert, and this is no sex manual. But this may be the best book on sex you'll ever read.
"Sex, Romance and the Glory of God" presents a theology of marriage that serves as just the right backdrop to look at how Solomon, in his famous Song, deals with sex. The book sets sex in the proper context for which God intended it. And it calls men--Christian men--to love and romance their wife.
Particularly helpful and challenging is Mahaney's call for men to romance their wives. Mahaney encourages us to plan and work at delighting our wife in any number of small yet meaningful ways. He provides practical pointers and suggestions and strongly encourages a weekly date of some kind.
The truth he wants us to remember, if nothing else from this book is this: "In order for romance to deepen, you must touch the heart and mind of your wife before you touch her body." [emphasis his, page 28]
An example of Mahaney's practical yet unsettling wisdom is his must-ask question: "Do you feel more like a mother or a wife?" [pg. 29]
Concerning this point he continues:
"There can be a selfish, sinful tendency among husbands to view their wives as a goal that, once achieved, is then taken for granted. That is how a wife with children comes to feel primarily like a mother. And that is why the very idea of asking a question like this can cause many husbands to swallow hard and consider going off to watch a little TV. But please don't--I want this to be an encouragement to you.
"...A variety of legitimate activities may consume huge quantities of your wife's time....But whatever your situation, if you make it a priority to love and care for your wife as Christ does the Church...God will touch her heart so that, even when surrounded by diapers, dishes, and diseases, she can answer that question with joy: "I feel more like a wife."
"...Motherhood is exceptionally important. It calls for immense sacrifices and deserves great honor. But I can say with full conviction that according to Scripture, motherhood is never to be a wife's primary role. In fact, I think the most effective mothers are wives who are being continually, biblically romanced by their husbands. [pg. 30]"
I found Mahaney's chapter on "The Language of Romance" to be very interesting. I was challenged to be more intentional in how I communicate with my wife, and to stop neglecting poetry as a means of arousing her love. Listen to Mahaney on this point:
"...[Song of Solomon shows us] a category of communication set apart from the stuff of daily life....It is highly intentional, creative, provocative, erotic language. It's purpose is to arouse romantic passion--to inflame slowly and intentionally, all the while honoring and delighting one's spouse....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 feel sexual passion and to articulate that passion. The language is highly poetic, romantically expressed, and exceptionally creative and imaginative. It is also unmistakably sexual.
"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....
"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!
"...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? [pg. 60, 69-70]"
In Mahaney's eagerness to use Song of Solomon as a Biblical description and instruction of marital intimacy, however, he falls prey to what I consider to be a wrong approach to interpreting that book. He pits an allegorical interpretation, which sees Christ and his Church as the key players in that song, against a "literal" interpretation, which sees Solomon talking about the joys of marital love. I am aware that there have been extreme allegorical interpretations that go so far as to negate any application of what the song teaches about marital love. But in Mahaney's approach, which is very typical and widespread today, the error is made to the opposite extreme. He denies any typographical use of the book.
I see an alternative approach which can both affirm that the book clearly praises the joys of marital love yet also recognize that Solomon's Song is written within the framework of a redemptive history that the Bible records for us. And just as other Biblical stories foreshadow and describe the redemption Christ accomplished for His people, thereby enhancing our understanding of and appreciation of the Gospel, so too the Song of Solomon may rightly be seen to describe the anti-type of which marriage is only a picture. Indeed all marriages are a picture of the abiding covenant love and joyful relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church (Eph. 5:31-32); and hence it would be proper to see Christ and His Church as ultimately referred to in this beautiful love poem.
My quibble over interpreting Song of Solomon aside, you need to get this book. And if you're a husband, you especially need to read it, and even more so if you have already been married for some time. I recommend it highly.
Clean book, very insightful. I cannot speak for the puritans who took SOSolom spiritually and the author saw it not, all I can say is that I read SOS spiritually and don't come up with the same conclusions the author does, or I have to force myself to see it. He uses the NIV, I, the KJV--big difference. I just don't see all the things he sees in SOS. But a few I do see proves his point. I like his premise, that SOS literally is a celebration of romance (which will help those who think it a sin, shame, something you do just to get it over with) and do see that in places, but only in a quarter of them he does. but he does handle the topic well, which is the point, not an exegis on scripture, but sex, romance and the glory of God; Perfect title for one looking for a book that a servant of God would write; wife too adds some nice gems; I recommend the book highly, but you do need to clean the gems at times. Heart of good romance is to have your soul mate to begin with, and a right, intimate personal relationship with Jesus to follow him as He leads you in all things, the marriage bed included, to His glory. I'm not married and cannot speak from experience, but I do have reason and faith, the author makes sense, offers a very practicle, true, reasonable foundation, though I don't always see sex implied in SOS where he does.God can definitely bless you through this book. It's only $10, read, underline and use it for reference. Christians Secret to a Happy Life, by HWS will bless you with intimacy with the Lord, without which, a blessed bedroom will not be remotely what it could be with the Lord involved and leading you to know your wife's needs as they arise.Buy the book, my problems with it are peripheral and the message doesn't depend upon them. God bless you.
A fantastic & much needed book for every husband. Brother Mahaney has written a Scriptural book about this much neglected subject from both pulpit & home alike. He shows that sex is a wonderful, beautiful, & fun gift from God for a husband & wife. If you're looking for Biblical counsel regarding your "love life" with your wife, this book is a must read. You won't be able to put it down.