Week 52 How to Have a Committed and Happy Marriage

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 52

Scripture Readings: Song of Songs 7-8

Key Scripture Verses: Song of Songs 7:10-12 (NIV, Life Application Bible) “I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me. 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.”

These last two chapters of the Song of Songs demonstrate the blossoming of mature love between Solomon and his wife and that their love for each other has not waned or lost its passion. In fact, their mature love reflects an increase in trust and freedom, the wife feeling free to initiate their lovemaking and to freely bestow her love upon her husband. This shows their equality in the relationship and a healthy give-and-take sharing of themselves and their resources.

Solomon’s bride owned her own vineyards and desired to give the income from its grapes to Solomon, as she shared what was hers with him, even though he had his own vineyard which he had rented out to tenants. Marriage partners should freely share their wealth and possessions with each other, because they should be a team and they should be “as one” in all things.

In their mature love, the woman reflects on the properties of their healthy love relationship when she says that her love should be like a “seal” upon his heart, that “love is as strong as death,” that it “burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame,” that “many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away,” and that all the king’s riches cannot buy the love they share, because it is priceless: “If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

The commentary notes in of the NIV, Life Application Bible remind the reader of the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that are often cited in marriage ceremonies and that speak of the qualities love should possess: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. These are the qualities of the kind of selfless love that Solomon and his wife demonstrate and that the scriptures indicate as God’s desire for us.

Committed love and devotion as designed by God should reflect the love that God has for us. If he is the center of our love and we love each other as he would have us love each other—if God’s love is our model for love and we follow his model—we can enjoy the fruits of mature love with our spouses.

May we be as committed and devoted to our spouses as God has intended for us. May our marriages be blessed by God!



By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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