The Bible has a lot to say about physical intimacy in marriage, and some of it may surprise you. Unfortunately, some people in the church have been raised to believe that sex is dirty. It is not dirty—although it is like soil. It's life-giving in its proper context, but trample it all over the carpet of a home, and it doesn't look so good.
That's why there are firm boundaries that ought to protect the master bedroom, so to speak, of a marriage. Looking at the words of King Solomon to his son in Proverbs 5, I want to highlight four principles that will enhance marital intimacy:
1. Intimacy begins with commitment. Solomon instructed his son to "rejoice with the wife of your youth" (v. 18). That phrase wife of your youth implies a monogamous, lifelong commitment forged in one's youth. When that kind of commitment is firmly in place, that creates a safe place for intimacy to flourish. Put another way, the soil of commitment—entering marriage with a sense of permanence—is where true intimacy can grow.
2. Intimacy grows with enjoyment. The root word of rejoice in verse 18 means to brighten up or be glad. In Ecclesiastes 9:9, Solomon wrote, "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love." The idea is a couple enjoying life because they like hanging out together. What does that have to do with intimacy? Everything. Sexual problems in a marriage are typically symptomatic of other problems, like an indicator light on a car dashboard. So if you want to have a good sex life, try a little tenderness the rest of the day. Everything is connected, and intimacy has to be intentionally cultivated.
3. Intimacy includes allurement. Notice the words "cistern" (v. 15), "well" (v. 15), "fountain" (v. 16, 18), and "streams" (v. 16) in this chapter. These are all metaphors of refreshment and sustenance that speak of a couple's sexual delight. Then check out verse 19: "As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love." Satisfy means to have one's drink or fill, and to "be enraptured with her love" means to be intoxicated with her love-making. Are you surprised this is in the Bible? If you think God is some stuffy, celestial prude, think again. The sexual impulse is God-given—but that means it must also be God-guided.
4. Intimacy is part of a covenant. God is a witness of the vows you share with your spouse. Verse 18 says, "Let your fountain be blessed," implying that God has blessed the relationship. And verse 21 says, "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths." We live our lives under the eye of God; therefore, God needs to be involved in our marriages.
To sum it up, bring God into the center of your marriage and keep Him there. You'll have a better marriage and greater intimacy if you do. He wants us to enjoy this aspect of the way He created us in the proper context, so I pray that you and your spouse would do just that: enjoy each other as God blesses your union. And don't leave Him out of your marriage—remember, it's His marriage, too.