In just under 2 months I will be digging my toes in the sand and applying tanning lotion. While relaxing by the ocean, the sun will be turning my skin a light golden brown, or at least that’s the plan.
Isn’t it interesting how culture changes over time? Just over a hundred years ago ladies wore hats and gloves for glowing white skin was the desired look. Pale skin was a sign of wealth and status for only the poor and lower classes need work out in the sun, thus their tanned skin. This view of tanning goes much further back than a hundred years.
Nearly 3000 years ago the Song of Solomon, or the Song of Songs, was penned to share the beautiful love story between Solomon and his young Shulammite bride. This book is quite unique among the books of the Bible for the focus is the love and relationship between a man and wife.
One of the opening verses brings out a truth I am fully aware of… being vulnerable in a relationship is vital. The Shulammite shared her insecurities-
“Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards.” Song of Songs 1:6
The young bride was not wealthy or of royalty but a laborer wed the king. Talk about being insecure! Solomon heard her vulnerability and reassured her, praising her beauty. He even likened her to a mar of Pharaoh’s. Before we jump on his words as insulting we should realize Pharaoh had the finest pure white horses in the world. Solomon didn’t focus on her dark skin but instead gazed with love on the woman he married.
Later the bride said-
“Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade.” Song of Songs 2:3
She went from insecure because of her tanned skin to sitting securely under the shade of Solomon’s love.
Valentines Day quickly approaches and with it millions of dollars will be spent in gestures of love. Perhaps the greater gestures would be allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with the one we love, our spouse if married, and then helping each other through the insecurities we each bring into the relationship. Let us not be critical of each other but the greatest supporters our spouse could ever find! Let us open our hearts and love each other through our strengths and weaknesses.
Lord, thank you for my husband. Thank you for giving him listening ears and a warm heart allowing me to be vulnerable yet safe in his love. Help me return the same love and may it grow deeper. Amen