The ART of Intimacy, Part 1
About the Guest
What does it mean to be intimate? Today on the broadcast, Tommy Nelson, pastor of Denton Bible Church and author of the book, The Book of Romance, explains what it means to be truly intimate with the one you love.
Tom NelsonTom Nelson has been the pastor of Denton Bible Church, in Denton, Texas since 1977. Each year, Tom speaks to over 20,000 Song of Solomon Conference attendees and countless others via radio. In addition to the Song of Solomon materials, he is author of three books: The Book of Romance, The Big Picture: Understanding the Story of the Bible, and The Problem of Life with God. Tom has been married to Teresa Nelson for more than 30 years, and they have two grown sons, Ben and Joh...more
What does it mean to be intimate?
The ART of Intimacy, Part 1
Bob: Sometimes there are topics that are just plain difficult to discuss. Here is Pastor Tommy Nelson.
Tommy: Once upon a time, there was a fellow who visited a particular community of people that lived by a river. They came, and he sat down with them by the river, and he began to eat and began to drink with them. And then, all of a sudden, out of the river by his table comes this great big, 14-foot crocodile, and it takes this person's arm off, just chomps it, and he is immediately alarmed and horrified, and the people are immediately horrified, but they quickly subdue their horror, and they go about shuttling the fellow off to aid, and they go about eating and drinking, and the fellow says, "Didn't you just see that there was an enormous crocodile that just took this fellow's arm off?" And they said, "Yes, there are, and there's a number of them that have eaten people all during the years, however, it is impolite in our culture to talk about crocodiles."
And so he noticed that, and he began to notice in the village that there were a great number of people that were missing great big chunks out of their body, and he noticed there were a number of people that were missing arms and legs, and it seemed that everybody in that little community by the river had some loved one that they had lost to a crocodile, and yet they never would discuss it because it was impolite in that culture to discuss crocodiles.
And so without any discussion, things just went on, and people were maimed, and people were chomped, and people were hurt, and people died, but no one ever discussed it because it was impolite in that culture to talk about crocodiles.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 2nd. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We'll hear more about what crocodiles and romance have to do with each other on today's edition of the program.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We are going to step into the swamp of romance today where the crocodiles are, and I should probably alert our listeners that some of what we're going to be talking about is intended for mature audiences. Some of our listeners may want to make sure that younger listeners are not around as we talk about crocodiles today.
Dennis: You know, I think you've done a good job, Bob, of warning our listeners that we're going to be talking about a delicate subject today from the Song of Solomon, and if you don't know what that book is about, it's about romantic love between a husband and his wife, and it's about human sexuality.
We've been talking about it over the past couple of days as we've addressed this subject from that book. We've talked about attraction, the art of dating, and today we're going to talk about the art of intimacy. And this book, I believe if there is a need in the church today for a book to be taught to help us get God's perspective on a subject, maybe one of the most important books, from a spiritual perspective, that we need to be teaching.
A friend of mine showed me his Bible and until he had heard a series that I had done from this book said, "Dennis, I did not have a single not in the Song of Solomon anywhere in the book." And so you might want to check your Bibles just to see if you have any notes in this book. I'll bet there's a lot of our listeners, Bob, who don't have a single note in theirs.
Bob: Some clean white margins in their Bible.
Dennis: It's a threat, though, it's a big-time threat for us.
Bob: Well, there has been something of a revival on this subject in the Dallas area, and that's because of the man we've been featuring over the last few days on our broadcast.
Dennis: Yeah, this is one courageous guy. He led a Bible study with some 3,500 single principle – that's right, a Bible study with 3,500 singles in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He is Pastor Tommy Nelson. He is the pastor of Denton Bible Church since 1977. A lot of our listeners may have heard of him for his ministry with college students every summer where he disciples and mentors them.
Tommy Nelson is a great biblical teacher, and he's got a funny bone that, frankly, comes in handy, Bob, when you teach a subject like this because the audience gets kind of tense, and you can sense it as Tommy shares the third part in a six-part series we are doing here on the subject of Song of Solomon.
Bob: And today, again, as I mentioned, he is going to be dealing with intimacy between a husband and a wife, and some of these themes may not be appropriate for younger listeners. So we want to express our sensitivity on that subject. But let's listen together – here is Tommy Nelson talking about the art of marital intimacy.
Tommy: How many of you did not discuss with your parents about sex? Would you raise yours hands if you did not discuss? You just kind of figured it out on the Exxon wall, right, like the rest of us did.
