Here Comes the Conflict! – Part II – Song of Songs 5
In today’s age, there is no shortage of good marriage information. I love ministries like Family Life, Focus on the Family, Weekend to Remember, Laugh your Way to a Better Marriage, the Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and the teaching ministries of Jim Burns. While there is no shortage of great marriage resources and materials, it is true that marriages still suffer. We learned last time, that couples often struggle not because we don’t know the right thing to do, but because we don’t want to do it.
We left Shulamith knowing what to do, but not doing it with her husband Solomon. Let’s see what happens next.
“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 5:5-6 NIV
Some time passes and Shulamith gets up to open the door hoping to see her husband begging for her forgiveness. Instead things have changed. He is gone.
I think that when husbands and wives enter into conflict, husbands tend to withdraw. They may detach themselves from the situation or become more emotionally withdrawn. That should NOT be what wives want from their husbands.
Solomon found it too painful to come home and have his wife lock the door refusing to see him, so he walked out. It didn’t mean he had an affair on her. It simply meant that this couple was losing their oneness and intimacy. Their selfishness led to them feeling distant, frustrated, and rejected. Let’s see what she does next.
“I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.
7 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!” Song of Songs 5:6-7 NIV
Shulamith takes a hard, but important step that MANY couples choose NOT to make. She repents. She swallows her pride, gets up, and pursues her husband. She recognizes the break between her and her husband, and she takes action to go looking for him. She doesn’t passively sit down and wait for him to come back. She gets up and looks for him.
Something interesting happens as she searches for her husband. Shulamith comes across the watchmen, who are like nighttime rental security. These guys are bad security and they actually attack her. They beat her and take her veil. I’m not sure if this is the meaning of the text, but what I see is that when a spouse gets up and takes action to restore his or her marriage, he or she, will be attacked. When one partner stands up and refuses to settle for a mediocre, distant relationship, he or she will face opposition and attacks along the way.
Let’s finish this portion of the text and see how this story ends. We end with some words from Shulamith after she is attacked.
“8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.” Song of Songs 5:8 NIV
Shulamith doesn’t give up. She is relentless in pursuing her husband. She will not be dissuaded and she will not be stopped. She may be hurt, but she even calls on others to help her in her quest to find her husband and to restore the relationship.
I wonder if anyone reading this devotion needs to have that word spoken into their marriage. There may be husbands and wives who have faced attacks, opposition, hurts, and criticism for contending for the best for their marriage. Maybe the lesson from Song of Songs 5 today is to keep on contending. Keep on fighting. Keep on pressing forward. Keep on calling out for your spouse to return.
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.
Holy Spirit empower married couples to press on despite the injuries we sustain in our relationships. Empower us to contend for the “happily ever after’s” and to stand against any Revenge Theology from the Devil. Humble the hearts of husbands who are too proud to repent. Soften the hearts of wives who need to repent. Help us to be one with each other. Amen.