“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”” Song of Solomon 2:15
About a year ago, Lauren and I were making our way down from Dallas to Austin to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We set a budget, went to Priceline and found an incredible room in the Omni Hotel. The weekend was spent eating $25 plates, going on aimless walks through downtown Austin, eating crepes out of a trailer near Zilker Park, buying records at Waterloo Records, and enjoying an elegant and exciting weekend in the unique Texas hippy culture that is Austin, Texas. It was incredible.
Last week, Lauren and I celebrated our second anniversary. But instead of waking up to room service and downtown rooftop pools, we woke up every two hours to a fussy and hungry baby, to feed, burp and change his diaper. After a sleepless night, we spent the rest of the day carrying around a car seat and diaper bag meeting our pediatrician and other specialists. Instead of meandering through parks holding hands, we walked tiredly through doctors offices and waiting rooms, spit up on our shirts and the all too familiar “deer-caught-in-the-headlights” look of week old parents on our faces. For dinner we had plans of using a gift card and escaping between feedings for an hour to our local Chili’s for a quick meal, but after a day of parenting and Lauren recovering from a C-section we ended up calling in the Chili’s order, setting up a romantic dinner on our kitchen table and having a 20 minute meal while the baby hung out with Grandma in the nursery.
A lot can happen in a year.
I find it funny sometimes how much pressure can be put on couples to make anniversaries spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, a weekend away dining finely and living largely is fun and a great way to celebrate a marriage. But we often times miss the point. By placing the weight on the spectacle, by putting all of our efforts into anniversary plans and expensive gifts, we often times do so at the expense of putting our efforts into the 364 days in between anniversaries that make or break marriages. That’s all Satan has to do. Distract us and shift our priorities just enough to make us forget what honors God about marriages. God doesn’t care whether we spend $1 or $1,000 on an anniversary gift or if we can outdo ourselves each year with elaborate plans and surprises. God cares if we cherish and hold our spouse even after they blow up at us after a bad day, He cares if we choose to not look at porn and save our eyes, passions, and thoughts for our wives alone, He cares if we utilize our marriage to be an example in faith to show that it is God’s glory and sovereignty that matters more than our reputations, paychecks, and social status.
As I went to bed that night, I looked at my wife then at our baby sleeping in the bassinet. Despite the vastly different wedding anniversary that day, I couldn’t help but praise God. The rest of our lives we will be threatened by little foxes trying to sneak through the fence of our marriage and destroy all that God has planted. Some of the foxes will be obvious, but most will be subtle–a slight shift of focus, an underlying fear, a disproportionate love of a child, unmet expectations and the unending pressure to live a life full of genuine love in an inauthentic and soulless world. But that night as we fell asleep, as the baby sighed his sleeping sighs while swaddled tightly for the night and as my wife’s breath grew longer and deeper as she slipped into a hard sleep, I knew that we were resting in a garden protected by the grace and mercy of God, safe at least for the night from the crafty little foxes trying to break in. I hope that our future anniversaries will contain more one on one time than this last one, but I’m so happy we don’t need the fireworks for it to be romantic.
Lord Jesus, we are incapable in ourselves to be godly and to guard what you have sown. Protect us with your grace and glory from all the snares the devil sets for us and let our marriages be a picture of your love!