The sweet expressions between the man and woman in The Song of Solomon could lead one to believe that marriage is all about honeycombs, nectar dripping lips, garden fountains and spices.
Yet as that couple surely knew--and you know, marriage is not all about chocolate and dancing. Marriage is not just one big kiss-fest with lotion, perfume and pomegranates.
There are bills to pay, doctors to visit, lawns that must be mowed, jobs that must be executed and a thousand other daily tasks. How do you have a joyful, nectar dripping marriage in the midst of runny noses and unthoughtful bosses?
We Puritans like to dance at work, at play and in our marriages. We must learn to think like that. We get to think like that. We are to do all things joyfully--without grumbling and complaining. There is a way to enjoy God and his people in the midst of doing our due diligence in every area of life.
Life is a gift. Work is a gift. Children are a blessing from God. We must begin by acknowledging that God is the give of good gifts. Our sin taints the gifts but the gifts are still gifts to be unwrapped, marveled over and enjoyed with our eyes constantly focused on the giver of those gifts.
Time is a gift. Everyone reminds us that we all have the same number of hours, as does the President of the United States. But what do we do with that time?
Priorities indicate the big things of life--the non-negotiables. Those things must be done first. Daily Bible reading is a big thing. Going to church on Sunday and not allowing other things to snatch that away is a big thing. Neglect either and you will begin down a slippery slope.
Marriage is also a big thing. Huge! Marriage displays the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In The Song of Solomon chapter five the marriage is not yet consummated. Solomon is feeling pain of being separated from his beloved. The garden (her body) is still locked. It is a spring locked, a fountain sealed (12). Solomon can smell the garden and he knows that beyond it's gates are sweet delights. Yet his beloved is high in the mountains and surrounded by lions and leopards. Solomon calls her to come to him (8).
They were awaiting, with joyful anticipation, the culmination of the wedding night. There were still challenges in the way.
Marriage is also like that. There are pleasures to be enjoyed just beyond the garden gate. But sometimes the gate seems locked with lions, leopards and other hindrances guarding the garden's entrance. Fatigue is one of those armed guards. Many times it is the tyranny of the urgent that hinders entrance. The garden does not often scream for attention. Too often we are quick to hear the voices of the urgent and miss the aromas of the garden.
So help us out. We must be faithful in the duties of life. We must rejoice in the Lord at work, home and play. There are things that must be done in order to eat and have a home to live in. So,without avoiding essential duties, what do you do with the essential duty of romance in marriage?