God’s plan for true love!

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.”
                                                      (Song of Solomon 8:4 - NKJV)
God has a plan for true love between a man and wife.

In God’s plan, there are four roles involved in the biblical marriage relationship,
namely siblings, friends, spouses, and lovers.

The first two roles are foundational, serving as a duel foundation for the marriage.

Brother and sister
“You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; you have
ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your
                                                     (Song of Solomon 4:9 - NKJV)
The first foundational role in the biblical marriage relationship is the role of brother
and sister. When a man and wife are Christians, they first and foremost are a part
of the family of God, children of God, and as such are brother and sister in Christ.

The role of siblings is the first foundational role because it grounds the
relationship in the deepest love that Christians are called to, specifically to love
each other as Christ loved us (John 13:34). This is actually the highest, greatest
love people can love with – it is completely selfless and loves to the fullest extent.
When spouses love each other with this love, at the foundation of their relationship
they will truly and deeply love each other.

These roles also allow the spouses to love each other not for what they do (as
friends, spouses, and lovers), but rather simply for who they are – God’s children
and their sibling in the family of God. This love is the purest love they can share,
and as such it grounds the relationship in pure true love as people.

“His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my
beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!”
                                                   (Song of Solomon 5:16 - NKJV)
The second foundational role in the biblical marriage relationship is the role of
friends. Ultimately this is what the relationship is all about, two people going
through life together as friends. It is a relationship where they are best friends,
who share their entire lives together and are willing to love each other for the rest
of their lives no matter what.

In the marriage relationship the two spouses are to be as one, specifically in heart,
soul, and spirit. The role as friends is foundationally where they become one.

In this role it is critical that they be compatible for each other as friends, including
genuinely enjoying each other’s company and having similar interests, similar
goals, as well as inherently thinking alike – “Can two walk together unless they are
agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

In this role it is also critical that each understand the art of being friends, including
the need to be open and transparent – literally have truly open hearts and minds
with one another – as well as being open minded, willing to consider the other’s
perspective and the other’s interests. It also includes knowing how to love each
other as friends, which foundationally means loving each other according to the
royal law of scripture, to love your neighbour as yourself (James 2:8), which
literally means to do good for one another and not do evil. Practically it means
obeying the Bible’s many commands in human relations including the following:

  • Love each other
  • Be reconciled
  • Be merciful
  • Be patient
  • Be likeminded
  • Be subject to one another
  • Do violence to no one
  • Do not love in word only
  • Go the second mile
  • Let your love be genuine
  • Don’t let sun go down on your wrath
  • Please your neighbour for good
  • Don’t provoke one another
  • Don’t envy one another
  • Do good to all men
  • Don’t weary in doing good
  • Exhort one another
  • Don’t judge one another
  • Live peaceably with one another
  • Love fervently
  • Love from a pure heart
  • Forgive each other from the heart
  • Speak truth to one another

To sum this up, spouses need to treat each other great. We all want to be treated
great. If spouses are going to love each other as themselves this therefore is how
they should treat each other.

Ultimately this role, if done properly, is the role that makes the marriage a joy.

“Your lips, O my spouse, Drip as the honeycomb; honey and milk are
under your tongue; and the fragrance of your garments is like the
fragrance of Lebanon”
                                                 (Song of Solomon 4:11 - NKJV)
The third role is the actual purpose of the relationship – the role of spouses. When
God created man, He quickly created a woman for him, specially to be his mate. It
is for this relationship consequently that men and women are to spend their lives

In this relationship the woman is to serve as the man’s helper. In God’s order, He
created the man for Himself and He created the woman for the man, specifically to
be his helper (Genesis 2:18-25). As such the man needs to take his place as a
man and fulfil God’s call on his life, and the woman needs to be able to come
alongside the man and be his helper. In fact the role of helper for a man is an
actual job, one that a woman needs to be uniquely qualified for. Not all women can
serve as the helper for all men.

These roles are critical if the man and wife are to be one. In being one, they need
to live one life, and in God’s order, it is the man’s life that they are to live, with the
wife serving the supportive role, a role that includes being the manager of the
home (1 Timothy 5:14).

In these roles God puts a high degree of responsibility on the man in loving his
wife. Specifically God commands the man to love his wife as Christ loves the
church, love his wife as his own body, and love his wife as himself (Ephesians 5:
25,28-29,33). He also commands the man to give his wife honour and dwell with
her with understanding (1 Peter 3:7). Alternatively God commands the wife to love
her husband, submit to her husband as to Christ, and to respect her husband
(Titus 2:4, Ephesians 5:22-24,33). The call to submit to her husband is a very high
call that is necessary in God’s order, but one that is made easy when the man
fulfils his responsibilities.

As with friendship, being spouses is an art that people need to learn and

“Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove's
                                               (Song of Solomon 1:15 - NKJV)
The fourth and last role is that of lovers. To be lovers there naturally needs to be
a physical attraction between the two, however the depth of the love actually
comes from the depth of love expressed in the first three roles. Without true love
expressed in these roles the “love” shared as lovers is completely false, based
strictly on superficial reasons.

