Reviving Your Marriage
5 Who is this coming up from the wilderness
leaning on her beloved?
Under the apple tree I roused you;
there your mother conceived you,
there she who was in labor gave you birth.
6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy[q] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.[r]
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it[s] would be utterly scorned.” Song of Songs 8:5-7 NIV
They way you live in your marriage today, determines the stories you tell tomorrow. What story do you want to tell about your marriage tomorrow? When we join the couple in Song of Songs 8, we find Solomon and Abishag out of town. They are on vacation. They are getting some much needed rest and time away from the rut of everyday life. Even back in Solomon’s day, there was a tendency for couples to drift when they fell into the routines of life. We are reminded from this royal couple that if we want to keep our relationships strong, there are times when couples needs to take a little vacation and get away together. That is where we find Solomon and Abishag.
In verse 5, they recall when they first met “under the apple tree.” They look back to the time when they first had feelings for each other. It is important from time to time, to come back to the beginning of our relationship. Even Jesus in Revelation 2, reminds the church to “come back to your first love.”
When they recall their beginnings, Abishag turns her attention to a “seal” over the heart of her husband. The “seal over your heart,” that Abishag refers in verse 6, was a way of administering one’s signature in the ancient world. The seal was impressed into wax and used to imprint one’s signature. While this was important for people in general, if you were a ruler, like Solomon, the seal was critically important because it was like the King’s credit card, driver’s license, and social security card rolled up into one. If a seal was stamped on a piece of paper, it would be similar to signing one’s name on a check, or in the King’s case, signing a law into effect. As a King, your word was the law. Because of the importance of the seal, the King would keep it as a pendant on a necklace or he wore it on a bracelet so it would always be near to him.
The King’s seal had to be guarded and protected with utmost care. It would never leave his side. It was likely on the King’s person whenever he slept and whenever he showered. It was a treasure that would not depart from him. It was too precious to be removed from the King’s presence.
Abishag longs for that kind of care and affection from her husband. This is a great testament that the wife WANTS to spend time with her husband. I’ve heard it said, “If there were more courting in marriage, there would be less marriages in court.” Someone else observed that when it comes to dating and spending quality time with your spouse that while babysitters do cost money, they are far cheaper than divorce lawyers! I couldn’t agree more.
We have seen through this Poetic book that Solomon and Abishag started well in their marriage. Here they took the time to revive their relationship. Sadly, we know that in the end, Solomon didn’t finish well in his marriage. We know that while the Song of Songs are beautiful and poetic verses encouraging love and sexuality in marriage, somewhere along the way, Solomon and Abishag didn’t finish well.
I am speculating here, but I wonder if somewhere along the way, they stopped reviving their marriage and their love. I wonder if they had continued to take Marriage Sabbath’s and revive and affirm their love for each other, if their story would have ended differently. Maybe if they had continued to rekindle their love, their story could have ended better. I wonder if they could speak through time to us today, if they might encourage us today to be sure to take our own Marriage Sabbath’s seriously. If Solomon could say something to married couple’s today, I wonder if he would remind us to make our spouses to be the most important “seal” in life over any business venture, investment, ministry, hobby, or other interest in life.
Of course I could be wrong, but I’d suggest not from seeing what Solomon writes years later in Ecclesiastes 1-6. He points out how everything from wisdom, toil, pleasures, advancement, and riches are meaningless. Perhaps you have read Ecclesiastes better than I, and I am open to being corrected, but I don’t see anywhere in the text, where he sees investing in his marriage as meaningless.
In the end, Solomon guarded his “seal” well, but not his marriage. I think he regretted that. My prayer for any who read this, is that you (and I) is that we learn to invest in and guard our marriages better than the “seals” of our lives.
How are you doing in guarding your marriage? When was the last date you had with your spouse? Schedule one this week. When was the last Marriage Sabbath you had with your spouse? Plan one in the next month. Be sure not to wait until you are writing your own Ecclesiastes. They way you live in your marriage today, determines the stories you tell tomorrow. What story do you want to tell about your marriage tomorrow? Do you want to tell the story of a marriage lived well, or one filled with regrets? You decide today.
Marriage is not easy. Empower me to live today, a story of victory, passion, love, excitement, and honor WITH MY WIFE. May we have a story of triumph tomorrow, because of how we live and honor each other today. Amen.