Catching Foxes–Link-up #29

Simple ways I'm growing this week.

I took a deep breath and let out a sigh. Immediately, I wished that I could take the sigh back. Sighing is a bad habit. I sigh when I feel stressed. I sigh when life becomes rushed. And, I sigh when little annoyances come my way. On this particular morning, I felt hurried. Whenever possible, I  plan pockets of down time into my schedule. Most tasks take longer than I expect, so having this builtin cushion of extra time is a must. However, the empty space often fills up quickly with little tasks. This was one of those days. A small errand here, one more chore added over there, and soon my day is scheduled down to the minute.

Catching Foxes

Sneaky Foxes

Then, right before heading out the door, Jenny reminded me of one more errand. So, I did what I often do when stressed. I let out a sigh. The look on Jenny’s face let me know she disproved, but she quickly recovered. The two of us planned around this extra errand quickly, then I was out the door.

A few hours later, as I was traveling from one meeting to the next, I thought about how lucky I am. In her kind, gently way Jenny let me know before that my sighing bothers her. There was no arguing or complaining. Instead, Jenny graciously allowed me to make amends in my own time. I am coming to realize that while sights are my way of managing stress, what Jenny hears is, “You make me stressed,” and nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I’m grateful that Jenny reminded me of this errand. It needed to get done. It had been on my “to do” list for far too long, and would create bigger hassles if it was left unattended.

Catching Foxes

I picked up the phone, called Jenny, and apologized. My sighs are one of the little foxes that Solomon talks about in Song of Solomon 2:15. This passage says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” It is the little irritations that, when unaddressed, add up over time and spoil a strong attachment. Psychologists used to believe that love was built on good communication and mutual reciprocity. Today, we know better. Love is all about bonding and attachment.

Catching Foxes, Swatting Mosquitoes, and Mending Ropes

Another powerful visual image is to picture a couple holding opposite ends of a rope–a very long rope. I like the rope metaphor because couples carry their attachments with them wherever they go. A husband and wife can be living on opposite ends of the world for a time, and continue to be connected by a strong love bond. Ropes are made up of many tiny threads. When relationships go sour, it is usually because these small threads of attachment fray and then tear apart, one abrasive interaction at at time.

Darren Hardy, an author I have been especially enjoying, also provides a powerful visual image of this process. He proclaims that it is the little things that bite us. Darren asks,

Have you ever been bitten by an elephant? How about a mosquito? It’s the little things in life that will bite you. For most of us, it’s the frequent, small and seemingly inconsequential choices that are of grave concern.

If couples are not careful, marriage can become a death by a thousand mosquito bites. Whether the metaphor of foxes, mosquitoes, or a fraying rope is used the concept remains the same. In marriage, little annoyances add up and lead to big frustrations. The good news it that this is avoidable. But that will be the topic for a future post.

Working hard to catch small foxes is one way that I am striving to grow this week. How about you? What tiny foxes are you chasing out of your relationship? How are you and your spouse working together to create a strong attachment bond? Are there actions that you take as a couple to prevent the foxes and mosquitoes from invading in the first place? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

Family, Friendship, and Faith Link-Up

This link-up is an excellent place to meet new friends, network, and share your posts. Please feel free to include any family, friendship, and faith related posts. If you have time, please visit some of the other submissions, leave a comment, and make some new connections–after all, this is what teaming-up is all about!

Finally, I’d love it if you would grab a button for your site, or link back to the Family Friendship and Faith Fridays, link-up, in order to make it easy for others to join in!

Coffee Shop Conversations


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9 thoughts on “Catching Foxes–Link-up #29

  1. Jed, I appreciate your honesty here, so I’ll be honest too: my heart sinks when I see my own “little foxes” show up in the lives of my kids. If nothing else motivates me to change, that will!

  2. Hey Jed,

    Early in our marriage my wife and I had a lot of foxes to catch. Over 27 years we’ve succeeded in catching most of them. Occasionally a few sneak back in, but we’ve built up enough trust and openness in our relationship that we can talk about them before they do lasting damage.

    I like the metaphor of the rope with many strands. We’ve put a lot of effort into building that strong attachment bond by finding things we both enjoy that we can do together, sharing our dreams and disappointments with each other, and making a habit of not letting a day go by without expressing our love for each other.

  3. Oh yes! Those little subtle cues we give our mates of our displeasure surely can erode the joy in our marriages, Jed. So glad you are paying attention and proactively choosing to “catch the little foxes” in your life and marriage. Thanks for the linkup, my friend!

  4. Jed, I really appreciated this post. It is so true…it is those little foxes that spoil the vines. Little foxes continually eat away the good, and then one day we wake up, and all of that consumption has caused them to grow into not-so-little foxes anymore. Then we have real problems to deal with. This is true in a marital relationship, and it is also very applicable to our relationship with the dear Lord. God, help us to continually be on guard for those things that seem like little issues and not allow them to continue. I see that you have not posted in a while, so I hope all is well with you and your family. Praying for you all!

    • Hey Cheryl,
      Thanks for keeping us in your prayers. Our family is doing well and we hope to start posting again this week. Jenny and I are getting used to a new schedule, and we have been spending some extra time goofing off with the kiddos too 🙂 Thanks again for thinking of us and letting us know we are missed.

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