"Your love is more delightful than wine." Song Of Solomon 1:2
Love is such a grand thing, isn't it? Think of your first real love; how giddy and happy you were that some other human being actually loved you! While your big sister never failed to remind you what a moronic slob you were, and that you had the most horridly smelling socks in the world, here was a fresh and lovely flower of a female telling you how you are sweetness to her heart!
You married the precious flower, and breathed in her intoxicating scent of love for many years, until, one day, you awake, and you realize that pungent and beautiful scent is gone. You look at your young bride, and time has placed its mark on her. You go to the mirror, and the reflection peering back on you is barely noticeable. You wonder, where has love gone?
In most cases, love is still there, but it has undergone some positive and negative changes. Love has changed for the better by deepening to a new and improved understanding of what true love is all about. It is not about love-making, romantic candle-lit dinners and nights on the town of dancing, but about companionship and caring. Rather than winking her eye at you, you are now winking your eye in discomfort while she assists you in putting in your contact lenses! While he used to stare romantically at you across the dinner table, and tenderly feed you samples of his food with his fingers, due to a broken arm you suffered from your grandchild's unexpected leap in to your lap, he is now feeding you your breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next six weeks! You look at her and wonder what happened to her beautiful long brown hair which is now several shades of silver, only to feel your own head which has now no hair at all!
Ah yes, time has changed both of you, and while you ponder this fact, the corners of your mouth turn upward, and you are now glad that you did not have to undergo this natural transformation alone. You turn to your spouse and smile for no apparent reason, and she thinks you are having another 'senior moment!"
Regarding the negative, the negative change did not HAVE to occur, but sadly, in many long-term marriages it does because we are often prone to taking each other for granted. We sometimes think that we did the hardest part of getting the ring on their finger, so now we can just sit back, relax, and enjoy eternal bliss. Then, when bliss doesn't come, we get angry, feel frustrated, and blame. "She does not respond to me like she used to!" you say.
What about you? How do YOU now respond to your spouse? Do you speak with vinegar-tainted words, and expect honey-coated ones in return? What about your actions? Are you ignoring your spouse's needs while expecting your own to be met?
Just as the above verse compares love to wine, so too can marriage be compared to an entire vineyard which must be nurtured, watered and cultivated if it is to produce sweet and delicious grapes suitable for making wine. Neglected, the vineyard slowly begins to wither and dry, and the juice from any grapes produced is bitter to the taste.
Love in marriage IS more delightful than wine because, as does wine improve with time, so too, does well-cared for love have the ability to improve in character and intensity. It IS the sweetest drink!
The same is true with our relationship with God. To ignore it is bitterness to our soul, and destruction to our salvation.