by Patsy Rae Dawson—
For over 3000 years, the Song of Solomon has preserved God's 3-step formula for enjoying a passionate love life for a lifetime. God uses the metaphor of drinking wine to teach a basic truth about successful courtship and marriage: (1) eat, (2) drink, and (3) get tipsy on love.
Song of Solomon 5:1b:
“(1) Eat, friends;
(2) Drink and (3) imbibe deeply, O lovers
[and drink, until you are drunk with love!—Complete Jewish Bible]”
The formula reflects God’s own words in answer to the Shulammite’s prayer as she struggles with whom to marry. Should she choose the rich and powerful King Solomon who can't take his eyes off her breasts or the common Shepherd who values her as a person with talents and goals of her own?
It's the difference between a king who lusts for her body and a guy who really likes her.
Teetotalers Don’t Get It
In his inspired Song of Solomon, God uses the country people's familiarity with growing grapes and naturally fermenting wine to tell the Shulammite and the Shepherd the secret of a wonderful marriage. He tells them to soulmate during courtship. Then when they get married, to continue to increase their bond through frequent, playful lovemaking.
As Christians, we are often teetotalers and don’t know much about drinking except for the ugly drunken scenes we see in the movies and on television, or perhaps endure with relatives or friends. Such was my case for over 40 years of studying, teaching, and writing about the Song of Solomon. While I understood the tipsy part, I completely missed the significance of the first two parts of the metaphor about wine and drinking.
I didn’t even realize I was missing the full significance of the metaphor until I spent some time with my brother Ted Snodgrass on his longhorn ranch in the East Texas Hill Country. For weeks, I was bombarded with advertisements about Texas wine and offers for touring the wineries. For example, the Piney Woods Wine Trail boasts, “The heat, humidity, and the acidic red dirt of East Texas produce some of the best sweet wines you have ever tasted.”
Finally, I asked Ted about drinking wine apart from getting drunk. He explained that spices and herbs help give the different wines their distinctive appeal. Wine choices range from robust dinner wines to sweet mellow dessert wines. Red and white wines reflect the special flavors of the different grapes. Even the soil the grapes are grown on gives it brand-name-building flavor. Not only is taste important to enjoying wine, but smell also adds a whole new dimension.
The Song of Solomon begins with appeals to both wine and smells, “Your love is better than wine. Your oils have a pleasing fragrance. Therefore the maidens love you” (Song 1:2-3). It ends with the wedding taking place after the grape harvest (Song 8:11). As I did the word studies for God's 3-step formula, with my background teaching on sex and the Bible, I realized God was sharing the secret for a wonderful sex life with the Shulammite and the Shepherd through the imagery of wine.
Alcoholics Don’t Get It
Non-alcoholics who are familiar with drinking wine and other stimulating beverages understand the wisdom of God’s three-step formula. In a nutshell, the string of events goes like this: (1) first eat a real meal so the food in your stomach will slow down the alcohol hitting your bloodstream, (2) order a drink and sip it slowly, and (3) keep drinking and savoring the wine until you’re tipsy, or feeling a pleasant buzz, but not mind-numbing drunk.
This is the opposite of what alcoholics do. They drink instead of eating. Generally, they drink the cheapest stuff they can get—the rot-gut stuff. It has a high alcohol content and can taste putrid. The higher the alcohol content, the better—that’s why they drink Mogen David Mad Dog 20/20. It’s wine enhanced with alcohol. They drink it because their whole purpose is to get a drunken buzz—not to enjoy the flavor.
It takes much longer to get drunk on the good stuff—the alcohol content is what makes you drunk. When you eat a meal, it absorbs some of the alcohol and slows down how long it takes you to get drunk. This lets you enjoy the flavors and smells of the various spiced and sweet wines along with different fruit wines.
If you’re on a bad drunk, you’ll wind up with a hangover. What does a hangover feel like? You’re dehydrated, have a terrible headache with a filthy taste in your mouth, and your whole body aches like you have the flu. You vomit a lot. You’ve consumed so much your body can’t handle it. Your body has to get rid of the toxin. It’s alcohol poisoning.
Alcoholics abusing wine isn’t what God is talking about. Alcoholics don’t know how to drink wine. And they don’t get it about true love.
The Friends and Lovers Get It
Although some people treat sex the same way winos and alcoholics treat their drinks, that’s not God’s metaphor for an exciting love life. Teetotalers and winos may not get it, but the Shulammite and the Shepherd did.
The Israelites abhorred drunkenness more than we do. They appreciated sane, healthful wine drinking. Their firsthand experience of growing grapes for processing and drinking wine enabled them to understand God’s message. It’s time we caught up with this 3000-year-old epiphany.
God addresses the Shulammite and the Shepherd as “friends.” He ends by calling them “O lovers.” The main difference between the two expressions is intensity. They build their friendship in courtship, get married, apply God’s formula, and end as lovers.
God applies the three aspects of a wonderful love life to (1) eat, (2) drink, and (3) get tipsy equally to the Shulammite and the Shepherd. Thus the couple performs the three steps in sync as an intimate dance of intellect, emotions, and sensations.
Patsy Rae Dawson is the author of The Song of Solomon Love Triangle: God's Soulmating & Lovemaking Guide for a Lifetime of Passionate Sex and several surveys for singles. Patsy's Who Are You? Coaching Program helps singles move beyond their childhood personalities and problem-solving techniques to prepare for successful dating experiences and a wonderful marriage.
Permission to Reproduce God's 3-Step Formula for a Wonderful Love Life
God's 3-Step Formula for a Wonderful Love Life by Patsy Rae Dawson is taken from The Song of Solomon Love Triangle: God's Soulmating and Lovemaking Guide for a Lifetime of Passionate Sex (150-152). Copyright © 2015 Patsy Rae Dawson LLC. All rights reserved.
God's 3-Step Formula for a Wonderful Love Life by Patsy Rae Dawson is available at PatsyRaeDawson.com. You may copy it for noncommercial use only, provided you do the following: 1. Follow Google's guidelines for attribution, i.e. include at the bottom of the article, "This article was originally published at http://patsyraedawson.com. Reprinted with permission from the author."; 2. Make no modifications to the materials; 3. Do not use the materials in a manner that suggests an association with Patsy Rae Dawson or Patsy Rae Dawson LLC; and; 4. Do not download quantities of materials to a database, server, or personal computer for reuse for commercial purposes. You may not use this material in any other way without prior written permission. For additional permissions, contact Patsy Rae Dawson LLC at Patsy @ PatsyRaeDawson.com and put "permission" in the subject line.