Rise Up, My Love (156): Do You Have a Rubber-band Relationship?

Dark NightSong of Solomon 5:6 “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone…” Oh, what bitter words. She waited until it was too late. She tarried too long. She refused him until he quit trying, and then he left. She had reached out…but now there was no one there.

Have you ever coldly rejected the attentions of someone who wanted to draw close to you over and over, until finally it dawned on you that that person truly loved you…about the time that he/she quit trying? What is it in carnal human beings that makes them less interested in someone who seems totally devoted to them? Does it feed pride, so that the person devalues the pursuer?…something like, “If he/she thinks I’m that wonderful, than I must be too good for him/her?” Were you ever caught in a rubber-band romance, where someone only seemed interested in you as long as you remained aloof, but the minute you showed an interest, then the other person cooled down perceptibly and bounded away?

Men have often been accused of simply liking the chase (…and some women of simply liking to be chased). There is doubtless that aspect of inner human nature that is similar to that of many wild animals. Most dogs will chase anything that moves, and the faster it moves, the more apt the dog is to chase it. It’s almost an instinct, and dogs will chase anything from rabbits to deer to cars…to people. A dog can kill a deer—not because the dog is hungry and needs supper—but simply because the dog likes the chase and overruns the deer.

This happens sometimes (emotionally) with humans, but humans are not wild animals operating by instinct. God created us to reflect his person and glory and walk in his ways. Such wild pursuit is one of the works of the flesh and never the way of the Spirit. God never intends for anyone to vainly and recklessly pursue others just to build up one’s own sense of security or desirability. No one should chase or allow pursuit “just for fun” or just to see if they can actually “catch” the heart of another. This is a cruel vanity and will lead to great pain and hardness of heart.

On the other hand, many—or perhaps even most—immature (just developing) relationships have a give-take, run-chase pattern. It takes tremendous self control, patience, love, and sensitivity to the Lord’s leading to wait for the Lord’s timing and direction in a relationship, and there are probably few budding romances where the two partners are so spiritually and emotionally stable that they do not suffer a few crash landings while learning how to love and be loved, because learning to give and accept love gracefully is like learning to fly. If you don’t want to damage your planes, go to God’s flight school…and even then there may be some pretty hard landings from time to time!

But, in this lesson from scripture, the husband was no idle pursuer on a careless chase. Exactly the opposite was true. The bridegroom had given his bride his whole heart and life, and every blessing. They had been united in the flesh as husband and wife…but they were not yet one in heart and soul…not because of the husband’s lack of desire, but because of the wife’s. The husband tried every possible means of reaching her without infringing on her freedoms and liberties, but he could go no further. The next step was hers, but she was so tardy about taking it that he had withdrawn himself and disappeared into the blackness of night.

This is probably the inevitable experience of most believers as they grow in their love relationship with the Lord—and with their spouses. No, not all believers, but most. The Song of Solomon is a pattern, an example. It reflects the normal progression that has been played out by countless generations…both spiritually and physically. The Song of Solomon has universal appeal because the celestial strains of Christ’s overture resonate in the heart of every believer on earth and play out a melody of love that baffles angels and lifts our hearts to worship.

In the realm of marriage, the typical pattern is for the man to pursue the woman until he marries her, and then he becomes so busy about his business (whether it’s ruling a kingdom or sweeping a street) that she feels neglected. This may take years, but at some point (often mid-life), the husband finally returns to his wife (if not physically, then certainly emotionally) only to find that he has been locked out!

At that point, he should try to reach her with his whole heart, both by appeal and through loving actions, but it is only the wife who has the power to unlock her heart and let him back in. Dear wife, if you have been crushed and hurt by your husband’s absence, and now you find that he wants to come home to you and your heart, I beg you to prayerfully humble your heart, learn to forgive, and open the door before your husband withdraws himself!


One response to “Rise Up, My Love (156): Do You Have a Rubber-band Relationship?

  1. From Ted: Your sense of what I call the “dance” of love or the “ying-yang” of love is right on. Your term ‘rubber band’ is a great one.

    It does trouble me that the Christ figure plays the same game and walks off just when I am ready for Him – or is it that I am ready only because He has gone!

    Mothers and their two year old children have this – the classic situation which leads to the most severe personality disorders is exemplified when she is in the store with her toddler and he (I will engender this little one) demands to stay and buy candy. The most effective way to produce this can be to tell him he can have his way and stay but she is going home. As she walks away he pauses and then runs crying after her. The message is “you can be an individual and be alone of be my puppet and you will get me.”

    Another reason for not responding is fear of failure. I like Volf’s take on this relative to forgiveness. So much forgiveness is ‘mailed out’ but not opened for many different reasons. Are there strings attached? Is it real, am I worthy, does this mean I have to stop doing the sin? etc.

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