You see, we are usually much better at crisis intervention than we are at regular maintenance. We are good procrastinators, willing and able to ignore or table a small issue ‘til we can give it “more attention.” Work and effort are required to handle these little foxes, and we would rather invest that energy in enjoyable endeavors. Or, if we are tackling trouble areas, we’ll invest the energy in bigger issues that have been put off too long that now demand attention.
Make a commitment not to ignore the little foxes in your marriage: being thoughtless or preoccupied, forgetting anniversaries or birthdays, criticizing, taking your spouse for granted, not appreciating the little things they do. The little foxes might seem unimportant, but they can eventually knock a person, a marriage, and ultimately a whole family into the abyss of confusion, frustration, and despair, all starting from minor issues.
Are you letting any foxes loose in your marriage? Are you spending time with your spouse or has “busy-ness” taken over? Do you really listen to her or him talk? Do you persist in that little habit that irritates your spouse? With God’s help, identify the little things before they become big things.
For you single people, all of the married people vowed never to let foxes into their vineyard. All would have boasted, “That will never happen to me.” But, as you see, we all fall prey to the insidious trickery of the sly foxes Satan uses to undermine what God has ordained and blessed. Safeguard your heart/mind … before you get married, then you will have a better chance in your marriage. Also, all these principles apply not just to marriage, but to every relationship we find ourselves in.
Today, go on a foxhunt to be sure pesky little patterns or habits aren’t creeping up on you. And replace the destructive little foxes with acts of love and the willingness to put God at the center of the relationship. Address the issue head on. Plan a surprise dinner for two. Buy a sentimental gift. Join your spouse in one of his or her favorite activities … even if it’s not your thing. These little acts of thoughtfulness can help a marriage move forward. Then authentic and difficult discussions can happen. Deeper relational fulfillment can be found. Your decision, choose well.
Dear God, Forgive me for how I have acted towards one of the greatest gifts You have given me, my spouse. Marriage is so powerful, but also tricky and complex. Help me become more aware of the “little foxes” that I bring to the marriage … and help me focus on You and replace them with love. I pray this and all prayers in the name of Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!
Song of Solomon 2:15
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.