What does it mean in Proverbs 5:18 to “rejoice in the wife of your youth”?

In Proverbs 5:18, it says to “rejoice in the wife of your youth.” What does this verse mean?

Solomon warns the wise young man in Proverbs 5:1-23 against even the appearance of unfaithfulness to his wife. God intends to bless sexual contact between a man and a woman within the bounds of marriage: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A gentle doe, an elegant deer: may her milk never run dry and her love never wane (Proverbs 5:18–19).

Song of Solomon 4:10–15 expands on this idea, which puts sexual love in its rightful place as a source of pleasure and joy: “Your love thrills me, my treasure, my wife. We’d rather have your affection than a cellar full of wine. You are my personal garden… a secret fountain gushing with cool water straight from the mountains of Lebanon (NLT). The three things that can be found at a fountain are enjoyment, rehydration, and sustenance. The sensual love and care of one’s wife, and no one else, is what God intends for a man to feel most excited, energized, and satisfied by.

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The Hebrew term translated as “rejoice in” implies “to experience feelings of happiness, joy, and delight.” While translated literally from the Hebrew into English, the phrase means “enjoy the girl you married when you were young” in God’s Word Translation. The author of Ecclesiastes advises his readers to “live happily with the woman you love during all the useless days that God has given you under the sun” (v.9). “The bride God sends you is your prize for your hard work here on earth” (NLT).

Understanding how to live a virtuous life that brings about achievement and prevents self-destruction is the major goal of wisdom literature. Few things are as horrifically destructive to a family, a marriage, and a person’s entire life as sexual indiscretion and marital adultery. The tragic effects of David’s immorality with Bathsheba on the family could have been a source of inspiration for Solomon.

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God’s plan in developing human sexuality was multifaceted. In addition to ensuring offspring (Genesis 9:7), sex is a means by which husbands and wives can deepen and maintain their emotional bond (Genesis 2:24). In addition, God has given married couples the delightful gift of sex to enjoy together.

Both husbands and wives are commanded by the Bible to devote their bodies to one another on a consistent basis for the sake of sexual satisfaction (1 Corinthians 7:3–4). A man’s sexual energy should be focused on making his wife happy, while a woman’s sexual drive should be aimed towards satisfying her spouse.

Paul commands husbands and spouses to show mutual submission in Ephesians 5:21-33. Loving one other selflessly and unconditionally, as Christ loves the church, is an essential part of being submissive to one another. It also entails being completely devoted to one another in terms of love and sexual desire (Ephesians 5:22–33). Christian marriage offers the possibility of experiencing God’s original design for relational intimacy, where partners can be vulnerable emotionally, linked spiritually, and unrestrained sexually (Genesis 2:18–25).

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A man of discretion will take pleasure only in the wife to whom he has made a covenant and will forego all other opportunities for sexual gratification. According to the Bible, such a man finds fulfillment and happiness in his wife’s arms throughout the rest of his life.

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