The Music of Marriage
The Song of Solomon is a love poem of deep intimacy between Solomon and a Shulamite girl, whom he has married. It is a wonderful model for communication in a marriage. Sometimes we blush when we read it. But God knew we would need a record of godly marriage communication, so He gave us this book by divine inspiration. Let's see what we can discover about their intimate communication.
Notice how plentiful the conversation is between these two lovers. Nearly 60 percent of the verses in The Song of Solomon are spoken between the lovers. And it's obvious that when they are separated, they miss the sound of each other's voice. Each gives words freely, without embarrassment. Each receives words freely, without resentment.
A common protest of wives is that their husbands talked a lot when they were dating but stopped talking after the wedding. There's a reason for this problem, built into the different traits of men and women.
Men are goal oriented. During dating and courtship, the woman is his highest goal. So he pursues her fervently. After the wedding, he moves on to other goals. And so, he suddenly stops talking. But women are security oriented. So she craves communication and conversation. She has an ever-deepening need for affirmation within the relationship; he has an ever deepening need for achievement outside the relationship.
The solution to this is given in the Song of Solomon. And the first part of that is to talk, talk, talk. Men most of all need to hear — and follow — this message.
These two lovers say some very intimate things to each other: "I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with drops of the night" (Song of Solomon 5:2).
She has a name for him: "my beloved." He has pet names for her: "my love" and “my dove." Words are personal. Pet names stem from free intimacy. Are you married? Do you have pet names for your spouse? Pet names are a way of saying to your spouse, "You're unique. You're special. You're one of a kind. Nobody deserves this name other than you. I don't use it for anybody else."
Personal words communicate that uniqueness. Using personal names for your spouse communicates that he or she is special. Whisper that name in your spouse's ear at the right time, and watch what happens!
Solomon and his bride speak to each other in nothing but glowing terms. In fact, there isn't one word of criticism, complaint, or correction in this book. Solomon calls the woman "my undefiled." That literally means "my flawless one." Because she was human, I'm sure she wasn't flawless literally. But that's what Solomon calls her. He affirms her; he doesn't belittle her.
Paul said, "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6). Speech that issues out of a grace driven nature will preserve a relationship between a husband and a wife. Nobody deserves the kind of speech, but everybody needs it.
Intimacy requires acceptance. Critical and negative speech communicates loud and clear that you have not accepted your spouse. And that stifles intimacy. But positive speech breeds trust. And people who trust each other know they have a place of emotional safety.
Praise has potent power. It will transform your marriage. The Shulamite woman said of her lover, "His mouth is most sweet..." (5:16). Solomon's words are sweetness personified. Learn to make your speech positive and not negative, and your communication will begin to flow.
Solomon and the Shulamite woman don't hold back. Some of their words will probably make you blush! It may come as a surprise to many Bible readers, but passionate speech is exactly what God intended for husbands and wives. Read Solomon 2:8-14.
Words of love may flow out of feeling, but not always. Most of the time, feeling flows from words. Now, if you don't believe that, don't deny it until you try it. Your words will sustain your marriage. Your words will repair hurt feelings. Your words will grow love.
If you speak to your spouse with plentiful, personal, positive, and passionate words, your marriage will be what God intended — a loving duet, rather than a lonely solo. Truly, you will make beautiful music together.