The Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) is an entire book of the Bible pertaining to romantic, marital love. We are trusting God to use this series to encourage those of you in a strong marriage, to strengthen those of you in a weak marriage, to heal those of you from a broken marriage, and to prepare those of you who anticipate a future marriage.
The Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon) is an entire book of the Bible pertaining to romantic, marital love. The two most common issues that symptomatically reflect troubled marriages are reported to be sex and money. How ironic that the intimacy that God created to bind two people together physically is often involved in tearing them apart. And sexual intimacy continues to function as a barometer for one’s relationship with one’s spouse throughout your marriage. It should come as no surprise that God included an entire book of the Bible—eight chapters—to address the sexual relationship within marriage. We are trusting God to use this series to encourage those of you in a strong marriage, to strengthen those of you in a weak marriage, to heal those of you from a broken marriage, and to prepare those of you who anticipate a future marriage.
Until the wedding in chapter three, the two young people in the Song of Songs discuss their attraction in honest but guarded ways. They exercise a great deal of restraint physically, and caution the readers on the power and intensity of love. These chapters are particularly helpful for today’s teenagers. The Bible knows no dating relationship as we’ve defined it. But the Bible does offer timeless principles that can be applied in today’s dating world. In chapter one of the Song of Songs, we learn about the joys and dangers of attraction—both visually and physically—during the infancy stage of love. In a strange twist of irony, the strong attraction that young people have to guard against is the same attraction that married people have to work so hard to sustain.
There’s no easy way to put this: Loving another person is hard work. It doesn’t take a couple long to learn that the loving feelings they once had for one another flitter and fade away over time. Sure these feelings make appearances now and again as the relationship matures, but their absence is more common than their presence. After the feelings diminish, it’s down to the hard work of growing closer, humbling ourselves, addressing conflict, remaining pure, living selflessly, and apologizing—all of which describes a growing, loving relationship. When two people are committed to living biblically in their marriage, the joys outweigh the pains and the smiles overshadow the tears over time. Are you working hard through the difficulties of love or are you hardly working?
God commanded Adam to find a helper among the animal kingdom before introducing Eve to him. What strange instructions for an all-knowing and loving God to give. Was He being malicious by leading Adam on a wild goose chase? I don’t think so. He was building in a felt need and creating anticipation at the same time. Like letting your child open all of the lesser gifts prior to the last big one at Christmas, God was intentionally saving the best for last for Adam. Do you realize that your spouse is a gift from God? Your wedding day was the first day you celebrated God’s gift to you—but it certainly wasn’t supposed to be the last. In fact, the vows you repeated at your wedding ceremony were promises to cherish and value God’s gift—regardless of how it might depreciate in your eyes over time. Do you daily celebrate your spouse like the gift he or she is?
A young couple grows closer together over time. They learn one another’s interests and language by spending time together. They become students of one another and pursue one another. They learn to compromise and sacrifice their own wants for one another’s. They resolve conflict early and often and exercise restraint and self-control in the face of physical temptations and sexual impulses. They seal their relationship by celebrating a luxurious, fairytale wedding where they covenant to love one another unconditionally before hundreds of witnesses. Finally, at last, having waited for this moment for years, the two lovers consummate their marriage in the most intimate physical act God created two people to enjoy. The Bible takes us into the bedroom for this private experience, the first of hundreds of intimate sexual encounters shared between these two people in love.
The honeymoon is over. It doesn’t take a married couple long to realize that marriage is more difficult on the inside than it appears from the outside. Perhaps that’s why marriage has been compared to a window with flies on it: The flies on the outside of the window want in and the flies on the inside of the window want out. Early in their marriage Solomon and his wife experience the type of poisoning that most marriages encounter and some cannot endure. The enemies of indifference and poor communication rear their heads early and often in such relationships, requiring a supernatural dose of humility and perseverance to overcome. Will this newlywed couple get “buyer’s remorse”? Or will they discover the antidote to counter the poisoning of their love.
One of the enemies shared by young marriages and seasoned marriages alike is busyness. The day-to-day pressures in a culture bent on upward mobility – not to mention the “children” factor – make it more and more difficult to cultivate a growing relationship with one’s spouse. Husbands, in particular, seem to be absent from too many homes—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In an effort to maximize our own professional effectiveness and productivity, we neglect the faithfulness God asks of us in the home. Scheduling intentional leisure time with your spouse can provide a significant injection to cure what ails your relationship. Are you too busy?
Beauty is only skin deep, and so is lust. Some people mistake lust for love. Others confuse love with attraction to genuine beauty. But love has depth. It reaches below the surface of external beauty. It demands that we come to know one person better than we will ever know anyone else. It means growing beyond pointing out the good and bad in someone to accepting both. It means overlooking one another’s weaknesses while not making our commitment dependent upon their strengths. Love involves knowing another person thoroughly and committing to them completely. That’s why love, true love, stands the tests of time and circumstances. Just like God in Christ has loved us.
When we see this couple several years after their wedding we note that they have a seasoned outlook on marriage. They have grown to understand the power of love along with the passion of love. Our love usually begins with an emphasis on passion, but over time it grows to take on a component of power. It’s the difference between flames of a fire that can be extinguished easily, and the white hot embers that cannot be easily cooled. At the same time the couple continues to cultivate those embers of a lasting relationship, they also want to ensure that their daughter has a chance to experience the same wonderful relationship with a man. That requires that she get the relationship off on the right foot at the right time—which is at the parents’ discretion. The fruit of their relationship extends beyond their passion and intimacy and depth to include a daughter who will also enjoy that same type of love herself and develop it into a lasting a maturing marriage. And love’s power continues. . .