The Bible is not timid about discussing human sexuality. A powerful affirmation of God’s plan for physical intimacy is found in Proverbs 5:15: "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well."
Water is a metaphor for sexual intimacy that occurs elsewhere in the Bible. In the Song of Songs the bridegroom affectionately tells his new bride, "You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Babylon" (4:15). Water is difficult to keep controlled. It easily spills and flows in directions we may not want it to. But if water can be contained so it is there for when we are thirsty, it is cooling and refreshing to our bodies and spirits. Sex within marriage functions like that, so the metaphor of water in Proverbs is very fitting. (1) A husband and wife can find a lifetime of refreshment and joy in their sexual relationship with each other.
This positive affirmation of marital sexuality comes after a long discourse on improper sexuality (5:3-14). Solomon warns a young man, possibly his own son (5:1,7), to beware of the temptress lest he lose his wealth, his health and his standing in the community.
There are numerous warnings in Proverbs about improper sex (chapters 2, 5,6 and 7). If you read only these passages you could assume that Solomon has a rather dim view of romance! But, such is not the case, as Proverbs 5:15-24 demonstrate. For Solomon, sexual expression has its proper place in God’s plan and provides bonding and joy for a married couple.
GOD’S PLAN FOR SEX
God’s plan for sexual intimacy is first revealed beginning in Genesis 2:18. Here God says, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." "Helper" is not a derogatory term for the woman. In Psalm 121:1,2 the Lord is David’s helper, his "completer." That is not a derogatory term in reference to God, nor is to woman. The help the woman will be for the man is that of a companion. The man is alone, and that is not good. The company of the woman will complete him.
God makes woman from the man’s rib (v.22). A frequent saying at weddings is that God did not take a woman from man’s feet that she should be stepped on by him, or from his head that she should lord herself over him, but from his side that she should be his companion. I think this little saying captures the thought of the story. Woman came from man’s side. She is literally part of him. Later, when God declares the husband and wife to be one flesh (v.23), he is declaring what is literally true of this first couple. Later, as we enter into the bonds of marriage, we enter into this uniting process. This story becomes our story.
When Adam first sees his wife he bursts out with an ecstatic, "Wow!" Literally he says, "This time." There is excitement here! The man is so moved he even breaks out in poetry: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man." God then says that a man should leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. In an ancient society a man often did not actually leave his father’s family. He married and brought his wife into his father’s patriarchal system. "Leave" here is probably better understood as "forsake." A man forsakes his father’s family and puts his wife first. (2)
Verse 25 says the husband and wife were both naked and they were not ashamed. Ashamed here is not guilt. The idea is that the husband and wife were not embarrassed in each other’s presence. This is significant since this is the first time the man and the woman have seen each other.
I think the reason for their complete comfort in each other’s presence is that Adam and Eve were both other-conscious. They were both focused on the attractiveness of the other. They were focused on the need of the other. They were not conscious of their own bodies and how they might appear. The husband and wife did not become self-conscious until after they acted selfishly by eating the fruit.
At least two things are going on in this first encounter between Adam and Eve. One, there is a sense of similarity and dissimilarity ("alterity") between the man and the woman. Adam has been spending time with all of the other living creatures and he hasn’t seen any that look like this woman standing in front of him. She looks enough like him for Adam to know that she does not belong to the lower animal realm. But she looks different enough for Adam to know that she is not exactly like him, either. She is, in fact, similar enough to belong with him, but different enough to complete him. Adam sees his completeness standing there in the form of Eve. (3)
Secondly, there is total transparency. Adam and Eve had no cover. There was no hiding of any imperfections in their bodies, if there were any. Perhaps, because of their focus on the other, there was no sense of imperfections anyway. There was total acceptance of themselves and total acceptance of the other. They were exposed and they were comfortable. But the physical exposure is symbolic of the deeper exposure husbands and wives seek to achieve through their lives - the exposure of their hearts. (4) The honesty it takes to be totally transparent takes many years to achieve. Adam and Eve had it in an instant. We have to work at it.
