The Dancing Puritan

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Garden Of Marriage

Both Solomon and his bride overflow in rapturous love for one another. Poetry flows from their lips as they call forth colorful words and vivid descriptions. Solomon refers to his lady as a garden fountain, a well of living water (Song of Solomon 4:15). She offers an invitation that no thoughtful husband would reject: Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits (4:16b). And he responds as we would expect, I came to my garden, my sister, my bride, I gathered my myrrh with my spice, I ate my honeycomb with my honey, I drank my wine with my milk (5:1a).

This sort of creative speech and delightful engagement is celebrated by their friends who sing, Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love (51b)! Does such speech characterize your marriage? Is such love celebrated?

I think that marital neglect is a common problem. I don't mean the neglect of food, clothes, or shelter. Those things are sometimes neglected and a wife may struggle to be a well-tended garden. Prior to the woman's marriage to Solomon she described herself as a . . . vineyard I have not kept (1:6)! After her marriage she sees her body as a garden of spices and filled with lilies (6:2-3). Prior to marriage she was very self-conscious about her body and appearance. After marriage she is confident and unashamed.  Marriage made her better.

It is God's design that you seek to make your spouse better. Confidence grows in the fertile soil of a happy home. Joy flourishes in the midst of sincere compliments that flow through the air like the smell of a fresh-baked apple pie. Creativity dances across the pages of a marriage filled with poetry. Problems will come, even to the most musical of marriages (5:2-8) but where the roots are deep, the words are spicy, and delight is cultivated; problems are resolved (5:10-6).

A wife is her husband's garden. The Song of Solomon lady refers to her body as his garden. She says My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies (6:2). When a man fails to tend his garden he hates himself and dishonors Christ. In the same way (as Christ loves the church) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:28-29).

Husband, care for, and creatively nourish your garden; your wife.

Wife, with great confidence, invite your husband to come to his garden and enjoy.

Perhaps you need to get to work today cultivating the garden that is your marriage.