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Sunday is Valentine's Day: a holiday for Hallmark and flower shops to make money, an occasion for single people to feel miserable, a snare for the negligent husband, a celebration of rampant sensuality, and a common grace reminder for husbands and wives to delight in each other. It's all in what you make of it.

If you are married, I suggest snuggling up with your spouse and reading Song of Solomon’s eight chapters, the romantic jumper cables of the Bible.

I know, I know, who can make sense of this seemingly crazy little book? Is it allegory or poetry? Are their two characters or three? Do they or don't they? It's an interpretive mess.

But you don't have to be an expert in Hebrew symbolism to learn a few things from this book. In particular, I want to ponder a few questions Song of Solomon raises in my mind, two questions each for the husband and the wife.

For the Husband

Question 1: Do you gush over your wife? I mean, do you really pile on the compliments? No need to ration here. The more you speak them the freer they come. So why so stingy in telling your bride she's more stunning than elegance wrapped in sweetness covered in perfection?

Yes, the bit about "hair like a flock of goats" doesn't translate well, so skip that line. Don't worry about sounding poetic or trying to compare her features to local topography. Just tell say something like: "Behold, you are beautiful, my love, you are beautiful" (4:1). Or try this: "Who is this who looks like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners." Oh yeah, that'll work.

Tell your bride she is the most gorgeous, most precious, most amazing woman you've ever laid eyes on. Tell her that she still turns your head and makes your heart race. Lay it on thick brothers. You should mean it, of course, but if you don't, just keep telling her until you do. Nothing kills romance like expressions of calculated affection.

Question 2: Do you pursue your wife? Words are wonderful, but pursuit may be even more powerful. Now listen, guys, don't get all weird and stalker-like. Remember, you should pursue her as she likes to be pursued, not as you do. So surprise her. Woo her. Take her away (without the kids for heaven's sake).

Even after years of marriage keep using words like "Come" and "Let's." Be a man. Be a leader. Try to impress her. You managed to do it once, but chances are much of your impressiveness has worn off under the rough edges of career, laziness, and time. Men shouldn't get married so they can stop pursuing women. We get married so we can perfect the pursuit with same woman over a lifetime. Don't give up the chase gentlemen.

Believe me, brothers, I write as one who needs to learn.

Sisters, I'll write for you tomorrow.

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17 thoughts on “Solomon’s Song for this Sunday (1)”

  1. Sanjay Suckoo says:

    Good to know for an engaged guy. I am prone to laziness anyway. Thanks for preaching the word faithfully Kevin, I was encouraged by your sermon on Sunday.

  2. Let me suggest some lines for those sports fans. You could say to her, “winning your heart makes winning the Super Bowl seem like rubbish,” or “the Saints scored touchdowns at the Super Bowl until the game ended, but I desire to score touchdowns in your heart forever” ;)

  3. Cal says:

    For the number crunchers: “Honey, I thought you were a “10” when I fell in love with you.” “Now I realize your a “100” !!!

  4. David Murray says:

    Kevin, always enjoy your writing. Thanks for all you share with us. Just one suggested qualification here: Crazy interpretations, yes. “Crazy little book,” no.

  5. Tracy Irvin says:

    I have texted my wife Song of Solomon 1.9 for years at various times. Various interpretations (cf David M.) include a mare among the stallions drives them crazy (as a stallion has not yet been made into a gelding); or a mare among stallions is rare, unique. It took me a moment to explain it the first time, but she loves it now!

  6. Matthew W says:

    Speaking of “an occasion for single people to feel miserable,” do you have any suggestions for us single guys? Like how to pursue a young woman (who obviously isn’t my wife and might not be expecting it)? Just curious…

  7. Gary says:

    Your 2 points were mentioned on the radio this afternoon (yes, you were credited). They were related as Valentine ideas that couldn’t be done on just that day, but could become sort of a gift of a lifestyle.

    Right after that a young lady called whose husband died 2 weeks ago. She begged men to do that — gush and pursue — and said her husband did and she treasures every minute of it.

    Said she often acted like she didn’t notice him doing it, but she loved every second and pleaded with husbands to do it “on Valentines, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas…everything — it means more than you’ll ever know”

  8. I would just like to add from a woman’s perspective, that after nearly 10 years of marriage, we DO still want to know we can turn your head! Many guys think it’s enough to hear I love you, but we miss the unexpected. We don’t want “someone” to pursue us, we want YOU to pursue us. Please do your marriage to favor of paying extra attention to your wife!

  9. Mark W says:

    Thanks for the humble challenge!

  10. JM says:

    I would like to address a word to the men who may be more challenged by the suggestion to gush over their wife with words of their affection. That man would be the one who has the experience of adultry tragically woven into their marriage. I am speaking of when this offense is by the husband—possibly even multiple times. She has remained, yet her greatest struggle is now receiving such words as sincere, because that last couseling session was no different than the first, the second or the third–though it was said that he had repented. The greatest witness these women need from their husbands are not many words…..that end up falling so painfully flat before her–but what she so desperately longs for is the witness of a man that has lost sight of ALL things….even her….in light of the absolutely stunning beauty of Christ. Men- what women need most from you is an enraptured heart that is panting for your precious heavenly Father. If you would desire the heart of your wife- lose all that you may gain all in Christ—and perhaps- God will permit the affection of your sister in Christ. And if not, you will have still gained all in persuit of both and she will be forever yours to lift up to God in prayer.

  11. SH says:

    JM-Excellent. I have never been so lonely as I am since marrying my husband. If only he would show his undying love.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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