The picture presented in Genesis 2 is that the man was alone. He was aware of his aloneness both socially and physically. He needed a companion. He craved intimacy. God responded by creating Eve from his side to complete Adam both socially and sexually. All of his needs will be met by his wife and all of Eve’s needs will be met by her husband. This couple will meet each other’s hungers for companionship and sexual expression so long as they keep their focus off of themselves and on their partner. They are naked in each other’s presence yet they are comfortable, happy and complete. Could anything ever disrupt so perfect a design by God?
Enter the devil. The devil lives to disturb and disrupt. He did that with Adam and Eve. After his work of leading this first couple into selfish decision making they became self-conscious. They became self-aware. They lost the innocence and comfort in each other’s presence and covered their bodies. Focusing on their partners attractiveness and needs took second place to concerns about their own presence and needs. Selfishness entered the marital relationship. Marriage would now become a complicated relationship. Companionship and sexual satisfaction would not come naturally anymore, they would have to be worked at. What would come naturally now to both husband and wife would be the expectation, even demand, that their own needs be met. Selfishness now trumps service.
We can see this in Genesis 3:16. God announces that competition would now enter the marriage relationship. The woman’s "desire would be for her husband." Some interpret this to mean that she will love her husband. But the context here is curse, not blessing. Another idea is that the wife will be in competition with her husband for headship of the home. Man and woman will compete for dominance in the relationship. Neither will naturally and willingly subjugate their own desires for the needs of their partner. Instead, they will both vie for advantage and press their case for their own needs. Arguments will erupt over, "You are not doing enough for me!"
Happy, fulfilling and satisfying marriages are still possible now, but they will take deliberate and determined effort. I think that at least three things are necessary for a successful marriage.
One, God-centeredness. If God is in our life we can appreciate the purpose God has for marriage and we will honor it. God’s purpose for marriage is committed companionship for a lifetime and includes the mutual meeting of sexual and emotional needs.
Two, a spirit of serving. Yes, our needs are met in marriage. But, the primary purpose of marriage MUST be to meet our spouse’s needs. Marriage needs less demand that our needs be met and more concern that we do what we can to serve our spouse.
Three, a commitment to growth. A successful marriage is a lifelong process of growth and development. That takes commitment over a lifetime. A serious commitment will hold the relationship together during trying times when feelings of romance may be low.
When most of us guys met our wives for the first time I’ll bet we all exclaimed, "Wow!" God’s process still works. But it is what we do after the "wow" and the "I do" that makes the relationship. Part of that is explained in Proverbs 5.
KEEPING LOVE AT HOME (Proverbs 5)
Proverbs 5:15 says, "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well."
In ancient times rain water would be caught in large rock containers called cisterns. If you were thirsty you would go to your own cistern to draw water and quench your thirst. Or, you might have a well from which you could draw water. Again, you would draw water from your own well to satisfy your thirst. When a man experiences sexual thirst, his desire is quenched at home also. He quenches his thirst with his wife. The imagery of the cistern and well is clear: you don’t quench your sexual thirst from any other source but the one you have at home, your wife!
Solomon follows that admonition up with more imagery: "Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares?" (V.16). This is often thought of as warning a man to not abandon his own cistern to chase other water sources, that is, he should not leave his wife to chase other women. Solomon makes that point in verse 20. But what he probably refers to here is not the man straying outside of marriage, but rather the man neglecting his wife and causing her to find companionship outside of marriage. The wife was the cistern and well in verse 15, so the mention of springs and streams in verse 16 likely refer to the wife as well.
The husband may be too busy to show proper affection to his wife, or he may have a lover on the side. It could be that he doesn’t understand that his wife’s need for intimacy is different than his and he doesn’t know how to satisfy her. Whatever the cause, Solomon warns his son to give his wife proper attention so she does not feel the need to seek intimacy and fulfillment elsewhere.
Willard Harley is a marriage counselor. In his years of practice he has found five basic needs that husbands and wives need met by each other. The husband needs sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, attractiveness in his wife, domestic support and admiration from his wife. The wife needs affection, conversation, honesty and openness, financial support and family commitment from her husband. (5) If these needs are not being met, then the "love banks" of each partner are being drained and they may be tempted to search elsewhere to have those needs met.
