Were you expecting pictures of beautiful women when you saw the title of this post? The foxes in this case are from an obscure little verse in the steamy love poetry of Song of Songs in the Bible. If you haven’t already, I suggest you read it with your husband or wife and then go get a little steamy yourselves.
“Is God okay with that?” you ask. Well, He’s the One who created us for intimacy, and He knows how it all works. In fact, He knows how marriage works best, and we are wise when we follow His instructions. But that’s not what I want to write about today.
Two verses from Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon depending on your Bible translation) have always struck me as profound. The husband says to his wife:
“My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” (Song of Songs 2:14-15).
I love the nickname he has for her—Dove—the symbol of peace and purity. In this scene, she’s hiding from her Lover. I get the feeling she is hurt and he’s trying to reassure her of his love, and drawing her out. His words say, “You’re safe with me.”Then he gives her an instruction that at first seems out of place—Catch the foxes. What does this have to do with their relationship?
In the literal sense: If you have a vineyard in bloom and a bunch of foxes go scampering through it knocking off the fragile buds, it will affect your harvest. In relationships it’s much the same. There are times of vulnerability in each marriage, and areas of vulnerability in each partner. If we are rough or inconsiderate with each other we can damage the fruitfulness of the marriage.
The Lover in this poem is telling his wife to do the same thing we need to do for each other in our marriages. Watch out for and catch the “little foxes” before they damage your relationship.
Here are a few, which if not dealt with while they are small, can cause much heartache:
- Carelessly spoken or critical words
- Letting days pass without meaningful touch, like long hugs or kisses
- When busyness keeps you from date night and a daily check in
- Talking without eye contact
- Conversations that go no deeper than fact and opinion
- Putting our children ahead of each other
- Giving more focused attention to phones and computers than each other
- Withholding words of affection and praise
- Disrespecting one another
- Forgetting to laugh and delight in your spouse
- Failing to pray together every day
You probably thought of a few others as you read my list. Not everyone's list will be the same.
Kelly and I are currently in a season that requires a lot of time apart. We’re making great efforts to pray together morning and night, and send each other texts throughout the day and evening in order to stay connected. We share funny stories, dreams and ideas, and how God is speaking to us from His Word and through daily encounters. All this contributes to a sense of intimacy while we’re apart.
We keep reminding each other “it’s only for a season.”
But when we are together, we’re both so exhausted and busy catching up we forget to talk about all the stuff we've been saving up. So we’re finding new times to talk when we’re at our best—like lunch dates when he’s in town instead of evenings out, and making sure we set aside our phones and really listen.
Are there little foxes scampering through your vineyard that you need to catch and banish from your marriage?
Where is your husband or wife feeling vulnerable right now? How can you actively protect and nourish them?
This Valentine’s and every day, love is not just flowers and a card (and of course chocolate!); love is investing in our partner for a lifetime harvest of mutual delight and satisfaction.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
#Valentines #howtoloveforlife #itsthelittlethings #songofsongs #foxesvines #protectyourpartner