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Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth... - Song of Solomon 1:2 (NIV)
Yesterday, we taught about dating, love, marriage, and sex via the pen of Solomon. Our devos this week will continue those themes. Let’s start with sex! There’s an abundance of talk these days about “great” sex, along with a boatload of poor definitions. Here’s my two cents’ worth, along with some suggestions.
Great sex includes a deep desire to experience oneness with someone, and it’s infinitely more than physical; it’s a bonding of soul, spirit, and emotions. Remove any of those three elements, and you’ll have a physical act, but you don’t have great sex. Here are four other essentials.
There's so much more to be said, but for today, assess your commitment in these areas, and then develop an improvement plan. Great relationships are intentional. Lousy ones "just happen." Don’t be content to let things "just happen.” If you do, you’ll get what you worked for... nothing. Love isn’t sweet, my friend; it’s sweat. I promise.Share Tweet
...for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. - Song of Solomon 8:6 (NIV)
I’ve always found it interesting that the Bible begins with a wedding (Genesis 2) then proceeds to a war. As soon as God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden, Satan embarked on a mission to destroy it. His millenia-long attack on God’s finest and best work continues to the present day.
Solomon’s Song is a beautiful, poetic book about love. He describes his beloved as profoundly beautiful—no one her equal. By the way, men, if your wife is beautiful to you, no other standard is necessary. Never forget that.
The woman in our story is smitten as well. She speaks of her jealousy for her lover, and how true love is “...as unyielding as the grave”—never ending, never dying. Friends, we need a new vision for marriage, don’t you think? We need to go back to what it was before the “war” ensued.
Sometimes I ask couples to describe their vision for the future—5, 10, 15 years from now, including their sunset years. Then I tell them a story about a funeral I officiated for a man who died at 100. Standing at the graveside, I watched as dozens of cars pulled up, spilling out sons and daughters and spouses and kids and grandkids and great-grandkids and, yes, even some great-great-grandkids! It was a human huddle of love… hand-holding, crying, comforting. I talked for a few minutes about this sweet man and his wife and their legacy—this loving, grateful tribe standing around me. Then I listened… and learned a lot, prayed, and left.
In my rearview mirror, I could see them—still huddled up, still loving LOVE… how they’d experienced it, and would continue to do so for years to come. And I thought of God’s words at that first wedding: “This is very good.” Amen.
I opened to my lover, but he was gone! My heart sank. - Song of Solomon 5:6 (NLT)
Years ago, I did a wedding for a couple who had insisted on writing their own vows, but when the moment arrived, the bride froze. After about 10 seconds, I leaned in and whispered, “You may begin.” She whispered back, “I don’t want to.” I said, “You mean the wedding or the vows?” “The vows,” she replied. “You do it.” So I did—“To have and to hold, from this day forward. For better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” Soon they scampered off to the reception, which probably cost 10 times more than the wedding. That was 30 years ago. Last I heard, they’re still together, and I’m happy about that.
Marriages really shouldn’t end, but they do. Dreams shouldn’t die, but they do. One partner does their absolute best, but the other walks away. I’m sorry for all of it… for the stupidity of affairs; for abuse and violence and emotional manipulation; for women who have to fear for their safety and their children’s. None of it should happen, but it does. We live in a broken world, and people need our embrace, not our judgment. We should love large, because life’s just hard.
To my single and single-again friends: God loves you more than you can possibly imagine, just as you are, even when nothing makes sense or looks like it ever will. He’s for you, not against you. Despite the heartache and tears, He has a future for you. You’re special, and in Christ, you are more than enough. Hold your head up. Rise from the cold, damp floor of guilt or self-condemnation and press on. Do it. You’re worth it.
Read Mathew 19:26, Philippians 4:13, and Isaiah 43:18-19. Then, write your name next to each verse; claim them for yourself. The final chapter is not yet written, and guess what? It’s going to be good, really good. And oh, by the way, I love you.Share Tweet
This is my beloved and this is my friend… - Song of Solomon 5:16 (NASB)
John Gottman, a sociologist and researcher with a 90% success rate in predicting divorce, says that the most important ingredient to a successful marriage is “being best friends.” I know he’s right from personal experience. Linda is my sunshine and shade in one wonderful bundle. Beauty and grace combined. Endless compassion. Deep wisdom. Unlimited love, but most importantly—my best friend.
Hellen Keller said, “I would rather be with a friend in the darkness, than walk alone in the light.” Aristotle said, “What is a friend but a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” Henri Nowen said, “A friend is one who, instead of giving advice, solutions or cures, chooses instead to share our pain, touch our wounds, and be silent with us in moments of despair.”
When you’re married to your friend, here are some resulting blessings:
I know another person who fits all these descriptions of a friend: Jesus. I also know he’s always available, “even to the end” (Matthew 28:20, NLT). You know where He proved that the most? On the last night of His life when He served a meal to His friends. Guess who He invited to sit in the seat to his left, the seat of honor? Judas! Amazing Grace. Amazing Love. Wow!
When I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go. - Song of Solomon 3:4 (NASB)
She said, “I still think about him a lot… in the past few weeks, several times a day. I have a wonderful husband and family, but I can't get my mind off Jeff. I'm so ashamed but can't seem to help myself. Somebody suggested I talk to you.”
“Let me ask you something. Were you sexually active with Jeff?" She looked down, paused, and said, "Yes, on numerous occasions.” I said, “The problem you're dealing with is called a ‘soul tie.’”
"What do you mean?" she asked. I replied, "The Bible makes it clear that when we sin against our bodies, we sin against the Holy Spirit, because He indwells us. Since we’re body, soul, and spirit woven together, we can’t touch one part of ourselves without affecting other parts. This is why you feel connected to someone you dated and were intimate with twenty years ago; you formed a soul-tie that must be broken.”
"How can I do that?" she asked. I led her through a prayer of confession, repentance, and renunciation, asking God, in the name of Jesus, to break the soul tie. He did. It was a beautiful demonstration of His grace which is available to everyone.
She left the office that day free in Christ—free from the bondage of the past, free from the grip of the enemy, and free from guilt. She left under the influence of God’s grace, which washed down from heaven and gently cleansed her from the inside out. "I feel light," she said, "I feel new."
"I'm proud of you," I said. "More importantly, I think Jesus is smiling." "At me?" she said. "Absolutely, dear one, absolutely."