Sunday is Valentine’s Day: a holiday for Hallmark and flower shops to make money, an occasion for single people to feel miserable, a snare for the negligent husband, a celebration of rampant sensuality, and a common grace reminder for husbands and wives to delight in each other. It’s all in what you make of it.
If you are married, I suggest snuggling up with your spouse and reading Song of Solomon’s eight chapters, the romantic jumper cables of the Bible.
I know, I know, who can make sense of this seemingly crazy little book? Is it allegory or poetry? Are their two characters or three? Do they or don’t they? It’s an interpretive mess.
But you don’t have to be an expert in Hebrew symbolism to learn a few things from this book. In particular, I want to ponder a few questions Song of Solomon raises in my mind, two questions each for the husband and the wife.
For the Husband
Question 1: Do you gush over your wife? I mean, do you really pile on the compliments? No need to ration here. The more you speak them the freer they come. So why so stingy in telling your bride she’s more stunning than elegance wrapped in sweetness covered in perfection?
Yes, the bit about “hair like a flock of goats” doesn’t translate well, so skip that line. Don’t worry about sounding poetic or trying to compare her features to local topography. Just tell say something like: “Behold, you are beautiful, my love, you are beautiful” (4:1). Or try this: “Who is this who looks like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners.” Oh yeah, that’ll work.
Tell your bride she is the most gorgeous, most precious, most amazing woman you’ve ever laid eyes on. Tell her that she still turns your head and makes your heart race. Lay it on thick brothers. You should mean it, of course, but if you don’t, just keep telling her until you do. Nothing kills romance like expressions of calculated affection.
Question 2: Do you pursue your wife? Words are wonderful, but pursuit may be even more powerful. Now listen, guys, don’t get all weird and stalker-like. Remember, you should pursue her as she likes to be pursued, not as you do. So surprise her. Woo her. Take her away (without the kids for heaven’s sake).
Even after years of marriage keep using words like “Come” and “Let’s.” Be a man. Be a leader. Try to impress her. You managed to do it once, but chances are much of your impressiveness has worn off under the rough edges of career, laziness, and time. Men shouldn’t get married so they can stop pursuing women. We get married so we can perfect the pursuit with same woman over a lifetime. Don’t give up the chase gentlemen.
Believe me, brothers, I write as one who needs to learn.
Sisters, I’ll write for you tomorrow.