Category Archives: Daughters

Soul Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. Solomon was taken in by the beauty of her figure and breasts. The picture is of two young gazelles, affectionate, playful, soft – something that you want to touch and enjoy watching. Fawns are young, sleek and even graceful. But they are also very skittish. If you make a quick movement, they will bolt away in fear. Solomon is saying I want to touch those, but I don’t want to frighten her. He’s being tender. He’s moving slowly and cautiously. I don’t see him aggressively squeezing or violently treating her. It’s so important not to attack your bride.

Are you surprised that the Bible talks about breasts in such an erotic way? God is Holy. He is pure. This can’t be obscene. A man and woman married, madly in love, and having the time of their lives. It’s a playful time, a flirtatious time, a sensual time. If a woman always asks, “Am I beautiful to you? Do you notice me?” a man is always asking not just “Do I have what it takes?” but “Is life with you going to be sexual?” When a wife walks by, it builds sexual tension in the visually oriented male. He notices her curves and shape. And with every passing day since the last intimate encounter, every one of her features become more distinct and attractive to him.

Does your wife feel desired by you and does she feel beautiful to you? If not, why not? The reason she uses all the make-up and accessories is that she wants to stay in your center of vision. Does your husband feel admired, nourished, sexually alive? Why not? Why are you leveraging or holding out on this precious gift of marriage?

6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.
Now, in the flow of things, it appears that the mountain of myrrh and the hill of incense refer to the same thing. But what are they referring to? Myrrh and incense were expensive perfumes. Let the spirit speak to you on this one. If I explain this one it may get you and me both in trouble. This is a work of verbal art. There is no sterile medical language to rob it of its eroticism. But there is no crudeness or obscenity to cheapen it. Each word and phrase lets us know that Sol basked in the beauty of it all.

7 All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
It seems now, that Solomon takes a step back to get the full picture. It’s like he’s saying, “From head to toe, you are just wonderful.” Of course, her body wasn’t perfect, but it was to him. It’s not so much what she looks like, but how he feels about her. With the exception of the teeth comment and the longer hair which is implied with the goat remark, we have no idea what she physically looks like. It doesn’t matter. What does matter, is how her husband viewed her (Mahaney). Remember it’s a song, poetry. He’s making some poetry. Her body is beautiful to him. He can exaggerate for effect if he wants to. To him, it was a perfect body. It’s perfectly acceptable to exaggerate in a song. Besides great romance is trial and error. Remember, this is a polished song, suitable for publishing. I’m sure Solomon and Abishag made their mistakes. Great romance isn’t about kissing just right or touching just right or a flawless evening. Romance is not reserved for those with flawless bodies. It’s more about fumbling and bumbling around together until you laughingly stumble upon those things that bring the greatest satisfaction and joy to you both. Romance, sex and love should be a no-pressure playground where you cultivate the spirit of playfulness. That’s what I sense in all the Song of Solomon – a spirit of playfulness and fun and joy within a marital context. That’s part of the marital fun. You open the gift of your sexuality together and begin to experiment and play for a lifetime. You give each other respectful signals of what is working and what isn’t and you just keep at it for a lifetime.

To Be Continued

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Soul Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors.
Did this woman work out or what? What bride wants her neck compared to a solid, thick tower weighted down with heavy metal shields? Is Solomon messing up the poem? Is he about to spoil the romance of it all? The tower of David was a military place; it symbolized strength. The neck was a symbol of strength and inner character. She’s standing tall and straight. There is no shame. There is no disgrace. She has never been with a man, but she’s quietly confident. She was a true gift. She was not overwhelmed with embarrassment, even though she had some initial blushing. She had a tilt to her head and a sparkle in her eyes. She was ready for him to explore more.

I think that Solomon was undoing a necklace for her when he comments on her neck. Necklaces were made of coins and flat pieces of designer metal (Tommy Nelson and others). The clank of it all reminded Solomon of a fortress when all the soldiers would be called to battle and you could hear the whisking of swords going into their sheaths and shields bumping and clanging against the stone. “Her neck would hold much of the jewelry that a woman might wear. Such jewelry was often layered, where strands of jewelry were placed one on top of the other. This formed a layered appearance that could ascend from the shoulder and reach as far as the top of the neck.” Imagine the adrenaline rush as a soldier who was getting ready to lay it all on the line on a battlefield. Now, there is a different adrenaline rush. When he tenderly takes that necklace off her beautiful, slightly tilted neck while she was holding those long strands of black curly hair up away from her neck, he was totally lost in it all. She had this amazing body language. The way she held herself just captivated him, and yet she never said a word.

