A conversation with Lorraine Pintus, co-author of Intimacy Ignited.
Lorraine, for those who never realized there’s a book in the bible that speaks about sex, tell us about the Song of Solomon.
The Song of Solomon is probably one of the most amazing books in all of literature, and certainly in the bible. If it was given a rating like we give movies, I think it would be rated “H” for Holy and Hot [laughs]..
When I ask people if they’ve read the Song of Solomon, they sometimes get this glazed look in their eyes. Like, well I’ve read it, but I really don’t understand it. That’s one of the reasons we wrote Intimacy Ignited because it is first and foremost a verse-by-verse commentary on the Song of Solomon. The Song of Solomon is written in Hebrew poetry and it was quite ingenious that God had the book written this way. A child could pick up the Song of Solomon, look at it and certainly not be offended. But a married couple can pick up the book and receive very explicit instructions about sexual intimacy.
What inspired you to take on such a topic?
I need to say first that I wasn’t the only author of this book; there were three others: My husband and Linda and Jody Dillow — Jody has a doctorate in Theology.
The reason we decided to write about the Song of Solomon was because there were a lot of books out there that tell people about sexual intimacy and how to improve sexual intimacy. Many of them are very good. But there is a big difference between presenting men’s wisdom and God’s perspective. Our purpose was to put out God’s word, get his perspective, and then take application from that.
Intimacy Ignited is actually three books in one. In addition to a commentary, it’s also a marriage application book and a bible study. In this way we can receive God’s word and take it much deeper and apply it.
How has the Christian Community reacted to the book?
I think they are amazed that God is so explicit in his word and that he offers so many answers. One woman told me, “I’ve been looking everywhere for answers and all the time the answers were in front of me in the bible!”
So, people are amazed that the Song of Solomon was written so many years ago, yet it deals so specifically with their marriage situation today. For example, some of the issues raised in the Song of Solomon are sexual rejection, how do I handle it when my mate sexually rejects me? What happens when a partner desires to be more intimate than the other? It also deals with things like body image — what happens when you don’t feel good about your body? It’s very exciting and practical.
Since you mentioned body image, let’s expand on that. What can a partner do to build up their spouse in that area?
In Intimacy Ignited, our husbands — my husband Peter and Jody Dillow — talk at length about what a husband can do, but being a wife I’ll comment from that perspective.
My friend Linda and I interviewed 2,000 women and we asked them two questions: What does your husband do that makes you feel good about your body and what does your husband do or say to make you feel insecure about your body.
The comments we got back from these women were astounding. One of the things that surfaced is that what a husband needs to do is praise her. And we see that in the Song of Solomon; there is a whole lot of praise back and forth. I think that’s become a lost art in our society, and something I hope we go back to.
These are basic things a person may not relate to intimacy or sex…
Yes. This was probably the most amazing thing we saw. We jumped into the Song of Solomon and studied it word-by-word in the Hebrew and a theme surfaced: The theme of being a servant lover. It ties in to Philippians 2:3 where it says we should regard the person as more important than ourselves. The message we saw surfacing is we need to take this to the sexual aspect of our relationship. I should consider my husband’s sexual needs before my own; and he should consider me before he. That is part of the servant-lover attitude.
At the end of every chapter throughout the book, we talk about what does a servant lover do and what does a selfish lover do. Our goal over the course of our marriage is to strive to be servant lovers.
A theme we repeat throughout Marriagetrac is the concept of Spiritual Intimacy and how things like prayer, worship and servanthood will grow a marriage and often lead to greater physical intimacy. Does that make sense?
Absolutely. I have a different definition of intimacy. I would break it up into: into-me-see. The idea is I allow someone to see into me and see everything about me. That’s the deepest level of intimacy and that’s the level God wants reserved for a husband and wife, where we are truly in every way, naked and unashamed.
I think couples miss the spiritual-physical intimacy connection.
I agree. So often I see couples that can pray about every aspect of their lives, but somehow they are hesitant to pray about their sexual intimacy. I know a woman who has a picture of Jesus on her bedroom wall and every time she and her husband make love she turns the picture around [laughs]. There’s almost this embarrassment that spiritual intimacy and sexual intimacy don’t go together. What we see in Song of Solomon is that nothing could be further from the truth. Your physical intimacy and your sexual intimacy should be woven together.
Another reason we don’t think about it is because of what the world is doing. The world has reduced sex down simply to the physical and meeting your own needs. It’s a very selfish thing.
But God elevates sexual intimacy to the highest form of spiritual intimacy when Paul writes in Ephesians 5:31, that sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife is the picture of Christ and the church. I can remember reading that so many times and thinking, what are you saying here Paul? As I prayed over it one day it hit me. When a husband and wife experience the most intimate act on this earth — that oneness, that woven together closeness, the closest you can get to any human being — God is saying that is a picture of the degree of spiritual intimacy I want with you.
Copyright © 2006 Marriagetrac.