Here Comes the Conflict! – Part I
So far we have enjoyed the relationship with Solomon and his wife. If this were a romance movie, it would have ended in chapter 4… “and they lived happily ever after.” Song of Songs however continues. In chapter 5, we find the couple fighting.
“2 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.” Song of Songs 5:2 NIV
In chapter 3, Abishag has shared that her fear was marrying a busy King who would not be there for her. In chapter 5, her fear comes to pass. Solomon after all, is the King and he is busy. In their culture, wealthy couples had separate bedrooms (not a practice we should adopt today). In verse 2, Solomon comes home late from work and wants to pay a conjugal visit to his wife, but the door is locked! Since we see that his “head is drenched with dew” we can identify that he has come home late from work.
She is probably tired of watching him leave in the morning and coming home at midnight. She is tired of eating dinner alone. She is tired of him being gone all day and coming home expecting her to be happy and ready to conjugate! She is going to teach him that even though he may be King during the day… she is in charge at night!
She says in verse 3
“3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?” Song of Songs 5:3 NIV
What she is saying here is, “I’m laying in bed naked, but I’m too tired to get up and open the door.” She is teasing him and denying him intimacy because he is not meeting her emotional needs. He’s not giving her enough time. He is not talking with her and wooing her like he did when they just started their relationship. The flame has flickered and they are struggling with the stresses and pressures of real life. Isn’t it amazing that this just like real life? I’ve read that generally, when it comes to intimacy, men are easier to please. Men can be compared to a dragster that is waiting at the starting line with its engine revving and is instantly ready to go once given the ok. Women on the other hand, can be compared to Volkswagen… it may be slow initially, but can easily out distance the dragster in the long run.
Solomon, the dragster, wants his physical needs met and Abishag, the Volkswagen, wants her emotional needs met… and neither is getting what they want.
Solomon’s busyness is legitimate. After all being the King probably kept his schedule pretty busy. Shulamith’s loneliness is legitimate. After all, she is the King’s wife and if anyone has access to him, it should be her. Some of the hardest conflicts in marriage occur when both partners are right.
Here, they as a couple wrestle with something ALL couples wrestle with… selfishness. One has been hurt, so she hurts him in return. This Revenge Theology, is not a theology from God. The enemy is the author of this book. As married couples, we need to remember that the battle is not against my spouse. The devil loves it when married couples fight each other, because we forget that WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM! We forget that our spouse is NOT the real enemy.
“4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.[k]
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.” Song of Songs 5:4-6 NIV
We already know that Solomon is knocking at the door and she is denying him. Solomon is getting upset and starts trying to force open the door.
It is interesting that if you read the passage, you see that Abishag wants him to come through the door. She wants him to come and pursue her, but she doesn’t want to get up and open the door because that would require her to swallow her pride. She stays in bed and waits for him to pursue her.
Husbands, sometimes your wife wants you to pursue her.
She knows the right thing to do is to let him in, but she doesn’t want to humble herself. There are times that we know the right thing to do, but choose not to humble ourselves.
This is a HUGE issue in marriage. In marital conflicts, the truth is that most couples know the right thing to do, but they just don’t want to do it. Maybe you know that you they need to forgive your spouse… but you don’t want to do it. Perhaps you know that you need to apologize… but you don’t want to do it. You may know that you need to schedule a date night… but you don’t want to do it. Maybe you know that the two of you need counseling… but you don’t want to do it. It is important to know that marriages are not successful because we make the right promises or have the right intentions. They are successful because we do the right things… even if it is hard to do.
The lesson here is that selfishness and pride do not help you. It hurts your marriage. Abishag fights the urge to get up and make things right with her husband. She doesn’t want to do it. We’ll see what happens next in the next devotion.
Holy Spirit thank You for the practical insights You give in Your Word. Empower my wife and I to always remember that we are on the same team! Empower us to not just make the right promises, but to do the right things. Amen.