The Song of Solomon is a challenging book to study. In some ways, one feels that to attempt to analyze it is akin to A.T. Robertson’s analogy of “dissecting a flower” by examining the individual characteristics of love in I Corinthians 13. But the references that Solomon and his beloved make towards each other in Chapter 5 are very instructive to those who seek healthy marriage relationships today:
In verse one of that chapter, Solomon refers to his love as “my sister, my bride.”
Then in verse 16, his bride says of the king, “This is my beloved and this is my friend.”
These multiple descriptions teach us something about the perspective that married couples need to have towards each other. All of these elements are present in healthy married relationships:
Men need to see their wife as their “bride”, truly, but like Solomon they also need to treat her as their “sister” in Christ. She is a joint heir with him in spiritual things (I Peter 3:7); on the same journey as he is, and she requires encouragement, inspiration & spiritual leadership.
Women want to know that their husband is also more than merely a “lord & master”; a “beloved” spouse — but also a “friend.” This element of “friendship” is vital in marriage. The best marriages are also very good friendships. As in any relationship, friendship in marriage requires mutual interests and aims, good communication, and consistent time together to cultivate.
A healthy married couple will appreciate each of these different roles in each other. For them marriage is not only “bride & beloved” — but also “(brother &) sister” — and “friend”!