My wife and I often comment on how Valentine’s Day is simply a commercialized “holiday” intended to make money. But, it is worth taking time during the day to remember your spouse in a special way. Reflecting on Valentine’s Day and what its focus is, it brought to mind one occasion where the Bible condones and encourages drunkenness! I’m talking about Proverbs 5:18-19.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
In Proverbs 5, Solomon is warning his sons against the lure of the adulteress. And one of the methods he uses is to remind them of the wife of their youth. When you’re tempted and enticed by that strange woman, when you feel feelings rising up within you to be with her, remember the wife of your youth! Remember the woman who captivated you enough to lead you to marry her.
Earlier in this chapter, Solomon likens adultery to drinking from broken wells that constantly leak; they never satisfy. In contrast, he calls his sons to drink to the full when it comes to their own wives. The Hebrew verb here for intoxicated means just that, be reeling drunk on the love of your wife. Drink to excess! Cultivate a total captivation with her. Cultivate a satisfaction in her and her alone. The only limit God places on the level of drunkenness here is that she should never surpass your love and captivation for Christ. But up to that point, drink to your heart’s content! Be so satisfied with your wife that the temptation and allurement of another woman has little to no affect on you.
Now, this does not mean that your wife is an object to be disrespectfully used solely for your physical pleasure. She is an image bearer of God and your partner in life. The drunkenness here is in terms of her love, not just her body. Let her captivate you emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Take a deep drink of and be satisfied in her as a person: her personality, her character, her internal beauty, and yes, then also drink deeply of her physically. When you’re so emotionally and physically satisfied in the wife of your youth, the allurement of foreign women loses its power.
It’s also important to talk about what Solomon means by “wife of your youth.” This doesn’t mean that as your wife get’s older, this doesn’t hold true. Instead Solomon is calling his sons to remember the feelings they had for their wife at the beginning and to work to cultivate and nourish those feelings, even as you both age. As marriage goes on and things tend to get “stale,” that’s when the allurement of the foreign woman comes in. By remembering the “wife of your youth” (i.e., the feelings/butterflies/etc. that you had in the beginning) and working to keep those flames alive, instead of focusing on what “might be” with another woman, you diminish the allurement of other women who might entice you away.
The focus is on you, husband. Yes, the adulteress has a part to play in alluring you. But you have as much responsibility in your lack of self-control and allowing the allurement to draw you in. Instead, follow Solomon’s advice and get drunk on the love of your wife. In that intoxication you will find satisfaction that will keep you from sin and from deadly mistakes!