Patching Holes in the Smart Home - Song of Solomon 5-6 - Skip Heitzig
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We're in a series called The Smart Home, and we're going to talk a little bit about conflict resolution today. It's not going to solve all of the problems of conflict, just a few principles that come out of the Song of Solomon. So if you turn to that book in your Bible with me. I've done series like this before, and I have addressed this topic, albeit out of the book of Ephesians.
But I'm going to take a different look at it in a real life situation. The poetic Old Testament book, the Song of Solomon. There was a couple by the name of Bob and Mary, and they were having trouble in their marriage. They were arguing a lot, their arguments were increasing. He was very sarcastic toward his wife. His wife is very angry toward him.
And to make matters worse, Bob forgot their wedding anniversary. So Mary was very, very angry and said to Bob, look, tomorrow morning, I expect to find in the driveway a gift that will go from zero to 200 in about six seconds. And it better be there. Well, Bob got up the next day early, went to work. Mary got a little bit later, looked out the curtains at the driveway, and there in the driveway was a little box with a bow on it and was wrapped up.
So she thought, well, that's curious. She went out with her slippers and got the box and brought it inside to open it up. And she opened up the box and found a brand new bathroom scale.
Now, Bob hasn't been seen since Friday.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, the writer of that book as well, speaking of friendship, said two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. If one falls down, that companion can help the other one up. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, he has no one to help him.
The first part of that phrase that I just quoted, two are better than one, is something that every couple who comes to the altar to be married agrees with. It's why they're there. Two are better than one. But they will also have to agree that two are harder than one. Because now, you have two, not one. And if you have two, now you have two opinions. You have her opinion and you have the right opinion. You have two ways of doing things.
His way of doing things, and the right way of doing things. You have two ways of disciplining children. You have two ways of watching television. I like to watch all of the channels at one time, Lenya prefers one channel at one time. There's two ways of putting toilet paper on that spindle. Does it go over, does it go under? And yes, I've seen couples argue about that.
And so, two are better than one. But two-- it's harder, and there's conflict. When I was single, life was pretty easy for me I could do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I could just get up and decide, I didn't have to confer with anybody. I had a roommate and a cat. Life was very, very simple.
When you get married, it gets complicated and you have to be ready for the conflict that will come when tow become one. Most marriages are marked by conflict, at least intermittent conflict. In some cases, all out war. And I think you will agree that most people enter into marriage-- most of us do, with underdeveloped conflict resolution skills. And marriage is a place where you get really good at conflict resolution, or really bad.
Whatever skills you come with, you have to decide how you're going to get the extra skills to deal with the conflicts that come. And I think the bottom line problem is we just really don't know how to have a good fight. If you're going to have a fight, fight to win, not win the fight. Win the relationship. Maintain the relationship. Fight for the marriage, not to win.
It was one husband, who after 50 years of marriage, he and his wife had only one fight. He said, my wife and I, we've only had really one fight in our marriage. And so somebody said, well, what's the secret? He said, well. The fight started on our honeymoon, and I'm still waiting for it to end.
Some peoples' whole relationship is marked with conflict. Well, I've asked you to turn to the Song of Solomon. It's an interesting book to look at. We've looked at it a couple of times already in this series, but the Song of Solomon is a poetic song. And so we're about to read the song lyrics and study the lyrics of this song.
It is a song written by Solomon for his wife. It is called the Song of Solomon, but the original title comes from chapter 1, verse 1, the Song of Songs, which is Solomon's. The Song of Songs is a phrase that means, this is the superlative. Whenever you say song of songs, you're saying, this is the best song I've got.
Just like Jesus is called the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Or in the Tabernacle, there was the Holy of Holies. So this is the best song that Solomon ever wrote. By the way, do you know how many songs in total Solomon wrote? 1,005. Very prolific writer. 1 Kings, Chapter 4 says that Solomon wrote 3,000 Proverbs and 1,005 songs.
