As she lifted her eyes to his, he felt a thousand ropes tightened around him. Every fiber of his strength left him. He couldn’t move. Standing there spellbound, captured by what he saw in her gaze, he felt himself falling into the tranquil pools of her eyes. Finally, he had to beg Shulammite to look away because he was powerless to do so himself (Song 6:5).
How could a simple peasant girl have such an overwhelming effect on him? He was the most powerful man in the world. The king who had peace on all sides because no one had the strength to overcome his. Yet, with a single glance of her eye, she did to him what no other person on the planet could do. She rendered Solomon powerless.
So what exactly did he see in Shulammite’s glance that overtook him in this way? Well that, my friend, is a question most women would love to know the answer to. But to understand the answer, we must first walk a mile in Solomon’s shoes.
I want you to imagine for just a moment what it would be like to be the richest, most powerful person in the entire world. Anything your heart desires—it’s yours. No pleasure is denied you. You can do anything you want to do, go anywhere you want to go, and pretty much have every wish come true. No limits. The world is at your feet.
But you wouldn’t have to walk very far in Solomon’s shoes before you discover there is a downside to all that wealth too. Think about it. Everyone wants something from you. Everyone has an ulterior motive to be your friend so true friends are rare, if not impossible. Sure, lots of folks want to be around you, but is it because they actually care about you or because they want something from you? Pretty soon you learn you can’t trust anyone because everyone around you has an agenda—their own.
So imagine what it must have been like for a man like Solomon to find a single person in his life who is different from all the rest. A person who wasn’t a taker. A person whose love and friendship was given with no strings attached. That woman was Shulammite. And her particular brand of love was so profound, so effective to win his heart, her love story is immortalized on the pages of Scripture for all time.
Trust me, there isn’t a man on the planet who wouldn’t give everything to be loved as lavishly and as purely as Shulammite loved her man. In fact, we’re told in Song 8:7 that if a man even attempted to give everything he owned to purchase a love like hers, he would be despised as a fool.
Why? Because only a fool would try to purchase what is already given to him freely. Shulammite’s love was priceless to Solomon because it cost him nothing. And for a man like Solomon who was used to paying something for everything, this made her irresistibly attractive.
As the richest man in the world, Solomon didn’t need generosity from anyone. Yet Shulammite, though she was poor, had a wealth of love to give and she spent it freely on the man she loved. She lavished on him the one thing neither his money nor his power could buy—a pure love uncontaminated by her own self-interest.
What about you? How is your love story going? How long has it been since you’ve check the quality of the love you give? It’s so easy for “consumer characteristics” to seep into our love. Consumer love says, “I will love you as long as you give me something in return but if you stop giving me what I expect, then I’ll start withdrawing my love.”
Are there strings like this attached to the love you give?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to find out:
- Do I feel cheated when I perform acts of love and receive nothing in return for my efforts?
- Does giving love to others feel like it is costing me?
- Does it exhaust me, making me feel depleted to give love or does it energize me?
- Am I feeling frustrated because I am the only one doing all the work right now to improve this relationship?
- Are my loving actions motivated by what I get in return?
If so, then check your motivation because there are definitely strings attached to your love. To this day, when I’m frustrated and struggling to love Jim, I ask myself these questions because they really get to the root of the motivation behind my loving actions. I get annoyed because I’m pouring out my love hoping Jim will respond in a particular way and it’s not working. Not only am I irritated but I’m unfulfilled (because I’m not getting what I want) and pretty soon I feel myself withdrawing my affections.
But Shulammite’s love looks very different. Her love comes from a place of wealth, not a place of wanting. Pure love has a spending mentality, not a hoarding mentality. It energizes rather than drains because you’re not expecting a payback. Pure love is a love given without strings attached and it has the power to change a relationship like nothing else.
So if you feel your love story is headed down a tragic path, perhaps it’s time to take your eyes off your spouse and look inside yourself. Check the motivation behind the love you give (or don’t give). Is your love pure? Your frustration level can be the best gauge. The love between you will get better when you learn to love better, not when you try to change your spouse.
Stay lovely, my friend,