logo Living Water Christian Fellowship logo
Home Recent Sermon Multimedia Sermons News & Events Our Vision Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

"Rediscovering Romance"

Mar.15, 2015 SoS 2:1-13

(adapted from The Song movie event kit by Kyle Idleman; used with permission)


Throughout the Song of Solomon, we read the kind of language that makes up the most flowery, poetic, mushy love letters. These are the kinds of things people say to each other when they are completely & utterly infatuated with each other. Pastor Kyle Idleman recalls, "I remember when my wife and I were engaged, it seemed like every second we weren't together lasted an hour.Any time we spent apart almost seemed like a complete waste of time.I was so consumed with loving her, thinking about her, wanting to be around her, and finding the next moment we could be together that I'm sure I annoyed all my friends.

"I would write letter after letter, note after note, text message after text message telling her how beautiful she was, how lucky I was, and how thrilled I was to be with her.It was almost a habit.Any time I picked up my phone, I was in the habit of sending her something.Any time I had a spare moment, I was in the habit of writing her a little note or thinking of a way to surprise her with flowers...which I couldn't afford.It was a habit."

That's the kind of feel we get in Song of Solomon. Solomon and his bride's habit, their default, normal, go-to action was to express love, create romance, and tell each other about it. And while those of us who have been married a little longer - or even been dating a little longer - might smile smugly about how naïve and idealistic they were, there's a part of us that reads Song of Solomon and wishes it was our story, too. We read the poetry, the imagery, the infatuation, and we wish it described us.


What's happened is - over time we learn all the reasons why it's just not realistic to be that way anymore. Maybe it's because you've fought so much that you've forgotten what it's like to laugh together. Maybe it's because you've worked so hard to provide the material things you need that you've forgotten to foster the relationship along the way. Maybe it's because it seems as if she's stopped trying, and you've forgotten what it's like to pursue her with your words. Maybe it's because he comes home late every night, and you've forgotten what it's like to have dinner together.

And so we create new habits. Habits such as going to bed without talking. Habits such as rarely or never sharing dinner together. Never spending money on flowers. Never taking the time to express love with words. Habits such as going months without a real date. Or watching TV all night without having a conversation. And the romance dies.

But when we read Song of Solomon, it doesn't seem that way. The words they used, the time they spent pursuing each other, and the way they needed to be around each other - it seems like the kind of love we used to have. Their relationship doesn't seem like a boring, stale struggle: no, it seems like a song.

Here's some good news...If you've fallen into some of those bad habits, it doesn't have to stay that way. What if you could create new habits? What if you didn't have to stay in the rut you've fallen into? What if you could make your marriage sing again?

If you ARE in a rut, don't be too discouraged, as if you're exceptional. It happens to every couple! But choosing to stay in the rut will take a toll on you individually, as a couple, and spiritually. So it may take some time, but you can develop a few new habits to turn things around.

And if you don't think your marriage is in a rut, we could say two things with a fair degree of certainty: (1) it will be some time, and (2) cultivating these habits will make the ruts fewer and further between.


The first habit is enjoying each other. Can you see that in the text? In Song of Solomon 1:4, she says, "Take me away with you." In 2:3 she says he is like a tree and that she delights "to sit in his shade." They like to be together. They like to spend time together. They enjoy each other.

Let's say your marriage has some HISTORY: maybe 5 years, 10, 20...That's a lot of water under the bridge! It's easy to give all the reasons why you don't enjoy each other's company as much as you used to. But rather than doing that, why don't you try to remember your favourite things to do together? Find new things to do together. Create opportunities to simply enjoy each other's company. Frankly - and this might be surprising to some of you - you're not really enjoying anyone's company while you watch TV. You're not really enjoying each other when you only run errands for the kids. Those things are OK, but they don't really qualify as "time together". Find the things you like to do and do them together. When this becomes a habit, it helps your marriage sing.

M.Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, said: "The principal form that the work of love takes is attention. We attend to another person's growth, or to our own. Attention is an act of will, of work against the inertia of our own minds." Love involves attention. Inertia wars against that; truthfully, when you're watching the idiot box, inertia is winning!

In Song of Solomon, much of the beloved's attention is clearly directed toward the lover. A lot of time and energy is spent describing the excellent qualities of the other person, for effect. 2:8f "Listen! My lover! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice." They're clearly enjoying each other's company.

1Corinthians 13, the "love chapter", says in v5 that love "is not self-seeking". Not focused on one's own interests, but giving attention to another. Selfishness wars against closeness in marriage, so keep giving the other person your attention, finding things about them to enjoy.


