Creating Strong Boundaries in Marriage
By: Kia Stephens
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15 (NIV)
When a man and woman join in holy matrimony neither of them think their union will one day encounter an affair, but it happens. Slowly and subtly infidelity impacts the strongest of marriages. For this reason, it is necessary to establish boundaries or guardrails to protect the marriage union from unfaithfulness on the part of either spouse.
Boundaries are proactive ways of dealing with the temptation to cheat. Rather than assuming we will never be tempted, we should expect the best but prepare for the worst. As married couples, our mantra should be how can we close the door to potential threats before they happen.
In light of Song of Solomon 2:15, we can consider our marriages as vineyards, worthy of being protected from foxes. Foxes destroy the beauty and health of the vineyards and here in the pages of scripture Solomon is admonishing the bridesmen to restrain these mischievous animals from wreaking havoc.
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines that are grown for winemaking and raisins. The successful cultivation of a vineyard takes 2 years to produce fruit and 4 years to produce a bottle of wine. That is 2 - 4 years of nurturing and tending to the health of the vineyard. After that much work, most winemakers would go to great lengths to protect their vineyard from predators. We must do the same in our marriages.
It takes time to nurture a marriage, to know our spouses, and become one. We must be diligent to protect our marriages from anyone and anything that might seek to destroy all that has been built. We must ask ourselves what would be considered foxes in our marital vineyards?
It could be co-workers, ex relationships, work, media or any factor that seeks to destroy the health of our marriage. The question becomes, where are the entry points to our vineyards? Where do we need to be on guard? Where do we need to close the proverbial gate to our garden?
One obvious answer is in our conversations with the opposite sex. We must consider all of the places and ways we have conversations: at work, on social media, on the phone, or even in our church. If we would not feel comfortable interacting with those individuals with our spouses present, this may be an indication that a fox has found an entry point into our marital vineyard.
Taking these precautions may seem strange or unnecessary to those who are not in our vineyard but we must be willing to do what seems unnecessary. Remember all of the work it took to cultivate your marriage. Think of all of the date nights, difficult conversations, trials you experienced together, collective accomplishments, and conflict worked through. It would be a waste to squander all of that hard work for a little fox.
Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father. For more encouragement download Kia's free audio message, “Knowing God as Father.” Additionally, you can connect with Kia on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.
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Originally published Thursday, 21 September 2023.