Song of Solomon - Marriage

Our church is doing a series on the Song of Solomon book. We do this every few years as a church family for a few reasons. It is never a bad thing to hear the bible again and again, not to mention that we cover all the different aspects of relationship and I wasn't in the same place last time we did this series as I am now, so it's great to hear it all again for where I am now! The first week was on healthy Godly attraction and the second week was on healthy dating/courtship and this last Sunday was on Marriage. Of course, in my current walk of life, this is one that I was most looking forward to. I will preface this whole post by saying most of this I'm pulling straight from the sermon (I took notes) by Brad Bell (our Senior Pastor at The Well Community Church) please feel free to visit our church website and click the media tab on the top right to listen to any of the sermons online. I promise if you're married that this week's will be the best 30-40 min you've spent as a couple in a long time. It's funny and convicting and encouraging and Godly. Brad was sure to make it very clear that as Christians, if we are not on good terms with our spouse, then we're not on good terms with God.

So what did I learn? Here's my brief recap.

He gave five commands for the husbands that the wives need from them:

Ongoing reassurance: just because men say they love us on our wedding day doesn't mean they never have to say it again. Us women like to know that they still love us today for who we are today.

Emotional Connection: not just chatting during the commercials or just responding "Uh Huh" as she talks to you all evening, there needs to be effort and involvement in conversation and connection between you.

Security: she needs financial, physical & emotional security. She needs to know that you're not risking her money (this doesn't mean having a lot of money, but that you're not risking her security in what you have). She needs to know that you're a one woman man. She needs to know that you're invested in her emotionally.

Affirmation: That she is still beautiful to you. I heard a guy in our church say in an interview (it's on the home page of the website on Attraction) that his standard of beauty is based on what his wife looks like today. Not what's hot in magazines or on TV, but his wife. As she changes with time and age, his standard of beauty changes. I was so touched by that thought that when I'm 60 that my 60 self will be what beauty means to my husband, even more so than my 30 yr old self is.

Tenderness: this means never raising your voice to your wife, being aware of her mood and her stress level and being sensitive and caring about that. Helping when she needs it. etc.

Now is the hard part... The commands for the wife of what her man needs:

Respect: your husband is a little boy wearing a man's clothes. They need to know daily that you admire and respect them as that man that is trying to lead that family.

Reassurance: do you believe in your man? Does he know it?

Appreciation: Do you see what he does and what it takes for him to do it and do you appreciate that about him?

Sex: It's the physical intimacy that opens a man's heart. It's how he connects with you the most.

Companionship: Most guys function physically more so than emotionally or mentally. Do you connection with him outdoors? Do you throw a Frisbee with him, ride bikes, etc that he can connect with you on his level as well.

Here's some key points to remember to make these things happen: there is NO place for selfishness in marriage. You can't live for your spouse until you die to yourself DAILY! Anyone would take a bullet for their spouse once, but will you die EACH DAY for them? Women, we will never been good, Godly wives if we can't get over ourselves. :) When the wheels come off on your marriage nine times out of ten it's probably due to selfishness. Pride will also cause a major marriage train wreck. We're all sinful creatures, we are going to hurt our spouse and we're going to fall short on these commands, if we can stand up to our spouse and say we're sorry when we screw up our marriage will suffer. Be prepared to ask for forgiveness a lot, be prepared to forgive the other just as often. {The italics is my addition to the selfishness, I don't remember Brad touching on this, but I know this is an issue for me}

Love & Respect. There is a book and a bible study on this concept, why? Women are created by God to operate in Love. Men are created just the same to operate in Respect. They default to respecting us before loving us, not that they don't love us... but it's not their default way to show how much they care. Women are the opposite. We default to loving our man when they need to see respect because it's how their hardwired.

Here's the key for women as well: SUBMISSION to our man. That word has such a negative tone to it these days and Brad wanted to diffuse those. Submitting to your husband can't ever be based on whether he deserves it. Our husbands are just as sinful as we women are, if we only submitted to his authority when he deserved it, we never would. Submission means letting God teach him, not us nag them. Submission means praying hard for your husband and then getting out of the way so God can smack him if he needs it. God will shape your man like you can't, no matter how hard you try and change him or nag him to. To me what this means is being a wife that trusts God. I love my husband and I married him because I felt he had the heart I wanted in a man. Do I think he could lead this family alone? Absolutely not. Do I trust that God can work in a sinful man and guide our family, Absolutely! My role isn't to take over if I feel hubs isn't leading us where I want, or he isn't being the husband that I feel God called him to be. My role as his wife is to be the wife God commanded me to be and to pray hard for my husband and trust whole hearted that God will work in him. This is the hardest part of being a wife. We want so badly by nature to form and help our husbands to their full potential. {Italics are my thoughts and additions}

The analogy that Brad used for marriage, all marriages have seasons of downward cycles. It's like losing weight. It takes you 3 weeks to lose weight and 3 minutes to gain it back. It's really easy to let your marriage slide downward but a lot of work to get it back up to a healthy marriage pattern. Marriage is work just like weight loss. You have to invest time in your spouse and in yourself. If you're not growing yourself toward Christ it becomes easy to become selfish and prideful and to not pay attention to connecting with your spouse. God tells us in the bible that your prayers are hindered if you're relationship with your spouse is on the rocks. Make things right with your spouse NOW!

Hubs and I are also taking part in The Great Date Experiment that a church in Arkansas is doing to promote healthy marriages. You can click on that link to watch the video and then over on the right are the dates. I believe there are 6 in all. We did the first date, it has ideas for what to do on your night out {we improvised and did ours at home} as well as discussion topics and questions to ask each other. It was fun, a lot of laughs, and great conversation! I encourage you to check it out.


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