I recently wrapped up a sermon series from the Song of Solomon on dating, sex and the search for intimacy. Yes, it was challenging; most preachers like to avoid this romantic book of the Bible. However, the topic is so relevant today because our culture is confused. We all can benefit from a biblical framework on the subject to be better equipped.
The following 7 highlights from Song of Solomon are summed up below to enrich your relationships.
- Attraction – what is attractive? Is it a perfect face with no blemishes, dreamy eyes, a curvy figure, six-pack abs? Our culture says it’s all about beauty that’s skin deep. The Bible says it goes deeper than physical beauty to character and commitment. Character flaws always cancel good looks.
- Dating – why and how should I date? A date is an event between two people for two purposes: edification and observation. A date is a precursor to dating, and dating is a precursor to marriage. The person you date perhaps will be the person you marry, so date wisely.
- Courtship – moving toward engagement/marriage. This is the time when you define the relationship and share your intentions and desires. There should be an easiness to being together. Passion is growing and it’s important at this stage to protect the relationship from whatever might spoil it. Perhaps even bring in a trusted mentor.
- Intimacy – marriage is a gift from God for man and woman, for the family (children), and for the society. Marriage is a shelter of protection. It’s safe. And the marriage bed is a place of safety. We’ve lost this in our culture and it’s the reason there is so much confusion. God designed sex to intimate oneness. It’s not just a biological or physical event. God made sex to have enormous implications—love, honor, cherish, respect, children.
- Conflict – there is a right and wrong way to handle it. Conflict will arise. It’s important that you don’t mirror the behavior of your mate. Let God work in your own heart and in the heart of your spouse. Kindness elevates, but harshness deteriorates. Be resolved—don’t walk away or hide. Work through conflict. Don’t ever drop your marital vows because you don’t want to change. Give and receive forgiveness.
- Romance – Biblical romance is more than just remembering to buy a nice gift for a special occasion. It’s expressing value with words of praise, appreciation and thankfulness. It’s viewing your spouse as a blessing and being responsive in a positive and engaging way. It’s being creative to keep the relationship from becoming dull and boring.
- Commitment – only comes through the providence of God. In a culture where more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, you have two choices: 1) Never get married or 2) Learn what it takes to increase the likelihood of staying together. Commitment is about persevering. There's a healthy possessiveness and a feeling of permanence. Most of all, it doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s built into the relationship in its early stages.
All this to say, the closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other. When we struggle in relationships or marriage, maybe the reason is that we are first struggling with God. Give your important relationships a quick review today and see if you are doing your share of the work to maintain a healthy and growing adoration.