You don't talk about it in church, you don't talk about it in the home – where do you talk about it – school? No, we forbid talking about it in school, and yet a great many of you have great big chunks that have been taken out of you by sex, but we don't talk about it, even though you have in the Bible, the Song of Solomon, with eight chapters and two chapters let you watch a couple make love – bold-faced, right in front of you to show you how to do it, but we don't discuss it.
Until you get married, and now it is not something that you don't discuss. Friend, it is a big issue, and it's glaring, and the issue of sex, romance, and its sanctity demands an answer, it demands some words, but instead we try to sweep it up under the rug, and there is pain, indeed.
We are going to look at how to make love in the Song of Solomon. It's interesting that in 6 through 11 in chapter 3 you see a wedding. Make a note – this couple does not live together.
This couple does not move in together. In one survey, it was found that 80 percent of the couples that live together get divorced; 60 percent married by a Justice of the Peace get a divorce; 40 percent married in churches can get a divorce; and those that study their Bible daily, it's one out of every 1,051 that get a divorce. You don't simply move in. You make a covenant before men and before God.
That is why when I do a wedding, what I will do is I will stand down on the bottom, I will step over the ferns and go down to the bottom, and I will deliver to the crowd a welcome, a thank you, and God's purpose for marriage, but I don't take the top step until I step up. I motion to the guy, I have them turn, and I make them vow in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, I will not divorce you, and I will treat you with kindness and love and tenderness and sanctity, you and you alone, because that is the essence of a marriage – is a vow in the name of the Trinity, and you do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
So this couple makes a vow. I just want to show you six things about a great wedding. Would you notice in verse 6 the first thing about a great wedding? It borrows the language of the Exodus journey where God went before Israel in a column of smoke, and it states, "What is this coming up from the wilderness like columns of smoke?" It pictures the husband as a similitude of God.
I did a wedding one time, and I got chills watching this lovely, blue-eyed girl look into the face of this handsome young man – it was right here in Dallas, and she said something I had never heard. A lot of assume it, a lot of girls think it, but she said it in front of God and everybody. She looked right into his eyes, and said thank you for keeping me pure. It was a precious thing for honoring her. He was a man of God.
And if you look at the next thing in verse 6, it's a time not just of divinity, but it's a thing that is of sweetness and celebration. He comes perfumed with myrrh and frankincense with the scented powders of the merchants. A wedding is meant to be a celebration.
Verse 7 – it is a thing of protection and safety. "Behold, it is a traveling couch of Solomon," so they are carrying him on a sedan. He is coming to the wedding feast. Sixty mighty men around it, the mighty men of Israel, all of them wielders of the sword, expert in war, each man has his sword at his side guarding against the terrors of the night. Girls, how would you feel if you came up the aisle, and there were about 60 groomsmen, all with .357s, all right?
No, you would say, "I am safe and secure. This man protects me," and that's the way you're meant to feel.
I did a wedding – let's see, was that in Denton – and I heard a fellow say something that everybody assumes, you all vow, but I never hear a guy say it – "I will never, ever divorce you. Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ," and that's how a woman should feel in the vow and in the integrity of her husband. She says, "I am safe."
You keep going in verse 10 – there is strength – King Solomon made for himself a sedan chair from the timber of Lebanon. Fellows, he is strong. Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Seminary said one of the most amazing books he had read on marriage was by a secular counselor after 38 years of counseling, made an observation about bad marriages, and do you know what the secular guy made an observation? It's depicted in the name of his book. It's entitled, "Passive Men, Wild Women." And he said that he discovered that where you get a man that in his job is creative and passionate and zealous and ambitious, but he comes to home, and he is flaccid, he is opinionless, he is a bad listener, he is vacillating, he is uncreative, he is noncommunicative, he is not humorous. It is not that the woman gets rebellious, he says, they simply get made.
Fellows, no woman wants to marry a weak fellow. I don't care what a woman says about submission, they want to have a man that they revere enough to trust her life to him. I quote you a couple of weeks ago, the great statement of Gloria Steinem – "We women have finally become the men we always wanted to marry."
Women are looking for men – not abusive men, not for quick-tempered men but men who have the strength of the cedars of Lebanon. Keep watching.
