John W. Smith tells a story of a couple who goes to marriage counseling. The husband, of course, does not want to go, but the wife does, and finally she gets him to go with her. And for four hours, the wife pours out her heart to the counselor saying how he never notices her, he never thanks her, he never compliments her. She feels lonely and unloved and wonders if she has any self-worth at all.
At this, the counselor gets out from around his desk, walks over to the woman, gets down on his knees, grips the chair, and tells her--"You listen to me. You are one of the most kind, caring, compassionate and beautiful woman I've ever met. You have incredible self-worth."
The counselor then turns to the man, who is a bit dumbfounded, watching this, and he says, "Do you see this? Do you think that you can do this? She needs this EVERY week, three times a week. Can you make sure this happens for her?"
The guy says, "Man, I don't know. I can drop her off for you on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but Fridays are tough. I play golf."
This is a funny story--except it so unfortunately describes the reality of marital relationships in so many cases.
Guys--if we do not value and compliment our wives, someone else will. And vice versa. That need for "admiration" and words that build up are one of the top 5 needs in "His Needs, Her Needs." Song of Songs is filled with beautiful compliments and words from one spouse to another (even if some of these compliments don't translate well today:).
Paul says, "29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (4:29).
How can we better build up our spouses in our marriages with kind words? What is the danger if we do not do this?
The Song of Songs, or Song of Solomon, is another piece of Wisdom literature in the Bible. It describes in stark and explicit--though poetic terms--the physical and sexual relationship between a man and a woman, as well as intense emotional longing and romance. Viewed through the rest of Scripture, there is something about this relationship that also is intensely spiritual in nature.
More on all of this later. What I wanted to point out in this post is how much the man and woman, husband and wife, really lay on the compliments. I have outlined some of these below. Now, guys, I would not try most of these lines at home--especially the highlighted ones. Telling your wife that she is like a "mare," that her hair is like a "flock of goats" might get you lying on the coach for a night, rather than its intended effect!
But what does this show us about a marriage relationship? Well, one thing it shows is the importance of building up your mate with words of love and admiration! And notice how both the man and the woman do this.
Here is a top ten list of compliments from Song of Songs that may not translate very well today!
Which of these ten do you like best? What would be good modern day alternatives?
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Dr. James Nored is a minister and Executive Director of Next Generation for Christ.