Of all the songs he wrote, this is his finest work, the best song. It is the best song with the best singers about the best subject. And that subject is love. While there's two main characters in this book, they're Solomon and his wife. Solomon is called the Beloved, though he is mentioned by name as Solomon a few times.
And his bride is called in this text, the Shulamite bride. And Shulamite bride, because she is from a little village called Shulam, or Shunam. Two different variants of that. And it's up in the northern part of the land in southern Galilee. So when you go with us to Israel, and we stand on Mount Precipice there in Nazareth. You look out over the valley of Armageddon or the Jezreel Valley, you can see the little village of Shumam in the distance, that's where she was from.
So it's a love song between King Solomon, who is in Jerusalem, and his Shunamite bride from that area. Now just another FYI, many scholars believe that this is Solomon's first wife. Don't know if it's true, but they hold to that. This is before Solomon added the other 699 that he eventually adds to his 700 in number cadre of wives.
Solomon, the Bible said, had 700 wives in total and 300 concubines. I call them porcupines because it just got really sticky from that point on, once he added the second, third, fourth all the way up to 1,000. This is God's original intention then, if this is his first wife. This is God's original design, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.
Not wives, but wife. And the two shall become one flesh. So there are eight chapters in this book. We're going to really look at chapter five and a couple verses in chapter six. But let me give you the lay of the land, shall I? The engagement of Solomon and his bride begin in chapter 1, verse 1, and go all the way to chapter 3, verse 5. That's the betrothal, that's the engagement, that's the courtship.
The second part of the book is the wedding. And that's chapter 3, verse 6 to chapter 5 verse 1. Including his honeymoon night. And then chapters 5 and 6 are about their argument, a conflict. It's their first fight. Hey, do you remember your first fight in your marriage? Some of you are looking at me like, no. In fact, the other services don't. I distinctly remember my first fight.
I have no idea what it was about. But I remember what it felt like. And I remember that we sort of pulled out all the cannons on that first fight. And afterwards, when we picked up the pieces, Lenya and I looked at each other, and we made a determination that we would never let that happen just like that again.
So as we look at conflict in the Song of Solomon, let's look at three truths. There are many more that could be said, but just three from this book. That's sufficient for our study today. And that is, first of all the, conflict is normal. Conflict is normal. Now in chapter 5, verse 1, Solomon, the beloved, says, I have come to my garden. Speaking of his marriage.
He refers to his marriage as a garden, a delightful place to enjoy. I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse. I have gathered my myrrh with my spice, I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey. Now this is all poetic language that speaks of exhilaration. This guy is stoked. The marriage feast his friends are enjoying. In fact, that is also written about, the second part of verse one, to his friends.
He says, eat, oh friends, drink, yes drink deeply, oh beloved ones. You go enjoy the rest of the wedding feast, I'm taking my bride to the bedchamber, my garden. And I'm going to fully, spiritually, physically, emotionally enjoy this moment. That's the honeymoon. That's verse 1. By verse 2, the honeymoon is over. And there is a conflict, we'll read that in a minute.
Now, not only do I remember my first fight, I remember my honeymoon. And I'm sure you do, too. But what I remember about my honeymoon is that Lenya had a grandfather who was in the hotel business. And he said, I can get you a free hotel room for your wedding night, maybe for even a couple nights. So I'm thinking, free, that's the word that gravitated me toward that sentence. Because if it's free, it's for me.
So I said, I'll take it. So he got us set up in this hotel in Ventura, California on the coast in the honeymoon suite. And I thought, man, I've got a good deal here. Until I open the door to the honeymoon suite. Red carpet, pink and gold velvet wallpaper. The lamps were little cherubs holding up light bulbs. And a mirror over the bed.
I immediately called down to the front desk and I said, just by chance, do you have any other rooms? And the guy at the desk of the hotel even said, it's pretty gross, isn't it? Said yeah, he goes, well, I'm sorry, I have no other rooms, you got to live with that. So we did, that was our honeymoon evening.
