And so we hit the final book of the Old Testament. It’s very interesting to me that I ended Proverbs with two posts, “To be a man,” and “To be a woman.”
For in this book, we find what it means to be a couple as God designed us, as God intended. It was a song written by Solomon talking about the courtship of his wife, their wedding, and their marriage relationship. (Which wife this is referring to, I don’t know. I’d like to think it was his first, and this was written while he was still monogamous).
The interesting thing is that this book is written primarily from the perspective of his wife.
There seems to be some time jumps in the first few chapters, and from all appearances, we are starting at the wedding. From the bride’s very first words, we see her passion for Solomon.
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth– for your love is more delightful than wine. (1:2)
God created us as sexual beings. And the physical relationship between man and woman was something he created to be good and pleasurable. We are supposed to take delight in the kisses of our spouse. We are supposed to take delight in each other.
But it’s also important to note that his physique was not the only thing that attracted her to him. She says,
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! (1:3)
Here she compares his smell with his name. In other words, he had a sweet smelling reputation. He was a man of integrity and honor, and because of that, many were the women that longed for him.
This is something for men to remember in pursuing a wife. It isn’t enough to work on your physique; you need to work on your character as well. This matters if she is ever to respect you. Are you a person worthy of her respect?
In verse 5, we see how she views herself. She sees herself in healthy way. She views herself as lovely, as one who is attractive. Still, she probably suffered the wounds of those who criticized her appearance. In those days, having fair skin was considered a good thing, but because she was forced to work in the fields as she was growing up, her skin had become darkened by the sun. (When it says she neglected her own “vineyard,” it’s referring to her body. Think of it this way: her body produces “fruits” for her lover to enjoy, as we’ll see in later chapters).
Unfortunately, too many women nowadays don’t see themselves as attractive. They see all the actresses on TV and get depressed that they can’t compete. But God created you as you are. And he created you beautiful.
This woman also came into this relationship with emotional baggage, as her brothers had rejected her and were hard on her. One wonders about how much support, if any, she got from her parents considering how her brothers abused her.
But in this passage, we see the healing a loving relationship can bring. Time and again, Solomon affirms his love for her. That in his eyes, she is beautiful. (1:9-10)
When she claims in chapter 2, verse 1 that she is simply ordinary in her beauty (a rose of Sharon, and lily of the valley were common ordinary wildflowers), he affirms,
Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. (2:2)
In other words, “You may feel like a common lily, but all other women are like thorns to me.”
And because of this love he has for her, she responds with unbridled love of her own. (1:4, 16)
That’s how love in marriage should be. It should a love where the couple delights in each other, respects each other, and helps to bring God’s healing to each other.
May you know that kind of love in your marriage as well.