Song Theology: Two Shall Become One
Updated: Jul 13, 2022
A Theological Reflection on “Duet” by Penny and Sparrow (feat. Stephanie Briggs)
The song “Duet” gives us a refreshing, healthy, and redemptive picture of the intimacy of marriage that is reminiscent of the relationship between Adam and Eve. The tone, lyrics, and male and female voices (sung individually and together) show us how the sexual and emotional aspects of the marriage dance together to create intimacy between two people.
We hear the heart of this intimacy in the chorus, which starts off with the phrase “because I’ve seen you.” The seeing is both literal (physical nakedness) and metaphorical (emotional bareness). Physical nakedness is indicated by her “tiny dress” he’s helping off and his “button-down” she’s undoing, while emotional bareness is illustrated in seeing the other “carry family” as well as the woman shouldering the “steel drum weight” of him and the man shouldering “all her insecurities.”
In the pre-fall, biblical narrative of Adam and Eve, we see the same expression of martial intimacy in physical nakedness and emotional bareness. The man and woman are described as “naked” and “not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25). And upon being introduced to the woman, the man exclaims that the woman is the bones of his bones and the flesh of his flesh (Gen. 2:23). The two are caught up in the dance of marital intimacy like the two lovers in “Duet”.
While sensual, the song doesn’t portray a view of sex that’s exploitative, selfish, or perverse, which is uncommon in music of all genres. The sexual nature of the relationship appears mutually pleasurable and self-giving rather than one-sided and self-taking. In addition, sexual intimacy isn’t divorced from emotional intimacy but they are entangled in one another to create trust and health within a vulnerable relationship. The lovers know each other just as Adam and Eve knew one another and conceived a child together (Gen. 4:1). The knowing is sexual and physical, but it’s also emotional and spiritual, and these movements flow synonymously in the rhythm of marriage.
The most significant piece of “Duet” lies in the final line of the chorus: “And I’m not going anywhere.” The seeing and knowing captures the vulnerable and risk-taking acts of marriage, which is why the line “I’m not going anywhere” holds such weight. The woman has exposed herself before the man, and the man has exposed himself before the woman, and the two have promised each other that with all they’ve seen—good, bad, and in between—they will embrace and love the other.
We see this love and acceptance in the marriage of Adam and Eve, but we also see shame that causes cracks in the trust of the relationship. After disobeying God and eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the man and woman cover themselves up with fig leaves, no longer naked and unashamed (Gen. 3:7). Then, when asked by God about his disobedience, Adam casts the blame on his wife (Gen. 3:12). God also tells the woman that her desire will be contrary to her husband’s, but the man will rule over her, which points to the age-old power struggle between men and women, especially in the marriage relationship (Gen. 3:16).
Yet even though cracks begin to form in the relationship between Adam and Eve, they remain together, bearing their first son and giving birth to the nations to come. Although they misstep, lose their footing, miss their cue, the lovers are not going anywhere, and the dance continues.