Now, they have their garden, that's their marriage. He said that he enjoys it like honeycomb, and I have drunk my wine with my milk. So it's very poetic language to describe that night. But now they have a conflict. We're not sure of the nature of it, we don't know if it's a personality clash, if it's a sexual adjustment in the relationship. But notice in verse 2, the wife now speaks. The bride says, I sleep, but my heart is awake.
She's tossing and turning. There's something that is unresolved, we believe, between Solomon and his bride. She's on her bed, she can't get to sleep. She's not sound asleep, there's something bothering her. Some unresolved conflict. Now to make matters worse, while it is unresolved, Solomon comes home and makes an advance toward his wife. Because that's what you do when you're married.
Look at the rest of verse 2. It says, it is the voice of my beloved. He knocks saying, open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, he's pouring on the compliments. For my head is covered with dew and my locks with the drops of the night. I don't want to get too far into the study of the language and stuff, but basically, I'm all hot and bothered.
He has come home earlier than expected, the door is locked. He's calling for his wife to open the door. He's in a romantic mood. He's like, hey baby, I'm home. Well, she's not feeling it. Verse 3. She says, I've taken off my robe. Now, you're thinking, really? That's all you got? I've taken off my robe, how can I put it on again?
It's like I can't get up out of bed, I put my robe all the way over on the chair. I have washed my feet, how can I defile them? So this is a less than enthusiastic response to Solomon's advance. So really groggy answer. And let me just pause here for a moment. Men, if you have any unresolved conflict with your wife, any argument, any time where you haven't resolved an issue that's bothering her, that is not the time to make a sexual advancement.
That's just bad timing. Because when she's mad at you, when there's an unresolved anger issue, she does not see you as a hunk a hunk of burning love.
To quote Elvis Presley. You are not an object of desire. Dopamine may have gotten you together, but you're just a dope in her eyes at that point. You've got to resolve that, you've got to fix that. Somebody once said, if you want to have an energized sex life in marriage, try a little tenderness the other 23 and 1/2 hours of the day.
So again, we don't know what it is. All we know is it's honeymoon night, next verse, honeymoon is over. She can't sleep, he comes to the door. She goes, I'm not answering it. But something goes off inside of her. Probably the thought of, we got to talk this through, we've got to resolve this. It's my husband at the door of his palace. I should at least open the door.
So verse 6, I opened for my beloved. But my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped when he spoke, I saw him. But I could not find him. I called him, but he gave me no answer. So by the time she gets around to opening that door that was locked, Solomon is gone. We don't know where, but he's gone.
Now let's pause here again. Every couple goes through stages of relationship. First phase, attraction. You see her, she sees you. I remember the first night I saw Lenya, instant attraction. So I wanted to talk to her. So a relationship developed. Another second phase after that attraction, infatuation. They can do no wrong, they hung the moon, they're awesome. He's this, she's that.
And typically, the attraction that leads to infatuation then leads to passion. This couple has gone through the engagement, now they're married, and rightfully so, they're very passionate about each other physically, emotionally. And that's good, It should be that way. But you also know that in every relationship, things eventually settle down. Reality sets in, and after the infatuation, comes, let's call it, accommodation phase.
What do I mean by that? It's where you realize, OK, so he's not all that perfect. OK, so she really has that annoying habit. And so that's probably going to be there a while, and he's still is probably-- and I can't change that. I kind of thought I could, but that's not going to happen. So now I have to accommodate to that.
And that accommodation can be good, and it can sometimes be very volatile. It can be bad, there's going to be conflict. In fact, it's normal to have conflict. You can't have two independent personalities, two strong wills that converge together without some sort of current felt.
Couple of years ago, we were in Hawaii and we were staying with friends. And right off from their place, are these two little islands off a little short span off the coast of Oahu called the Moka Lua. And so I got on a paddle board to paddle to these islands. It took a while to get out there. But it was calm water. Until you get toward the Mokes, we call them.
And that's where there are two independent currents that converge. And at the place where they converge, that's where the waves happen. That's where you shake and you fall off the board. And it's just harder to navigate. So it is in a relationship. You get two people together, they merge their lives, the two become one flesh, that accommodation brings pressure.
