Skip to Content




Relationships will constantly drift away from intimacy and towards isolation, but the fear of conflict drives many of us to inaction. How can we overcome our fear and intentionally work to cultivate healthy relationships? Ben Stuart continues our series through Song of Solomon and explores the ways that a healthy approach to conflict can actually strengthen our relational bonds.

Key Takeaway

Conflict doesn't have to be what ruins your relationship. If both parties commit to responding well, the conflict can actually lead to greater and deeper intimacy.

We tend to flow towards isolation.

It takes intentionality to work towards intimacy. We have watched this couple experience the spark of attraction, navigate the confusing thrill of courtship, and consummate their marriage, and now we're going to watch them deal with conflict.

Many millennials are getting married later because they view marriage as a capstone (something to achieve) instead of a cornerstone (a foundation). This is because of the rise of individualism and materialism. Individualism focuses on self-actualization, what I like, what I want, and my career; I have to be me before I can introduce anyone. I have to establish my career and be financially stable so I can maintain the standard of living I grew accustomed to at my parents' house.

A lot of people delay marriage because of fear. They think, "I'm delaying marriage to do me because afraid that if I bind my life together with someone, it may cost me more than it gives me."

Relationships are not in a steady state, so when you hit conflict, you'll either spring apart or if you hold hands, you can move through it together and arrive at deeper intimacy. Conflict brings the possibility of deeper communication and deeper trust.

When it comes to Song of Solomon 5:2-6:13, scholars differ on what this passage is. Is it actual events, or is it a metaphor? We will focus on the main emphasis from a conservative interpretive approach.

Song of Solomon 5:2-3

The man wants intimacy. She wants to rest. They've miscommunicated. They each have desires that are going in opposite directions. A misalignment of desires will lead to miscommunication, disconnection, and tension in marriage.

The 5 greatest sources of conflict...

  1. In-laws- expectations of the other family.
  2. Money- what's the value system on spending? What's essential, and what's optional?
  3. Roles- who does what? You each have a different standard of what's "done."
  4. Kids- how many? When? Is anyone staying home? Public or private school? How to discipline?
  5. Communication- can we process how we feel? Can we navigate our expectations?

Song of Solomon 5:4-5

He takes expensive anointing oil and puts it on the very place of his offense. Instead of retaliation and blowing up, he blesses where he's been wounded. And he does it extravagantly.

Refuse to retaliate. When we're bruised, we bless. You don't repay. See 1 Peter 3:9-12. Why does God honor that? Because that's what He does with us every day. See Matthew 5:44-45 and Romans 2:4. It's God's kindness that leads us to repentance. You win through kindness.

If you fight fire with fire, you'll burn your house down. Don't escalate and insult back; that's foolish. See Proverbs 26:21, 14:1, 10:12, 15:17-18, 21:9, 29:22-23. The way you dissolve conflict is with kindness. Don't wait until you think they deserve it. God didn't do that with us. You go first.

Song of Solomon 5:6

She responded to him, but he was gone. She realizes there's an emotional disconnect, and she doesn't like it.

Seek reconciliation to put on friendly terms again. She doesn't tolerate the disconnect. She deals with the resentment early. It takes humility. Pride has no place in a marriage. If you can't apologize, don't get married. You're goal should never be to win the argument. It's for intimacy and unity, to win the other person. Never storm out. Take a moment if you need it, but don't take a month. Silent treatment is childish, while body language is loud

Song of Solomon 5:7

This is a confusing part. In the previous passages with the watchmen, they were her conscience. So the idea is that her conscience is pricked by the thought that she hurt him. In the uncertainty of the disconnect and how to solve it, she asks for help.

Song of Solomon 5:8

She looks to her friends for help. That's a smart thing to do when your marriage is struggling. Reach out to those in your life who love you and will be honest with you.

Song of Solomon 5:9

They want to know why they should help her with her beloved and challenge her to tell them the reasons. She takes on the challenge and explains why he is better than all the other men.

Song of Solomon 5:10

She focuses on his good qualities. She describes him head to toe. He's noble, his hair is youthful, he's strong. The doves in a milk bath represent a nourishing gentleness. He's not angry. She feels safe with him. He's strong but not harsh. He smells good. He's in shape. He's an oak of a human being, rooted, grounded, and strong. What she's saying isn't sexual, but it's deeply respectful. He's strong and loving. Ladies: communicate this to your husband. Never shame him publicly, it's so wounding and shaming. Even in the disconnect, find a way to honor.

Men: never yell at your wife.

Recall what you respect. When you're offended, it's easy to focus on every defect. Remember what you love about them. The lie from the enemy is that as flaws start to rise about your spouse, you'll be tempted to fantasize about the "perfect" other. There are no perfect people. When you're offended, you'll highlight their inadequacy and downplay their virtues. When you're frustrated, don't amend the data just to make yourself the victim.

Song of Solomon 6:1

The friends are willing to help.

Song of Solomon 6:2

She already knows where he is. The garden is a metaphor for their love and intimacy. He didn't bail on her. He's working back toward reconciliation as well. They both have a commitment to resolve the conflict together.

Song of Solomon 6:3

She repeats they they belong to each other.

Respond to each other and reiterate their devotion. They chose and still choose each other.

Song of Solomon 6:4

Pronouns change from "her" to "you." Now they are talking to each other. When they're hurt, they don't run off. They move towards each other. She moves to reconcile, and He's in the garden trying to work it out. When they start to talk it out, they're not harsh. Instead, they reiterate their devotion. He says she's the best there is. He assures her he is with her he's not going to abandon her.

Men: emotional security is very important to women.

Song of Solomon 6:5-7

He's overwhelmed by her eyes because he feels vulnerable, but he repeats the poem from their wedding night. He's saying that everything he loved about her in their young love, he loves about her now. Even though we're in the midst of conflict, I still choose you. My devotion hasn't changed.

Song of Solomon 6:8-9

He describes the archetype of all the women and assures her that she's better than all of them and all he wants. He's not seeking other women when they are struggling. When the well runs dry in the desert, you don't seek a different well; you dig deeper.

Song of Solomon 6:10

He honors her. When you don't retaliate, work to reconcile, and reiterate your devotion, you can overcome anything. Choosing, honoring, respecting, trusting...all will take you the distance. Practice saying, "This is what you said, this is what I heard, this is how it made me feel." It gets easier.

Song of Solomon 6:11-12

You can return afresh to rekindle your love.

Song of Solomon 6:13

We have found each other and want to be intimate again.


"Conflict brings the possibility of deeper communication and deeper trust."

Ben Stuart

Discussion Questions

Share message

Message Topics

Scripture References

  • Song of Solomon 5:2-16
  • Proverbs 29
  • Song of Solomon 6:1-13
  • 1 Peter 3:9-12
  • Matthew 5:44-45
  • Romans 2:4
  • Proverbs 26
  • Proverbs 14
  • Proverbs 10
  • Proverbs 15
  • Proverbs 21
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.