Lesson 02: Song of Solomon 02/04: Seasons of Love
In the second love letter within Song of Solomon, the poets leverage spring-like language to compare the sparks in their relationship to the changing of the seasons. Going back and forth, their poem paints pictures of fruits, flowers, trees, and the arrival of spring as a direct parallel to the new and exciting season they are stepping into as a couple. This passage reveals three significant seasons that every relationship will go through: The Single Season, the Honeymoon Season, and the Discovery Season.
Large Group Instructions
ILLUSTRATION: Show pictures of people jumping ahead in the season. Whether it’s Christmas decor in October, shorts in January, or flannel in the summer.
People have a funny habit of jumping into seasons prematurely. Fall is a prime example. As soon as a single leaf falls onto the ground, some folks start wearing flannel, drinking pumpkin spice, and lighting cinnamon-scented candles. Season skipping is especially evident over the holidays. People start playing Christmas music when most houses still have jack-o-lanterns on their front steps. The American culture loves jumping into the next season too soon.
It's tempting to jump ahead to the next season because it's new. It's exciting. It's a much-needed change of pace. While it's relatively harmless concerning the weather or holidays, it can be detrimental when we jump ahead in our relational seasons.
We get to see all the seasons of love develop in the romantic exchange between Solomon and his bride.
In the second love letter within Song of Solomon, the poets leverage spring-like language to compare the sparks in their relationship to the changing of the seasons.
Going back and forth, their poem paints pictures of fruits, flowers, trees, and the arrival of spring as a direct parallel to the new and exciting season they are stepping into as a couple.
This passage reveals three significant seasons that every relationship will go through.
If their blooming love is spring, then singleness was winter.
Interestingly, singleness is the most important season of your relational journey. This is where you develop as an individual and become a mature person who is ready for a healthy relationship.
During singleness, you build the character required to sustain a God-honoring romance.
You have all the free time in the world to pursue the quirks, passions, hobbies, and interests that make up the fabric of your personality.
So many people despise their single season, which is a shame.
What does it look like to despise your single season?
It's when you're constantly looking for your next fling, sending out dozens of messages in hopes that someone shows interest, or spending a massive chunk of time daydreaming about your future romantic endeavors.
It's not wrong to desire a partner, but it's dangerous to despise your singleness. You are in this season for a reason.
Don't rush into your next season prematurely.
Just like when people rush into the spring after a long hard winter, jumping into the next season can trigger some serious discomfort, or even frostbite.
Don't do it.
Truly seize your single season. Develop great friendships, fall in love with Jesus, and focus on your own faith formation.
When you utilize your single season to become better, your future relationships will be stronger.
— TRANSITION — Eventually, your single season will come to an end. While it’s exciting to start a new relationship, there are also some important lessons to keep in mind.
Look at this dramatic language. Can't you just feel the puppy love leaping off the pages?
He's not just walking. He’s gliding over the hills like a gazelle.
He's not just saying, "wanna hang out?" He's whisking her off of her feet and into the sunset.
It's all very corny.
If you can relate to this kind of intensity, then you are in your honeymoon phase. Welcome to the most exciting part of any relationship — the honeymoon.
This is when you finally tell each other you like each other, you’re texting every day, and you cannot stop thinking about your newfound partner.
Everything is exaggerated in this season.
The good experiences feel like you're dancing atop a mountain and the bad moments feel like you're falling into the valley.
The phycological phrase for this stage is “infatuation."
There is a scientific reason why your budding bond feels so amazing. Your endocrine system pumps oxytocin, the love chemical, through your veins at the mere thought of your new partner.
It's like a literal high.
Infatuation is our culture's entire concept of love.
It's what all the songs, movies, books, and stories describe.
The good news is that infatuation feels fantastic.
The bad news is that it doesn’t last forever. Scientifically speaking, your body will only release oxytocin anywhere from a day to five months into your relationship.
It’s pleasing, but not permanent.
Most adolescents live in this season, which is why some people seem to have a major breakup every year.
When the honeymoon wears off, they assume they've fallen out of love.
However, that doesn't have to be the case. Just because the feeling evolved, it doesn't mean it's extinguished.
