Fighting the Little Foxes
14 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.
15 Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.” Song of Songs 2:14-15 NIV
Little things often make the biggest differences in a marriage. Commentaries suggest that in Lebanon, where the Abishag lived, there were lions and leopards that would threaten the lives of people who worked in the vineyards. Coming across those animals were the biggest issues to beware of. Little foxes, posed a serious small threats to the vineyards in a different way. The foxes Abishag talks about here were difficult to keep out of the vineyards because they were so small (not more than a foot tall) and elusive. Though the foxes were small, they were very destructive for the vineyards because they would eat the grapes before they reached maturity and would burrow in the ground loosening the soil around the roots of the vines causing the vines to die or be less fruitful.
The lions and leopards are big problems that are easier to spot, that can kill and destroy. The “little foxes” are small problems that slowly eat away at and erode your relationship.
It is often the “little foxes” that can ruin a marriage as well. What are some “little foxes” that are difficult, but important, to drive out of your marriage?
Using the “D” word. Don’t use the “D” word when you argue, divorce. Instead, use the “C” word, commitment. A very important lesson is not to make. Eliminate the “D” or divorce word from your vocabulary entirely. You need to make an agreement that there are only 2 types of marriage – a happy marriage and an unhappy marriage. Don’t use the “D” word to make threats or to put the other person down. Laura discovered on her Pinterest account a picture of an elderly couple affectionately holding each other. When speaking of the longevity of their marriage, they said, “We were born in a time that when something was broken, you didn’t throw it away, you fixed it.” We need to learn to fix our marriages rather than throwing it away. NEVER use the “D” word!
Un-resolved anger and bitterness. The wife of Billy Graham, Ruth Bell Graham, once said “A great marriage is the union of two great forgivers.” Dennis Rainey says “You must be liberal and lavish in forgiving your spouse.” We must be quick to forgive and quick to repent. Unrepentant people make terrible spouses because they are not open to learning or growing.
Using the terms “Never” and “Always.” You will always put your spouse on the defensive if you use the terms “never” and “always” when you argue. It is easy to use these terms, but it will put your spouse on the defensive and the fight usually escalates with these terms.
Getting historical. That’s right… historical. I didn’t say hysterical (although we shouldn’t get hysterical either). It is important that we don’t resurrect old dead fights. There is a time for that, but not in the heat of an argument. To squash this “little fox” deal with the fight or issue in front of you NOW.
Mentioning family or using the kids when you fight. We all carry with us tendencies of our families, whether good or bad. There are times to address issues that we have that are like our families, but not in the midst of a fight. Do it when you have cool heads. A good rule is that he deals with his family and she deals with her family. The worst things happen when he deals with her family and she deals with his family.
Fighting to win. Don’t fight to win (win a fight, lose a mate), fight to resolve – The goal of a fight should never be to overcome and win or rule over your spouse. Instead, the goal of a conflict is to resolve an issue.
I remember being taught in our pre-marital sessions, “Just because you are right, doesn’t make it right.” In other words, I was told that just because I feel I am right about an issue, does not give me the right to bulldoze my wife! A quarterback’s goal should never be to win in a game against his linebacker… They are on the same team! They may disagree about what plays to make, but they are on the same team. If your wife loses… you lose. If your husband loses… you lose!
Swearing or calling your spouse names. This is always uncalled for and like using the terms “never” and “always,” will put your spouse on the defense. Remember as a couple, you MUST be able to identify when these occur and give each other permission to say, “Hey.” Apologize. Come back to the real issues.
NEVER make lasting decisions based on passing emotions – Don’t make big permanent decisions based on passing anger, frustration, or depression. This is really hard to do because we are emotional beings and we like to act based on how we feel. Don’t do it. When we make big purchases based on passing emotions that a salesperson exploits, don’t you regret it most times?
Hard seasons in life. There are some seasons in life that are just plain hard to go through. There are times when a spouse, a child or a parent gets sick. We need to continually ask, are we being considerate in the hard seasons? Are we being nice to our spouses? Are we being reasonable?
Holy Spirit, may Laura and I be aware of the “little foxes” in our vineyard and labor to drive them out. In the name of Jesus, I declare that the devil will not have our marriage! Amen!