In Chapter 10 of our book, we look at a broken relationship and how to restore it according to the word of God. Whatever the conflict or breakdown in a marital relationship, God has a plan for restoration. We all fail from time to time, whether in small things or larger things. If we are willing to acknowledge our sin and repent, God works through marital conflicts to teach us and bring a change in us.
Anytime there is a break in a marriage relationship it’s an issue of the heart. Oftentimes, the issue of the heart is selfishness. You and your spouse are different in many ways. You are male and female. You were raised in different families with different traditions and practices. You look at problems differently. You solve problems differently. You even listen to each other differently. You express yourselves differently.
When there is break in your marriage relationship, you need to ask God to search your own heart first. God wants to change things in your heart. It’s not an issue of how right you think you are. We are all sinners and God uses our marriage to expose the sin in our hearts that we didn’t realize was there until we got married. It’s not our spouse causing you act the way you do, it’s our sin nature. This is wrong thinking: “I was never this way until I got married.” No, that sin was already there and God is using your marriage to show you what is there.
I sleep, but my heart waketh:
it is the voice of my beloved
that knocketh, saying,
Open to me, my sister, my love,
my dove, my undefiled:
for my head is filled with dew,
and my locks with the drops of the night.
3) I have put off my coat;
how shall I put it on?
I have washed my feet;
how shall I defile them?
The honeymoon is now over and it is time to daily live out the marriage covenant. This is when marriage becomes real and not always easy. The voice of her beloved is wakening his bride out of a sleepy, languid state. It seems she has been in this sleeping state for quite a while since her beloved came home well into the night with dew on his hair. His urgent knock, meaning “to press severely” or “to beat” and the fact that he calls her four times with four different names indicates some urgency for her to open to him. Her lethargic state is not likely a first-time occurrence, but has perhaps been going on for some time. She does not respond immediately to him with “awake,” “let” and “come” as on their wedding night but responds with selfish excuses about the disruption of her comforts. She is more concerned about defiling her feet than defiling her marriage.
Her selfish excuses are a sign of misplaced priorities, causing a breakdown in their relationship. In Luke, Jesus uses a parable to teach that those who make selfish excuses do not receive the blessing.
Notice “I have’s” in Song 5:3 link to the selfish excuses of the “I have’s” in the following scripture from Luke.
Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. Luke 14:16-20
Such selfish excuses lead to a breakdown in a relationship and will lead to a breakdown in a couple’s sex life. Divide and conquer has been a strategy of Satan and frankly every military regime in the history of the world. Why? Because it works. Satan relishes every opportunity to divide marriages, families, churches, governments, countries and allegiances. You notice I put marriages first because they are the foundation on which the others are built. When the foundation of marriage is broken, then the family, the church and the other entities become greatly weakened.
Selfishness is certainly not the only reason for a broken relationship, but let’s face it, the sin nature desires self to be on the throne of our hearts. Whatever causes a break needs to be exposed because it is serious. A kiss, a dinner, sex, is not enough to resolve the matter. Transparency comes through honest conversation with understanding, humility, repentance and forgiveness.
This process of restoration continues in Chapter 10 of our book as this couple’s relationship is restored.