Eventually, the intensity of infatuation will wear off. That’s a good thing!
After the oxytocin fades, your legitimate connection begins to burst forth.
That brings us to the next season of discovery.
Everyone wants to experience a verse sixteen kind of love. "My beloved is mine and I am his."
This kind of feeling is not instant. It requires investment and development.
In the last section of their second love letter, Solomon makes it clear that he simply wants to look into his new bride's eyes and listen to her stories.
This is not a physical attraction, but an emotional connection.
Our puppy-loving poets find themselves in the season of discovery, which encompasses their long-term development.
During discovery, we strive to learn every little thing about our "beloved."
As your relationship flourishes, you should strive to learn something new about your partner every day.
Talk about your childhood.
Discuss their past.
Share each other's dreams, desires, goals, and aspirations.
Long-lasting relationships hinge on the season of discovery.
Depth happens in discovery, but it's also important to focus on authenticity.
I've seen so many great couples crumble because they didn't handle discovery correctly.
Don't treat dating like a talent show. When you find a partner with serious potential, be sure to show your authentic self.
Share your shortcomings, insecurities, and struggles.
More so, don't pretend to be something you're not just to impress someone.
If you're dating them, you should be in this for the long haul.
You don't want someone to fall for a fake version of you.
Truly explore the depths of each other's experience, identity, and personality.
Look at the quirky phrase in verse fifteen. Solomon says, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards." Weird, right?
Let's break this down. A few times in this collection of letters, they use the term "vineyard" to allude to the most guarded parts of themselves like their emotions, their intimacy, and even their physical attraction. What do foxes do to vineyards? They sneak around, eat the grapes, and tear up the vines.
A few nips to a few vines can render an entire vineyard barren, fruitless, and dead. By catching the foxes, they are committing to protecting their relationship at all costs.
What are some common foxes in our relationships?
Lust can be a little fox by objectifying your perspective of each other.
Dishonesty can be a little fox by breaking your trust.
Pornography can be a little fox by poisoning the way you perceive intimacy.
Codependence can be a little fox by making you assume that your partner has the power to save you.
In all seasons of your relationships, you need to catch all the little foxes that can creep in unnoticed and cause damage.
Solomon uses the language of seasons because he understands that your relationships are going to change, grow, develop, and evolve.
There may be a winter season where things feel hard; that's normal.
There may be a spring season full of big changes; that’s natural.
In every season, build your relationship on the only unchanging foundation — agape. Real, long-lasting relationships are rooted in the love of God.
That's how you build a connection that can withstand every season.
Small Group Instructions
TALK IT OUT Go through these questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.
Ice Breaker: Go around your circle and share this week’s highs and lows. What was the best part of your week and what was the lowest part of your week?
Q1: Why does the Bible compare love to seasons? What does that reveal about God-honoring relationships?
Q2: How can we embrace our season of singleness in a way that glorifies God?
Q3: What characteristics of a romantic relationship must be developed in order for it to progress beyond the season of infatuation?
Q4: Think of a healthy, God-honoring marriage. How does that couple seem to grow and evolve their relationship through different seasons of life?
Application: What are common “foxes” in relationships that threaten their health, longevity, and integrity? How can they be avoided or worked through?
This reading plan includes:
1 John 3:1-3 John 17:20-26 Romans 8:12-17 Hebrews 12:1-3 1 Corinthians 15:33 Proverbs 7:1-5 Philippians 4:8-9
Do the following with each passage:
ASK– God to connect with you here. In prayer, start by slowing down and inviting God to be present. Begin with focus and openness to see what God has for you today.
READ– the selected section of Scripture slowly. Take note of the words and phrases that intrigue you, reading them a second time if necessary.
REFLECT– on what grabs you. How does this passage personally relate to your own life and experiences?
RESPOND– to the Scripture. Speak directly to God about what’s on your mind and heart. Look for ways to live out what you’ve uncovered.
About For Ministry Resources Youth Series
FMR develops a monthly youth ministry curriculum that is free to all local churches. Each monthly release includes a sermon series, small group series, Bible devotional, and supporting graphics packs that are original, practical, and ready to use.