Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Compliments and Criticisms in Song of Songs

"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead" (Song of Songs 4:1).

Several times in the Song of Songs, the husband pays extended compliments to the bride, or vice versa. This praise shows us the importance of building one another up in marriage. It is said that it takes nine compliments to outweigh one criticism, because we are so ready and willing to take up hurts and so suspicious of compliments. If this is so, then our marriages need to be filled with compliments and praise.

James 3:5–10 tells us that the tongue is the most destructive member of the body. With it we can set the whole world of our life on fire. On the other hand, with it we can praise God. The Bible everywhere teaches us that we must continually thank and praise God and not be bitter against Him for what He brings into our lives. The same principle applies in our dealings with other people, especially in marriage. Thanksgiving and praise are the key to a healthy marriage.

One of the most effective self-evaluative exercises you can do is sit down and write out the five most meaningful compliments you have ever received, as well as the five most painful criticisms you have ever received. You will find that your life has largely been shaped by these ten events. You may find that some of the most painful things have come from your spouse.

The negative things we say to one another are the most destructive things in our marriages. They undermine trust, love, and respect more than anything other factor. While this negative communication may manifest itself in other areas, the root problem is the tongue. Cutting down your spouse to other people, sarcastic responses, the “silent treatment”—all these are ways we destroy each other.

On the other hand, the way to build up our marriages is also through the tongue. We are to cherish each other, and what we say and do shows how much we love each other. What we say to each other in marriage creates the environment of trust, intimacy, and love. As we said a few days ago, this means studying your mate. Take time to find something of value in your spouse and compliment him/her on that.

What are some compliments you could give your partner in the following areas: physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, artistic, cooking, gardening, housekeeping, working with the kids? List other areas of your life, and seek out compliments in those areas as well.