Fox Patrol

Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom (Song of Solomon 2:15, esv).

Sometimes the biggest things we worry about are not the biggest things to be worried about.

This is true in life, in business, in church, and in every endeavor of any importance.

And it’s definitely true in marriage.

The big problem or blowup—the big “fox”—is not what destroys marital love in most cases. Absolutely, a one-time affair can be devastating to overcome. The deep deception that suddenly comes exploding to the surface can unearth such painful revelations of disloyalty that rebuilding trust becomes a long and arduous ordeal. But oftentimes, marriage can survive these catastrophes.

It’s the “little foxes” we should be most vigilant about.

If a vineyard owner were to spot big game on his property—an animal that could instantly destroy the yield from his grapevines—he’d move quickly to act on that threat. He’d get his gun and shoot to kill, or at least soundly scare it away. The fear of one, dramatic attack is usually not what keeps the farmer up at night. It’s the little fox, the unnoticed pest, the one that doesn’t make much noise and isn’t taken too seriously at first that’s the source of his greatest agricultural danger.

The same is true in marriage. Many marriages are not going down over the massive something. But those little, nagging, persistent constancies that never seem to get fully addressed can eat away at the lining and infrastructure of a marriage until love crumbles from the inside out.

Perhaps one spouse constantly berates the other’s parents, or another consistently refuses to rein in their spending. There are a million possible examples of these pestering annoyances. “Little foxes.” And Scripture warns us to “catch” them before they’re given enough leash to become a monstrosity. “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”

Don’t be tricked into thinking your enemy’s most treacherous attacks on your marriage are the kind that come barreling through the front door—that if you can keep those out, you’ve burglar-proofed your home. Stand guard instead against those insidious intruders that form in your attitudes, your daily habits, and in the small allowances you slowly begin to accept, while they slowly (but surely) do their dirty work.

Love doesn’t coddle the little foxes. And it doesn’t ignore or minimize them. Love knows what it takes to keep the marriage vineyard green and growing—and safe from unwanted pests.


  • Spend some time in prayer asking the Lord to show you one or two “little foxes” you’re allowing in to your marriage (or another area of life).
  • How could you “catch” them and prevent them from doing any more damage?

Thank You, Lord, for vivid reminders in Your Word that are so practical and necessary. Thank You for wanting my eyes open to see the dangers around me, and for teaching me wisdom as You lead me in dealing with them. Lord, You’ve made clear that every day we live on the earth is spent on a battlefield—that the war is steady and always raging. But thank You for giving me the insight and equipment for experiencing victory, even in “little” things. I trust You and depend on You again today for that victory, in Jesus’ mighty name, amen.