When I was single, in college I was in this low rent apartment in San Bernardino, California. And I had neighbors who were a married couple, young married couple. And the way the duplex was situated, my kitchen window was four feet away from their kitchen window, which is a kind of a mirror image of the same house.
And the kitchen windows almost met. So warm summer evenings, windows are all open to get a breeze. Their windows are open to get a breeze, I can hear them talking. Not because I'm listening, just because you can't help it. And I hear them communicate not pleasant words to each other. In fact, as they elevated their pitch and their volume, I would just close the window.
And I remember closing the window going, whatever is going on there, I'd never want that. Well, I moved from that apartment. I found another apartment. This time I had a married couple not next to me, but above me. So I couldn't hear what they were saying, but I could hear they were saying something and it was loud. And I could hear the boom, boom, boom on the floor-- their floor, my ceiling.
And I could hear when they'd have fights, and there'd be objects that would be going from wall to wall. And again, this gave a young, single man great pause about the future idea of even getting married. Again, I just thought, whatever that is, I don't want that. Sometimes, marriage is sort of like the little boy who is trying to sell an old lawnmower, an old worn out lawnmower. Nobody could buy it, nobody would buy it.
But he finally found a preacher down the street. A pastor who was dumb enough to buy the lawnmower. But the preacher said, well son, I need to start it up, make sure it works. So he pulled the cord, didn't work. Pulled the court again, didn't work. Pulled it again, not even a sputter. And so the young boy says, look Reverend, you may need to kick this thing a few times and say a few cuss words before it'll work.
Well the preacher was shocked at what that kid said. He goes, look, I haven't said a cuss word for years. And the little boy smiled and he said, just keep pulling on that rope preacher, it'll come back to you.
Isn't it amazing the things that come back to us when we're in a tense situation? The anger that's below the surface that can quickly erupt? A lot of those things that have been there that we pushed away can come back. But it's also helpful to realize that conflict is normal. And that discord will come to every single marriage, no matter how idyllic or no matter how spiritual they are.
I've always loved this story about Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth Graham, when they were alive, married to each other. Ruth was interviewed one time and somebody said, Ruth, did you ever consider divorce? She said, in 37 years of my marriage, I never once considered divorce. Murder, yes.
Divorce, no. She said, things are not always perfect in the Graham household. Conflict is normal. In fact, I hope it encourages you to realize that 25% of this book, two full chapters out of eight deal with conflict and conflict resolution. So if that's any kind of map or pattern for human love relationships, and it's a pretty mushy book.
There's a lot of romantic love going on in this book, but two chapters are devoted to conflict resolution. Now why do we have conflict? Well, two basic reasons. Number one, cause we're human, which means we're fallen. That we're stained with sin from Adam and Eve's choices. So we have that going for us, we're human. Number two, we're different. We have different ways of doing things, different backgrounds.
In fact, I bet it was some of those differences that attracted you to your spouse, at first. You saw the differences, opposites attract. She had a quality you didn't have, you weren't used to. You liked that at first. But then it's like, my goodness, this is sort of an annoying thing that she does or he does. It was cute at first, but now it's like all the time.
So now you have to deal with that. In the accommodation phase, you have to deal with that. It's normal, but it has to be dealt with. Diane Soli, from the Coalition for Marriage and Family, shares this important truth. Happy couples who stay married have the same number of conflicts as those who divorce. Same number.
What she says is that what makes the difference, is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to manage the conflict. Always going to have conflict, it's normal. It's now developing your skill set. We enter into the relationship with very underdeveloped skill set of management of conflict.
So we have to get good, on the fly, on the job. Conflict is normal. Second thing out of this book is that collaboration must be careful. Once you have a conflict, who you collaborate with to get it fixed can become an issue. Now some couples, when they have a conflict, make the mistake of involving their parents immediately. You get on the phone, mom or dad.
