Tag Archives: Q&A with J

Q&A with J: I Just Found Out My Husband Cheated

Among the fears some spouses have about marriage is the worry that their mate will cheat on them. It seems like one of the worst things you could learn. But it’s happened to couples out there who have come through, found healing, and even nurtured their relationship to a better place than it was in before. Still, no one wants to get that news.

And today’s question addresses just that — finding out your husband cheated. What now?

If you had asked me last week how I felt about my marriage, I would have said with confidence that we have a great marriage, one that was far stronger than most.

Then this weekend, my husband admitted to me that he had cheated on me several times during the first 5 years of our marriage. He made out with and/or received oral sex from several different women…. I’m just at a loss. I feel curiously numb, but my mind is spinning with thoughts of every kind.

My husband is extremely remorseful. I know all this happened before he got serious about his faith, and I still love him and I want to forgive him and find a way to work this out. He admitted his sins to our pastor and to his men’s bible study group a couple years ago. It seems it took him a long time to work up the courage to confess to me. He also said that for awhile he worried if telling me was actually a selfish thing for him to do, because it would make him feel better while inflicting serious pain on me. He said he wanted to protect me from that, but after continuing to pray he felt God saying he needed to tell me. So he did. Now that burden is off his shoulders, and I’m glad, but the hard part for me is only just beginning.

I know that if we’re going to have any chance at repairing our marriage we need to commit to doing it right. I am so overwhelmed though that I don’t even know where to start. 

blog post title + illustration of woman burying her face in her hands

When I receive messages like this, where someone shares their personal heartbreak, I try to imagine how I would feel in their situation. Of course I can’t say for sure, but I imagine this news like a wall falling and crushing me under—something I thought had kept me secure suddenly becoming a weight on my chest that makes it hard for me to breathe. While I wouldn’t want to demolish the whole house, because so many beautiful memories and good things happened there, it would feel overwhelming, like there’s so much to repair.

All that said, I want to point out some positives (which don’t exist with everyone who gets news of their spouse’s infidelity):

  • You say this happened before your husband got serious about his faith. Meaning that the deepening of his faith has had the effect of convicting and changing him.
  • You learned about this from him, meaning he was willing (though delayed) to come clean.
  • The infidelity has stopped. (I’m assuming that’s true based on his statements, but see point number two below.)
  • Your husband is extremely remorseful.
  • You believed you had a great marriage — which likely means you have a lot to build on.
  • Your husband was very concerned about the effect this information would have on you.
  • He listened to God’s nudging him toward honesty, even though there might be a personal price to pay.

But now what do you do? Well, those who recover from infidelity report similar processes for healing.

1. You need time and space to grieve.

Something has been lost, and it’s entirely understandable for you to grieve this betrayal.

Sometimes when an unfaithful spouse confesses, they feel like it’s over. They’ve finally dumped the weight of their guilt by fully confessing and can feel a sense of closure in that moment, but, as you point out, the road has only just begun for the wounded spouse.

Be clear with your husband that you are grieving and need to be given the opportunity to do so, even if it means that you are sad, angry, or withdrawn. It may be painful for him to feel shut out, but you need that own that grief and work through it unheeded.

2. If he wants your marriage to heal, his life is now an open book.

You get to ask questions, and he should answer them. If you want to know where he is, when he’ll be home, and who he’s with, he needs to tell you. If you ask to see his phone, he needs to hand it over. If you want his passwords to social media, that should be shared information.

To some unfaithful spouses, that feels unfair. But the wounded spouse feels thrown off-kilter, and they need to see evidence that the relationship is exclusive and secure. They need to know that no other inappropriate contact is happening and that the marriage takes priority.

That said, the wounded spouse shouldn’t make unfounded accusations and should be thoughtful in which questions to ask about the infidelity. If you ask your husband for specifics about someone he was with, and he complies and tells you, that’s in your brain now and isn’t likely to go away. Ask what you need to know to re-establish trust, but don’t ask questions you don’t need or want the answer to — hearing the sordid details isn’t likely to help you understand more and may make you, and him, simply feel worse.

