Text: Song of Songs 2:8-17, Isaiah 62:5, Ephesians 5:31-33
I had a death grip on my husband for the first decade of our marriage. So desperate was my craving to see us through “till death do us part” that I white-knuckled it in our relationship. I was determined to hold on tight enough for both of us.
But I could never fully grasp the security I craved so deeply. Holding on that tightly squeezed the love and fun out of our relationship.
Since marriage is ultimately a picture of Christ and the Church, this approach to covenant love has also caused strain in my relationship with Jesus. Always secretly fearful that He would change His mind about me, I have tried to keep us glued together with works well done and duties faithfully fulfilled.
But as desperation and anxiety couldn’t bolt the door on my marriage, striving couldn’t make Jesus love me more. Through years of tender care and collisions with His Word, I am learning that security flows out of devoted love, not anxious control.
In Song of Songs, Shulamith is the soon-to-be bride of wise King Solomon, and she has her own need for security. Right before the wedding, she says these words:
“My love is mine and I am his.”
- Song of Songs 2:16
But, as Shulamith and Solomon’s love story unfolds, her tone begins to shift. After the wedding she says, “I am my love’s, and my love is mine” (6:3). Then, as Shulamith and Solomon mature into an old, married couple, she says, “I am my love’s and his desire is for me” (7:10).
Let’s drag a magnifying glass over this subtle progression.
At first, Shulamith’s security is found in knowing that her man belongs to her. Her possession of him is primary; his possession of her is secondary. (As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve seen what this looks like in real life. It’s not pretty.) Then, after the wedding, Shulamith’s possession of Solomon was secondary: “I am my love’s, and my love is mine.” And finally, it’s gone altogether: “his desire is for me.”
It took decades for the bride in this story to understand that her security did not come from her possession of her groom, but from his devoted love to her.
Song of Songs is much more than a human love story. As is the case throughout Scripture, God uses marriage as an illustration for the love between Himself and His people. God is always represented by the groom and we are always the bride. His love hinges on His faithfulness, not ours.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.