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The Song of Songs: Chapter 6

Most counselors would undoubtedly agree that the five most common reasons for conflict in a marriage are communication breakdown, financial issues and problems, sexual difficulties, problems with in-laws, and disagreements about raising children.

In light of the importance of communication in a marriage – or really any relationship, for that matter –, it is interesting that the entire love song is presented as one long dialogue; the two lovers are interacting, talking, listening and receiving what the other has to offer. In order for effective communication to happen, the two have to come together. And that is exactly what happens in these verses. Whether he came back to her or she finally found him, they are now face to face again.

When they are together, he speaks first (4-9; translations differ on who the speaker is for 10-13). He doesn’t wait for her to say she is sorry. Here he communicates his love for her. He uses expressions similar to their wedding night and lets her know how deeply he loves her: “Turn your eyes away from me; they overwhelm me…” (5)

He doesn’t express his frustration or anger with her; he doesn’t rub it in; he doesn’t sulk; he doesn’t give her the silent treatment; he doesn’t pretend that nothing happened. In telling her how much he loves her, he forgives her without demanding an apology or penance for her misdeeds. In any conflict, each spouse is wise to have a repentant and forgiving heart. And then, be fully forgiving for whatever wrong your mate has committed against you. A couple who adopts this stance toward conflict will have a marriage in which conflicts are likely to be very brief and quickly healed. When conflicts build and become increasingly difficult to resolve, we have gifted and professional counselors who can help enormously. It takes work and courage and honesty by both spouses, but it really, really works.

It would be ignoring the elephant in the room if I pass over verses eight and nine. It is clear that Solomon is telling the woman that she has no equal, that he loves her above all others. His love for her is apparent. Even so, how encouraging can it be to say that she is unique, above all the other queens and concubines? Sadly, he knows quite a bit about this. If that were in his past, she might be encouraged by such a statement; but it isn’t in his past. What may have been culturally acceptable for the nobility of the day was not God’s intent for marriage. We need only to review the examples of multiple wives in the Bible – say, Leah and Rachel or Hannah and Peninnah – to see the dysfunction and destructive nature of this arrangement. Then add concubines into the mix.

To the woman in Song of Songs’ credit, she seeks reconciliation with her spouse and affirms her love for him. He, too, reconciles fully with her in forgiving her and affirming his love.

Key Verse:
“Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead.” ~ Song of Songs 6:5

Questions to ponder:

  • In what areas do you need to improve your communication? How can you be a better listener? How can you improve in talking about a conflict?
  • In a conflict, how is true forgiveness different from avoidance?
  • What areas are the most difficult for you to forgive? How can you take steps to improve in those areas?
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