3. You need to find out what was absent during those times.

Typically a spouse cheats because they feel something is missing. Now, to be clear, what could be missing is a compass of personal morality that has zero to do with the spouse cheated on. It could also be that he felt something missing in your relationship and failed to resolve it with you, instead selfishly choosing an extramarital outlet for those feelings.

Answering the question, “Why did you cheat?” can illuminate any areas of your relationship that you might want to work on to make sure your marriage is on solid ground. Maybe your marriage has already grown to the point that this would never happen again, but it’s worth asking.

And know there likely isn’t a simple answer to this question—there could be layers of reasons you have to work through, such as a poor misunderstanding of sex in marriage coupled with a porn background and work stress and this, that, and the other.

4. You should both foster your friendship and romance.

In the midst of dealing with all of these issues, you can begin to feel like all of your discussions with your husband are tense and painful. Clear away moments and evenings and outings when you just spend time with each other.

Take the issue of infidelity off the table for those times—not that it will go away completely, but save your expressions of hurt and problem-solving on that issue for other times. Commit to dating again, reminding yourselves why you fell in love and why your marriage is worth investing in.

5. You should aim for a return of intimacy.

Some wounded spouses don’t want to have sex for a long time after discovering infidelity, while others plunge into sexual intimacy in a longing to remind themselves of this physical bond. Neither way is unreasonable, but it seems to me that the wounded spouse should take the lead.

Yes, this can go on too long where it becomes a spiteful gatekeeping exercise that can tear the marriage down further, but most of the time it’s just that the wounded spouse needs to re-establish a sense of security to become vulnerable again in the marriage bed.

Take steps to move in that direction at the pace you need, knowing that the end goal is to become one in your marriage, including physically.

For many couples, all of these suggestions proceed more smoothly when overseen by a Christian counselor who can help you address your feelings, your relationship’s weaknesses, and your goals for the marriage.

You might need to visit a counselor alone at first, to work through your emotional pain. But conversations with your husband might also flow better with someone there to mediate and interpret and make wise suggestions on how to nurture your marriage.

Finally, although the following post doesn’t address your scenario, it includes links to relevant resources: Q&A with J: Can God Heal Any Marriage after Infidelity?

As for where to start, start in prayer. Then, if I were in your shoes, I’d make a phone call to a counselor and set up an appointment. I’d peruse the resources in that post. I’d ask my husband for certain promises and access to information. I’d do some self-care. I’d schedule a date night. I’d see the counselor. I’d keep praying.

The road isn’t easy, but you can reach a destination of healing, trust, and intimacy. Not simply again, but deeper than before.

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Q&A with J: No Interest in Sex & Meeting Emotional Needs

It’s Q&A day again! Today, I’m tackling two questions: one about a lack of interest in sex and the second about meeting emotional needs in marriage. Let’s get to it!

Blog post title + illustration of bed with question marks above

1. No Interest in Sex

I’m in a strange predicament. I relate to the term “demisexual”, which basically means someone better be my best friend if they want a prayer of me thinking they’re attractive. I lovingly refer to this as “the most convenient orientation”, but it has had its inconveniences as well.

Growing up, I was unable to relate to my friends who seemed to fall in love so quickly. I rarely thought about sex until I got serious (staying pure till marriage- no worries!) with my fiancé. Sex seems like fun! I’m looking forward to it and I want to be as experimental (now that I know you can be! Lol)

The hardest part, though, is that both my fiancé and I have a mutual concern. I don’t think much about sex. I am not interested in it as much as the normal person. I don’t understand why sex sells and I am a businesswoman and a performer. I am mortified that my wiring is going to ruin my marriage. Heck, it took me two years to kiss the poor boy. He is the most respectful and patient and loving man I have ever met, but I feel so guilty and like this aspect of me is going to be a curse on our relationship.