And I think you have to realize that the quickest way to turn you your in-laws into outlaws is to involve them in your dispute. It says in Genesis, a man shall leave his father and mother-- leave, and cleave to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. When you call your parents about your conflicts, you know what's going to happen?
They're going to side with you, because you're their angel baby. You'd never do anything wrong. It's that creep. And it could be either man or woman, doesn't matter if you're a guy calling your parents and your mom said, I always knew she was weird.
So they're going to side with you, it's just not a good thing to do. Now, some people don't involve parents, they call friends. Can you meet me at Starbucks? I'm having issues, I want to talk to you about it. The problem with that is they're only hearing your side of the story. So they're not getting the full picture. It's imbalance. And it can create problems.
We have here something that happens with Solomon's bride. As she goes to the door, he's not there, so she takes it public. How do I know that? Look at verse 7. The watchman who went about the city found me. How did they find her? Well, she left her bedroom. She walked outside that locked door looking for her husband. Now she's evidently in the streets of Jerusalem, because it says the watchman who went about the city-- that is Jerusalem-- found me.
They struck me, they wounded me, the keepers of the walls took my veil away from me. What is all this about? Thousands of years ago in Jerusalem, women never got out of their house at night and walked the streets. The only women that walked the streets at night were whom? Prostitutes. So the keepers of the city, the watchman of the city protecting Jerusalem, see a woman running around the streets.
There is no street lights, they don't know that Solomon's wife. They can't determine features to recognize her, so they just inferred that she was a woman of the night. She is ill treated by them. And here's the issue I want to bring up. In taking her conflict public, she is now misunderstood. So it complicates the disagreement. So look in verse 8, she tells her friends about it. I charge you, oh daughters of Jerusalem.
These are the girls that work there in the palace, kind of her friends, her cohort, her girlfriends. I charge you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, my husband, that you tell him I am lovesick. It's like, I'm over it. I'm over the conflict that that drew us apart. That made me so lackluster with his advances. I'm over it, tell him that I'm lovesick.
So now she is telling her friends to help her find her husband. Well, they don't want to help. Verse 9, the daughters of Jerusalem respond, what is your beloved, more than another beloved. Wow. I can answer that. I'll tell you who he is. He's the King, first of all. But it's an interesting response. What is your beloved more than another beloved, oh fairest among women?
What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you so charge us? You hear what they're saying, right? They're saying, what makes him so special? Dump him. There's lots of other fish in the sea. In fact, if you know this book, you know that she probably had a boyfriend, a suitor up in the northern parts of Israel when Solomon brought her down south to work for Him in the palace. She was still tied to that until Solomon proposed to her and became his wife.
So the daughters of Jerusalem are in effect, saying, dump this guy. They probably heard complaints about Solomon before. So they're saying, forget it. Forget him. Now let's put a pause again. There's a point to be made here. You have to be very careful who you inform about your disagreement, or involve about your disagreement. Or who you counsel with. Remember Psalm 1?
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. You can have a close relative who gives you ungodly counsel. Who will say, dump him, get rid of him, leave her, forget it. Get it over with. You have to be very careful who you counsel with. Advice is like medicine, has to be the right kind, has to come from the right source.
There is an old Danish proverb, he who builds according to every man's advice will have a crooked house. And they'll have a crooked marriage. So these verses bring up an issue. Since she takes this conflict-- that nobody knows about-- takes it public to the streets, so she's misunderstood by watchmen. And faces the unsympathetic advice of those women, in complicating and taking it public, it brings up an issue.
We must never take a public, verbal swipe at our spouse. It's always ugly to see people fight in public, and it's ugly when people talk trash and smack about their spouse, even those sarcastic little digs. When referring to a husband or wife. Because what's going to happen is, they're going to disparage your spouse. They're going to look ill on your spouse, but also it's going to damage your reputation as well.
Because your marriage is a powerful visual of how you treat the people you value most. And if they're hearing you talk bad about the one you said that you loved more than anyone else and would be with forever, and you're talking bad about them, they're thinking, I don't want to get close to that person, this person talking that way. If that's how they talk about the closest one to them that they value, supposedly the most, what would they do with me?
