The Dancing Puritan

Friday, January 25, 2013

Someone to Date Pt. 3: Thoughts on Marriage

"Daddy, please remove your pant leg from your sock." "Honey, those purple sweat pants do not match that red dress shirt." There is a tendency, the older we get and the longer we have been married, to be less than thoughtful in our appearance and demeanor.

Does it really matter? After all, Matthew 6:25 in the King James Version says, take no thought...for your body what ye shall put on. Maybe you are so heart focused that you couldn't care less about appearance. Is that a good line of thinking? Have you considered that your outward appearance can be a heart reflector? That a loving heart towards your spouse might be displayed in a nice appearance?

Does thinking about appearance make you uncomfortable? The passage in Matthew teaches that we are not to worry about clothes (and we are not to worry about anything else). God takes care of his people! So, don't worry about whether you will have food to eat or clothes to wear.

Does your appearance matter? Some people only focus on the outside and they fail to cultivate the heart. There were a lot of religious people in Jesus day like that (Luke 11:39).  Some people give an inordinate amount of time to exercise and sports. They forget that ... bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (I Timothy 4:8). Bodily exercise has some benefits but our driving passion must be for godliness.

That being said, we should give at least a little bit of attention to the body, it's health and it's appearance. The body is decaying and dying but it is headed for resurrection and renewal. Future vision should always change our trajectory. The body is to be used for God's glory and the good of others.

Let's think in terms of dating your spouse. Does it matter if you exercise and give reasonable amount of time to your health and appearance? Does it really matter what you look like?

Part of our mission is to try and bring order out of chaos in this fallen world. One way we do that is by ordering the body.  ...Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hear and gold or pearls and costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness--with good works (1 Timothy 2:9).  Let me give you a loose translation, women order yourselves in an orderly way so that your outward appearance reflects a godly heart. Paul does not prohibit jewelry and makeup (I Peter 3:3-4) but he does prohibit immodesty that betrays one's profession of faith. He uses various forms of the word cosmos, from which we understand the order of the universe, to describe how a woman is to dress.  She is to dress orderly reflecting an ordered heart!

What do you owe your spouse? You owe them love. It is a loving thing to have an ordered appearance and godly character. It is your duty to be attractive. You are not loving towards your spouse if you do not care a whit about how you look and smell!  Here are some thoughts from The Song of Solomon (SOS) about appearance, attitude, smell, speech and character. These things, put into practice, will help you to date your spouse and to live with them in love. As you read the list guys, imagine that you are about to take your wife on a date!

1.  Be kissable.  Your spouse should want to kiss you!  Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth (SOS 1:1.).  Don't make it hard for your wife to get her lips to yours because of bad breath.  Fight for good breath and enjoy the spoils of the war!
2. Be lovable. The lady in The Song of Solomon (SOS) said of her lover, ...your love is better than wine. Wine and romance are friends throughout SOS. Greater than even wine to the lady was the love of her man.
3. Be attractive.  Part of the attraction of the lady towards the man in SOS was that he smelled good (3). The lady also smelled sweet (1:12). Smell is more important than you may think. Your smell should draw your wife to you rather than repel her. Both the man and the woman described one another in glowing terms that indicated beauty and fitness (4:1-16, 5:10-16).  Don't let it be a stretch for your wife (or husband) to say such things about you!
4. Cultivate good character. The lady said of the man, your name is poured out; therefore virgins love you (1:3). You might be winsome and beautiful but without godly character you will not be truly lovely.
5. Be a wordsmith. Read through SOS and notice the creative ways that both the man and the woman talk about and to one another.  You may not be a poet but you can improve on your creativity in speech!  Listening to good music and reading poetry will help you.

More to come...