Advent Reflections from a Young Married Man: Criticism and Appreciation

“In the coming weeks, I will post seventeen short Advent reflections on the Song of Songs from a young man learning to be a lover and a husband, who at the same time struggles to plant his worth as the beloved Bride of Christ.  My guiding question:

How does the birth of God’s Son transform the broken projects of struggling lovers into aspirations for soul mating?

Click here to read the general introduction:

4A: Song of Songs 4.1-7                          Criticism and Appreciation

1. How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil.  Your hair is like a flock of goats, moving down the slopes of Gilead.  2. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them is bereaved.  3. Your lips are like a crimson thread, and your mouth is lovely.  your cheeks are like halves of pomegranate behind your veil. 4. Your neck is like the tower of David, built in courses; on it hang a thousand bucklers, all of them shields of warriors.  5.  Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, that feed among the lilies.  6. Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, I will hasten to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense.  7. You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

For some, infatuation burns like mist in the dating years.  For others, it happens after marriage or when a baby comes.  But how can we, in our relationships transform infatuation into realistic appreciation like the magi who gifted the babe mountains of myrrh and hills of frankincense? 

Any truthful spouse or partner would never utter these words: “there is no flaw in you.”  Yet, some have found a way to appreciate their spouse so that the interpretive lens through which they experience their spouse is positive.

We all are sick humans in one way or another.  We need one another not to remind us of our flaws but to call forth the best of what is in us.  We each have a unique life calling placed within our spirits, which unfolds like a growing flower.  How sweet it is when our spouse does that for us.

Rather than criticizing how much one spouse spends cleaning, the other must see how a clean environment helps the other thrive.  Rather than criticizing how little one spouse cleans, the other must see how the other thrives as they enjoy life despite a messy situation.  And both have the responsibility to clean and to lay off one another. When two evoke the best in the other while serving them as well, then appreciation takes command.  Then we get in the place where appreciation leads to passion, where we begin to see just how lovely are eyes, hair, lips, cheeks, necks, breasts.  Then we learn the difficult task of loosing ourselves in one another until the shadows flee and we see in the dawn before us hills of frankincense.