Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Song of Solomon 8:6
Only one book of the Bible is devoted exclusively to courtship and romance, to love and marriage. That book is called Song of Solomon, which is a fitting title because love has inspired countless love songs over the centuries. But this song is the 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. Encapsulated in this love story, we see 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. “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.” The wedding ring is a symbol for us 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.
Secondly, love is strong and constant.
“For love is strong as death.” Love is strong, unyielding, powerful. It survives the tough times that accompany every life and every 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 so long. But there is one region, the Pacific Northwest, where there are old growth forests, 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 without fires is because the ground is saturated with rainfall much of the year. Gentle, continual rainfall. In the same way 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.
Thirdly, love is passionate.
“Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.” True love is passionate, intense! Put all your heart into it! Too often this happens during courtship but no tafter the wedding. The couple gets busy with life and careers, maybe a new house, maybe children, and they slowly drift apart, often not even aware of it until it’s too late.
Whenever a couple takes their marriage for granted, love begins to die. So be on your guard. Give each other priority 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 the love of his wife’s grandparents. At the start of the book the husband, looking back on his life, says:
I am nothing special, 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.