Guarding the Marriage
Guarding the Marriage
Song of Solomon 2:8-17
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards while our vineyards are in blossom.”
Marriage is not built on a single event, nor does it collapse because of a single event. In most cases, marriages collapse, not over a big blowup over some major issue but through a series of minor insignificant disagreements that go unresolved and mount over time. In 2:8-17 we find the focus upon developing the marriage relationship. Marriage is not built upon the starry-eyed wonder of the first date; it is built upon the work of developing the relationship and learning to value one another. In verses 8-9, the bride celebrates the groom's arrival. With a longing look, she anticipates his appearance and his presence with her. Marriage involves spending time together, nurturing the relationship, and developing a close bond as we share our lives together. Companionship and spending time together become a priority.
In verses 10-13, the bride hears the invitation of the groom to join him in the fields. As their relationship develops, there is a longing to spend time together and be together. When we first started dating and fell in love, there was nothing more we desired than just spending time together. Every date was highly anticipated, and our highest priority was just being together.
In verse 15, we find the couple singing the chorus, one that calls upon their friends to join them in catching the little foxes that destroy the vineyard. Love requires constant work and effort. Love is sometimes very fragile, like the early blossoms of spring that can easily be damaged by a frost and so need protection. This points to the greatest threat to marriage. After marriage, our relationship can easily be pushed aside in the doldrums of life and the demands of a busy schedule. It is not that we deliberately ignore one another; it is just that we become preoccupied. In the commonness of marriage, we can forget the joy of our relationship. These are the little foxes that slowly undermine the relationship. When we are dating, we prioritize the growth of the relationship. But after marriage, we can easily fall into the snare of neglecting the relationship.
So how do we rekindle and protect the relationship? The answer lies in verses 16-17. It involves reverting to God’s original intent that the two become one. In marriage, we often see the relationship as a mutual agreement to share life together as we pursue our individual goals and desires. But here, the writer reminds us that God’s design is far more profound, that we are to possess one another mutually. This seems offensive to us today with our focus on individuality and personal rights, but this mutual submission is voluntarily grounded in love and concern. It is the recognition that we are to focus on the other person's needs more than our own needs. We set aside our own rights and personal pursuits for the benefit of our spouse as we mutually work together to grow in our relationship with Christ. Instead of pursuing our agenda, we are to seek a deepening relationship with our spouse. Every marriage has its ups and downs. Relationships are not static by dynamic (3:1-4). The difference between a great marriage and a marriage that ends in divorce is how we respond to those times of distancing. When our marriage grows distant, we refocus on pursuing and developing the relationship. We set aside our pursuits to seek to strengthen the marriage. We guard against the little intrusions that undermine the relationship. Is your marriage struggling, and does your relationship seem distant? Do not despair; refocus. Make it a priority to spend time together to rediscover the joy of being with one another.