Maintaining the Marriage in the Midst of Trials
Reach 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” (15).
Song of Solomon is a book on marriage. In an age when marriage as become passé and redefined, it brings us back to the core purpose and meaning of marriage: that marriage is about two people living in companionship and partnership to accomplish God’s purpose for their lives. It is a book that extols the delights of the marriage bond and warns of the dangers of sexual pleasure outside the context of marriage. In 2:8-9 we find the unrestrained joy of the bride as she waits for her love to arrive. The picture of the mountains and hills is one of overcoming any hindrance that would prevent him from coving. In verses 10-15 we find them rejoicing in spending time together. When we first fell in love, we delighted in being with our spouse and we wanted to spend all our time together. But in verse 15 we see a subtle shift, one that anticipates the struggles in marriage. As time moves on, the mundane cycles of life can cause us to forget the joy of our marriage. Thus, the writer warns of the little foxes that enter in and destroy the vineyards. Love is at times very fragile, like the early blossoms of spring that be easily be damaged and so need protection.
In times of difficult and stress we can easily allow the challenges of the day to affect our marriage. We can become short with one another, allowing simple irritations to fester and grow. We become impatient and short tempered. Verse 15 challenges us to guard and protect our marriage, to identify and bring under control the little things that undermine the joy we have. In verse 16-17, we find part of the solution as the writer reminds us that in marriage we are to live in mutual submission as each affirms their submission to the other. This submission is not forced, but willing submission where we focus upon the needs and desires of other other. It seeks to counter the selfishness and self-centeredness that undermines marriage.
So, in these troubled times we need to remember to make sure we are taking care of our marriage. Here are several practical ways we can do that. 1/ Be patient and forbearing. To be forbearing is to overlook the faults and wrongs of others. When our spouse snaps at us remember that is often a natural response to pressure and tension and be patient with them. 2/ Pray together. Pray with and for one another, sharing the fears and apprehensions as well as the frustrations you are having during this time. 3/ Do some fun things together. Still have fun. Be creative in going out on a date. Take a picnic lunch and go for a drive to some hidden and remote place where you can relax and take a walk. Play games together. Think back when you were dating and recreate some of the memories. 4/ Give each other some space. Sometimes we do need to have some “me” time. 5/ Do a project together around the house. Do a landscaping project together or some home improvement project. 6/ Last, be intentional. Talk together and make a plan on how you can use the time away from others to build your marriage. Talk about the stresses and the fractures that might be creeping into the marriage. Perhaps one of the reason God is bringing us this down time is to cause us to rethink our priorities and reconnect as a couple.