What God Expects From Us

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading


Love with All Your Heart and Soul

Only one book of the Bible is devoted exclusively to courtship, romance, love, and marriage. That book is called Song of Solomon, which is a fitting title because it has inspired countless love songs over the centuries. But this song is a love song, and this book is the book of romance. It is the story of young King Solomon and his chosen bride, the beautiful Shulammite. We see, encapsulated in this love story, God’s delight in marital love and romance. Near the end of the book, we see several traits of romantic love. 

First of all, it is exclusive. “Set me as a seal upon your heart.” In the ancient world, a person’s seal signified ownership, saying, “this belongs to me.” Shulammite is saying to Solomon, “I am the seal on your heart. You belong to me, and I belong to you. We belong to each other.” For us, the wedding ring is a symbol of this idea. It means, “I am taken. I belong to another.” True love is exclusive. It is for one man and one woman only.

Second, love is strong and constant. “For love is strong as death.” Love is strong, unyielding, and powerful. It survives the tough times that accompany every life and marriage. But how can we make love last? Throughout the western United States, forest fires are common. Most forests in the West don’t last very long. But there is one region, the Pacific Northwest, where there are old-growth forests that are hundreds of years old. They are beautiful, with towering Douglas firs and massive redwoods, and the ferns grow everywhere on the forest floor. The reason these trees survive with fires is that the ground is saturated with gentle and continual rainfall much of the year. Likewise, saturate your marriage with God’s love—gentle, continual love. Then you too can withstand the fires of life, and your love will grow strong and powerful, like the redwoods. Each day, drink in God’s love for you, then you will find a wellspring of love inside. True love is strong and powerful.

Third, love is passionate. “Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.” True love is passionate and intense. Put all your heart into it. Too often, this happens during courtship, but not after the wedding. The couple gets busy with life and careers, maybe a new house, children, and they slowly drift apart, often not even aware of it until it is too late. Whenever a couple takes their marriage for granted, love begins to die, so be on your guard. Give each other priority with your attention. Give marriage your best energy. Be fervent in loving one another.

The Notebook was a good movie built on a great book. Nicholas Sparks based the story on his former wife’s grandparents’ love story. At the start of the book, the husband, looking back on his life, says, “I am nothing special, and of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts. I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me, and my name will soon be forgotten. But I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.” When it comes to marriage, love this way, with all your heart and soul.