What advice do you have to give to women who just don’t have much active interest in sex? Or couples with different libidos?

Let me first say that I don’t think all those terms (“demisexual,” “asexual,” etc.) are all that helpful. It’s a label that makes it seems like you’re different in a way that doesn’t seem all that weird to me. A lot of people aren’t that interested in sex with someone unless and until they feel deep companionship and connection.

A lot of people aren't that interested in sex with someone unless and until they feel deep companionship and connection. Click To Tweet

In addition, not being interested in sex isn’t the kiss of death to your intimacy either. Many — really, the majority of — women have libidos that are more responsive than proactive. Such wives can have wonderful sexual intimacy if they prioritize sex in their marriage, decide to engage, and then surrender to the pleasure of the experience. They may not ever have an independent urge to have sex, but from memories of how good it made them feel before and how sex keeps them connected to their husband, they continue to enjoy ongoing affection and sexual pleasure throughout their marriage.

All that said, a nonexistent libido or inability to respond sexually could be a problem. One question I’d have is whether you experience physiological arousal at any time. That is, do you experience lubrication and swelling in the genital area at any time when you’re with your fiancé? Women often aren’t as aware of their arousal, but if their bodies are physiologically responding, it’s a good sign for future sexual engagement. If that’s not happening, you should visit a doctor to check on hormone levels and any other factors that could influence your sexual physiology.

I also highly recommend a video course recently released by fellow marriage and sex author Sheila Gregoire titled Boost Your Libido, which you can find HERE.

If you get married and continue to have problems, I’d suggest seeing a counselor to determine what else might be going on. God really did create us to be a sexual beings, and while our libidos can run the spectrum, having zero sexual interest or response isn’t likely without some underlying reason.

Related post: What Is Sexual Interest? Why Should I Care? from OysterBed7

2. Meeting Your Spouse’s Emotional Needs

This has less to do with sex and more with maintaining a healthy marriage.

My husband and I are similar in many ways but words of affirmation is an area where we are not. He is a tender, humble, hilarious husband! I have nothing but good things to say about him—to others. But when it comes to expressing appreciation and love, in a deeper, heart-to-heart way, to HIM, I stink! I feel so uncomfortable!

My husband is an ESFJ, if that means anything to you, so feeling valued and appreciated is very important to him. He truly NEEDS to hear affirmation–a LOT. For me, as an ESTJ, I can go without words of affirmation for a long time and be totally fine. Sometimes his constant need for praise feels like insecurity and can be annoying to me. At the same time, I hit the jackpot in regards to husbands and am overwhelmingly grateful most days.

Any insight on how I can become more comfortable in being verbally affirming?

For those who might not recognize the label, that’s a four-letter personality type based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a test I’ve taken, administered, and interpreted. I’m a big fan of the MBTI.

But emotional needs have also been identified through other resources like The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.  Regardless of which approach you use, you’re likely to discover that you and your spouse are not the same person. Surprise! You express and experience love in different ways.

You're likely to discover that you and your spouse are not the same person. Surprise! You express and experience love in different ways. Click To Tweet

Now most of us expressed love in just about every way possible while courting, because the experience of falling in love does that to a person — makes you gush out your feelings through every pore they can find. Once married, or past the honeymoon phase, we tend to fall back into the habits our personality type is comfortable with. That’s a good thing, because it means we’re maturing in our love. But it’s also a bad thing if we let go of an action that was particularly meaningful to our spouse.

What’s the answer? Well, you can keep your personality type and still meet your spouse’s emotional needs. You will have to do some changing, but it won’t be that painful. Really. Here are my suggestions for meeting the emotional need of verbal affirmation, but the principles can apply to meeting any emotional need for your beloved spouse.

Recognize it will be awkward at first. Whenever we’re setting up a new habit, it feels unnatural at first — because it is. But over time, it will become more natural if you keep at it and let the new habit sink in.

