“You’ve ravished my heart, my sister, my bride” (Song of Songs 4:9). I’ve been fascinated by this line in Scripture from the moment I first read it 12 years ago. The lover calls his beloved, “his sister, his bride.” Now, this not Marcus Aurelius’ son in the movie Gladiator, tying to hook up with his blood sister. This is a man who is deeply in love, who God is speaking through to show us a little somethin’, somethin’ about love. Let’s dive into this…
For me, the journey started 13 years ago when a beautiful young lady ravished my heart. I had a big crush on this woman and she knew it. I went to ask her out and she says to me, no, she will not date anyone until she’s known them a year. She wanted to be friends for one year before dating. What?!? At first, I took this as a rejection, but then as a challenge. This girl was worth waiting for.
When the year came around, I asked her out. Again, she says, no, there’s another stipulation. I have to read the book Love & Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla, first, and then she’ll decide. For real? Yep. So I got to work and I’m a really slow reader, but I was motivated like never before and I knocked it out in week.
I can’t tell you how much respect I had for this young lady. I’m so thankful for her. She made me wait; she wanted to see if we could be friends first and then possibly build a relationship on that foundation. In the book, I found out what love is and is not, and what its opposite is: use. I learned about the hard-core responsibility one has in using the word love in the context of a relationship between a man and a woman. I enjoyed having to work for this young woman’s heart. As it should be! To a playboy like me, she said, “Prove it, that you really want to love me and that I’m worth it.” I had so much respect for her, and though we never got married (I decided to pursue the priesthood), that foundation we established has never gone away, and we both, I hope, left each other as better people.
Now a lot of people agree with me on this principle of building a friendship first, but the Scriptures seem to take it a step further and say be brother/sister first before becoming groom/bride. Ladies, do you feel your spirit jump at the sound of this? Hopefully! Guys, are you feeling a little sick in your stomach? Hopefully not! This idea is good news, great news! To learn to express my love/affection for my beloved as a brother to a sister, and vice versa, is a wonderful blessing and a beautiful call. This is something that will help build a healthy relationship, one that is not based on pleasure derived from making out, fondling, or intercourse, but on care and concern for the other, based on love and service to the other. It will give you the opportunity to learn to communicate well, the foundation of all relationships. Learn to have fun together in multiple ways that don’t involve a bedroom. Learn how each other interacts in group settings, out in public. Serve the poor, the homeless, the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the youth, together, as a couple or encourage the other to do so even without you. Do things for one another, pray with one another, build each other up as a brother should his sister, and vice versa. Protect one another from the dangers of this world, and help them be holy because there are only Saints in Heaven.
Man, to view my beloved as sister/brother first and go from there, that’s tough. It can be, but for God, nothing is impossible. Come Holy Spirit! God come to my assistance. Lord make haste to help me. And may we always do what love requires. Amen.
P.S. If you’re already in a romantic relationship, one that did not begin as sister/brother, it’s never too late to put aside the physical relationship and concentrate on the emotional/spiritual elements, learning to love one another intimately without so much the kissing and/or fondling and/or clothes coming off. Be creative. “I can do all things through Him (Jesus) who strengthens me.” Amen.