You can’t “not” communicate with others, especially a spouse. Without saying a word, you reveal your feelings and attitudes. Your smile says, “I’m happy” and a fake smile says “I’m not happy, but I want you to think I am.” Your frown and crossed arms say, “I’m mad,” and your drumming fingers and loud sighs say, “I’m impatient – get moving.” Even when you try to show nothing, your closed-off stance and refusal to speak say, “I don’t want to talk about it” or “I’m rejecting you.” You communicate non-verbally with facial expressions, gestures, and posture and you also communicate by how close you get spatially to people (McKay, Messages…). It seems that Solomon is doing most of the talking, but what I see is that her body language is awesome. He’s within 18 inches of her. He’s seeing all the nuances of her face. He sees if the eyebrows are raised or lowered, if the forehead is wrinkled or smooth, if the skin is pale or toned. She gave him all the gestures he needed to let him know that he was saying and doing the right things and that she loved it. Your face is an ever changing billboard signaling your attitudes and reactions.

All the men know what I’m talking about when I talk about “the Look.” The Look is a very useful tool for women and can accomplish many objectives. When she is upset or disapproving, “the Look” will often get him to stop doing something. When she is disappointed the Look can spur him to action (Pam Farrel). Abishag had great body language.

This is one kind, tender man, but it is also one amazing woman. He’s taking it all in. He’s being romantic. Guys, take note. He’s gazed into her eyes. He’s whispered affirming words. He’s helped her untress her hair. He’s traced her lips with his finger. He’s studies her teeth! He’s kissed her. He has tenderly removed her necklace. He’s just now getting to first base! His tempo is impeccable and it all says that he was attracted to her. He’s not even below the neck and he’s just mesmerized. And she overtures back a melody of body language that lets him know that all this feels so loving to her. She tilts her head just a little when he helps her to let her hair down, when he so delicately moves his finger along her lips. Her cheeks are a little red, but she’s confident and so alive in his presence. It all says to him, “I really like this.” Men, this is how women go about connecting. Intimacy means sharing secrets, talking things over, cuddling.

Gary Smalley wrote, “Men are microwaves, women are Crock-Pots.” He’s right. A man 3,000 years ago could jump out of a chariot and into the sheets just about any time of day or night and enjoy sexual things in just about any form. Has anything changed? God designed men to be visually oriented. This is not an excuse to be immature in how you treat or view a woman, and if you as a woman are irked, irritated, or angry about this basic wiring, your issue is with God, not your husband. A man is visually-oriented. A woman is so different. She needs time and tenderness to build rapport. If you have a problem with that, take it up with God. That’s how she’s made. But God made us both this way. It’s complimentary. If women were wired like men, nothing would ever get done. It would all be just one big romance. You’d never leave home. Tommy Nelson has suggested that if men were wired like women, we would have no over-population problems in certain parts of the world. God wired us this way so that men would always keep coming back to their wives and so that women would always reach out for him when he arrived.

Solomon is disrobing his bride. He expressed appreciation for everything he saw. The eyes were pure. Her hair was tranquil. Her teeth mature. Her lips loyal. Her cheeks were modest. Her neck showed integrity and confidence. Now, we see desirability. He’s worked down to the neck, what’s next?

-To Be Continued-

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Soul-Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 2

To read Soul-Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 1
This is Part 2.

2 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. Our teeth come in pairs. She still has her pairs. She has all of her teeth. That was a big deal 3,000 years ago. This doesn’t just suggest good hygiene; it suggests maturity as well. Solomon is not robbing the cradle! She’s past the baby teeth stage with huge gaps that are common between teeth. She’s smiling at him and her teeth are clean and smooth. Smiling is a woman’s greatest cosmetic.

3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Do you know what I think? I think Sol is moving in for a kiss, that’s what I think. But he’s not in a hurry. He just takes it all in. Lips can be so sensual, their shape, the way they move when words are shared. Kisses are powerful too. Her lips were ravishing to him. He loved their color, their shape. I think he’s tracing her features with his finger, gently touching her lips while he whispers his approval and admiration. He watches her as she shapes and verbalizes her words.

There’s a touching story told from the hospitals of WWII, where a young and badly wounded soldier was brought in from a hellish week of fighting. After doing what she could for him, the nurse asked if there was anything else she could do. “Yes,” he said. “Could you just put on some lipstick while I watch?” There’s something about the beauty of a woman that comforts and soothes the soul (Captivating, 39). This wounded soldier saw the beauty of her lips.

Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Note that the veil is still on. This guy is incredible! Talk about taking your time. Guys, pay attention here! He’s not in a hurry. And as his eyes take in the beauty of his bride, maybe for the first time due to the veil customs that women had to observe, her cheeks turn red, like pomegranate. She’s never been seen and observed like this before. He’s right there, only inches from her face now on this the beginning of their honeymoon. And she’s blushing.

The pomegranate has a red-and-white skin, which reminded the ancient poets of a blushing bride. Pomegranate is defined as a several-celled reddish berry that is about the size of an orange with a thick leathery skin and many seeds with pulpy crimson arils of tart flavor (Webster). But it’s the reddish color that’s the point of focus here. The temple wasn’t just the soft spot beside the eye, but included the cheek as well in ancient poetry (Hocking). He’s describing her cheeks and her blush of innocence. She can’t believe all the joy of this moment and she’s shy about being admired and looked at so closely, but yet she is enthralled to have captivated him so entirely. Sammy Kershaw would say, “She don’t know she’s beautiful, though time and time I’ve told her so.”

I come back to this idea of blushing. You know, I’m concerned today about the fact that we don’t blush much anymore. Young girls pretty much say and do just about anything for anyone. They don’t blush on their honeymoon because they’ve already done it all. Our culture says we should normalize immorality and in so doing, they have hollowed sex out and removed it from a sacred place. It’s something that is pervasive. “Our society is filled with people for whom the sexual relationship is one where body meets body but where person fails to meet person; where the immediate need for sexual gratification is satisfied but where the deeper need for companionship and understanding is left untouched (Buechner).” “When we bypass the soul and spirit in relationships, when we’re too familiar with sex – let it intoxicate us too young and too early and with too many – we lose its mystery and wonder (Bly).” And we don’t blush anymore.

Some of you single girls wonder why the boys get bored with you. You tell all and reveal everything in the first week of the relationship. Be mysterious. Pace your secret-sharing. No one should just waltz in and get what they want in the dating relationship. Be cool, fun, and exciting and try new things, but there are some things he shouldn’t see, should not know, and has not touched. It’s the chase of what he can’t have and doesn’t know that keeps him interested in the dating relationship. When you dish it all out on the second date, there’s nothing for him to chase after. Hold back a little. I think they call it “Peepin’ it.” If you tell everything, there’s nothing to chase after. No adventure to pursue, no challenge, no uncharted territory. You’ve dished it all out. Keep parts of your life to yourself. And when you get married, it’s OK if you blush. You’ll have a lifetime to explore and do things with your husband and reveal all the secrets that you hold. A guy can get sex from any weak or needy girl that’s crushing on him. You become old hat after a few months. And he probably won’t remember your name in 7 years. Girls today give up way too much information. It should take the guy months to get to know you. Easy girls are not keepers. They are a temporary fix until the right one comes along. If he stops chasing, it means he doesn’t really like you or he’s not man enough to keep pursuing – either way you find out what you need to know. And, guys, if you tell your girlfriend that if she gives up too much too quick then you will get bored and walk away, I guarantee you that she will stop. A fast win means the game is over way too quickly (with help from Lookadoo).

– To Be Continued –

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Soul-Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 1

The Song of Solomon (in the Bible – Old Testament) expresses the joys of romance and married love between two partners. It is very erotic and sensual. “The most obvious feature of the Song of Songs is the sexually explicit nature of the material, sensitively guised in figurative language (Tom Constable).” It’s the most erotic literature in the Bible.

The majority of commentators believe that the lover is Solomon, presenting himself in the prime of life and describing his first true love (important considering that he had seven-hundred wives and three-hundred concubines). Some feel the bride was Abishag, the beautiful woman that assisted David when he was older (1 Kings 1:1-4). From what we can tell, she was not a lady of the royal courts. She was a country girl and naturally beautiful to him without a lot of cosmetics.

Knowing who is speaking is challenging in this book. There are pre-wedding flashbacks that make it hard to follow sometimes. There are dreams recorded that are interspersed throughout the song. And garden imagery is used to describe some very intimate, sensual topics. This can be confusing, but once you break the code of ancient poetry, the meaning just unlocks before you.

As noted by one author, because all the sexual references are cloaked in symbolism, a child can pick this book up and read it without offense. But a man and woman can pick it up and find a marriage manual on the most intimate part of marriage. It’s poetic, yet specific. It’s frank, yet innocent and pure.

There are four places in the Song where either the husband or wife’s features are catalogued and commented on. It usually starts at the head and works down the body.