For example, if a wife is not receiving enough positive attention from her husband, such as affection and conversation, she may not respond willingly to his need for sex. She is frustrated with him and he is frustrated with her. In their frustration and anger toward each other they may continue to deprive each other more and more of their needs. This in turn could lead one or both partners to look outside of the marriage covenant to have these needs met. (6)
This is likely what Solomon is warning against. "If you will drink water from your own cistern, if you will go home to satisfy your sexual thirst and to satisfy your wife, her thirst will not drive her out of the home to another man." Then, verse 17 builds on this idea: "Let them (the springs or streams of water) be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers." There is a definite exclusivity to any level of intimate relating to a member of the opposite sex, whether verbal or physical. Committing adultery usually begins with warm greetings, interesting conversations and emotional bonding before sexual intercourse actually occurs. So, adultery is halted not at the bedroom door (although certainly here if the relationship has proceeded this far), but long before this point, such as at lingering conversations and dinner meetings. Cut them off, end them immediately. They are the early signs of water runoff. To maintain the exclusivity of the marriage covenant and the sexual union, serve your wife in love so that her love and sexual response will be toward you. Spend time at home in mutual sharing of conversation, embrace, affection and romance with your wife. Both of you enjoy the water that is in your own cistern - each other! If we will do that, then Solomon’s next admonition is possible: "May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth" (v.18).
"May your fountain be blessed" could be a reference to children. Children are a blessing and a gift of God. It is God’s plan and purpose that children be born into a family that is ready for them, a mother and father who are married and are prepared to raise them to the glory of God. The children are the fruit of the mother and father who live in love with each other. The birth of a child to a married mother and father who are in love images the procreative work of God the Father, Son and Spirit. God’s love produced human life and continues to produce human life through the reproductive process he created. Also, God’s love continues to produce spiritual life in us through Jesus Christ which is then strengthened by the Spirit. So, a loving husband and wife who bring a baby into their community to be loved and nutured function like the Godhead! But, there is another sense in which "may your fountain be blessed" may be understood.
"Blessed" can also refer to a state of well-being. In Proverbs 3:33b the Lord is said to bless the home of the righteous. This would mean that God’s presence is with the righteous family to provide well-being and contentment. In reference to the married young man, "blessed" may refer to Solomon’s concern that "his son will have a wife who can quench his thirst ... in the most satisfying way." (7)
In addition to praying that the young man’s marriage and sexual union be a blessing, Solomon adds his concern that the son rejoice in the wife of his youth. Elsewhere in the Bible rejoicing is experienced as joyful frolicking, clapping the hands and dancing. "The joy is so effusive that one is beside oneself." (8) This idea captures the feeling Adam must have had when he first saw Eve: "Wow!" or "Finally!" Adam had seen all the animals and named them. Each animal had its counterpart, male and female. But there was no one for Adam, and Adam felt the aloneness. The alone time impressed upon Adam his singularness, his aloneness. So, when he met Eve and they were both unclothed, he recognized in her his counterpart and he experienced excitement and joy.
The excitement of Adam is not unlike the excitement of a young man today who has kept himself for marriage. Upon seeing his wife for the first time on their honeymoon, the young husband can echo Adam, "Wow!" or "Finally!" Together, both the new husband and wife begin drinking from the cistern, enjoying each other’s bodies, experiencing each other’s company on an intimacy level new and exciting to both of them. Their thirst is quenched, their union is blessed; they have cause to rejoice.
Solomon prays that some sense of the "Wow!" never drains from the relationship. In time the young couple will lose the sense of newness. They will grow familiar with each other’s personality and body. If they don’t regularly maintain the emotional strength of the marriage a sense of dullness may even set in. But it doesn’t have to, and it shouldn’t. How long is a husband to rejoice in the wife of his youth? For his whole life. With proper care of each other’s feelings, proper care of each other’s needs, a husband’s and wife’s love can grow deeper and more meaningful through the years. The sexual function can continue to be a major uniting force for them both. A man’s sexual drive will continue to propel him to his wife. If he has cared for her affectionately, she will continue to welcome her husband’s sexual attention. Their union can continue to be blessed and a cause for rejoicing.
