Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. –Song of Solomon 2:15
Have you ever been away from your spouse for a few days and then found you were excited to get back together again? Regardless of the challenges you face in your marriage, absence really should make the heart long for your spouse. I hope that’s where you are in your marriage.
That’s where the couple in Song of Solomon chapter two find themselves. A lady who’s identified as the Shulamite woman has caught a glimpse of her lover and is excited to see him.
What he says to her reminds me of those times in marriage when a happy reunion takes place.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”
Awww, how sweet.
He’s not done. He goes on like that, and if you’ve ever read the Song of Solomon, you know that the relationship seems to be in pretty good shape for the Shulamite woman and her lover.
I think it’s because of what he says in chapter 2 verse 15: Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
Remember those times of reunion between you and your spouse? What about when the sweetness is cut short by a circumstance that’s out of your control. Something like walking into a flooded house, an unexpected financial challenge, or a harsh word that slips out faster than you can catch it can really spoil the mood
Those are foxes.
The lover doesn’t want anything to ruin his moments with the Shulamite woman. He doesn’t want their time in a beautiful vineyard to be spoiled by foxes feasting on what he and his love should be enjoying. Those are the things that come between you and your spouse.
And look how the writer describes them– they’re little foxes. These aren’t even full grown, big, sly foxes. These little guys probably don’t even know what they’re doing.
It’s like that in marriage. Little challenges that cause friction between husband and wife can come in and ruin what would otherwise be a beautiful experience together. In marriage, foxes can be anything– things we think, things we say or things we do.
So what do you do about that? Do you let little foxes run wild and take what rightfully belongs to you? I mean, you’ve worked hard for that vinyard. Are you just going to let them run in and take what you’ve expended a lot of energy to cultivate?
Three things to consider:
- Admit you’ve probably got foxes in your vineyard. I can’t tell from the text that the couple has actually set their eyes on the vineyards in question. They’re pretty ga ga for each other and then he brings them up. But maybe he’s saying, “Now, honey, this is something you can expect. We’re going to have these foxes when we get to where we’re going, and we’re going to have to deal with them, but it’s going to be a lot better when we do.”
It’s okay to have challenges that come up in your marriage, because that’s part of the way you get stronger as a couple. But it’s not okay to let the foxes run wild. Instead, be honest about the challenges you face so you can do something about it–together.
- Catch them. The lover acknowledges that there may be foxes in the vineyard, but he also commits to doing something about it. Develop an action plan to deal with challenges in your marriage, because they probably aren’t going away on their own.
- Think about building a fence. You want to deal with foxes in your vineyard, so you don’t just chase the same foxes over and over again. The text doesn’t say what the couple does about this problem, but I’d think about taking some preventative measures. What are the things that keep coming back to battle you in your marriage? Why are they a problem again and again? Could it be that you haven’t put in place the safeguards that keep those things out? If you struggle with something consistently, what strategies are you using to minimize the impact on your marriage? In what ways are you holding each other accountable for what you want out of the relationship? Finally, do you need help to build a fence around your marriage? Find it.
You can actually cultivate that feeling you get when you’ve been away from the person you love with all your heart, and then come back together again. The springtime of love can be yours – I’m sure of it.
But if you want it, you’re going to have to go on a fox hunt.