Verse 10 – "He is splendid. He made its post of silver, its back of gold, its seat of purple fabric, its interior lovingly fitted out by the daughters of Jerusalem, he is rich." This man is a Rolex, he is a Rolls Royce, he is the best thing going. She has not settled for a Pinto.
Verse 11 – go forth, O daughters of Zion, and gaze on King Solomon, with which his mother has crowned him. He is majestic, and she wants all of the women of the nation to come and look at her husband. Great quote – they said to Ruth Graham one time, "Your husband travels sometimes seven months a year. What is it like to have your husband gone seven months a year?" She said, "Five months with Billy Graham is like a year with any other man." She was saying, "I've got the best there is. A little time with him is better than any other man," and that's how she feels about Solomon. She is proud, she wants all women to look at her husband and everyone to think what a wonderful woman she must be to get a guy like this.
And in Verse 11 at the end, on the day of his wedding, on the day of the gladness of heart – you girls, you hold out, keep your standards high, don't you sell out, you stay holy, you stay pure, and there will be a day when the doors will swing open, and your mama will stand up, and they will look at this man that they have prayed for and looked forward to, and your friends will applaud you and be happy, and, guys, you will step into the most blessed, wonderful relationship that humans can have this side of heaven if you do it right.
But if you compromise, you have committed yourself to something far inferior and, my friend, you will not have just a little bit of hell on this earth, and you may quote me. So this woman has held out, and God has blessed her. Isn't that a good wedding?
Chapter 4, verse 1, we are at the Sheraton.
This couple is going to make love, and let me tell you what he's going to do. He's not going to lay a glove on this girl until down about verse 11, and he's going to kiss her. He's going to undress her. He is going to talk to her. She is going to invite him in, and then he is going to consummate his union, and then God is going to speak and say, "Go for it" – rough translation.
You think I'm kidding? Watch this. I'm going to show you 10 different aspects of divine sex; 10 different aspects of how love is meant to be lived out. Dr. Ed Wheat, I believe it was, wrote a book entitled "The Act of Love," and it is.
Verse 1, down through verse 4 – "How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful you are. Your eyes are like doves behind your veil." They are in what is called "the bridal chamber." Let me get something clear with you. Whenever, in that culture, you would get married, the guy would go to get his wife in his sedan chair. They would come to the wedding feast. Everybody would come to the party, and they would go into a room, and there they would stay as long as they wanted to while everybody was out having a party, and they would consummate their wedding. And then they would come forth.
We put the tin cans on the car and send them off. They would go off and consummate their wedding in what was called "the bridal chamber." And then they would come out, and everybody would go "Yay!" All right?
So chapter 4 – she still has on her bridal veil, and he looks through that veil, and he says, "Your eyes are like doves. You are so tender, you are so sweet, you are so gentle, you are so lovely. Your hair is like a flock of goats that's descended from Mount Gilead."
I might ought to help you with that, fellows.
This fellow looks at her hair – incidentally, what he has apparently done is this – it's a very sensuous thing. He has taken her veil and laid it back. Perhaps he has undone her hair, and her hair comes down, and it's like goats on Mount Gilead coming down. Two and a half tribes of Israel stayed on the other side of the Jordan because the cattle land was so good, and one of the chief areas was called Gilead.
When you talk about the sheep of Gilead, you're talking about blessing, indeed. And so he looks at her hair like the blessing of God coming down, and you can just see him lifting her veil, undoing her hair, stroking her hair.
Verse 2 – "Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn ewes that have just come up from their washing" – meaning that they are clean. Women, brush your teeth.
"They have just come up from their washing," all of which bear twins, meaning that they are straight, "and not one has lost her young," meaning that they are there what this fellow has done. So you can just see him here looking at her mouth, at how beautiful her mouth is and the loveliness of her teeth.
In Verse 3 – "Your lips are like a scarlet thread." You can just see him tracing with his hands here, ladies – her hair, her lips, at the definitiveness and the – you know.
Verse 3 – "Your temples are like a slice of pomegranate behind your veil." Now he is looking at the rosiness of her cheeks. "Your neck is like the Tower of David built on rows of stones, which are hung 1,000 shields, all the shields of the mighty men." He has now gone from her lips to her cheeks right down to her neck. He is moving down her body.
Point 1 of sex – you notice that this fellow has not gotten physical? He has spoken to her. The first key to great sex, fellows, is called "romance." This man tells her, from her eyes, her hair, her lips, her teeth, her cheeks, her neck – "You are wonderful." Men use romance to get sex. Women use sex to get romance. That's a cliché, and it's true.