Set up a routine. Make a point of saying something affirming when you wake up, when you leave, when you get home, or whatever triggers work for you. Even set up reminders on your phone to share something positive with your husband.

Write it, if that’s easier. Some people feel weird saying compliments aloud, but find it easier to write them down. If that’s you, then buy some cute post-in notes or stationery and make it a habit to write a word of affirmation and plant it where you husband will see it (e.g., in his lunch bag, on his computer screen, on the bathroom mirror).

Be genuine. Don’t say stuff you don’t believe or “fluff” that you think he wants to hear. Look for something positive in your hubby that you really believe, even if it’s something small, and then comment on that.

Pray. Yeah, pray for the right words and the right attitude and the right reception from your husband. It seems to me that your desire to bless your husband in this way is entirely in line with God’s will, so surely He will bless you in this endeavor if you invite His guidance.

That’s it for today’s questions. More Q&A next week!

Q&A with J: Imagery & Arousal, Tantra Sex, and Devotions

Last week, I covered three reader questions that didn’t warrant an entire post, and today I’m back at it with three more!

Blog post title + illustration of a bed with three question marks above

1. Imagery & Arousal

To say my husband and I have never viewed porn would be a lie, but we never have together. I’m ashamed that I ever did, but to be honest I think it has allowed me to be more open to things that I would’ve considered “taboo”. The question I have is a tricky one and I can’t tell if I’m trying to justify something or if it’s alright to do. I’m the low sex drive of the two and sometimes don’t want to even bother with sex and I’m trying not to be that way. I know that one of the fastest ways for me to be turned on is if I find a VERY up close picture of male-female penetration (no faces, hardly even a body, just the parts) and then imagine my husband doing that to me. It’s usually something we have done and I’m recalling it, but it’s something I didn’t see, shall we say, because of position. I’m never thinking of anyone else and in my mind that picture is us in the act, so much so I can practically feel when we’ve had sex like that. I had an epiphany that if we re-created it with actual pictures of us that it wouldn’t be an issues but so far it’s so sub-par in quality it’s not quite the same (maybe with time we can get it to be). Am I on a slippery slope?

I’ll get right to the point: “Am I on a slippery slope?” Yes. Yes, you are.

Studies actually show that viewing pornography or reading erotica can have benefits in the short-term by arousing you and releasing inhibitions. But in the long term, it’s damaging because it’s false intimacy. (See It’s True: Porn Can Kill Your Sex Life.)

While I can’t say it’s wrong to take a picture of yourselves to get aroused, it’s unwise to attach your arousal to an image rather than your spouse. And it’s definitely not okay to expect another couple to snap a picture of themselves (paid or not) for you to get turned on. That’s using people and their sexuality, which doesn’t comport with God’s commands on how we treat others.

Really, I think your question should be how can I get turned on? That’s what you ultimately need to figure out. Not with shortcuts, but really figuring out how to tap in your sensuality, your stimulation, your sexuality, and your satisfaction. Honestly, I give a lot of ideas in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

It’s possible to find your “inner sex kitten,” so to speak, with Christian-based resources like mine and others (check out our podcast too!). I pray that you’ll go there first and find what you need to make your marriage bed an exciting and fulfilling place.

2. Tantra Sex

Minus the Hindu aspects would it be possible to write a post or a series of posts on “tantra”. Also would it be possible either on your blog or on the sex chat podcast to talk about “energy orgasms” (if thats “beneficial “)

For those who don’t know, tantra is broadly methods and practices developed in Hinduism and Buddhism that attempt to tap into the divine through the tangible. Tantra sex has an underlying notion of the partners being embodiments of deity; thus, through breathing techniques, prolonged touch, and various rituals, you connect more deeply to one another and your divinity beyond the oft-prioritized orgasm.

