Flirting Can Be a Good Thing

Sharon Jaynes Lovestruck, Marriage 6 Comments

I’m posting over at Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today today. I thought you might enjoy it too! Today is the release day for Lovestruck and I’m recording radio at Family Life in Arkansas! Stay tuned and I’ll tell you when it will air. Big hugs!

It was time to clean out part of my attic: furniture for a consignment store, three lamps to take to a nonprofit thrift shop and many items that went straight to the trash. In one corner sat memorabilia we’d saved from my in-laws’ attic years ago. That’s when I saw it. Tucked under a dusty old chair was a tattered box. I pulled back the musty flaps and slid out what appeared to be a letter. I gasped as I lifted the frail envelope and unfolded sacred words from my father-in-law, Bruce, to his girlfriend, Mary Ellen.

More than 500 letters had been stowed away in a cardboard box … until now. I pulled out the fragile treasures one by one and read intimate words of devotion from a man head over heels for his high school sweetheart. The letters began with a soldier writing to the girl back home — one he pursued with pen and ink. And then about a third of the way through, the letters changed. The envelopes were no longer addressed to Mary Ellen Boone, but to Mary Ellen Jaynes.

The Song of Solomon, which some versions call Song of Songs, is a lot like those letters hidden in a box. Tucked between the introspective book of Ecclesiastes and the prophetic book of Isaiah is a work of poetry that memorialized mutual attraction, romantic love, sexual desire and enduring marriage between a man smitten and a woman enchanted.

I devoured the pages of the Song to discover what the couple did to make their marriage work. I saw that they flirted and fought, made out and made up, served and savored, and never stopped exploring new ways to keep their marriage fresh.

And I wondered: Why is it that passionate romance routinely fizzles out over the years? Why does a soul mate so easily become a roommate? Why does the rapid heartbeat of excitement in the early years morph into the heavyheartedness of disappointment in the later years?

There are many reasons why passion cools, but it doesn’t have to. That certainly isn’t God’s plan. He has a much different desire for your marriage and mine.

Yes, sexual intimacy will change as we grow older. That’s a given. But I believe intimacy can grow and mature into something sweeter, deeper and more profound than any frantic frenzy ever could be.

The Shulammite in the Song was a wise woman who took deliberate action to keep her marriage strong. I envision her sauntering up to her husband as he’s overseeing the fields. She whispers in his ear, flirting with him still.

“Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
let us spend the night in the villages.

Let us go early to the vineyards
to see if the vines have budded,

if their blossoms have opened,
and if the pomegranates are in bloom — there I will give you my love.

The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy,

both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my beloved” (Song of Songs 7:11-13, NIV).

Whoa, that might not be what you’d expect from a devotion or your daily Bible reading, but God made sure it was in the Bible for a reason.

At this point in the song, Solomon and his Shulammite have been married a while, but the Shulammite is flirting with her man. She’s coaxing him to steal away to spend some alone time with her. No doubt Solomon had been busy running the kingdom, overseeing his land and ruling his people. Just like all married couples, they needed to get away for some time by themselves.

With his wife’s flirtatious attention, I don’t think it took too long for Solomon to change his schedule, cancel his meetings and pack his bags.

So, what can we learn from the Shulammite in this passage?

• Take time away for just you and your husband.

• Remember to have fun together.

• Flirting is a good thing … as long as it’s with your own husband!

Lord, thank You for my husband. Help me not to get so busy taking care of life that I forget to take care of love. Show both of us ways to keep our marriage a priority. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What is one way you can flirt with your husband today? Why do you think it is important, no matter how long you’ve been married?

In our sex-saturated culture, we’re constantly bombarded by destructive, unrealistic depictions of romance and intimacy. But the real problem is not that we focus on sex too much, but that we value it too little. In Sharon Jaynes’ new book, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon, she reveals what God intended when He gave the gift of sex and said, “It is good.”

 

Comments 6

  1. What a beautiful love story this is! I am excited to purchase and read your book. This is the part of my marriage I feel so much guilt about. My husband and I will be married 13 years in October. Not our 1st marriages so we were a bit older when we married (I was 38). After only 2 years of marriage I got sick and have been on a steady decline since. After years of testing and wrong diagnosis we have finally sorted out that I have 3 rare diseases none of which have cures and will only continue to get worse. As my health has declined our physical intimacy has also declined. My symptoms now make physical intimacy impossible. I struggle with this daily. I cannot say “go outside our marriage for that need to be met” as I would be devastated and could no longer be in the marriage and I don’t think my husband would ever agree to that anyway. He says he understands and knows it’s only due to my health that things are the way they are but it doesn’t stop my feelings of guilt and that my husband deserves better. I do show him in so many other ways how much I love and appreciate him. I just wish I could rid myself of all of the guilt but I do think a lot of it is due to our societies over saturation of sex and what a relationship is supposed to look like not taking into account that sometimes life can deal you a really terrible blow that’s out of your control. I’m sure at 51 I’m not the only person facing this issue it just feels like I am.

    1. May our dear, gracious, merciful Father, through His Holy Spirit, bring you peace in your sufferings, physical as well as mental. Your testimony only cements what I tell all newly-enamoured couples; don’t rush into a relationship on physical terms only. It is imperative for a solid relationship to be established by being best friends, as well as lovers, because life changes things. For the Christian, the glue that holds and keeps our relationships together has a firm foundation, Jesus Christ, and in Him nothing can destroy us, as the dear apostle Paul reminds us in Romans. Your husband, my husband, all men in Christ, have moved on to a higher calling than what the world tells them a relationship should look like, and for that you can rest easy. Much love, in Christ, Lynn.

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