Song of Songs 1-2
Legend has it that young medieval monks were not allowed to translate these eight chapters of the Bible, for fear of arousing illicit thoughts.
It is an arousing book. But not of illicit thoughts. It awakens people like you and me, it whets our appetite for a delight in sensuality that is beautiful, pure, overwhelming, and potent. One read through the poem and we realize there aren't any marriages that match up to what is written in these lines. But instead of pouting or bemoaning what we don't have, we can celebrate what we do have with our spouse. The God who inspired in this couple a love of immeasurable intensity is our God. His love for us is beautiful, pure, overwhelming and potent - but you'd never know it if your life is always fueled by something other than Him. And same goes for your relationship with your spouse - if you are not intoxicated with the one you married, you'll get drunk on something else.
Maybe we'd all be better off by committing some of these ancient love lines to memory, and instead of reciting them in intimate moments, live them out in the everday moments. Start your day with the opening lines: "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth - for your love is more delightful than wine." (How's that for the first sentence of a book in the Bible?) Any husband or wife getting/giving a smooch like that as they walk out the door for work - well they're going to have a great day...and they won't be late for dinner!
It's not only that the book is it explicit, it is refreshingly open - reminisent of the wonder and awe Adam and Eve would have experienced in the Garden of Eden. The first paragraph of this poem ends with these lines - one can imagine the first man and woman, having just met, and Eve whispering to Adam as she tugs on his forearm: "Take me away with you - let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers."
There are many common elements - like the sweet and playful flattery they throw at each other; He says: "How beautiful you are, my darling!; She says: "How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh how charming! And our bed is verdant." Many a husband and wife that I know would enjoy each other so much more if they would generously sing these words to one another.
Note how this beautiful darling sings about herself: "I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys". Maybe you don't find many woman enjoying this kind of healthy self image because they don't have husbands who also sing their praises: "Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women."
All of this adds up to a sex life for this couple that is of mythic experience. She writes in her of their night together: "Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for your lovemaking wears me out." And when they awaken from their sated slumber, they whisper with a knowing smile to one another: "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires".
This first section of the poem is coming to a close, and with it comes some levity and vulnerability: the husband pleads with the wife for the both of them to put and end to those mean words, thoughtless actions, selfish thoughts, and apathetic attitudes that slowly erode what is beautiful, pure, overwhelming and potent in a marraige. He elegantly and gently writes: Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom." And her generous response: "My beloved is mine and I am his."