God gives us practical wisdom in the Book Song of Solomon for people in various stages of their relationship and marriage. In today’s sermon we will see what keeps romance in marriage alive?
People say that marriage ends romance and happiness in a relationship. Marriage does not end it but there are reasons why a marriage can lack romance and intimacy.
Romance and intimacy in marriage is like tending to a bonfire. Getting the fire started is exciting and thrilling but keeping the fire going is hard work. When the fire simmers and fades, we blow air and throw some logs to keep he fire going. Similarly, there are many reasons that can cause romance to fade in marriage. They can be some issues in the marriage such as unresolved conflicts, letting the little foxes running around and ruining the relationship, lack of forgiveness, lack of trust or there could be other issues like stress, work pressure, financial issues, parents and children.
But we don’t have to let the fire die and there are practical steps one can take to keep the fire of romance and intimacy in marriage going. God calls us to slowly build this fire intentionally.
What are those logs we could throw in the fire of romance in marriage to rekindle, revive and deepen it? Here are two practical steps from Chapter 7.
1. Declare your satisfaction in each other
(He) 7:1 How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O noble daughter! Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand.
In chapter 4 we see Solomon describe his bride’s beauty from top to bottom and now he describes it from bottom to top. He notices things only he can see and begins to describe his wife’s beauty to her. He begins with her beautiful feet and calls her noble. Though she is from a common and simple background, he says that the way she carries herself is graceful, full of dignity, majestic and glorious.
2 Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat, encircled with lilies.
He describes her navel or her hips. He compares it to a bowl that never lacks wine, meaning her beauty is intoxicating and arousing to him. He compares her belly to a heap of wheat. This couple has been married for a while, seen life together, had children, gained some weight but yet they are both desirable and attractive to each other.
3 Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
We have seen this in chapter 4. He is still gentle with her, not taking her for granted, treating her with tenderness, being delicate and enjoying her beauty.
4 Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim. Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, which looks toward Damascus
He compares her neck to an ivory tower signifying her dignity and stature. It suggests her strength in character and how precious she is. He compares her eyes to the pools in Heshbon. The refreshing ponds in the city of Heshbon reflect the beauty of those looking in. He says her eyes are attractive, peaceful and refreshing to him. Her nose is like the tower of Lebanon, again pointing to her character and strength.
5 Your head crowns you like Carmel, and your flowing locks are like purple; a king is held captive in the tresses.
He says her head is like Mt Carmel which stands tall and majestic. She is full of wisdom, virtue, and she stands out. Her hair is like the purple threads, flowing with royalty. He is captivated by her beauty and love.
What’s happening here? Here’s a couple married for a while, lived life together, gone through various seasons, changed physically, had children, seen ups and downs but still pursing each other in love. You see a couple deeply satisfied in each other and they are declaring their satisfaction in each other through verbal and non verbal expressions of deep satisfaction.
6 How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights!
He says, you delight me, you satisfy and please me, you gratify me in every way with all your delights. This is a kind of deep satisfaction which can never be experienced in one night stands or any flings or casual hookups. This is experienced in a growing, satisfying, safe, proven bonds of covenant relationship.
How do you rekindle romance and intimacy in marriage? You do it by declaring your satisfaction in each other. It does not mean you are perfect, that all your expectations are met or you have achieved all the goals you have set out to achieve or that there are no conflicts. No, but this is a relationship where there is love, respect, honour for one another and they are maturing and growing deeper in love.
Declaring satisfaction is fuel for romance and intimacy in marriage. They are those little logs you throw into the fire to keep the fire going.
Proverbs 5:18-19 says, Rejoice in the wife of your youth…and let her satisfy you and may you ever be intoxicated with her love. This is what is seen in this relationship between Solomon and his wife. There are still desiring each other and intoxicated by each other’s love.
Why is this important? Why cant we just know we love each other? Why do we have to declare it often? It is because we are broken sinners who need to be validation and affirmation.
Imagine a child who is being given all the gifts, comforts, money, gadgets by the parents but has never heard the mother and father say, “I love you” ever. The child will grow to be deeply flawed, broken and even hate the parents.
Imagine God telling us, why cant you believe that I love you and I have forgiven you? He does not look down on us but rather he reminds us again and again in his word about his love and forgiveness and affirms us. This is because God has created us to thrive and live this way.
Both husband and wife need affirmation and encouragement. You might say, I pay all the bills, I take care of the home and children, I work hard. This is great and honourable. But don’t let the weight of responsibility crush romance in marriage.
All it takes is a singe word spoken in genuine love to rekindle romance. If you dont know where to start, you can start by saying “I love you” often and “Thank you” often.
7 Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. 8 I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples 9 and your mouth like the best wine. It goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding over lips and teeth 10 I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.
We see them growing in freedom in physical intimacy, increasing in delight and deeper satisfaction with each other. We see their love blossoming and sweetening.
God calls us to tend to the fire of romance and intimacy in marriage. She is able to say his desire is for me, not work, not friends, not hobbies, not material things, but me. That kind of assurance is possible because he declares his satisfaction again and again through verbal and non verbal gestures.
Declaring satisfaction for each other oxygenates romance intimacy in marriage. It is easy to become like a couple that does not talk to each other, love each other, not be not he same page, arguing with each other, bitter, not trusting and living a life less marriage. If you want this kind of a marriage, you don’t have to do anything. But a covenant marriage remembers the vows that were made and pursues the other in love.
This is how you honour God in your marriage. This is how you honour your spouse. This is the best thing you can do for your kids, that is to love your spouse. This is the best thing you can do for yourself, for a life of peace, joy, honour, confidence and blessing.
2. Plan for seclusion with each other
(She) 11 Come, my beloved, let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages 12 let us go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.
They are planning a getaway, to go on a trip away from their busy schedule. They are intentional about this. Here’s something that might sound like a contradiction but it is true. Romance needs to be disciplined. It needs intentionality. You do not drift into a happy marriage. True romance involves work and discipline.
She initiates this and he reciprocates. Have weekly, monthly and annual rhythms where you can get away to talk, connect, share and deepen your love. This can be as simple and inexpensive as a regular walk in the park, going for ice cream alone or having dinner dates. Plan for annual get aways apart from Valentine's Day or your birthday.
13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.
Mandrakes are present day strawberry and chocolate. She tells him there will be choice fruits, some old and some new. What’s she doing? She is being playful, teasing him and creating anticipation. For romance to flourish, do the small gestures like sending text messages, use some emoji’s, give a surprise gift, use code words and flirt with your spouse. And when your spouse initiates, please respond in love.
The greatest threat to your marriage is your own passivity and laziness. If you feel that the fire of romance and intimacy is fading in your marriage, remember your covenant. Repent, confess, get help, talk to someone and start slowly to tend to the fire. Maybe there are other things like work, children, parents who have taken priority in your marriage and your marriage has taken a backseat. Deal with all the little foxes that is ruining your marriage. God gives grace and strength when we move toward him for help.
As we declare satisfaction in each other often and plan for seclusion with each other often, slowly but surely the fire of romance begins to be rekindled. May God bring life, fun, laughter, joy and delight into our marriages.