“Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.” Song of Songs 7:11 (NIV)
It was time to clean out part of my attic: furniture for a consignment store, three lamps to take to a nonprofit thrift shop and many items that went straight to the trash. In one corner sat memorabilia we’d saved from my in-laws’ attic years ago. That’s when I saw it. Tucked under a dusty old chair was a tattered box. I pulled back the musty flaps and slid out what appeared to be a letter. I gasped as I lifted the frail envelope and unfolded sacred words from my father-in-law, Bruce, to his girlfriend, Mary Ellen.
More than 500 letters had been stowed away in a cardboard box … until now. I pulled out the fragile treasures one by one and read intimate words of devotion from a man head over heels for his high school sweetheart. The letters began with a soldier writing to the girl back home — one he pursued with pen and ink. And then about a third of the way through, the letters changed. The envelopes were no longer addressed to Mary Ellen Boone, but to Mary Ellen Jaynes.
The Song of Solomon, which some versions call Song of Songs, is a lot like those letters hidden in a box. Tucked between the introspective book of Ecclesiastes and the prophetic book of Isaiah is a work of poetry that memorialized mutual attraction, romantic love, sexual desire and enduring marriage between a man smitten and a woman enchanted.
I devoured the pages of the Song to discover what the couple did to make their marriage work. I saw that they flirted and fought, made out and made up, served and savored, and never stopped exploring new ways to keep their marriage fresh.
And I wondered: Why is it that passionate romance routinely fizzles out over the years? Why does a soul mate so easily become a roommate? Why does the rapid heartbeat of excitement in the early years morph into the heavyheartedness of disappointment in the later years?
There are many reasons why passion cools, but it doesn’t have to. That certainly isn’t God’s plan. He has a much different desire for your marriage and mine.
Yes, sexual intimacy will change as we grow older. That’s a given. But I believe intimacy can grow and mature into something sweeter, deeper and more profound than any frantic frenzy ever could be.
The Shulammite in the Song was a wise woman who took deliberate action to keep her marriage strong. I envision her sauntering up to her husband as he’s overseeing the fields. She whispers in his ear, 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 of Songs 7:11-13, NIV).
Whoa, that might not be what you’d expect from a devotion or your daily Bible reading, but God made sure it was in the Bible for a reason.
At this point in the song, Solomon and his Shulammite have been married a while, but the Shulammite is flirting with her man. She’s coaxing him to steal away to spend some alone time with her. No doubt Solomon had been busy running the kingdom, overseeing his land and ruling his people. Just like all married couples, they needed to get away for some time by themselves.
With his wife’s flirtatious attention, I don’t think it took too long for Solomon to change his schedule, cancel his meetings and pack his bags.
So, what can we learn from the Shulammite in this passage?
• Take time away for just you and your husband.
• Remember to have fun together.
• Flirting is a good thing … as long as it’s with your own husband!
Lord, thank You for my husband. Help me not to get so busy taking care of life that I forget to take care of love. Show both of us ways to keep our marriage a priority. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Song of Songs 5:16b, “This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem.” (NIV)
In our sex-saturated culture, we’re constantly bombarded by destructive, unrealistic depictions of romance and intimacy. But the real problem is not that we focus on sex too much, but that we value it too little. In Sharon Jaynes’ new book, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon, she reveals what God intended when He gave the gift of sex and said, “It is good.”
Visit Sharon’s website for her many FREE marriage downloads and resources.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
How can you flirt with your husband today? Why do you think it is important, no matter how long you’ve been married?
Join the conversation! Share your thoughts about one way that you flirt with your husband.
© 2019 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.