Song of Solomon 4:1-11. This is apparently when Solomon and his bride are finally in the bridal chamber after a week of wedding festivities. She apparently is disrobing. Solomon takes his time to absorb all of her characteristics.

4:1-11 1 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! He’s saying you’re beautiful and He says it twice for emphatic affect. This is a smart man. Your wife or girlfriend wants to know that she is beautiful to you. He told her that she was beautiful and he looked right into her eyes when he said it.

Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Solomon starts with looking into her eyes. Freshly married and her veil still on, he sees that she has given herself to him and him alone. He connects with the eyes. The eyes of a dove are wide-eyed and beautiful. I see doves feeding at our bird feeder all the time. Their eyes are captivating. They are alive with loyalty and romance.

Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.
Watching flocks go down this mountain, with the sun reflecting off their coats of fur is the picture here. The flowing movement of those herds and their hair as they come down the mountain with the sun reflecting on them is what Solomon is seeing (Hocking,Romantic…, 99). If you got enough of these goats Watching flocks go down this mountain, with the sun reflecting off their coats of fur is the picture here. The flowing movement of those herds and their hair as they come down the mountain with the sun reflecting on them is what Solomon is seeing (Hocking,Romantic…, 99). If you got enough of these goats moving moving down the mountain, it looked like a head of hair, waving in the breeze. As she let her curly black hair down, it cascaded over her shoulders and Solomon loved it.

We don’t have to speak the same Hebrew idioms. In fact, telling your wife or girlfriend that her hair reminds you of goats could get you in trouble today. Her hair and how she tossed it around just mesmerized Solomon, gentle, soft, flowing hair, that rested on thin shoulders – simply incredible. I thought of the country music song sung by Charlie Rich: “My baby makes me proud, Lord don’t she make me proud She never makes a scene by hanging all over me in a crowd ‘Cause people like to talk, Lord, how they love to talk But when they turn out the lights, I know she’ll be leaving with me CHORUS: And when we get behind closed doors Then she lets her hair hang down And she makes me glad I’m a man Oh no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. My, behind closed doors. VERSE: My baby makes me smile, Lord don’t she make me smile She’s never too far away or too tired to say “I want you” She’s always a lady, just like a lady should be But when they turn out the lights, she’s still a baby to me.”

I think Solomon probably grabbed several strands of this black curly hair and held it against his cheek. She must have liked it because the next verse talks about her teeth. She smiled.

2 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.

Abishag has all of her teeth! Our teeth come in pairs. She still has her pairs. She has all of her teeth. That was a big deal 3,000 years ago. It’s not so much that they’re straight as it is that they are still there for her and they’re mature. This doesn’t just suggest good hygiene; it suggests maturity as well. Solomon is not robbing the cradle! She’s past the baby teeth stage, with huge gaps that are common between teeth. A sheep that has been sheered has a pinkish white color. Guess what? She’s smiling at him and her teeth are clean and smooth. Sol loved her smile.

—To Be Continued—

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Adolescent Girls Are Losing Themselves – Like Intoxicated Saplings in a Storm

The book Reviving Ophelia, written by Mary Pipher several years ago, argues how our little girls are like saplings in a storm. Our children but especially our daughters live in a media-drenched culture flooded with junk values. Not getting what they need from their parents, our kids, especially our girls, turn to the world for self-esteem. The world fragments them into powerless sex objects. Sex is not just sacred; it’s a way to sell suntan lotion, clothes, and popularity and young girls get lost in all this.

Writes Pipher: “The story of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet shows the destructive forces that affect young women. As a girl, Ophelia is happy and free, but with adolescence she loses herself. When she falls in love with Hamlet, she lives only for his approval. She has no inner direction; rather she struggles to meet the demands of Hamlet and her father. Her value is determined utterly by their approval. Ophelia is torn apart by her efforts to please. Despondent over the death of his own father, Hamlet spurns her because she is an obedient daughter and sides with her father, she goes mad with grief. Dressed in elegant clothes that weigh her down, she drowns in a stream filled with flowers (p. 4).

Pipher maintains that girls are losing themselves like Ophelia – a symbolic figure for troubled, voiceless adolescent girls. It’s great to honor your father. But dads and moms must build a healthy self-esteem into their girls, otherwise, they will fall into the people-pleasing trap. And if you betray yourself in order to be pleasing to someone else, you lose self-worth. Society tells you many lies. You have to be a certain weight, have a particular look. Girls get mixed messages all of the time: Be sexy, but not sexual. Be honest, but don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Be smart, but not so smart that you threaten boys. The world preaches a doctrine of image management.

