Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song of Solomon 2:15
Let her be as a loving hind and graceful doe, Let her breasts refresh and satisfy you at all times; Always be exhilarated and delight in her love. Proverbs 5:19
As I conclude this series, I can’t help think of the marriages that are fumbling in the dark, wondering where they dropped their map. The marriages that start out strong but limp on as days progress.
Those invaded by the big ravaging foxes and the little pesky ones. The foxes of apathy, betrayal, mistrust, unresponsiveness, detractors and distractions. Marriages that are on hold because of the little ones. Am praying for you.
Am praying for you because God never created this gift to drive us nuts! Probably crazy for each other, in a good way. It’s not a gift that should cause sorrow or dig deep crevices of pain and regret. His plan, which still holds, is for us to live, laugh love each other through seasons, His grace being all so sublime and sufficient to carry us through.
He intends for unity, harmony, oneness. He intends for us to love unreservedly and pursue each other relentlessly. He’s provided the rhythm already for the marriage dance. Ours is to take the center stage and grow that rhythm within us.
Vineyards are considered to have bloomed when the color of the stems and grape seeds turn brown. They will have plumped up as sugars increase, and they will be easy to pull from it’s cluster.
Just like the vineyards, marriages too go through seasons. There will be spring time and fall. There will be seasons of being in the crucible of pain, and heat, and other seasons when the frost bite is so real. These are the seasons when the “vineyards are in bloom.”
So why does the Lord warn us against the foxes and the little foxes? Do foxes really eat grapes? The truth is, they do not survive on grapes. They would nibble on them, but would not survive on them. Foxes are nocturnal.
This means that much of the ravaging they do, occurs at night when they are wide awake. They dig holes underground, often around a place abounding with its favorite food, hence, making themselves right at home of any royal vineyards. Those foxes will then eat those tender grapes before being ripe for harvest.
Secondly, by making those solitary burrows right under the vineyards root system, the whole vine becomes weak since it’s not rooted in properly. The grapes then begin withering and the branches droop for failing to get the right nourishment at the most critical stage of it’s growth. Such is the way of the pesky foxes around the vineyards.
Isaiah 5:2 describes how the Lord catered to His vineyard. “He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein.”
Left unrestrained and unfettered, foxes can destroy an entire harvest, not just some few tender branches. Solomon and his Shunamite lady knew this too well, and so they kept a watchful eye over their vineyard of love. I especially love that they say “Catch us the foxes.”
Sounds as if they were making a prayer, in full recognition of what could happen if they do not tend and hedge in their marriage.
See, it’s not usually the big problems that cripple down a marriage or packs ice bergs on the marriage bed. It’s the little quirks, the little irritations, the little annoyances, the unresolved issues that slowly begin corroding the marriage wall. It’s the daily unresponsiveness to each other’s issues, branding each other petty, ignoring each other’s requests, shifting one’s allegiance to other “important things” and forgetting those little nuances that made you two attracted to each other.
It’s always a slow fade. You don’t wake up one morning and walk out of a marriage. The drift began way back. It’s the disrespect you keep throwing at each other, being dishonest about the little things, eventually being dishonest about the major things. It’s the jealousy, mistrust and insecurities you keep weighing down at each other.
It’s being complacent or carrying out your roles irresponsibly. It’s the anger, being too self-absorbed, keeping scores, bitterness, harboring resentment and poor communication.
What about the sneaky little foxes? They are those that are unseen or undetectable like spending little or no time with each other. Being engrossed at work or ministry too much. Getting home and reclining with the remote. Being always on your phone chatting, texting, trolling or simply scrolling. . .or not the so obvious one, like putting your marriage at the back burner because of the little ones.
The truth is, the little foxes will try to sneak into any marriage. Any marriage, at whichever stage. Both the vineyards that are ripe and ready for harvest and those in bloom.
Foxes will linger around to jump right into the vineyards that are not hedged in. It can be easy to ignore the little foxes. But eventually they will nip at your happy heels. If they aren’t dealt with, little foxes become big foxes with fangs of disappointment and claws of resentment.
From a dysfunctional home to dissatisfaction with your spouse, self-preservation to possessiveness, jealousy to flippancy.
The key is to catch those little ones before they grow into the big ones that would raze the marriage to the ground.
What are you struggling with? I struggled with submission. It was a little pesky fox. I towered high above my husband in ways that were so disrespectful. Am not saying that a wife shouldn’t be ambitious. Am saying that an ambitious spirit shouldn’t turn one into a foolish woman.
So what fox are you giving a wide berth to? A marriage without work will soon die. If you have been sitting pretty, letting your spouse do it all, you need to rethink why you are holding the other person at ransom. Building isn’t the prerogative of one.
Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”
Only God can truly protect a marriage. He invites us to participate in unleashing this power by working towards mutual satisfaction, and prayer.
It is only through the power of God working in both the husband and the wife, TO WILL and TO DO, ALL for His good pleasure. Pray, “Lord, catch us the foxes. . .” and catch them when the Lord gives you direction.
God’s will for your marriage is for it to thrive for a lifetime of emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy. That said, work for mutual satisfaction too. See what Solomon says in Chapter 4:8
Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; come with me from Lebanon. Depart from the peak of Amana, from the peak of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards.
He wasn’t talking about going on a trip from Lebanon to his hometown. Solomon was not selfishly thinking of his own sexual gratification and satisfaction; he wanted his wife to enjoy the same release as well.
We were created to mutually enjoy each other. The marriage bed wasn’t intended to grant satisfaction to the husband alone. A wife should experience the same energy and thrill as a husband. It is selfish to only look out after your own interests Mister. Equally, on the wife, it is selfish to think that your husband should be solely responsible for your sexual responsiveness.
Reaching an earth shaking ecstasy takes some effort on the wife’s part as well.
Put in some effort too to climb the Mountains of Lebanon! Take a hot shower or soak in a bubble bath. Wear the pretty lingerie. Remember the one you were gifted at the bridal shower? Mister, set, the mood of the bedroom. Just a few ways to engage your most important sex organ—your mind—before you slip beneath the sheets.
Sometimes, the best lovemaking isn’t spontaneous. Because why lie, when you have a job, a ministry to run, a marriage and children, especially children, you are spread out thin. Many who are waiting for the spontaneous magic moment end up just simply waiting.
Fan those smoldering embers. Catch those little foxes that would ruin your vineyard, and work for mutual satisfaction.