Text: Song of Solomon
Thesis: To stress the importance of keeping the romance alive in marriages.
(1) It is believed that:
In the first year of marriage, if the wife gets a cold, the husband nearly smoothers her with attention, cold medications, blankets, and concern. By the third year of marriage, if the wife gets a cold, the husband goes to the local pharmacy on her behalf, tosses her a bottle of pills as she lies on her sickbed, and leaves her to heal on her own. By the fifth year, if the will is ill, the husband complains that she isn’t covering her mouth when she coughs.
(2) Does romance have to be thrown “out the door” once we marry?
I. Fact – Solomon and Abishag were romantic before and after marriage.
A. Abishag enjoyed Solomon’s kisses and smell (1:1-2; 8:1ff.).
B. Solomon would often compliment her beauty (1:8-10; 7:1-5).
C. They had special names for each other:
1. Solomon called Abishag “my love” several times (1:9, 15; 2:2, 10, 13; 4:1, 7; 5:2; 6:4).
2. Abishag called Solomon “my beloved” 27 times throughout the book.
D. Overall, they both longed for each other when apart and delighted in each other when together.
E. “The passion of love bursting is more powerful than death, stronger than the grave” (8:6; CEV).
II. Fact – Couples today need to be romantic before and after marriage.
A. In a study on healthy marriages, Nick Stinnett observed: “One of the most striking characteristics of couples with happy, lasting marriages is that they have kept romance in their relationship through the years. Not only is the ‘spark’ still there among these couples, it seems to have grown deeper and brighter over the years” (Magnificent Marriage, p. 49).
B. Why, then, is it the case that so many married couples seem to lack that ‘spark’?
1. Consider: Josh McDowell reported that 90 % of high school students surveyed stated that they could not imagine their parents having sex.
2. Tommy Nelson suggests that there are 4 factors that kill romance (The Book of Romance, pp. 153-56):
#1 – Sin (e.g., infidelity, abuse, alcoholism)
#2 – Age (i.e., when the focus is only on outer beauty)
#3 – Forgetfulness
#4 – Laziness
C. How can a couple maintain that ‘spark’ and even see it grow?
1. You must first acknowledge that romance is a vital component to a healthy marriage and make it a priority in your marriage.
2. You must learn to differentiate between what romance is and what it isn’t.
a. Gary Smalley defines romance as “an intimate friendship, celebrated with expressions of love reserved only for each other” (Love is a Decision, p. 133).
b. While it includes the obvious (birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Days, Christmas, etc.), it goes well beyond just special occasions.
c. Willard Harley suggests that there are 4 main divisions of romance:
#1 – Intimate Conversation
#2 – Recreational Companionship
#3 – Intimate Affection
#4 – Sexual Fulfillment [His Needs, Her Needs for Parents]
d. Gary Chapman, in his book The Five Love Languages, notes the main divisions of romance as:
(1) Words of Affirmation
(2) Quality Time
(3) Receiving Gifts
(4) Acts of Service
(5) Physical Touch
e. Nick Stinnett found that couples who maintained that ‘spark’ had a history of:
(1) Making the ordinary into the extraordinary
(2) Being spontaneous
(3) Showing appreciation
(4) Planning for good times
(5) Expressing kindness and consideration
f. Zig Ziglar emphasizes the importance of courting each other after marriage and makes these suggestions: 1) Spoil each other; 2) Express appreciation; 3) Know when to apologize; 4) Take time out; 5) Develop a sense of humor; and 6) Know that gifts matter (Courtship After Marriage).
g. H. Norman Wright wrote: “One of the most important keys to keeping romance alive is the freshness and creativity of your romantic approach” (Holding on to Romance, p. 193).
h. David Clark gives 9 rules of romance: 1) One date a week; 2) Hold hands; 3) Walk together outside; 4) Slow dance to music; 5) Watch romantic movies; 6) Candlelight dinners at home; 7) Write cards and letters; 8) A weekend getaway; 9) Tell your partner what is romantic to you [Men are Clams and Women are Crowbars].
3. You must keep in mind that you never have to right to retire as a wife or husband, regardless of children, work, age, etc.
- One person suggested that the recipe for a happy marriage is:
Take one cup of love, two cups of loyalty, three cups of forgiveness, four quarts of faith, and one barrel of laughter. Take love and loyalty and mix them thoroughly with faith; blend with tenderness, kindness, and understanding. Add friendship and hope. Sprinkle abundantly with laughter. Bake it with sunshine. Wrap it regularly with lots of hugs. Serve generous helpings daily.
(1) Your marriage will be as romantic as you make it.
(2) What will you do to make your marriage great?