Little Foxes (and One Big One) that Can Destroy a Marriage

Sharon Jaynes Lovestruck, Marriage 6 Comments

Hey! I’m writing over at Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today today and wanted to share this with you too! Little foxes can sneak in and destroy all relationships, with friends, family members, boyfriends, and co-workers. So let’s be on the lookout and see if there are any little foxes that are sneaking around.  Today, we’re looking at one particularly sneaky critter. Here we go…

“What do you think happened?” my husband asked our friend. “What was the root cause of your divorce?”

“It wasn’t just one thing,” our friend replied. “We both made mistakes. A culmination of criticism and lack of respect chipped away at the very foundation, until there was nothing left to stand on,” he said. “I tried my best to please her, but nothing I did was good enough. I couldn’t even load the dishwasher right. She huffed and puffed that I didn’t help around the house more. When I did, I never did it well enough. We only had sex two or three times a year, and when we did, it was like she was doing me a favor.”

Now, we both know there are always two sides to every story. I’m sure this man’s ex-wife had her own list of valid complaints. But today, let’s look at an issue that plagues many marriages … apathy.

I just love the Song of Solomon. The author, King Solomon, gives us a beautiful picture of romance, marriage and sexual intimacy from God’s perspective. Here’s what else I love: In those eight chapters about love, 20% deals with conflict. Yep, right after their steamy honeymoon in Chapter 4, they have a fight. And what was it about? He knocked. She didn’t answer.

“I [the Shulammite woman] slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
‘Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.’
I have taken off my robe —
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet —
must I soil them again?” (Song of Solomon 5:2-3, NIV)

Solomon is wooing her with words that at one time made her heart melt like butter on a hot biscuit. But now, she’s not interested.

“Not now, honey,” she says. “I’m tired. I’ve already washed my face, brushed my teeth, and put on my pajamas. Besides, I’m halfway asleep already.” (That’s a modern-day translation — not that I’d know.)

I’m sure the possibility of waning passion never entered Solomon’s or the Shulammite’s mind on their wedding night. It certainly never entered mine. I wonder if you’ve had the same thought I had: We’re going to be different from other couples. We’re going to act just like we’re on our honeymoon forever! I can’t even imagine going one day without hugging and kissing my man.

Nice thought. Then real life begins. Passion is still possible, but not without being intentional.

Early on in Solomon and the Shulammite woman’s courtship, he prayed, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” (Song of Solomon 2:15). The infection of indifference toward intimacy is one of those little foxes that sneaks in and destroys a marriage before you even notice the pesky critter.

Before the Shulammite and Solomon were married, she couldn’t wait to hop in bed with her man. She’d talk herself into waiting until the honeymoon. And now that she had him, she wasn’t all that interested. She took him for granted and turned him away, apathetic toward the man who once made her “faint with love” (2:5b).

It’s up to us to recognize when the low tides of intimacy threaten to ground the boat on the sandbar of apathy.

The Shulammite came to her senses, took action, and taught me how to keep the little fox of apathy toward intimacy at bay.

  • She took steps toward reconciliation quickly. (6:1-3)
  • She refused to allow time to tarnish wonder, remembering her husband’s best qualities. (5:10-16)
  • She gave her husband words of affirmation. (7:5-7)
  • She took time away for just the two of them on a regular basis. (7:10-13)
  • She never stopped deepening their friendship with shared interests and experiences. (8:14)

Perhaps that’s why she could close the book with these words: Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away” (8:7a). May we be able to say the same!

Heavenly Father, thank You for my husband. Help us to not take each other for granted, but to cherish each day as if it were our last. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What are one or two foxes that have crept into your marriage (or those of someone close to you)? What are one or two ways that you could be intentional to capture those foxes? Join the conversation by leaving a comment on this post!

Everywhere we turn in our sex-saturated culture, we’re bombarded by destructive and unrealistic depictions of romance and intimacy. But I think the problem isn’t that culture focuses on sex too much, but that it values sex too little

Lovestruck takes us back to the Bible’s beautiful picture of romantic love in the Song of Solomon—a picture that is explicit but not illicit, sensual but not sordid, daring but not dirty. With the words of Solomon and the Shulamite woman as a backdrop, you’ll explore topics such as

Restoring romance in the mundane
Making intimacy a priority
Avoiding the dangers of growing indifference
Handling conflict with without unravelling the relationship
Committing to a forever kind of covenant love

Women in every stage of a relationship will discover the secrets to pursuing and maintaining intimacy that makes God cheer! When we see the sacred blessings of sexual intimacy in marriage and understand God’s original intent, we find the freedom to enjoy and explore one of the Father’s most magnificent gifts.

Orders placed by August 5 receive a free in-depth Bible Study Guide download, 2 free chapters, 20% of the audio book, and other goodies from Thomas Nelson. Click here for details.


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Comments 6

  1. Real life definitely began after marriage and blending our family. With three busy daughters, a business, and full time job, I made a ton of excuses for deep intimacy. I am so thankful for this book to remind me to be intentional not just about my man, but to also be intentional regarding sex and intimacy in our marriage. I also learned to not feel ashamed because of my past mistakes before marriage because I am forgiven by a loving, gracious God that created sex and intimacy for deep connection in marriage.

  2. This was a much needed read for me. I’ve been married for 24 years in September but I am Very guilty of allowing this little fox in my marriage. I’m always tired from wk or just life. I will definitely be working on this in my Marriage.

  3. What great wisdom here. Life happens in the small moments. The everyday. And the small, but everyday moments of rejection have a sneaky way of stealing the small, everyday moments of joy and confidence. Perhaps that is why God encourages us to pray without ceasing. For in the midst of prayer the small everyday rejections stay small leaving room for the small everyday praises to grow. Thanks for this encouragement today!

  4. Thank you for this… me and my husband have been struggling to find “mutual ground” that we once had… now with the stresses of life, 4 kids all toddlers or younger, we haven’t been really close and much of what you stated here cut me in the soul.
    It made me think. Do I nag my husband? Do I affirm him? Do I add to his stress or help relieve it? Do submit to his leadership as biblically I am supposed to or do I grab control? Do build my husband up or tear him down???

    Many more questions, and the answers are hard… thank you for that eye opener!

  5. I appreciate this, and have enough self awareness to know that I’m guilty of allowing this little fox to invade. However, I am struggling with the idea that the solution is solely for me to enact. Perhaps that is evidence of another little fox invading our marriage space, but I can’t be responsible for his happiness or expected to open the door when he only knocks and no longer speaks or courts.

  6. Well, I guess my marriage is on the rocks. The Fox never leaves. It’s never ending, I can say I’ve made changes. I’ve asked for counseling. He refuses. I stay in this marriage because I believe Jesus will shift his attitude. Church leaders have said to me leave the marriage. This kind of man is so self centered. That he won’t change. It’s been 20 yrs our marriage . The past 10 years have been a deep struggle for me . Although I let my husband know. He refuses counseling because he said, the men never have fair right in marriage counseling.

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