You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you (Song of Solomon 4:7, esv).
Three hundred million people in America. More than seven billion in the world. And only one you. Is that how you feel about your wife or husband?
To the man and woman depicted in the Song of Solomon, there was only one standard of beauty. To her, him. “My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand” (Song of Solomon 5:10). To him, her. “You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes” (Song of Solomon 4:9). No one else in the whole world could compare with the way these two desired each other.
But this is not just love song material. This is how the Word of God speaks about marriage. The man in this biblical book says to his beloved, “As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women” (Song of Solomon 2:2). The woman says of him, “As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men” (Song of Solomon 2:3). What he’s saying, in essence, is “there’s you, like a beautiful flower growing in the field, and then there’s all the other women in the world, who are like thorns and weeds to me by comparison.” For her, it’s as if she’s saying, “I was out walking in a forest one day, passing one tree after another, until I came around a corner and—oh!—there you were! Like no one else. My one and only.”
This kind of exclusivity, preference, and appreciation doesn’t just happen. People with the luxury of feeling this way about their spouse are not simply the lucky few who somehow won the marriage lottery, who were fortunate enough to find their perfect soul mate. The ugly truth is that deep inside each of our sin natures is a knot of twisted, broken circuitry that causes us to desire what we don’t have and to neglect what we do have. Once we’ve found and captured what we’ve been pursuing, we tend over time to diminish its value, then start looking for someone or something else to pursue. We want what’s not ours, rather than desiring, enjoying, and supremely valuing what we already have and hold.
It’s time to ask God’s forgiveness for our sinful bent toward the negative in regard to our spouse—what they’re not, what they used to be, what we wish they were, what they aren’t anymore—and ask Him to turn our heart back to this person who was once our sole delight.
Every wife, every husband wants to know their partner desires them in every way, that no one holds a candle to what their spouse thinks of them and sees in them. We know we’re not really the most beautiful, most desirable person on the planet. We obviously see what they could see in others. Yet in the eyes of our mate, we need to believe we’re still the one they’d choose if they had to make their choice all over again.
Is that the way you make your wife or husband feel when you look into their eyes? It can be. Even if it hasn’t been. Because when you do what love does, you’ll feel what love feels. The building of marital love is not found so much in having and holding, but rather in continuing to pursue exclusive affection for this beautiful soul who will always be number one in your world.
Father, thank You for loving us so completely, and for giving us the opportunity through marriage to completely love one other person. Forgive me where I’ve failed to value my own spouse as I should. And challenge me to put to death those things that keep me from doing it—things that scatter my affections and distort the focus of my love. Help me seize the opportunity today to remind myself of their precious value, as well as reminding them that they are a choice gift to me from Your hand. Thank You for being the Giver of every good gift. I pray this in the name of Your best gift, Your Son, Jesus. Amen.