Another habit that will make your marriage sing is forgiving each other. In fact, no marriage can succeed--let alone sing--if the husband and wife do not develop the habit of forgiving each other.

Over time in any marriage - that "water under the bridge" - there can be some logs go floating by that get hung up and do damage. Feelings are hurt, painful words are said, poor decisions made. And if forgiveness isn't a habit in your marriage, watch out! Bitterness will take its place. Bitterness kills romance, destroys passion, and ruins friendship. Marriage cannot survive on the bitterness that develops from a marriage without forgiveness.

Bitterness is antithetical to grace, eats up grace: Hebrews 12:15 "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." If you're bitter, you're missing out on God's grace, and it's actually going to have a defiling influence on your relationships. Makes things go sour because you're hardening up inside - and God can't forgive you if you're not forgiving others (as Jesus pointed out after the Lord's Prayer - Matthew 6:15).

This is another way that marriage mirrors the relationship between Christ and the church. Without forgiveness, there would be no relationship: we'd be lost, cut off from Christ. This is the mystery, the wonder: we sin, we fall short, we humiliate the Saviour who died for us, and yet He still forgives. Over and over again He forgives! Were it not for that, we would be lost.

As it is, though, we are forgiven. And even though there's sorrow and repentance and painful confession over our sin, we are brought closer to Christ through the humility and love that develop from an attitude that seeks forgiveness and the joy that comes from it.

In your marriage, forgiveness plays a similar role - except it goes both ways. You will be wronged, but you will also be the one who wrongs. You will have your feelings hurt - but you will also hurt feelings. You will be cut by words they wish they could take back - but you will also speak cruel words. And unless forgiveness is the habit, the relationship dies. BUT if we forgive like Christ forgives, we will have a growing, thriving, celebrating, singing marriage.


Here's another habit you see throughout Song of Solomon: pursuing each other. When she couldn't find him, she chased him (chapters 3 and 5). When he was with her, he couldn't stop telling her about her beauty (chapter 4). When he was outside the door, he knocked (chapter 5). When she was with the other women of the city, she praised him (chapter 5). They pursued each other.

Now, pursuing doesn't just mean literally chasing someone. We use that term a lot in the phase before a couple gets together - he has to "pursue" her so that she knows he's interested, right? This annoying farm boy sitting next to the prim young Englishwoman in Calculus class, trying his best to strike up a conversation. So (not just that boy we're talking about now) he goes out of his way to talk to her, he listens to her, he buys her flowers, he plans surprises for her, he plans dates. He pursues her.

And she pursues him, too. She laughs at his jokes, she goes on the cheesy dates he plans, she writes him notes. She pursues him.

It means going out of your way to show the other person thoughtful love. No one starts it and no one has to "pay it back." It's purely to show the other you care. And it works beautifully - almost like a song - when the husband and the wife are each pursuing each other with no expectation of any reward. He buys her flowers "just because". She leaves a note on his car dashboard to thank him for working hard to provide for the family. He does what she wants most nights of the week. She goes to his hockey game and freezes her bod under those heaters at the arena that only half work. He takes care of the kids one night so she can hang out with her friends. She makes it a point to encourage him with her words rather than pick at him. He plans ahead for her birthday.

And none of those things is dependent on anything but their own love. You don't pursue your wife because she pursues you; you pursue your wife because you love her.

Jesus pursued us. He left heaven's throne room to come and seek you out, at tremendous cost. Php 2:5-8 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!" That was all in order to save you and me, sinners that we were, to take us to be with Him in heaven. Such emptying, such pursuing - such love!

When you've been in bad habits for a while, stuck in a rut, it doesn't just change overnight. Sometimes it takes a while for the new growth to take root. Song of Solomon often uses the imagery of a vineyard or garden as a metaphor for love between a husband and wife. And just as with vines or plants, sometimes - it takes time to heal.

[video clip, Rediscovering Romance]

So, to recap - enjoying each other; forgiving each other; pursuing each other...When these three habits are at work in your marriage, it can get you out of those ruts, it can prevent those ruts, and it constantly reminds you why you're married. You're in love - sure. She's beautiful - yeah. He's romantic--maybe. But more than any attraction or love you feel, you're married because it teaches you how to be more like Jesus. Marriage is intended to shape you to conform to His character, to draw more deeply upon the Holy Spirit and wean you away from your self-addiction. Christ loved us while we were still sinners. He wants to spend time with us each day. He forgives us. He pursued and keeps pursuing us.

And when we develop the kinds of habits that Jesus displays toward us, we will enjoy the kind of marriage that God had in mind - the kind of marriage that sings. Let's pray.