READ: Song of Songs 5
THINK: Marriage was designed by God to be a picture of the deep, unconditional, incredible love relationship with God that we were created for. That’s what it’s all about. But guess what: marriage doesn’t always live up to that picture. It doesn’t always live up to God’s design. Know how I know that? I’m married! At it’s best, marriage can be this amazing space of love and acceptance that reflects the gospel, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that marriage – or any relationship – is gonna be like that all the time.
That’s an unrealistic expectation. Because marriages are made up of 2 flawed, messed-up, sinful people. Mine is. Especially Jenny! 🙂 So conflict is inevitable! And the key to a strong marriage – or friendship or any relationship for that matter – is not if you fight but how you fight! Song of Songs is this amazing, kinda crazy, sometimes creepy poem about attraction and love and sex and marriage. Guess what: 25% of the book is devoted to the 2 of them fighting! I mean, like, right after the wedding night comes the 1st fight. 25%. Sounds about right. But my last marital fight was my fault. I was sitting on the couch when Jenny got home and she said, “What’s on the TV?” and I said “Dust!”
Conflict is a reality. And there’s a right and a wrong way to handle it. This chapter contains the couple’s first fight. He comes home late (you know, his softball game went extra-innings that night) and he wants to…well…to do what only husbands & wives are meant to do…and she tells him no way! I’m tired. I already got ready for bed. I’m not coming to open the door (cause back then they slept in different rooms) I’m not opening the door cause I don’t wanna get my feet dirty and have to wash them again. She basically says, “Forget you, I’m tired!” Here, the bride is being kinda selfish. Not that she owes him anything different or she is wrong, but she’s putting her own feelings before his in the moment. Notice she says “I…I…I” But what does he do? He doesn’t yell…or kick in the door…he basically, it says, leaves myrrh on the door-handle. Weird right? But myrrh symbolizes love so what that symbolizes is that he just reaches out and says – I love you anyways. Not, I’m happy with your decision or I agree completely, but I love you anyways. I am committed to you.
And she’s moved by that gesture. She’s so touched that she gets up to open the door and let him in but he’s already gone. And what is so cool about this story, I think, is that even when she was rejecting him and not doing what he wanted and locking him out, he affirmed her and pursued her and expressed his unconditional love for her…just like Jesus did for you and me. Even when we reject him and ignore him and push him away he stands at the door reminding us that he loved us enough to die. That is the gospel. And it’s an awesome picture of what marriage should be! 2 people committed, completely and unconditionally to loving one another and submitting to one another and giving themselves up for one another – even when the other person is wrong or frustrating or imperfect or not doing what we want because we’re being selfish in asking.
PRAY: If you are married, pray that God would help you to be more self-sacrificial in your relationship and be better at showing unconditional love. If you aren’t married, pray that God would help you to be the kind of person that is worth marrying because of the way that you give yourself and sacrifice to show love. Everybody, pray that you would be better at handling conflict by showing Jesus love in all of your relationships.