We talk a lot about the positive things we can do to deepen our desire for our spouses, but identifying what detracts from our desire is also important.
When you fall in love, you need to address a number of potential challenges to your relationship.
When DesiRae and I were first married, we moved into a starter home and, though we had never talked about it, it soon became clear that we had some unspoken and unexpressed expectations of one another.
My wife grew up on a farm and the men in her family built their own homes, changed their own oil, and repaired their own leaks.
I grew up in a home where I was taught you only needed two tools to fix anything: a telephone and a checkbook. So when things needed to get done, she expected me to fix it, not write a check.
Chances are you also married someone who is much different from you.
You face hundreds of issues as a couple.
You prefer structure and like to stay organized, but you married someone who is more unstructured and spontaneous?
You are a night person but you married a morning person?
One of you is more outgoing and loud and the other is more quiet and introverted?
Instead of deepening our desire for each other, these inevitable issues have the potential to divide us.
Instead of ignoring our differences and pretending as if they don’t exist, we need to identify them and deal with them so the fruit in your marriage, what Solomon called your vineyard, will grow.
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies.
– Song of Solomon 2:15–16
Solomon’s fiancée referenced catching foxes in the vineyard. In the Mediterranean climate, grapes have always been plentiful. Growers tend the soil and the vines all year to produce a great crop.
In those days, little foxes snuck in at night and wreaked havoc.
Actually, the experts think these “foxes” were more like jackals. They weren’t particularly sly—they just liked digging things up and leaving a mess. Maybe they were looking for henhouses.
So she was saying, “Let’s hunt down these pests.” She was really talking about the little things that uproot relationships.
“We’re growing something delicious in this vineyard of ours,” she was saying, figuratively. “Let’s keep watch and lock out the intrusions.”
And what are those little relationship varmints? You name it: Bad habits. Issues from the past. Personal flaws that may not seem like much but begin to grate over time. In-laws become outlaws.
Intimacy is closeup work—it’s going to reveal problems. This is a tough hunt, and it has be carried out constantly. Guarding your relationship takes vigilance. Are you willing to work at it?
Take care while discussing the little foxes in your relationship.
The discussion itself could dig up a few problems. But it’s a good idea to do some hunting together; just be sure to agree first on a few rules of grace and patience.
I suggest each of you offers up one fox. She might say, “Sometimes I feel as if your mind is wandering while I’m telling you something important.” (At least I think that’s what she said.) He might mention some little habit of hers that is bothersome.
Remember, we’re not going after the giants here—Solomon’s dad, David, was the one who took on Goliath. Sometimes the devil is in the details
What happens if you don’t do that?
You let things build up and then you broach the issue at the worst time and in the worst way.
At that point, the foxes are hunting you.
This devotion is from Awaken Love: A Couple's Devotional By Kyle and DesiRae Idleman