May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. (Proverbs 5:18-19, NIV)
Have you ever been accused or convicted of “loving under the influence”? No, I didn’t say “driving” under the influence. I said “loving” under the influence. This isn’t a flippant question aimed at minimizing the seriousness of drinking and driving or even downplaying the grave consequences of those who become abusive while intoxicated. I’m simply wondering whether you’ve ever loved and been loved so overwhelmingly so as to be intoxicated.
The negative side to being “under the influence” usually refers to the drunken stupor of those who drink more alcoholic beverages than their bodies can naturally process. This usually impairs their judgment, motor skills, and balance and as a result they lose their natural physical and mental control. This intoxicated state may also loosen their inhibitions and they end up making fools of themselves while being “out of control.”
But there are also positive “intoxicated” feelings when we experience overpowering exhilaration or excitement of our minds or emotions. Granted, people experience such exhilaration at differing levels and in a variety of settings. For some, it may be while watching their favorite sports team win the championship. For others, it may be when they finally receive an overdue promotion at work. Sometimes, this euphoric wave sweeps over our souls when reunited with dear friends or family we haven’t seen in a long time, or while watching our small children who are peacefully asleep, or when sharing a romantic sunset with our loved ones.
Different biblical translations of the NIV’s word “intoxicated” in Proverbs 5:19 yield a broader understanding of the overall meaning for these verses. Words and phrases such as “exhilarated” (NASB), “transported with delight” (AB), “captivated” (NLT), “ravished” (KJV), “enraptured” (NKJV), “filled with great joy” (NLV), “lost in her love forever” (HCSB), and “taking delight in” (The Message) help us understand the incredible depth and absolute power of such “out of control” and influential love.
Have you ever experienced this “under the influence” love with your spouse? If you are not yet married, are you preparing yourself for this type of marital interaction? When your mind is preoccupied with this person (in a non-obsessive way, of course!). When you just have to be around him or her (in a non-stalking way, of course!). You’re aware of your bodily presence but you’re tingly numb all over. You hate being apart and look forward to your reunion. You give the impression of being in control, but the drool from your sappy grin betrays you. Your entire being is flooded by this mesmerizing, hypnotic ocean of “feel good” emotions. It reminds me of our family’s pet cat who, when lovingly petted while curled up in one of my arms, I could slowly pull his arms and legs into the air, and then watch with amusement as he stayed in that hypnotized position while contentedly purring to the satisfied cadence of his happy, little heart.
This mesmerizing effect is specifically the loving intoxication God has in mind for a husband and wife. When Solomon wrote Proverbs 5, he not only gave wise parental instruction to his sons (v.7), he also shared with us sound biblical instruction about marriage. His stern warnings against adulterous behavior became a springboard for his insight into intimate marital interaction. The reciprocal sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is so powerful – so intoxicatingly influential – that it protects the relationship from such potential adulterous situations.
Two words in verse 19 deserve our attention. Satisfy – it implies the quenching of thirst, the satiating of an appetite, an abundant filling of something strongly desired. Intoxicated – it means to be captivated or mesmerized. To be brought under the spell or intoxicating influence of something. Both words describe powerful influencers. Consider these comparisons. A refreshing drink of cold water on a hot, dry day. A satisfying meal when hungry. Being under the intoxicating influence of an alcoholic beverage. This is the effect such mesmerizing physical love should have each spouse.
While Solomon wrote this marriage guidance for his son and approached it from a husband’s point of view, the implication is that it applies equally to both spouses. Even though verse 19 says the husband should be ravished, enraptured, intoxicated with his wife’s love, it is hard to imagine only the husband enjoying such intimate and fulfilling pleasure while the wife simply endures it. God never intended this nor would he subject us to such frustration. This “loving under the influence” affects both spouses and involves them both pleasing and enjoying each other physically, with intoxicating passion and quenching satisfaction. It is so captivating that they have no interest in chasing sexual pleasure outside the marriage. No stolen moment of premarital or extramarital physical pleasure can match the ravishing and pleasurable satisfaction God intends for marriage.
To be clear, marital love includes both spouses loving in all four aspects of life. God never intended physical love to be fulfilling and satisfying apart from emotional connection, intellectual commitment, and spiritual unity. Actually, the power of the physical aspect finds its core connection in the emotional aspect, its commitment in the intellectual aspect, and its blessing in the spiritual aspect. Intoxicating sexual intimacy doesn’t just involve a husband and wife’s bodies – it also involves their hearts, souls, and minds. Your tangible, physical love should fully express your intangible spiritual, intellectual, and emotional love – and only within the secure and committed safe haven of marriage.
So, if you’ve never been accused or convicted of “loving under the influence,” why not drink deeply from that fountain today?
Editor’s Note: Some comments / quotes are excerpted from author and speaker Nate Stevens’ book “Matched 4 Marriage – Meant 4 Life: Solving the Mystery of Relationships.”