Marital Faithfulness

A Biblical Perspective by Todd Redding

 

Over filled with stories of sexual escapades, secret rendezvous, and extramarital affairs, today’s media teach that immorality means freedom, perversion is natural, and commitment is old-fashioned. Sex, created by God and pronounced good in Eden, has been twisted, exploited, and turned into an urgent, illicit, casual and self-gratifying activity.  Love has turned into lust, giving into getting, and lasting commitment into “no strings attached.”

There is a moving poem in the bible that tells the story about a Jewish woman and her husband, King Solomon.  The story behind this poem describes in intimate detail their feelings for each other and passionate desire to be together.  Wherever mentioned in this message, sex and marriage are written about in their deserved, God-given perspective.

Be encouraged in your relationship by this historical story with two layers of meaning.  On one level, we learn about love, marriage and sex; and on the other level, we see God’s overwhelming love for his people.  As you read Song of Songs, commit yourself to seeing life, sex and marriage from His point of view.

 

Song of Songs 4                                “A Troubling Dream”

Lover Speaking

I slept but my heart was awake. Listen!  My lover is knocking:  “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one.  My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.”

I have taken off my robe- must I put it on again?  I have washed my feet- must I soil them again?

My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him.

I arose to open for my lover, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the lock.

I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone.  My heart sank at his departure.  I looked for him but did not find him.  I called him but he did not answer.

The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city.  They beat me, bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls!

O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you- if you find my lover, what will you tell him?  Tell him I am faint with love.

 

A Friends Doubting Response

How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful of women?  How is your beloved better than others, that you charge us so?

Lover Speaking

M lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.

His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels.

His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume.  His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.

His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite.  His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires.

His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold.  His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.

His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely.  This is my lover, this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

 

APPLICATION

It is almost certain that over time and the growth of familiarity, a marriage will start to lose its initial fireworks.  Eye contact and gentle touches no longer generate the same consensual response.  Conflicts and the pressures of life slowly move in, causing us to lose our tenderness towards our spouse.  The world is not a haven for lovers; in fact, external stress works against relationships, most of the time.  But spouses should learn to be a safe-haven for each other.  If intimacy and passion decline, it can be renewed and regenerated.  Try to remember those initial butterfly feelings, the excitement of sex, your spouse’s strengths and the commitment both of you made to each other.  When you reflect and focus on the positives, reconciliation and renewal becomes possible.

The girl in the story was outside by herself in the night.  During this era, she was most likely assumed to be a criminal or a prostitute and treated as such.  Although she inherited great risk, this image symbolizes the pain she felt at being separated from her lover.

She calls Solomon her “friend.”  Just as in any healthy marriage, lovers are also good friends.  Too often people are driven into marriage by the exciting feelings of love and passion before they take the necessary time to develop a deep friendship.  This involves listening, sharing responsibilities and caring as much, if not more, about your spouse’s satisfaction rather than your own.  Friendship takes time and patience, but it makes a love relationship much more satisfying.