What are society’s values?

Beauty: The most highly valued personal attribute in many cultures is physical attractiveness. When we as adults respond to what we perceive to be “a beautiful child” versus “an unattractive child” this has a profound impact on a developing personality. Attractive kids fair better in their grades, for example, and get more attention from adults. Beauty is retained as a value among women their entire lives. It’s not wrong to be beautiful; it is wrong to ascribe worth simply on the basis of looks or the perfection of a bodily form.

A song writer wrote: “I want to be beautiful and make you stand in awe. Look inside my heart and be amazed. I want to hear you say who I am is quite enough. I just want to be worthy of love and beautiful (Bethany Dillon “Beautiful”). This ageless longing takes on a competitive edge.

Wendy Bantam puts it this way: “Every day in the life of a woman is a walking Miss America Contest.” Sadly, girls lose if they are either too plain or too pretty. Girls who are too pretty are seen as sex objects; their appearance is their identity. Boys gravitate toward these girls, so they are popular for their looks. On the other hand, if you are too plain, you’re left out and scorned.

Intelligence: This ranks at the top of our value system. Our society says you have to be smart and you must have smart kids in order to protect the reputation of the parent. For the slow child, an educational plan that is shaped for fast-learners can disassemble the esteem of a child.

Wealth: A pimply faced kid on a bicycle is different from a pimply faced kid in a BMW. If you’ve got money, and clothes, and prestige, then you’re valuable.

Athleticism: If you’re really good athletically, you have value and notoriety. Our culture worships the sports hero.

Tony Campolo tells about a married couple that had bought into these cultural values. They were sitting in his office at Eastern College painfully confronting the reality that their nineteen-year-old daughter had not only been sexually promiscuous, but she was pregnant and had no idea who the father was. With tears running down her cheeks, the mother turned to her daughter and said “How could you do this to us after all we’ve done for you?” Campolo said if I had asked the mom just what it was she had done for her, the mother would have probably gone through a long list of all the things she and her husband had bought for their daughter. Society had conditioned them to believe that it was things their daughter needed. They had failed to provide their daughter what she really needed: available, loving parents to pay attention to her.

A few years back, I found a response to Piphers book. Sara Shandler wrote a book in response called Ophelia Speaks. She invited girls to write to her and share what was actually going on in their lives. These adolescent girls said that they felt like disappointments when compared to the media models. “They hurl us into self-loathing.”

Sara Shandler heard from young ladies who took off their masks and what she learned was an avalanche of discovery. They tell of sexual abuse, broken families, missing fathers, lost friends, pregnancy, eating disorders and dysfunctional siblings. The common wish they all had was for simple stability, a safe place where they could sort life out.

One of the themes prevalent in these Shandler essays was intoxication (46). It seems to be the medication of choice for most people. One gal writes: “Drunken couples maul each other on beer-soaked furniture. Others dance wildly. They jump and slam into each other while swearing and puking. I step over their bodies sprawled across the floor, drowning in their own vomit. As I walk toward the bedroom, the sweet mixture of incense and pot smoke drags me into the cloudy room. I join the circle. Hours later, I wake in a large, strange bed with only half my clothes… I shove the stranger off me… My eyes are bloodshot… Beer and puke stain the white carpet. The stench of the room almost causes me to fall over… I walk down litter-covered streets… It feels like forever since I last had a bath… I walk toward by friend’s house.

‘Can I crash here today?’

‘Sure…Rough night?’

I nod and… walk to the bathroom. My face is still dingy from the night before… It seems so old. I’m only fourteen.”

She tells of abuse that landed her step-father in jail. She talks about boyfriends and pregnancy and her baby boy.

This is how she concludes her article: “I’m eighteen now… Matthew (her son) is two and a half years old… Despite all that has happened to me, I have hope for my future. I don’t blame my problems on what happened. I take responsibility for my actions. I look forward to having my own place. I look forward to the beginning of my adult life. I know it’s hard for most girls to deal with a situation like this, but, for sanity, for a chance at life, it has to be dealt with (53).”

Even though this young girl began to take responsibility for her own life and decisions, many young ladies never do. Like saplings in a storm, drunk with the junk values of culture, they sheer off at the ground, and never find the safe, nurturing environment of stability that they crave.

Don’t allow this to happen in your family. Be the safe place, a place of nurture, values clarification, and identity and self-esteem development. Base it all on God (and don’t even think about being an atheist – it only complicates things).

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