So we have to be careful who we involve, who we counsel with. OK, so these daughters of Jerusalem basically say, forget him, leave him. Something happens when she hears that. It's like she snaps to and gets her senses back. In hearing the bad counsel, she realizes, actually, Solomon is the best thing for her. Look at verse 10. The Shulamite bride says, my beloved-- now she's going to brag-- my beloved is white and ruddy, chief among 10,000.
And then she goes on to get really mushy about how awesome he looks, all the different features. But down to verse 16, his mouth is most sweet, yes he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved and this is my friend, o daughters of Jerusalem. So now she extols him. And she's basically saying, he's the groom of all grooms. So she basically rebukes them for their bad counsel and is committed to him.
So they're on their way toward recovery. She took it public, not a good move, but now she snaps to, and she's made the commitment. I mentioned Ruth and Billy Graham a moment ago. In the early days of Billy Graham's ministry as an evangelist, when he would travel, he would sometimes do Crusades that would last months. And a couple of times, he was gone from his wife from his home, six or seven months at a time.
Making his wife very, very lonely, raising children, keeping up the house, all the responsibilities. And she admitted that. She said, I was very, very lonely. It was very discouraging during those months. She said, I was so lonely, I would go into the closet, and I would take one of Bill's sports coats to bed with me. Just so I could smell his scent and get a feel that he was closer.
But she said, I want to tell you something. I would rather have Billy Graham 50% of the time than any other man 100% of the time. So whoever was interviewing her at that time, she just sort of says, but let me tell you something. And that's what this bride essentially does. Oh daughters of Jerusalem, I want you to know that he is my beloved, and he is my friend.
So conflict is normal. Collaboration must be careful. Third and finally, conciliation is essential. Some resolve has to be made. And it is. Verse 1 of chapter 6. The daughters of Jerusalem finally give in to her and say, where has your beloved gone oh fairest among women, where has your beloved turned aside that we may seek him with you?
She says, my beloved has gone to his garden. To the bed of spices, to feed his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies. In other words, he has gone back home to the marriage chamber, the bed chamber, the garden that we talked about in chapter 5 verse 1. But look at verse 3, I am my beloved's. And my beloved is mine. Something that was said earlier, she now reaffirms that.
I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies. That is a statement that indicates that the emotional distance that she thought was there between her and him is over, it's gone. I love him. I want to work this out. And she believes that the emotional distance that he may feel toward her is also gone. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. Well, she says that, and then in verse 4, Solomon returns.
Chapter 6, verse 4. Solomon says, oh my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah. As lovely as Jerusalem. These are words we don't get, but Tirzah was a garden area, a beautiful, verdant, refreshing, peaceful area up in the Samaritan hills. Lovely as Jerusalem, the city where his palace was. And he goes-- I like this-- you're as awesome as an army. Which to a girl, she's like, huh. Thanks.
But he says, you're as awesome as an army with banners. To a King, an army was awesome. And to see an army marching toward the city with their banners fluttering in the breeze was an awesome sight. So he's just saying, you're awesome, and here's what I want you to notice. Now, they're talking to each other about each other.
They're not talking to others about each other, it's direct contact, direct communication which indicates-- in the way this is setup poetically-- it indicates reconciliation, that they've worked it out. And we don't have time to go through it all, but they basically use the same mushy language now, as they used back in chapter 4 on their wedding night. That's reconciliation, that's reunion.
In fact, he even exceeds what he said before. In verse 8 he says, there are 60 Queens and 80 concubines and virgins without number. I can have any woman I want. My dove, my perfect one is the only one. That's his wife. The only one of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The daughters saw her and called her blessed. The Queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
In other words, sweetheart, you are the best of the best. He says to her. So they worked through their difficulties, they have walked through their differences, and love has won the day. And that is the goal. The goal is not to win the fight. The goal is to win the friend. It's not to fight with each other, it's to fight for each other. To fight for the relationship.
