Catch Those Little Foxes
By: Brent Rinehart
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom” - Song of Solomon 2:15
My family recently moved out into the country, and it has been quite a change of scenery. We traded in our view of our neighbors’ houses for woods and pastures. One of our favorite activities these past few months has been catching a glimpse of our new neighbors: lizards, frogs, black snakes, deer and an owl that likes to hoot and swoop through the trees. We even have a little red fox who meanders through the back yard from time to time. He’s hard to spot, as he moves so quietly and stealthily. You have to be on the lookout and in the right place at the right time.
When I think about our new fox friend, I can’t help but think about this passage in Song of Solomon, one of the great pieces of love poetry in the history of literature. Most of us don’t hear many sermons or read a lot of commentaries about Song of Solomon. Let’s be honest, some of the passages might make us blush if we read them in front of our parents. But, I’ve long appreciated this verse and how it applies to our own love stories and marriages.
If you’ve ever been gardener, you know that you have to take care to keep “visitors” from nibbling on your crops. Birds, squirrels, deer, rabbits – even foxes – all like to dine on fruits and vegetables growing in the garden. You can spread various repellants or install fencing to protect your prized plants.
This is a helpful picture of how we should tend to our marriages. Just as a garden needs watering, weeding, fertilizing, and protecting, our marriage relationship requires daily cultivation. If we do nothing, “little foxes” can creep in, nibble away at our relationship and remove our joy bit by bit. As a result, what is intended to be a beautiful bounty will be left a barren wasteland.
God designed marriage for our benefit. “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” (Genesis 2:18). Marriage is a gift, perfectly designed to satisfy our human needs – both physical and emotional – and draw us closer to God Himself. When we let down our guard, the enemy can sneak in and corrupt – even ruin – what God designed to be a blessing and benefit to us.
Are there “little foxes” creeping in and nibbling away at your marriage? What are these “little foxes” in your life? “Little foxes” sneaking into your marriage can start small. They could be seemingly innocent private conversations that grow into an inappropriate relationship. A “little fox” could be viewing something you shouldn’t on Instagram, an act that can eventually grow into full-blown pornography addiction.
Maybe your “little foxes” are small disagreements that seem to come up over and over again. Small arguments can become big problems that drive a wedge between husband and wife. Or, perhaps they are uncommunicated expectations. If you continually allow issues to fester, eventually the pressure will lead to an explosion.
Marriages never end overnight. There are always a series of events and decisions that lead to a broken relationship. These “little foxes” can come in many shapes and forms. You have to be diligent and be on the lookout so you can spot them, because they move in slowly to avoid detection. You have to catch them early, so small problems do not become big catastrophic issues in your marriage.
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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Originally published Tuesday, 28 December 2021.