Fellows, I want to ask you a question – are you going to be able to be a romantic guy? I mean a guy that can share at level 3. Not just cliches, not just information, you can get down there, and I want you to know, I still get off just sharing – telling my wife how I love her and, as a matter of fact, I can kneel down in front of my wife and look into her big green eyes, and I can say to her, "I want you to know" – and reach up and put my hands on her face and say, "I love you, and I thank you for loving me, and you are a precious soul."
I can take her at night and lay her on my arm and just get on my arm over her and stroke her hair and reach down as deep as I can and tell her how I love her and today – I've been married 20 years – I weep, I cry still because of the reaching down to tell her how I love her. And that's the sweetness of marriage.
So marriage starts with romance.
Bob: Well, we've been listening together to Pastor Tommy Nelson, who is teaching from the Song of Solomon, and I need to go call my wife, will you excuse me?
Dennis: Well, you know, when I heard this message for the first time, I thought, "That is a profound illustration that every man ought to hear." Because I think Tommy Nelson is speaking woman talk for women here. He is speaking what every wife wished her husband could understand about her.
That picture of him looking into her eyes and weeping over his appreciation of her and attempting to reach down deep into his soul and express love, adoration, respect, affirmation, words of kindness, words of belief, words of vision for this woman that he has taken to become one flesh with and to spend a lifetime with – what a beautiful picture that every man needs to hear just so he could better understand what his wife needs when it comes to the act of becoming one flesh.
I think a lot of men miss it here, Bob. They don't understand that our wives are waiting for us to connect at that level and, frankly, that one illustration, I believe, is worth the entire tape series just for a man to begin to grasp just a little bit of the emotional dynamic of a man's soul to a woman's soul in the marriage relationship. This is profound spiritual stuff here.
Bob: And Tommy does a great job of talking heart-to-heart to both husbands and wives and to singles, for that matter, on the subject matter that is found in the Song of Solomon. We've got the entire CD series available in our FamilyLife Resource Center. This includes 11 messages on six audio CDs, and we're only able to air some portions of the series on FamilyLife Today. So if you want to hear the entire series, you need to go to our website, FamilyLife.com. Click the red heart that you see in the middle of the screen, and that will take you to a page where there is more information about the CD series from Tommy Nelson.
Again, our website is FamilyLife.com, and you want to look for the red heart that's in the middle of the page. There's usually a red button there, but here before Valentine's Day they've made it into a red heart. You click on that, and it will take you right to a page where there is information about the CD series from Tommy Nelson and the companion workbook that comes along with it. A lot of couples have used this in a Bible study setting with other couples. It's also something that a mom and a daughter might listen to together, or a father and a son, particularly if you have a teenager or a college-age son or daughter.
Go to our website, FamilyLife.com, or give us a call if you're interested in these CDs at 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and we'll make arrangements to have the CD series sent out to you.
You know, this subject is something that I need to remind myself of and be refreshed on, especially thinking about it biblically, because the culture certain tries to move the discussion in a different direction. This is something that I think every married couple can revisit from time to time, and with that thought in mind, our team wanted to offer a thank you gift this month to those of you who are able, to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount.
It's a single CD that features two messages – one from Pastor C.J. Mahaney, and the other from his wife, Carolyn. They are romance basics for husbands and wives. C.J. talks to us, as men, about how we should tend to our wives' romantic needs, and Carolyn talks to wives about how a wife can care for her husband's romantic needs.
We think you'll find these CDs very helpful, and this month they are our way of saying thank you when you support the ministry of FamilyLife Today, again, with a donation of any amount. You can donate online at FamilyLife.com, and if you do that, as you fill out the form, you'll come to a keycode box. Type the word "love" in that keycode box, and we'll know to send the CDs out to you. Or call us at 1-800-FLTODAY, make your donation over the phone, and when you do just mention that you'd like the CD from the Mahaneys or the CD on romance, the single CD, and we'll send that out to you. Again, our way of saying thank you for joining with us and helping to support this ministry financially. We appreciate our partnership together so that this program can be heard not only on this station but on stations all across the country.
Well, I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday where we're going to pick things up right where we left off. We're going to hear Part 2 of the message we heard today from Tommy Nelson. I hope you can be back with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
We are so happy to provide these transcripts for you. However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website. If you've benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?
Copyright © FamilyLife. All rights reserved.