If you walk away from a fight and you go, you won. Man, she had nothing to say after that. I won. You both just lost. If one wins, both lose. Both have to win at the resolution. That's called reconciliation. That's where you come to an agreement and you might need a good, godly third party counselor who knows you both and can help you get to that resolve. But you want to have you both win.
Now, most couples, I think you will agree with this, do not fight until after they're married. Very few couples who date get into fights. It can happen, but it's rare. And you know why that is, right? Because, first of all, everything before you say I do, is voluntary. Everything you say after you say, I do, is compulsory.
There's something about the covenant that makes a person feel boxed in. It can bring out the worst in a person. Got to make this work. So I've got to change them.
There's a second reason. When people date, they often act. They're acting. In our culture, we have formulated dating very different from the ancient ritual of betrothal. People put their best foot forward, they look their best, they act their best, dating is like campaigning.
You're trying to sell your platform, yourself to that other person. So what do you do if you date a guy who loves country music and you hate it? Run far away.
Just kidding. I know some of you are like country music, I felt the stairs.
No, at first when you're dating and you don't like it, you act like you like it. That's nice. After you're married, it's like, would you turn that noise off?
So now you've got to resolve the conflict. You got to work that through somehow. Get headphones or whatever. The quicker you resolve it, the better. The deadly enemy of marriage is unresolved anger. To just push it under the carpet, to say, we'll talk about it later, but never do, will destroy. Gary Smalley said, when we bury anger inside of us, it's always buried alive.
If you let anger grow unresolved, you are giving Satan an opportunity. You know why I say that? Did you know that Satan hates marriage? Do you know why does? Very simple, because God loves it. That's all, that's all the reason he needs. It was God's idea, he invented it, he loves it, so Satan hates it and he will use every opportunity to destroy it.
This is why the Bible says, Ephesians 4, be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. If you give the devil a foothold, he'll make it a stronghold. That's why couples who are smart take this verse literally and practically, and they try to resolve issues before they go to bed each night. Try to resolve it before you go to sleep.
Now granted, by the time it's 3:30 in the morning, you'll concede anything just to get the fight over with. But that's not really the idea. The idea is you'll come to some sort of resolution that bring some sort of forgiveness that can then be worked out, hopefully further and better and more complete in the future. Now, when you're resolving issues with your spouse, your choice of words is crucial.
You know the proverb that says, death and life are in the power of the tongue. And some of you have no problem being kind and affirming and encouraging to your spouse. Others of you struggle with this. And it's not like I know who that is when I look out at the crowd. But others of you find it much easier to dig and jab and chide and say snide little remarks rather than encourage.
And you don't cut your spouse much slack. I want you to hear this as we close. There was a 20 year study done. 20 year study of 2000 married couples. Researchers found one important predictive factor in determining which couples stay married for the long haul. Here it is.
They must maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative comments. That's what they discovered, 20 years, 2000 couples. A 5:1 ratio. Positive interactions like complimenting, smiling, touching, must outnumber negative comments like sarcasm and put downs by a ratio of 5:1. So every time you make that little dig, now you think, times 5. Affirm, encourage, love, respect, 5:1.
Bottom line, it's possible to walk hand in hand without seeing eye to eye. But for that to happen, there has to be accommodation, resolve. When we get married, we have a picture of the perfect partner in our heads. But then we get married. And we discover we have just married an imperfect person. Still got the picture, perfect partner, but I married an imperfect person.
Now we have an option-- either rip up the picture and accept the person, or rip up the person to hold on to maintain that picture. Let the picture go. Accept the person. Make the adjustments. Bring it to resolution. Father, we know that this is your will. We know that this is your word and we've seen even an example of it from this very unique book in the Old Testament.
Thank you for letting us examine Solomon and the Shulamite bride's relationship of love, of romance, of difficulty, and of resolve. To where they can end the book on an even keel, affirming one another in that love for each other. In Jesus' name, amen.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/gift. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.