I have a confession to make. I have a tendency to be lazy. I can be lazy in my marriage. When we first started dating, it was easy to pursue Devin. But as the years went on and as we are now married, its getting easier and easier to simply live in the same house without seeking each other. I think this is common for most couples.
Yet, a godly marriage calls us to live higher than this. A godly marriage is one where pursuit is constant on both parts. A godly wife pursues in dating, in marriage, in conflict, in every stage.
While the Song of Solomon is somewhat hard to decipher because of the poetry, translation, and difference in culture, one thing is vividly clear in the book: this couple is crazy about each other and they weren’t afraid to show it.
A better wife pursues only her man.
In their dating relationship, like most, there was obvious pursuit on both ends. In Song of Solomon 1:7 the young woman says, “tell me, my love, where are you leading your flock today? Where will you rest your sheep at noon? For why should I wander like a prostitute among your friends and their flocks?” And in verse 8 he replies, “if you don’t know, O most beautiful woman, follow the trail of my flock, and graze your young goats by the shepherds tents.” She’s seeking this guy she’s interested in and he replies flirtatiously, “girl, you know where I’m at. I see you following me, and I like it. Keep it up, baby girl.” There’s pursuit. And she’s not just pursuing anyone, she’s pursuing her man. She’s not out for the attention of any ol’ shepherd boy, she wants her boy. All the other men she is oblivious to. She knows what she’s after and is specifically pursing him.
In dating, we’re love struck and have eyes only for our man. But ladies, if we’re honest, this can fade fast. It’s not intentional. We’re not out here cheating. But as the newness wears, we begin thinking, “man, I wish you looked a little different.” Or “golly, why can’t you act more like my dad?” We lose sight of this man that captivated our hearts. We’re not seeking our man intentionally, and now we’re looking at the other shepard boys.
A better wife keeps her eyes fixed on her husband. Is he perfect? No. He’s not Jesus, but reality check, neither is she. She can’t hold him to an unobtainable standard by picking out the best of everyone around her and expecting him to morph into this “ultimate husband.” She can’t go wandering around his friends and other flocks of men pegging her husband against them. What she can do is keep her eyes on this man the Lord gave her. She can focus on who his is and who he is becoming. She can love and encourage him. She can seek him and only him.
A better wife pursues in the midst of conflict.
One night, he came into her room and was trying to get it on and she responded, “I have a headache.” Song of Solomon 5:2-3 says, “I slept but my heart was awake, when I heard my lover knocking and calling: ‘open to me, my treasure, my darling, my dove, my perfect one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.’ But I responded, ‘I have taken off my robe. Should I get dressed again? I have washed my feet. Should I get the soiled?” Solomon puts it more romantically than I did, but in essence, that’s what was happening. She rejected this man she once yearned after so deeply.
Yet, she did not stay in a state of rejection. Once she was moved towards compassion for him, she began seeking him out once again. In 5:6 she says, “I opened to my lover, but he was gone! My heart sank. I searched for him but could not find him anywhere. I called to him, but there was no reply.” She goes on to ask her friends to help her find him and describes to them all the wonderful attributes about her beloved husband.
In 6:2-3, she confidently recognizes that despite her rejection, her man isn’t going anywhere because their love is steadfast. “My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in the gardens and gather the lilies. I an my lover’s, and my lover is mine. He browses among the lilies.” She knows where to find him. She goes to him. In the midst of conflict, she purseus him.
I personally am a confrontational person. So it’s easier for me to pursue Devin in conflict. But I don’t always have the heart of reconciliation in my pursuit. Sometimes it’s more prideful in I want things hashed out and him to see my point. But here the woman pursued her husband to reconcile and apologize. Her pursuit of him was pure despite her pervious actions.
A better wife pursues in conflict. It is not out of selfish motives but out of a heart to seek and know her husband. It’s out if a steadfast love she doesn’t need to argue her case. She seeks her husband with humility and aims to see his side. She pursues him despite the conflict so that through it they can be reconciled.
A better wife never stops pursuing her husband.
Lastly, in their latter years of marriage, she doesn’t stop purusing her beloved. When it would be easy to retire into the mundane daily life living as more of a room mate with her spouse, the Song of Solomon wife intentionally chooses to pursues her soul mate.
“Oh, I wish you were my brother, who nursed at my mother’s breasts. Then I could kiss you no matter who was watching, and no one would criticize me.” Song of Solomon 8:1. I know that sounds a lot a weird desire for incest, but dont discard it for how it sounds. This is a prime example of how the meaning behind the Song gets confused by today’s culture. In this era, while it was deemed unacceptable to show public displays of affection for a spouse or lover, yet it was perfectly acceptable to greet a close family member with a kiss. She wasn’t lusting after her brother, rather she was longing to display love to her husband at any and all moments of the day.
This is a typical feeling when a couple is newly dating or married. We’ve all seen it. It’s that couple that cant keep their hands off each other that makes us married folk inwardly gag a little. We’ve forgotten that level of pursuit. But the woman in this song didn’t. They weren’t a brand new couple when she said these things. This is the last chapter of the book, therefore they had been married awhile when she longed to publicly show affection. She never let go of the desire for her husband.
A better wife keeps the flame in her marriage lit well beyond the honeymoon. Even when her husband maybe didn’t have the abs he once did or when his hairline kept creeping back, she never stopped seeing him as that young man who stole her heart. No amount of throwing his socks two feet from the hamper or retelling the same jokes for years deterred her pursuit. She knew that it was even more important to pursue him well after when it came more naturally. She knew while that initial spark was important, the long lasting flame was even more paramount.
Pursuit is an essential component of marriage and an undeniable reality in this perfect marriage we see in Song of Solomon. My husband and I are still in the early phases of our marriage so pursuit is still coming fairly easy despitemy lazy tendencies. Yet I won’t deny that there days off I don’t seek to be with him. There are moments I “have a headache” and don’t jump to reconcile post conflict. There are evenings when the last thing I want to do is get some PDA on or even lean into him via listening or caring or any other non physical way. But to be a better wife, I need to intentionally find ways to pursue him when I feel like it and when I don’t. I constantly want to be pursued by Devin but I need to consider how often I chase after him. Pursuit was never designed to end once a couple entered a marriage covenant. It was designed to be an on going, essential aspect of a maturing, godly marriage as well. A better wife knows this and seeks out ways to pursue her husband daily.