Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom.”
Several years ago, my husband had to cut the wedding band off my finger. I jammed my finger during exercise, and rather than running the risk of losing the ring by taking it off and tossing it in my disorganized purse, I waited. By the time class was over, my finger had swelled, and I couldn’t remove it.
I felt sorrow as the ring I had worn for 38 years was clipped off. My husband, being the pragmatist that he is, said, “I’d sleep better if I knew the ring wasn’t going to cut off the blood supply to your finger if it continues to swell during the night.” I felt nostalgic loss, but not despair, as I placed my puffy finger before him. I wasn’t losing my marriage, only my ring. My husband’s love was shown as he worked his Dremel round and round to get the ring off. It took a while to thin the gold with the abrasive edge of the Dremel’s circular bit so that he could finally clip it, allowing me to pull the ring over my swollen finger as I gently pried it open.
Marriage can be much more fragile than a gold band. It is easy to thin the gold from our marriage through little repetitive moves as round and round the abrasive circle of our sin goes – nagging, name calling, unforgiveness, hyper control, withholding sex, over spending, lack of self-control, selfishness. All these things etch away at the circle of our marriages. The best guardian of a marriage is a heart in transformation to the image of God and in submission to the Holy Spirit. A heart in process makes mistakes, asks forgiveness, and seeks to remedy the repetitive sin by trusting in God to empower and change the “thing” – whatever it might be. A heart in process is less abrasive, softer, leaving fewer permanent marks on our marriages. A heart in process forgives.
Perhaps that is an over-simplification of the complex problems that can arise in marriage. I have noticed, however, that most marriages are thinned slowly before some final clipping takes place. It takes a while to sever love. I am also reminded of the saying that comes from Song of Solomon: Beware the little foxes.