The Dancing Puritan

Friday, August 30, 2013

More in Marriage

When I play with my daughter Abigail (almost 2 years old) she will often say more, more. When she is really having fun she can barely contain her laughter. Of course she wants more. She is excited. She is delighted. She is having fun. Wanting more is not always bad. Wanting more does not mean that she is sinfully discontent. It just means that she wants more of a good thing. It is good for a daddy and daughter to run, laugh, and play. She should say more, more.

Do you want more? Wanting more of a good thing is not wrong in and of itself. It can be wrong if when you can't have more, you pout and complain. If not having more causes you to be discontent with what is provided then that is wrong. More is extraordinary. The norm is ordinary. Surely there is a way to appreciate the norm and desire the more. There must be a way to grasp the ordinary with joy and long for the extraordinary.

I am thinking about marriage in particular. A person might approach Solomon's Song and read of perfume, apples, gazelles, vineyards, and the banqueting house and imagine that a real marriage is beyond reach. Rather than appreciating the sweet smell of fine perfume a person might read and complain of a smell of a different sort in their marriage. It is very possible to read the Song of Solomon and to grow frustrated with your daily bread. When this happens a wife complains about her husband and a husband is insensitive to his wife. Sometimes the form of marriage survives even as the heart of marriage is ripped out. Sometimes even the form is abandoned and one spouse or the other wanders into the arms of someone else. Tragedy abounds.

Frustration is, of course, not the goal of Solomon's best song. What are some more positive goals?

1.  The Song of Solomon can help you to pursue more for your marriage. Solomon presents a vision for all that marriage can be. Though marriage is not always walking through vineyards and pressing grapes to one another's lips, it is designed to be a walk together through the fields and up the mountains of life.
2. The Song of Solomon gives ideas on how to have more in your marriage. No other book either inside or outside of the Bible has helped me to cultivate creativity than Solomon's Song. I read it and I want more.

There are two big problems that all married couples face.

1. It is possible to be discontent with marriage in a sinful way. The result may be sulking, complaining, or worse. To read of the seemingly almost endless happiness of Solomon and his bride can be frustrating.

2. It is possible to be content with marriage in a sinful way. We can become content with doing the same old things, the same old ways, and never want more. We can stop dreaming, stop reaching, stop trying, stop planning, and we can shut down any creative efforts.  When this happens the cologne is dutifully splashed on and the imagination is turned off.

Discontentment can be sinful. Contentment can be sinful.

Abigail loves to sometimes just sit in my lap while I work. She always wants to run and play. When we play, she says more. Marriage is like that. There are bills to pay, dinners to cook, and math to teach. We should enjoy the ordinary. But we should dream, plan, and pursue the extraordinary. During the extraordinary times God is glorified when we say more.