"A sensual man can find satisfaction from his wife that no other woman can give him." (9) Sure, he can find another woman who will receive his sexual advances and give him temporary relief, but that can not satisfy a man as fully as the ongoing relationship with his wife is able to. "Because sex bonds a couple spiritually as well as physically, they share more than a moment of pleasure; they experience a wholeness in their relationship that only the spirit of God can create." (10)
With his wife a man enjoys much more than temporary physical relief. When a man is with his wife he also enjoys her friendship which has been the bedrock of the relationship since they first met. He enjoys her personality, he honors the sacrifices she has made for him to finish college and pursue his career, he celebrates her as the mother of his children, he extols her as the helper who has completed his life, and he expresses gratitude to her for being the stream of water that has quenched his thirst for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years or longer. A man who has a wife beside him like this, his companion and lover, is able to rejoice in her though all the years of his life.
In turn, the wife can appreciate the sacrifices her husband has made for her and the children: she can honor his role as primary breadwinner and head of the home; she can admire him for the spiritual leadership he provides the family; she can welcome his sexual advances knowing that she has been the sole recipient of his sexual energy; she can appreciate that he has honored her by being faithful and true to the commitment he made to her years ago. There is a lot of history, meaning, and energy that goes into the fountain the married couple share together.
Men, when we embrace our wives we embrace more than just a body. We embrace the whole history of our lives together. In my case, I embrace my wife giving up on her master’s degree so I could get mine; I embrace her leaving her home and family and traveling across the country in pursuit of my dreams; I embrace her enduring twenty-seven months of pregnancy so I could have three children; I embrace her declining a major promotion at work and even leaving her job to stay at home in the interests of our family; I embrace her tolerating my lack of discipline in scheduling time and managing finances; I embrace her patience with me as a young husband who took some time to learn that she had needs that must be met, too.
Fully embracing every aspect of life with our wives allows us to appreciate verse 19 even more: "A loving doe, a graceful deer - may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love." Before I comment on this erotic statement, let me just acknowledge that a woman may not find this description of her body very complimentary! But, this animal comparison was an ancient way of symbolizing physical beauty. Both the woman’s and man’s body is symbolized this way in Song of Songs (2:7,9,17; 3:5).
Solomon builds on his earlier imagery of "drinking water from your own cistern" by referring to the wife’s erogenous members, her breasts. The satisfaction the wife’s body provides her husband is by implication her caresses and her loving involvement in sexual expression. Inhibitions are left behind as the husband and wife lose themselves in their joyous and intoxicating sexual togetherness. The imagery of cisterns, springs and breasts reaches its crescendo in "the blessed wife’s lovemaking (that is) always available to drench and intoxicate the thirsty husband." (11)
No other woman can so satisfy a thirsty husband. So, Solomon admonishes, "Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?" (V.20). A man who realizes the value of the cistern he has at home and who faithfully fosters healthy feelings of love, appreciation and romance with her will not step out with another woman. But some men are not so attentive to home. For these men Solomon now issues three stern warnings.
IF YOU DON’T KEEP YOUR LOVE AT HOME ...
For the man who can not see the positive reasons to keep his love at home Solomon offers some warnings to arrest his attention and encourage his discipline.
One, God sees everything we do. "For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths." (V.21). While this can be an encouraging thought if we are walking circumspectly, it is a threat if we are stepping out. You may think your adulterous liaison is known only by you and your illegitimate lover. Not so. God sees.
Two, your sin will entrap you. "The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast." (V.22). The thrill of the illicit sexual encounter may so excite the man that he goes back again and again. But what seems like gratification and satisfaction will actually prove to be disastrous. "The cords of his sin will hold him fast." He may lose his marriage and his soul (Galatians 5:19-21).
Three, the adulterer will suffer. "He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly." (V.23). What folly to have a loving wife at home and abuse that love by stepping out on her! Such foolishness will be met by the death of the unfaithful husband! Will this be literal death? It could be. Adultery will spend a man’s "flesh and body," (5:11), a possible reference to a sexually transmitted disease, one that can even be fatal. An adulterous man might even meet an angry husband who will "show no mercy" to the adulterer (6:34) when he takes revenge! Or, it could mean that the adulterous husband’s character, self-esteem and godly ethic will die, leaving him empty and useless. I remember one husband who left his wife for a younger woman being asked, "So, did you leave the frying pan for the fire?" He answered, "No, there was no frying pan." He had a good marriage, but was drawn by the allure of another woman. Now, he realized what he lost, but there was no reclaiming it. An important part of this man was dead.
