In this last part of chapter 5, the daughters of Jerusalem are asking the woman why her beloved is so special, why he's different. Why should they care?
The choice of words by the woman may seem odd. Eyes bathed in milk? Ivory encrusted with sapphires? (So, white covered with blue jewels...? Maybe he wears a lot of jewelry.) Legs like columns of marble/alabaster? What's important to note here is that, like the rest of the book, she speaks the words with such conviction, love, and affection. She is confidently asserting why her beloved is so special and different, and if you really pay attention to the objects she describes, each one is precious, rich, rare. She repeats the comparisons to gold, fragrant spices and herbs, etc.
What struck me the most, however, are the last two verses:
"His speech is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend."
After all the extravagant physical descriptors, the woman ends with the best - sweet speech, being altogether desirable, and friendship. The externals yield to what truly sets their love apart. It is more than a physical relationship filled with passion and romance; it is a romance of two hearts filled with compassion and deep friendship.
This is what we all seek. When we are older and our bodies begin to fail us, the relationships we have reach beyond physical appearance. And this is what Christ wants for us as well. He does not desire a surface-level relationship based on external religious qualities or habits. Without love, everything else is empty (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Where we will find true fulfillment is in communion with God founded on trust, friendship, and intimacy.
As women it is important that we recognize the physical beauty with which God has gifted us, and it is just as important to recognize the beauty of our feminine nature, our capacity to love, our desire to give of ourselves to others. During this season where society focuses on physical qualities, material gifts, emotions, and lust, let us remember that the externals should always yield to Love itself, the King of our hearts.