You wouldn't think in our sex-saturated culture that men would need to be encouraged to cultivate physical intimacy with their wives, but it's precisely because ours is a sex-saturated culture that such encouragement is needed. The sexuality pedaled these days is aimed at nothing more than individual pleasure: no thought is given to one's partner, much less to the biblical requirement that one's sexual partner also be one's spouse.
But C.J. Mahaney's Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God isn't just about the shortcomings and lies of our culture. In fact, that's a relatively small concern, at least explicitly. After laying a groundwork with an exploration of the biblical doctrine and concept of marriage, Mahaney goes on to show Christian men how to pursue their wives romantically and sexually. This isn't just a manual: in addition to plenty of biblical wisdom, Mahaney supports all of his advice and tips with sound reason and theology.
Fairly typically, Mahaney takes many of his cues from the Song of Solomon. But unlike other books that set out to accomplish a similar task, this one really helps men know how to apply the sometimes difficult passages to their own marital relationships. And it's not just sex he talks about—Mahaney urges men and gives them guidance for pursuing genuine romance with their wives by touching her heart and mind, using careful words to woo her, and even just surprising her with dinner once in a while.
Some of the content will be surprising. For instance, Mahaney says that when Solomon in his book praises the appearance of his beloved in highly exaggerated terms, it isn't that he's lying: he's simply revealing to her how he feels about her, rather than telling her exactly how she looks. Revelations like this are found throughout the book, making it an excellent tool for all Christian husbands, whether they're marriage is aflame with passion or not.
The book ends with a brief essay by Mahaney's wife Carolyn, urging women to their part in the task of cultivating marital intimacy and love. And it is a task in the sense that it takes work, but it's also a joy, a gift, and a pleasure, ultimately designed not to give us pleasure, but to glorify the God who instituted marriage and all its components, including sex. The mystery Paul spoke of, that Christ's relationship to the church is reflected in the relationship of a Christian husband and wife, is the goal of every godly marriage, and this book is a remarkable tool in the obtainment of that goal.