Practical Lessons From the Song of Solomon
The Song of Solomon is a difficult book in many respects. Nevertheless, I believe it is a valuable work whose general themes can be comprehended. The book seems to be about the beauty of wedded love. I believe this poetic work was written to teach certain moral principles regarding love and marriage--principles that were relevant then and today. The main characters are King Solomon and the lovely Shulamite.

Let us focus on seven lessons we can glean from this inspired book. I believe that married couples who are striving to develop the best relationship possible will endeavor to implement these principles.

1. Learn to be totally captivated with your spouse; don't let your eyes wander.
Song of Solomon 2:2 - "Like a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters" (cf. 6:9). The Shulamite had captured Solomon's attention, though tragically, it would not last for life. Eventually, his eyes would wander. It is easy to be captivated for a short time, but it takes self-discipline and effort to remain enthralled with one's spouse until death separates. Are you as captivated with your spouse today as you were when you first wed? You need to be!

2. Be content with the physical attributes of your spouse--even if they aren't perfect.
Solomon told the Shulamite that she was beautiful, even though she wasn't physically flawless (cf. 1:6,15). Realizing that your physical attributes aren't perfect should make it easier to accept the flaws of your spouse.

3. Express verbal appreciation often for your spouse's physical attributes (and for your spouse in general).
There are many passages in the book where Solomon and the Shulamite shower one another with compliments (e.g., 4:1-15; 5:10-16; 6:4-9; 7:1-9). What person doesn't like to receive genuine compliments? One should never lie to their spouse, and a loving mate won't need to lie to express appreciation. Such a one will praise their lover's looks and other qualities whenever possible.

4. Long for your spouse's affection and communicate your desires to them.
Song of Solomon 7:11-13 - "Come, my beloved, let us go forth to the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards...There I will give you my love..." (cf. 1:2; 8:14). Clearly, this couple shared a strong physical attraction and they did not fail to express their affection and desires to each other. A fundamental building block of any marriage is good communication. This is true in all aspects of marriage, even physical intimacy. How well do you communicate your desires to your spouse? Do not make the mistake of thinking that they can read your mind or that the responsibility of communication should fall upon them alone.

5. Genuinely care for and be concerned about your spouse.
Although Song of Solomon 3:1-4 is probably a dream sequence, it nevertheless conveys the depth of care and concern the Shulamite had for Solomon. What about your marriage? Do you care for your spouse as you should, or have you gradually come to the point of taking them for granted?

6. Be totally committed to your spouse.
On several occasions, the Shulamite pours out her heart to Solomon. She expresses her commitment to him and desires such to be reciprocated (cf. 2:16; 6:3; 7:10; 8:6,7). Specifically, she requests to be set "as a seal" upon his heart. She wants to be considered his, and vice versa. All strong marriages must have this type of commitment in order to survive the hardships of life.

7. Stay sexually pure until marriage.
The metaphors used in Song of Solomon 8:8-10 suggest that now the Shulamite is a fully-developed woman, and that she has stayed pure sexually. She has been like a "wall," protected from the advances of others; she has not been a "door," open to seduction. Seemingly, she married as a virgin. Friends, there is no better way! I have heard many express regrets over sexual activity prior to marriage, but I have never heard a Christian convey regret over waiting and maintaining purity until marriage. Avoiding fornication is unquestionably the best course to pursue. It prevents many physical and emotional problems from ever developing. And, of course, once a couple marries, they should remain sexually pure for each other.

Dear listeners, let us learn and apply these principles to our lives!