Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Relationships/marriage, Part 3
Last of three Mental Health Vitamins about Marriage, with insight gleaned from the Song of Solomon.
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
When you said, “I do,” was that your final answer?
It would be preposterous to vow, “I do … for now, anyway … but will let you know if I get tired of it.”
Whether “getting married” conjures up in your mind the formal church setting with an ornately dressed bride and groom … OR … a couple quickly scampering to the Justice of the Peace … the vow of “I do” has huge significance and value! However, more important is the life that occurs after the vows are stated, the dress is stored away, the tux is returned and the flowers are dismantled.
The Song of Solomon, a book in the Bible depicting God’s design for the marital relationship, addresses just that! In this allegory of what marriage should look like, God delivers His example of marital intimacy, of managing conflicts and differences, and of living in marriage throughout the life span.
Too often, the common complaints that I’ve heard in a marital counseling session are …
- “We’ve grown apart.”
- “We are no longer in love with one another.”
- “Life has become mundane.”
- “I think I’ve fallen out of love with my mate.”
- “I never meant for it to happen, but I think I’m in love with someone else.”
- “I’m no longer happy and I know that God wants me to be happy.”
In each of these scenarios, the man and woman are perhaps seeking validation on why the marriage should be dissolved. And while that may be the quick response to marital woes, God has shown us otherwise in the Song of Solomon.
In Solomon’s and his bride’s later years, the Song of Solomon illustrates the treasures that can exist along the marital journey after many years of being together:
- They show greater appreciation than ever before!
“How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
O love, with your delights.
May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine,
The fragrance of your breath like apples
And your mouth like the best wine.” (SS 7:6; 8b)
“My lover is radiant and ruddy,
Outstanding among ten thousand.
His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely.
This is my lover; this is my friend.” (SS 5:10; 16)
In these passages, Solomon and his wife continue to express, with words similar to the ones they used in their youth, how they see one another. They express deep love and commitment and are lavishly praising the beauty/handsomeness of one another in the later years of their marriage.
Don’t ever let the years of marriage quiet the admiration and appreciation that you have for your mate! Continue to see the extreme value of your mate through the eyes of your youth. Though our mates may be examples of imperfection at times, the permanence of marriage disallows fleeing from the marriage once you realize this fact.
- They are sealed together permanently!
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death.” (SS 8:6a)
God shows us that marriage is a forever covenant! It can be a great feeling to be sealed to one’s mate, sensing the security and the safety and the permanence that it brings. “You are MY husband; you are MY wife,” and as long we live I will be proud to say that!
- Their marriage is one of perseverance!
“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” (SS 8:7a)
No matter what calamity, tragedy, or crisis hits your marriage, choose to persevere! Marriage is meant to be an anchor that holds two people together steadily, though there may be storms all around them.
What a great message to behold in the Song of Solomon! Not only is marriage captivating and exciting in the early years; saying “I do” means that it can be great with passion, excitement and permanence throughout the days, weeks, months and years that go by!
What a wonderful destination: running home with fervor to be with the love of your life every single day of your life through the lifespan. Marriage is truly a gift. We can wake up near our spouse, look him/her in the eyes and daily say ….
“Honey, I STILL do!”