Friday, March 25, 2016

Learning To Empathize

Song of Solomon 8:8-14

“We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?  If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar.  

I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. ” (Song of Solomon 8:8-10)

In Genesis 2:24, Adam described the relationship that is to exist between husband and wife.  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”  Though they separate themselves from their parents and devote themselves to each other, they cannot escape the impact their family has on their attitudes and actions.

A child is born with certain innate physical and mental characteristics, as a result of their genetics.  They may be as strong and un-moveable as a wall around a fortress, or they may be more like a door, yielding easily to the desires and intentions of others.  The family shapes and develops those characteristics, in large part determining what the person will be like when they grow up and how they will be as a mate.  A loving family endeavors to make them the best they can be.  It is the family that determines whether a strong and strong willed child becomes a selfish bully, a rebellious trouble- maker , or a strong caring  member of the community,  The family will impact every relationship including their marriage for the rest of their lives. 

As the person ages, those attitudes and traits become more firmly set as a result of repeated practice, so that what was just an annoyance in their teens or twenties becomes unbearable in their sixties.  Many times the older person’s children are stunned by seemingly out of character actions, not realizing they are only the culmination of years of practice.

The woman in the song recognizes herself as a wall, but recognizes that her lover accepts who she is.   No family is perfect, and it is the individual’s choice how far they choose to carry those attitudes they learned.  She can make adjustments to please her mate, or she can focus on her own desires.   

“Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.

My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. ” (Song of Solomon 8:11-12)

Knowing what it takes for her to manage her own small vineyard, she can understand a little of how complex Solomon’s job must be trying to manage two hundred workers in his vineyards.   An important part of showing love is learning to consider what the other person is dealing with, rather than focusing only on our own problems.  Though men and women express their feelings differently, they experience the same ones.  Taking the time to think about how something affects us helps us to understand what our mate feels.  When we do, we can adjust our reaction to help them.  Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of effort devoted to emphasizing the differences in expression and ignoring the similarities of feelings in modern society.   

“ Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.  Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.” (Song of Solomon 8:13-14)

The people our spouses work and associate with pay attention to them and give them affirmation.  If we are to maintain a strong relationship, we need to learn to listen and pay attention to what our mates are saying, realizing most communication is non- verbal.  We need to make them want to come to home to us rather than dreading it.  They need to have that feeling of freedom and enjoyment of a deer on the mountain instead of a constant feeling of rejection and worthlessness.

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