He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:28-31 ESV).
Paul continued his exhortation to Christian husbands by pointing to the oneness married couples have with one another. They are one flesh, made so by God. Paul went back to the original marriage to demonstrate his point (Genesis 2:24). Husbands are to sacrificially love their wives by living out their new oneness.
Christian couples are one. Just as the church in union with Christ, so husbands and wives are joined to one another. One error that floated around the Roman Empire was men should have three women in their lives — a wife, a soul-mate, and a mistress. No marriage could remain healthy with that erroneous Roman perspective.
The Song of Solomon, however, paints a different picture; one of married love where one woman is everything her man needs. She is his lover, his sister, and his friend.
A Bride Is Her Husband’s “Love” (Song of Solomon 1:9)
They romantically love one another. They set their affections upon one another. They enjoy one another through sex and physical affection. They rejoice to kiss and touch and embrace one another. They cultivate the amorous part of their lives, believing God has gifted them with one another.
A Bride Is Her Husband’s “Sister” (Song of Solomon 4:9)
Near the end of the song, the bride recalls the closeness a brother and sister can experience and display in that culture (Song of Solomon 8:1-2). Public displays of affection were frowned upon during their time, but siblings could publically hug and hold hands. To be brother and sister together is what a Christian marriage is, at least in part. The level of the soul is cared for as a Christian couple fellowships with one another, encouraging each other in their walk with Christ.
A Bride Is Her Husband’s “Friend” (Song of Solomon 5:16)
This speaks of more than romance, but the joy and laughter and help that comes with friendship. As a married couple stands shoulder to shoulder to deal with all life throws at them, friendship enables them to handle all things well. Rather than robotically move through the responsibilities of life, this couple enjoys each other as they tackle each passing year.
The song is beautiful for many reasons, but one major reason is this: one woman occupies every space in this man’s heart. She fulfills every role beautifully and perfectly. I think he had allowed her to do so.
Husbands, consider that the two have become one. She does not become you. You do not become her. However, the two become a new one. Do not take her for granted. She is a gift of God to you.