Today’s #MarriageMonday is brought to us by Sharon Jaynes, author of the new book Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy. Not only that but we’re giving away a copy of one of her books! Want to enter the giveaway, just leave a comment about your favorite date night activity on this! (If you’re a subscriber that gets my blog by email, click here to go to the post and leave a comment!)
In our sex-saturated culture, we are constantly bombarded by destructive, unrealistic depictions of romance and intimacy. But is the real problem that we focus on sex too much—or that we value sex too little? Do we really understand, let alone practice, the wondrous gift of intimacy between a husband and a wife? In Lovestruck, Sharon takes us back to the Bible’s beautiful picture of romantic love, a picture that is explicit but not illicit, sensual but not sordid, daring but not dirty.
You can learn more at www.LovestruckBook.com.
I was going through a drawer at my mom’s house, looking for a scratch pad, when I came across a small vinyl record. It was in a cardboard sleeve dated 1950. My dad made the record for my mom when he was in the Korean War—the first year they were married.
He talked about how much he loved her, couldn’t wait to be with her again, and how much he missed her. There was so much emotion in his voice, I could hear it crack. I listened to the scratchy recording slack-jawed. How in the world did this happen? I thought. How did this couple who obviously loved each other in the beginning, end up having such a terrible relationship filled with violent arguing and months of silent passive aggression?
From my earliest remembrance, I didn’t think my parents liked each other, much less loved each other. I spent many nights hiding in a closet with my hands over my ears to shut out the yelling. But apparently, they didn’t start out that way.
How did that happen? How does that happen?
In the Song of Solomon, Solomon prayed that he and his Shulammite would watch out for the “little foxes” that could sneak in and sabotage the blooming vineyard of their love. (Song 2:15). But just as those foxes can sneak in and ruin a blooming relationship, they can also sneak in and wreck a mature marriage.
Little foxes are anything or anyone that can creep in and weaken a marriage. If they aren’t dealt with, little foxes become big foxes with fangs of disappoint and claws of resentment.
The list of little foxes is extensive and different for every couple, but one that is common for all of us is the tendency toward apathy and indifference. What the Song of Solomon shows us is that indifference can happen, it did happen, and it can be avoided.
In the first two chapter of the Song of Solomon, the Shulammite, or female character, is head over heels with her man and can’t wait until they’re married. The book even begins with her saying, “Kiss me and kiss me again!” (1:2)
However, after their passionate honeymoon (which we are privy to read about), she begins to grow a bit apathetic. One night Solomon comes knocking. She’s not interested. Even though she had given him the key to her “garden,” its locked up and he can’t find that key.
“Not now, honey,” she says. “I’m tired. I’ve already washed my face, brushed my teeth, and put on my pj’s. Besides, I’m halfway asleep already.” (That’s my modern-day translation—not that I would know.)
We’ve all been there. Go ahead. Admit it.
The Shulammite learned an important lesson after their little spat. She made a decision to take action so the little fox of indifference wouldn’t sneak in and destroy the fruit of their marriage. Toward the end of the book, she shows us one way to prevent it. I envision her in the next stanza sauntering up to her husband as he’s overseeing the fields. She whispered in his ear, and her warm breath teased his neck. Tempting him. Flirting with him still.
“Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
let us spend the night in the villages.
Let us go early to the vineyards
to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
there I will give you my love.
The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
that I have stored up for you, my beloved.” (Song 7:11–13)
Whoa, that might not be what you’d expect from your daily Bible reading, but God made sure it was in the Bible for a reason. I don’t think it took Solomon long to pack his bags.
It’s up to us to recognize when the low tides of intimacy threaten to ground the boat on the sandbar of apathy. Here’s what we can learn from the Shulammite about how to keep passion alive:
Left on its own, a fire or a marriage won’t flourish but turn to ash. It takes intentionality and ingenuity to make lifelong intimacy a reality.
Have fun together.
It takes creativity and memory-making activity to weave commonalities into a life that is intertwined beyond unraveling.
Go away together.
Take time away from the monotony of matrimony to spend quality time together as lovers. (No kids allowed.)
Have fun together.
Go back and do the things you did at the beginning of your relationship. As God told the Ephesians who’s love had grown cold in Revelation 2:4-5…Remember and Return.
Don’t be afraid to try something new in the bedroom.
“Both new and old I have stored up for you” is a pretty good idea.
Let your spouse know that you still desire him/her.
Flirt and flirt some more.
Never stop flirting. (Need help? Check out The Flirt Alert!)
What about you? Which of the seven things we can learn from this Bible story do you need to be most intentional about?
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