Meanwhile, energy orgasms are presumably whole-body orgasms that release sexual energy throughout the body. These are achieved through a series of deep breathing techniques and clenching of specific muscle groups. This “orgasm” can be had with your clothes off or on. Knowing what I know about physiology and psychology, I believe these are not orgasms, but reactions to an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide and to tension release in the body. Think of it like when you’ve overexerted yourself for a long time and feel both happy, light-headed, and shaky. Of course, you can feel this way with regular, or real, orgasms too.

Although I’ve had requests to write about tantra sex, I haven’t written about it or energy orgasms, because neither really appeal to me. Prolonged lovemaking certainly has its place, but the goals of these approaches don’t line up with how I view godly sexuality in marriage.

For one thing, sex is a piece of marriage — a very important piece — but some couples who regularly practice tantra sex seem to put too much weight on the sexual aspect of their relationship. Moreover, it strikes me as chasing a high in the same way that couples adding more and more kink to their bedroom seem to do.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to have tantra sex or to aim for energy orgasms. But I’m not compelled or motivated to talk about it on my blog, so that’s probably about all you’ll hear from me on the subject.

3. Sex Devotions

After my husband and I are intimate, we often spend time cuddling and just chatting. Do you know of any “365 days a year marriage life sex meditation” books that could increase intimacy and sex relations? If not, ever consider writing one?

Actually, I don’t know of any that have 365 meditations. But I have two recommendations for devotional books that revolve around sex in marriage:

  1. Songs in the Key of Solomon by John & Anita Renfroe has devotions with action items for you to do as a couple. There are 60 of them, and they don’t all revolve about sex. But they are about physical closeness and intimacy, and some are sexual.
  2. My book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions for Sex in Marriage, was written for wives. However, I’ve had spouses write and tell me they went through the devotions together and it spurred both great conversation and increased intimacy. These chapters include a Bible verse, thoughts on the passage, questions (which you could ask each other), and then a prayer.

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As for whether I’ve considered writing one, I haven’t thought about a 365-day meditation book, but I have considered writing a book with discussion prompts for couples.

I receive a fair number of emails and comments from spouses who need to communicate better about the sex in their marriage but don’t know how to get that conversation going. I’d be curious to hear from readers whether they believe such a book would be helpful.

Next week: Three more Q&As!

Q&A with J: Oral Sex, Good Habits, and “Ladies First” Orgasm

At the end of last year, my email inbox had 336 emails I needed to address. Through a concerted effort in the last month, I have gotten my inbox down to 120 emails!

Several of the questions I received didn’t warrant a full post, but I answered the individuals in briefer return emails. Today, I want to share three of those with you, and next week I’ll share more.

Blog post title + illustration of bed with three question marks above

1. “Blow Jobs” and Lockjaw

Not sure if you’ve addressed something like this question before but what would you do if your husband loves a good blow job, and would like it often, but it quite literally pains you — I have a really bad lockjaw issue that I go to the chiropractor for to help manage it and I’ve noticed that after I’ve given him head I get pretty bad flare up. I’ve mentioned this to him, but it doesn’t seem to phase him much I guess. I start to get irritated while doing it because I’m in pain and I don’t want to feel like that because I love pleasing him, as he is very good to me, but I don’t love being in pain everyday because of it either…What would you do?!

Since you asked the straightforward question, “What would you do?!” I’ll answer just as directly: not give blow jobs.

If you literally have a physical condition that prevents you from performing a certain sexual activity in your marriage bed, and especially if that activity gives you pain, you shouldn’t have to do that. Not giving your husband fellatio doesn’t count under the “do not deprive” clause of 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

If your husband doesn’t understand, then he probably doesn’t realize how much it hurts you. Sometimes we think we’re being clear about something, but we’re really not or our spouse has a blind spot — so their lack of responsiveness isn’t because they don’t care, but rather how they’re receiving the information.

