She glanced at him with a tender smile and began reading the carefully crafted words held in her trembling hands. The vows revealed a deep love for the young man standing before her. Toward the end of her lyrical, beautiful expressions, she said, “I promise to love you under all circumstances, the good times and the hard times—whatever it may be—for the rest of my days.”
A few minutes later, I had the privilege of turning the couple to face those in attendance and announce their new status as husband and wife.
The Song of Songs celebrates the passionate, intimate love of a married couple (Song of Songs 4:8-12). In a telling statement, the “Young Woman” declared, “I am my lover’s, and he claims me as his own” (Song of Songs 7:10). Her statement presents the joys of being in a covenantal, monogamous relationship with another person. It means giving all of oneself to the one you love: I am my lover’s. It means knowing that you belong to just one lover in marriage: He claims me as his own. It’s the beauty of being able to say, “I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3).
When a man and woman united in marriage and in Jesus share spiritual and emotional intimacy, physical pleasures can be experienced with joy and freedom. The young woman said, “Come, my love, let us go out to the fields. . . . There I will give you my love” (Song of Songs 7:11-12). The physical delights of intimacy are to be “saved” and shared only with one’s spouse (Song of Songs 7:13).
“I promise to do my best to love you as Christ first loved us,” said the groom on the day I married the young couple. His words were simple but profound. For love that’s pure, passionate, and true is best established and strengthened by Christ. That’s where love flourishes.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 26:57-75
Read Genesis 2:24 and consider the fact that God designed sexual intimacy to be reserved for marriage.
How can spiritual and emotional intimacy in marriage lead to a healthy, flourishing sexual relationship? How does the love of a man and woman united in Christ reflect the love God has for us?