To have this role be the best, the most passionate and strong, full of love, the love
expressed in the first three roles must be strong. When it is, the love that is
expressed is a deep, passionate, romantic love that comes from the depth of the
heart. It is a love full of the fullness of the feelings related to being in love, with the
feelings being true and lasting, feelings that even grow over time.
“I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. Come, my beloved,
let us go forth to the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up
early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine has budded, whether the
grape blossoms are open, and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love”
                                             (Song of Solomon 7:10-12 NKJV)
These are the four roles involved in the biblical marriage relationship.

If you want the love involved in this relationship to be true, as true as possible
between two human beings in this world, there are three keys.

First, the relationship must be submitted to God. God is love (1 John 4:16) and is
the author of the marriage relationship. If it is to contain true love, each spouse
must love as God calls us to love. This includes loving as siblings, friends,
spouses, as well as lovers. It also includes keeping yourself sexually pure so that
the romantic / sexual love you share together will be sacred between you and your
spouse with all of its inherent meanings true, the way God designed it to be,
including most significantly expressing the truths that they truly love each other
and that they are one.

Second, both spouses must be real, specifically who they really truly are as human
beings created by God in His image. The purpose of this is very simple. If you want
to be truly loved, you must be who you truly are. In doing this it is vitally important
that rather than being true to your feelings about yourself, which many times can
be false, you need to be true to what God says about all of us in the Bible because
what God says about us is who we really are.

Discovering who we are as human beings including who we are according to God
can take a lifetime, but it is a search worth undertaking if you want to be truly loved
for who you really are.

Third, both spouses must be committed to sharing what I call the “ultimate best
friend relationship”, which is what the true love relationship ultimately is all about.

The ultimate best friend relationship involves the man and woman being one to the
point of having their hearts and minds completely open to each other and joined
and intertwined together. It involves them going through life together, sharing their
lives together up to and including all of their experiences and their deepest
thoughts. And it also involves them being fully committed to each other including
the commitment to spend their lives together and to love each other all of the days
of their lives, literally helping each other and being there for each other no matter
what, which is what causes the love to be true.

Finally, if you want this relationship, the most important thing you need to do is wait
on God. God is the author of this relationship, and if you want this kind of
relationship, He is the one who will bring it to you.

If anyone is waiting on God for this kind of relationship, I want to share a few
thoughts to encourage you.

First, while you are waiting on God to bring you your spouse, know that you are
not actually waiting on your spouse, but you are actually waiting on God. And if
you do this, know that there is no one better to wait on!  

Second, know in your heart that this relationship is worth waiting for. The Song of
Solomon says a number of times “Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases”.
One reason it says this is because the relationship is so good, that you are
cheating yourself if you don’t wait.

Third, know that God can make you wait a long time sometimes.

The dream of true love is that you will meet your spouse in your late teens or early
twenties, fall in love, get married, and have a long happy life together complete
with children and grandchildren. However this is not always God’s plan. Sometimes
God has other plans and purposes for our lives and getting married early in life is
not always one of them. This can mean that we may have to wait into our thirties
and forties and even beyond before getting married.

When this happens, what do you do?

Well, you have a choice, you can continue to wait on God, or you can find
someone on your own and try and make a relationship work praying for God to
bless it knowing that it isn’t His best.

My advice is that you wait. If God has put it into your heart to wait for a spouse
from Him, then in His timing He is going to fulfil that heart desire. When it comes
you will know that it was worth it, and like a mother of a new born baby forgetting
her birth pains, you will also forget all the years you spent waiting, wondering if
your desire would ever be fulfilled. You will be in a new season in your life and the
joy of that season will make you forget all of the feelings you felt while waiting.

Fourth, while waiting, understand that your time of singleness is actually better for
God – He actually prefers that we were all single as in that case we would all be
able to be wholly dedicated to Him, free from the domestic cares of the world (1
Corinthians 7:29-35). Believe it or not, this is biblically true!

Therefore take advantage of your time of singleness and pursue the Lord since
knowing Him is what eternal life is all about (John 17:3). In fact I believe that God
will hold us all accountable for what we do while we are single, able to be wholly
dedicated to Him, as He will hold us accountable for all things.

Also during this time, use it to prepare yourself for marriage. Practice loving your
spouse as your sibling by loving your family and loving others in the church as
Christ loved us. Practice loving your spouse as your friend by learning the art of
friendship and loving others as you want to be loved. And develop yourself as a
spouse by working on developing the Christ-like character in yourself so that you
can be the best godly man / woman you can be for your spouse, which will
eliminate a multitude of potential problems in your marriage.

These are all things you can do while waiting.

In conclusion, if you have already waited a long time, don’t give up. If you’ve waited
a long time you definitely want to end up with someone worth waiting for. I believe
the person God has prepared for you is a person worth waiting for.