That said, you can still give him oral sex. Without giving him the full blow job. I talked about that in each of these posts:

What Does He Mean by “Oral Sex”? (It May Not Be What You Think)
5 Things You Should Know about Oral Sex

Now I don’t know a whole lot about lockjaw, but I suspect you could still attend to the head of his penis. And you could add other things to your repertoire. Hey, maybe you become the Hand Job Master! (I have tips for that in my book.)

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2. Making Sex a Habit

Our sex life is good, not great and we both want to improve it. Have you written about making sex a habit? We’re constantly amazed that if we go a week or a bit more and we make love, how wonderful it is and we inevitably say to each other “why don’t we do this more??” LOL. So curious on your thoughts of helping making love to become a routine habit (we both generally agree 2-3x a week would be ideal.

Yes, I talk about scheduling sex in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous (see above), and I’ve answered the question “How Often Should You Have Sex?

Within a lot of posts, I’ve talked about making sex a regular, routine part of your marriage (e.g., see Be Your Husband’s Sure Thing). As for how, one idea I covered was tracking the frequency of sex in marriage (and the comments on that post were interesting), and this is an oft-covered topic on the podcast I co-host with three other marriage bloggers, Sex Chat for Christian Wives.

But yeah, I dare say that most couples should make love more often! It’s a great, God-given perk of marriage.

3. “Ladies First” Orgasm

How can I reconcile my need to orgasm with his inclination to sleep? Once he comes he gets super relaxed and if I am not quick to catch up, I will find myself with a snoring hubby, sometimes still inside me! This isn’t always a big problem, but if I am getting close to that point, it frustrates the heck out of me, and I even feel like crying. Which is not the way I want to finish off a good romp. I would rather not let myself enjoy it too much than to really enjoy it and then get left in the lurch like that.

My immediate thought was Why isn’t she orgasming first? It seems like that would resolve a lot if he just adopted a “ladies first” policy. This could mean that your husband brings you to orgasm before penetration, or it could mean that you add direct clitoral stimulation (his hand or yours) during intercourse to get you to climax more quickly.

However, if none of that works, I’d wake him up, gently but firmly, and say, “Hey, can we finish me off?” Let him know that you enjoyed the experience, but he got his peak and you’d like to see yours, thank you very much.

I’ll be back with more Q&A next week. If you want to ask me something, head over the contact form and send me your question. It’s slow going at times, but I really am making my way through the inbox!

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Q&A with J: How Is Solomon the Expert on Marital Love?

This is a question that landed in my inbox a while ago, and I wrote back a quick answer. But re-reading through emails, I decided I wanted to tackle the question of Song of Solomon here. Because I suspect many of you, especially women, have wondered how a rampant polygamist seems to be the Bible’s expert on sexual intimacy in marriage.

One thing I’ve been wondering about for a while now, is how frequently you and other marriage bloggers reference the Song of Solomon to cite evidence of how God is sex-positive. I fully understand that sex is a beautiful God-given gift that unites my husband and [me]. I just don’t get why Solomon is the Biblical expert on marital love when he had 1000 wives and concubines (1 Kings 11:3). This doesn’t support the sort of fidelity that I sense that God wants from us.

blog post title + illustration of king's crown

Okay, I’m about to say something potentially shocking, but here it goes anyway: I don’t think Solomon wrote Song of Songs.

He might have, but it wouldn’t surprise me to someday be introduced to some other guy in Heaven who says, “Hey, I hear you’re a big fan of my book!” And then I’m all like, “Oh yes! Will you sign my copy and take a selfie with me?”

That’s my opinion based on my study of the issue. But there are three main positions on whether Solomon was the author of this erotic book in the Bible.

1. Solomon’s favorite wife

King Solomon had a special affinity for this one wife, so he wrote about how that special relationship. Scholars say this was likely early in his youth, perhaps his first wife, before he was tainted by the many wives and concubines he took throughout his reign.

Song 6:8-9 does say:

Even among sixty queens
and eighty concubines
and countless young women,
I would still choose my dove, my perfect one—
the favorite of her mother,
dearly loved by the one who bore her.