Ultimately, the real reason we maintain moral purity and practice our love at home is because of God. In verse 21 Solomon provides a strong theological rationale for morality: God sees everything we do. Even if our marriage is not always as satisfying as we would like for it to be, we still maintain faithfulness because God is the author of our lives and marriages. The honor we hold for God invites his ethic into our relationship. Marriage is not just husband and wife. Marriage is husband, wife and God. Malachi says that "the Lord God made them one. In flesh and spirit they are his ... So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth." (Malachi 2:15). If we truly honor God we will likewise honor our spouses. The love we have for God leads to a deep respect for our husband or wife. While we experience pleasure in sex, we can never view our spouse as an object of pleasure. He or she is our covenant partner. The respect we practice ensures that we will treat our partner’s feelings and body with dignity and honor. We will never belittle them or hurt them, and we will certainly not step out on them. The basis for treating our spouse with this level of dignity is not simply that we don’t want to get caught and embarrassed, but that we honor God.
STRENGTHENING YOUR BONDS
To keep love alive or to help jump start your romance there are several simple things a husband and wife can do daily. While not everyone of these suggestions may be done everyday, some of them can and should be.
1) Have regular conversations with each other. They can be as simple as discussing the events of the day or they can be as serious as concerns you share for the children. Even the tough conversations have the positive effect of keeping the husband and wife open to each other and aware of each other’s feelings. Conversations can and should also be intimate and personal. They can spark warm feelings and gender romantic yearnings. A good statement to open such a conversation with is "Remember when ..." and then recalling a warm, personal experience you shared together. Simply changing the location of your conversation can open up possibilities for openness and intimacy. Take a relaxing drive in the country together, enjoy a meal at a nice restaurant (without the children), and occasionally spend a night away in a motel.
2) Express gratitude to and for each other. To be in a mutually satisfying relationship, both the husband and wife have made sacrifices for the other through the years and have at times foregone their own needs for the needs of the other. Remember what your spouse has done for you. Remember him or her with genuine gratitude, and let that gratitude flow through you as a warm feeling of appreciation and flow out of you in expressions of gratitude to your spouse. You might express this thankfulness by filling a role your spouse normally fills in the home, such as preparing the meal, cleaning the garage, doing laundry or mowing the yard. This gratitude can and should also flow out in conversation. You might begin an intimate talk together by saying, "I appreciate you for ..." or "I appreciate it when you ..." The first opening is a good way to recall an appreciation that goes back to an earlier time in your relationship but you remember with fondness, and the second opening is a good way to express gratitude for something current in your relationship. The feeling that one is being taken for granted is a quick way to kill warmness or love. This can be avoided by offering regular verbal expressions of gratitude and by doing kind deeds for the one you are thankful for.
3) Keep pictures of your spouse around. I keep pictures of my wife and children in my office. This serves several beneficial functions. For one, it lets a visitor to my office know that I am in a bound covenant relationship with a beautiful woman that also includes three children that are vitally important to me. No one will ever be allowed to enter into a friendship or counseling relationship with me that will in any way hinder or disrupt what I share with my wife or children. Secondly, I have pictures of my wife that call to mind a fun time we shared together. There are a couple of pictures that simply remind me that my wife is a very attractive person to me! These pictures are vivid reminders that God has blessed me with a "cistern" that has been faithful and true for many years. I do not want to think or do anything that will hurt my wife’s feelings or our relationship. Stated positively, these pictures energize me to go home, hug Cheryl, and tell her how much I appreciate and love her. Feed that spirit of rejoicing!
4) Express intimacy and affection simply for the joy of the experience without it leading to sexual intercourse. Before marriage it was a joy simply for us to be able to hold the hand, hug or kiss the one we loved and eventually married. If we were committed to waiting until we were married for full sexual expression, we satisfied ourselves with a lower level of physical expression of our love. After marriage, we enjoyed full expression. But why can’t there be times when we "feed the fires" without extinguishing the flames? Extended periods of hugging and kissing can communicate to our spouse that "I love you and enjoy your company even if it doesn’t involve full sexual expression."
