Marriage is a privilege, a gift from God that allows us to reflect the love Christ has for the church.
In our culture oftentimes the most important part of getting married is the wedding itself! Imagine if a vineyard owner spent all his time, attention and money on setting up a great vineyard only to neglect the vines after they’re in the ground? It would be foolish and a wasted investment.
Yet many marriages give more thought to the wedding than they do to the marriage.
In Song of Solomon it says:
“Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.”
(Song of Solomon 2:15 ESV)
A fox doesn’t come and only eat the fruit of the vine–they do much more damage. They like to gnaw on the trunk, dig holes around it and expose the roots. They don’t simply eat the grapes, they like to destroy the entire vine!
So the question begs itself–What foxes are chewing on your marriage vine?
- Fox #1: Unresolved conflict–this includes unforgiveness.
- Fox #2: Uncharitable judgments–not thinking the best, but assuming the worst.
- Fox #3: Neglect
- Fox #4: All work and no play
- Fox #5: Idols of the heart–video games, shopping, children, addicted to work, selfishness, pleasure, etc.
- Fox #6: Lack of purpose
All of the above can cause lasting damage to the marriage if they aren’t caught and dealt with quickly. So how do we trap these little foxes? How do we recognize them in our own marriage?
We have found that the best way to assess the health of our marriage is to examine how we’re relating to each other.
- If there is tension or short responses to each other then there is most likely a fox of unresolved conflict lurking around.
- If you are quick to judge your spouse’s motives as to why they did or didn’t do something before asking them why, then there may be a fox of unforgiveness chewing at your heart.
- If you have not been purposeful in setting aside time alone together either at home, or on regular date nights, then you should look more closely for the fox of neglect.
- Maybe you find your mind constantly going to your job, even when you’re “off”, and it keeps you from being totally “there” for your spouse. You don’t look at them when they speak and you only listen to them halfway. This could be the fox of all work and no play.
- The fox of idols of the heart can be much more difficult to catch. This is because our idols are the things that have not only caught our attention, but our affection. To discover them we must examine where our thoughts go when we have nothing else to think about? Or what do I want to do more than anything else with my free time? Just because we desire to do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an idol, but it could be. The only way to know for sure is to ask God to help you discover this little fox. He will be faithful to help you see it.
- The last fox is lack of purpose. He loves to get us to fall asleep in the vineyard, so he can work his damage on the vine. This is why we love this Hot Summer Nights event. If it helps a husband or wife take notice of their marriage in a fresh way, it will do more to chase away the little foxes than anything else can. And it’s fun!
What foxes have you discovered today prowling about your marriage vineyard? We encourage you to do the work necessary to chase them away. If you do, we believe the fruit produced in your vineyard will be not only good today, but make for a great wine that others will enjoy for years to come.
A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. – Mignon McLaughlin
This post has been featured on the Hot Summer Nights series on the Enter Under My Roof blog