But as a woman and wife myself, I’m rather distressed by this idea. If I was such a peach of a wife that this beautiful book of love was penned about me, why would my husband go marry and bed 139 other women? And calling me your “favorite” among 140 women sounds like reaching into the Dove Dark Chocolate bag, eating one, and saying it was the best. How can I trust that statement when you plan to eat the whole bag?!

Image result for reverend fun marriage

All that said, it really was a very different time. So applying our cultural standards to the time in which Solomon lived and the position he held (e.g., some of those marriages were politically motivated for kingdom peace) isn’t likely to give us a full understanding. If Solomon did write the book, we should place this story in the context in which he existed.

2. Solomon wrote from observation, not experience

Solomon wrote the poetry to describe passionate love he observed among two lovers he envied. This view says that essentially Solomon saw what another had, noted it was beautiful relationship, and creatively captured the essence of it to celebrate godly, sexual love.

At first, I thought, Well, that’s creepy. So he was enviously stalking some couple and writing about their sex life? But then I realized that I also write fiction, and I kind of did that with my book, Behind Closed Doors: Five Marriage Stories. My stories aren’t nearly as erotic as Song of Songs, but storytelling authors always put themselves in the shoes of someone else (fictional or nonfictional) and convey the message from that point of view.

And most of the time, envy isn’t the motivator; rather, the author wants to tell a story they find intriguing and useful to others. Perhaps that’s what King Solomon did — tell a story he liked, hoping it would inspire others to greater love and intimacy in their marriages.

DESCRIPTION: Guy hitting on a girl using Song of Solomon for inspiration CAPTION: YOUR HAIR IS LIKE A FLOCK OF GOATS

3. Solomon didn’t write the book

Rather, Song of Songs was written by someone else in his kingdom about his own marital love. Indeed, some ancient texts bear the name of the person to whom the writing was dedicated rather than the author itself, as a way of giving the work greater weight.

Back then, they didn’t look at plagiarism the way we would. You writing something and attributing it to a well-known figure could be viewed as praise and honor of that person. It was more like ghostwriters these days, who share the glory or even give it to the person whose name appears on the book cover, but they get a book out and get paid.

For recent examples, Donald J. Trump’s The Art of the Deal was actually written by Tony Schwartz, while Hillary Clinton’s popular It Takes a Village was written with the (uncredited) help of Barbara Feinman. And if you think all those celebrity memoirs were written by the celebrities themselves, think again.

Mentioning King Solomon within the book and attributing it to him would have been seen as a compliment or a gift. Certainly, this book was embraced by the people and Jewish scholars, and perhaps Solomon himself.

Does it really matter who wrote it?

It’s uncomfortable being unable to verify biblical authorship. It’s so much easier when you have a letter from Paul directly saying, “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write” (2 Thessalonians 3:17). Well, there’s no doubt there who’s talking.

Instead, it’s possible Solomon didn’t write Song of Songs, but it’s quite possible that he did. We just don’t know for sure.

Regardless, I feel confident that Solomon wasn’t sitting among his harem penning this book as a hypocritical act.

Consider this: If you traveled back into my past and said, “Hey, that girl is going to have a lot of good stuff to say about Christian sex,” a lot of people would have laughed, including me. The idea would have been preposterous! Who was I to say squat about godly sexuality? But at this season of my life, God seems to be using me to do just that.

However, I know people who had great stuff to say about God earlier in life and got off track later. You can find plenty of examples of those people in the Bible. Didn’t God still use them? Perhaps that’s where Solomon fits. 

But whoever wrote it—and the most prevalent, traditional view is Solomon—God made sure it was included in our canon. Song of Songs is part of the inspired Word of God.

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Additional reading: Insight.org (Chuck Swindoll) – Song of Solomon; ESV.org – Introduction to The Book of Song of Solomon