Thanks to Jason Salyers for sharing these thoughts from Solomon’s Song of Songs.
Consider the Bride and Groom’s interaction (pulled out of poetic form for space, from the ESV).
She: 2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine; 3 your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out; therefore virgins love you. 4 Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers.
Others: We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.
She: 5 I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. 6 Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! 7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?
He: 8 If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents. 9 I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots. 10 Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels.
Others: 11 We will make for you ornaments of gold, studded with silver.
She: 12 While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance. 13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh that lies between my breasts. 14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.
He: 15 Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves.
She: 16 Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful. Our couch is green; 17 the beams of our house are cedar; our rafters are pine. 2 1 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). When we consider this first chapter of the Song of Songs, how do we teach or train ourselves and others with these verses? Unfortunately, for many, there is an “un-comfortability” factor with these verses because our own claims to propriety. “Men and women should not speak to each other in this way!” Out of context, that may be true, but in the context God has given us (Husband and Wife, Bride and Groom) we should reevaluate our own preferences versus God’s.
Consider how the woman refers to herself – she recognizes and accepts her appearance “5 I am very dark, but lovely.” This is not lascivious, prideful, or a striving for an adornment beyond the meek and quiet spirit. This is an interaction of a woman who knows herself and the place she has with husband.
Next Consider the words they are willing to say to one another, thoughts that reflect desire for one another, love of form and appearance, and a recognition and confidence in the place or position they have with their spouse. In Christianity today, this form of speech many would consider inappropriate, or even sinful. Yet, that takes the Word of God and uses it against itself. Christians must be careful not to pervert the Word of God for a desire to bind something God has not bound.
Finally, recognize they do have the desire to share their feelings with one another. You or I, we may not be capable of expressing these words in this form (the influence of our society removing our ability to speak as the Word of God speaks). However, the thoughts, intentions behind the words must still be brought forth, “Behold you are beautiful.”