I was recently blessed to co-teach a study on Song of Solomon, and my marriage and my relationship with Christ was so blessed in studying this book of the Bible. Here are a few truths I learned while preparing to teach about marriage:
- Work on your inner beauty.
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
Don’t depend on your outward beauty to make you beautiful. Depend on your INNER beauty. Your heart. If our heart is ugly, it makes us ugly. If we are selfish and disrespectful all the time, that’s what our husbands see. We can put on the cutest clothes we own and look beautiful on the OUTSIDE but if our hearts are dirty with nagging, complaining and discontentment then those cute clothes are no longer noticed. All of our heart’s impurities are what are seen. In Matthew 23 Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and these were men who, from the outside, did everything right- they knew the Bible, they prayed, and fasted, but their insides were greedy and hypocritical. So Jesus told them they were like cups-they were washed and clean on the outside, but the inside was filthy! And he compared them to white washed tombs-they were beautiful and clean on the outside, but inside they were full of dead people’s bones and impurities! He says to first wash the inside of the cup, then the outside will become clean. Let’s get our insides right, then our outsides will follow.
- Catch the foxes in your vineyard.
Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15
We have to protect our marriage vineyards from foxes that want to come in and DESTROY it. Foxes lurking around in our marriages are bitterness, rage, complaining, discontentment, trying to change our husbands. There are foxes like that guy at work that keeps asking how you are and you are feeling more and more inclined to talk to him instead of your husband. It may be a fox that jumps out when you’re husband is making an effort, but your words cut him and he can’t do anything right. CATCH THE FOXES and throw them out of your vineyard! Hand them over to God and ask him to help keep your marriage vineyard thriving, nourished, and free of foxes.
- Intoxicate him with your love
Turn to me, dear lover.
Come like a gazelle.
Leap like a wild stag
on delectable mountains! Song of Solomon 2:17 (MSG version)
The mountains referred to here are her breasts. She is saying to him I WANT YOU!! God designed us to have and to want intimacy with our spouses.
Proverbs 5:18-19 says:
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be intoxicated by her love.
INTOXICATED BY HER LOVE!! Pray that YOUR HUSBAND is intoxicated by your love! Work at intoxicating him with your love. Pray about ways to do so, for creativity if you need it. Admire him, respect him, thank him for his devotion and hard work, thank him for trying so hard to protect his eyes and mind from temptation, and tell him you want him. You desire him.
One way to keep your husband intoxicated by your love is to give him unconditional respect. Jesus tells us in John 14:15, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” And part of our obedience to the Lord is respecting our husbands. God commands it in Ephesians 5:33 “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” God has to tell us to respect our husbands because it doesn’t always come naturally to respect him. It comes naturally to love him, but respecting him is harder and that is what he desires. We’ve heard of unconditional love. Well there is a term out there called unconditional respect.
There was a research study where author Shaunti Feldhahn asked men this question: Would you rather feel ALONE and UNLOVED or INADEQUATE and DISRESPECTED? 3 out 4 men, said they would rather feel alone and unloved. That they’d rather live with a wife who respected them and didn’t love them, than with a wife who loved them but didn’t respect them. I asked my husband this question and he answered the same-he’d choose being alone and unloved ANY DAY OF THE WEEK over feeling inadequate and disrespected. Of course they need love, but they need respect MORE. It’s part of how God wired them.
- Make a list of things you first fell in love with about your husband.
After a conflict, Solomon tells his bride things he loves about her, things that he has loved about her since the beginning of their relationship. Sometimes in marriage we lose sight of the things we first fell in love with about our husbands. We get focused on mishaps from day to day living. Take a few minutes to reflect on the things that sent you head over heels in love with your husband. Write them down. Pull them out when you are angry with him. Read over them when you are not angry. Pray and ask the Lord to help you “make allowance for each other’s faults” (Colossians 3:13). Try to assume the best in your husband, and give him respect even when he doesn’t deserve it so that you are showing honor to the Lord.
The enemy will probably throw darts as you are trying to love your husband well, but just keep praying and reading God’s Word. Pray it out loud. Pray for God’s strength to continue to mold you into the wife he wants you to be, to mold you to be more like Christ.