“Don’t give her a gun.”
This is the advice given to my friend when he asked the secret to a lasting marriage.
The quick response made me laugh out loud, I admit. But today I find myself wishing we had all taken this plea for help more seriously. A marriage in trouble is no laughing matter.
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, had the best advice I know of:
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song of Songs 2:15 (NIV)
It’s the little attacks on a marriage garden that destroy it.
Busyness. Unresponsiveness. Comparison. Nit-picking. Pride. Honest mistakes… there are many seemingly small things that sneak into our hearts and destroy the fruit of our love. If we don’t take them seriously, more little–and growing–foxes come in. We can end up trapped inside a desolate and demeaning marriage with a bitter and broken heart. I’ve been there. So has my husband. Neither of us are so naive to think that our new garden can not be destroyed.
Knowing our vulnerability has made us strong.
Eighteen years ago today we stood before God and promised to love each other through better or worse. We did not need our pastor’s prompting for our vows–we memorized them because we each knew the pain of loving someone who had not taken them seriously.
Our marriage motto is “value the person over the event.” It has served us well.
Foxes still weasel their way into our marriage, but we quickly chase them out. When problems arise between us we are committed to looking deeper than the issue at hand and working it out. We refuse to treat each other like the enemy.
Every one of us can be an emotional mess at times. Let’s remember that true love chooses to be bigger than emotions. Giving grace is the best method of revealing someone’s faults. Forgiveness is what gives us strength to work it out. If you are struggling in your marriage today, I encourage you to be tenacious about finding the real problem. Too often there’s a sneaky little fox stirring up a conflict so that he can take over your garden. Don’t let him!
Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.
Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com