5) Read regularly about marriage, sex and family. I generally read three or more books and a dozen or more articles a year about marriage and family. Specific issues I read about are God’s view of marriage (theology of marriage and sex), marriage as covenant commitment, sexual function, happiness in marriage, serving the needs of your spouse, etc. Included in this are books about parenting. Parenting is a related function to that of being a husband or wife. It is the marital union that produced these children! If we function well as parents and raise children that are grateful, respectful and obedient, that allows the mom and dad to be relaxed and happy in the home so they can continue to function warmly and romantically with each other as a husband and wife. There is a tremendous array of good books about marriage and family. Invest the money to build a good "family" library and devote the time to reading throughout the year. Some books are particularly good for the husband and wife to read together, such as His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley, Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, Intimate Allies by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman and Becoming One by Joe Beam. Also, good books on how to function sexually are beneficial to read even if you have been married for many years, because our needs and our bodies change as we grow older, and we can benefit from the insight of others who have navigated these changes successfully. (12) Have you noticed marriages of thirty years that end in divorce? Don’t think that because you have been married for twenty-five years that you don’t need the healthy reminders or the infusion of new ideas about how to be happily married! Spending one hundred dollars a year on Christian-based books about marriage is much cheaper than attorney fees.
6) Something simple you can do by yourself everyday is memorize scriptures that deal with marriage and sex. Proverbs 5:15 is a good verse to start with: "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well." Quote the verse, thank God for the gift of your spouse, pray for the spirit of continued faithfulness to him or her, and reflect upon the joy and pleasure you experience with your partner.
There are a lot of complicated issues surrounding marriage today. Societal values often conflict with what we regard as a biblical perspective on marriage. The ease with which many end the covenant entered into before God is surely distressing. Even in couples sincerely desiring to make their covenant last, selfish attitudes and drives hinder their very attempt. Often the quest for happiness takes precedence over the demand of faithfulness. How do we sort through all of these issues? It is instructive for me to note that when Jesus faced some of the complicated issues of marriage in his day, his standard response was, "In the beginning ...," and then he told some aspect of the Adam and Eve story (see Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6). When faced with some of the complicated issues today, we might consider Jesus’ lead and go back to that story again and again. (13)
Genesis informs us that God intended the covenant of marriage and sex for our benefit. The companionship of marriage includes the total bonding of our bodies, minds and emotions. Sex is a major uniting force in this covenant. Since our emotional and sexual needs are a constantly recurring drive in our bodies and minds, we are continually being driven to our spouse. We can be happy and thankful to have that blessed person in our lives! Practiced within the framework of the marriage covenant "sexuality provides the means by which a husband and wife bond together, enjoy each other, and celebrate their communion." (14) Nothing else we do in life can compare in intensity and depth of meaning to the bonding effect sex has between a husband and wife. So, go ahead, "rejoice in the wife (or husband) of your youth," and "ever be captivated by her (or his) love!" That special person is God’s gift to you, so love that person with a deep sense of gratitude and permanence!
Warren Baldwin, January 2006
1.Dave Bland, "Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs" in The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 2002), pp.84-85.
2.Gordon J. Wenham, "Genesis" in Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1987), pp.70-71.
3.Bernard Mallia, "Back to Genesis with Love" in AFER, 19.03, p.152.
4.Stanley J. Grenz, Sexual Ethics: An Evangelical Perspective (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), pp.85-86.
5.Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1986).
7.Bruce K. Waltke, "Proverbs 1-15" in The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), p.320.
10.Bill & Vonette Bright, Managing Stress in Marriage: Help for Couples on the Fast Track (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1990), p.141. This quote is from a chapter entitled "Sex: God’s Gift for Stress Relief."
12.A helpful book to read on sexual function is one by the husband and wife team of Clifford and Joyce Penner entitled, The Gift of Sex. Also, The Act of Marriage by Tim Lahaye is very good.
14.John Mark Hicks, "Sexual Ethics in Ministry" in Building a Healthy Minister’s Family (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1996), p.61. While this article is oriented toward ministers, Hicks’ outstanding treatment of a theological view of sex and marriage is beneficial for anyone. Other books offering a good treatment of theological issues in sex and marriage are God and Marriage by Geoffrey W. Bromiley and Sexual Ethics: An Evangelical Perspective by Stanley J. Grenz.