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Plant a Garden

Plant a Garden

Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. — Song of Songs 2:15

A couple of summers ago, I planted a tiny garden in our back- yard. I couldn’t believe how much work it was to create a garden in a two-by-four area. This garden produced itty-bitty strawberries, along with cilantro, parsley, and basil. It was fun, but the plants didn’t come back on their own the next year. So instead of doing the hard work to cultivate our little garden again the next year, I just... didn’t.

  • It takes hard work to make small amounts of progress in gardening. It’s the same when it comes to marriage too.

Today’s verse talks about vineyards that are lush with grapes growing, perhaps ready for harvest. Think of all the effort and rain and time that went into those plants blooming and flourishing! When you’ve got a good and precious thing like that, it’s so important to protect it.

I have a friend who planted a rose garden, and it was stunning. But she didn’t get her new fence up in time, and the roses were all eaten by furry passersby — kind of like those “little foxes” in today’s verse. I’ve read that foxes will not only eat the fruit of the vine in a vineyard; they also like to gnaw on the trunk, dig holes around it, and expose the roots.1 They don’t just eat the grapes; they destroy the entire vine.

When you first see a fox, you might think, How could a cute little fox be a problem? To make fox matters worse, I have a friend who lives in Washington, DC, and she sends me videos of the noises the foxes that are in her neighborhood make, and it is actually terrifying. They may seem innocent, but letting in even one can ruin an entire vineyard.

What I see from this verse is the importance of protection. We must protect the marriage relationship God has given us. How do we do this? We start by looking within and asking ourselves the hard questions: How am I protecting my own heart? What little thing (that may seem innocent) could get into my heart and end up chewing up the roots I’ve worked so hard to plant? How is my personal walk with Jesus going? How am I protecting my spouse? What’s it like to be married to me? 2

We need to be asking ourselves these questions because it’s easy to look at our raggedy gardens and blame its problems on our spouses — telling them, “It’s your fault.” Let’s instead try looking within and see if we can tell what God wants to do in our own hearts. We can’t expect our spouses to complete us. Yes, we “become one” with our spouses when we get married, but the healthy way to do that is after we’re already satisfied and made whole in Jesus Christ. We can’t go to our spouses expecting them to meet needs that only Jesus can; we have to look to our Savior.

  • If your garden of marriage isn’t green and full of life, you must go back to the first things first. Cultivate your love for Jesus. Go back to the Bible, and let His Word set the pace for your life.

In Luke 10:27 Jesus said,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,

and then

Love your neighbor as yourself.

That’s super basic. Love God first. We have to get back to the basics and do first things first. The easy things to do are also the easy things not to do. Keep this in mind: We’re not going for easy. We’re going for simple — the things God asks us to remember to start with. Starting is the hardest part, but we just have to roll up our sleeves and get our hands a little dirty.

Is your marriage like a beautiful garden? Keep working at it. Don’t stop doing the simple, important things to keep it growing.

Maybe the garden of your marriage isn’t looking so good right now. Is it overgrown? Instead of a garden, does it look more like a battlefield with a few weeds? Then you are in the right place. The fact that you’re still reading this devotional is proof that God is working in you. Don’t lose heart. If you get overwhelmed and think only about what your garden is not, then you will let discouragement keep you from the strength that will keep you going and hoping and watching God move.

Are there a lot of little foxes in your garden? Start by kicking just one out. Then the next, and then the next. Don’t underestimate the power of the little victories. They’re huge. As you do the bits of working and tending here and there, before long, you will look up and see something resembling a garden. And your marriage will be even more beautiful because of the hard work you both did to get there. As you tend the garden of your marriage together, keep asking God for His perspective, His love, and His strength. It will change everything.


  • Where is your marriage garden thriving and flourishing? What’s a specific example in everyday life?
  • Where is your marriage garden dry and full of weeds? What little foxes tend to gnaw at what you’re trying to accomplish?
  • How can you help each other keep Jesus in the center of your lives individually? How can you keep Jesus in the center of your marriage?
  • What’s a way you’ve resolved to tend your marriage garden?
  • What is your vision of a flourishing marriage?

A Fox a Day

Let’s get some of the foxes out of the garden before they destroy everything in sight. The great thing about starting small is that it gets easier and easier as we go.

Identify five little things you want to keep out of your marriage. If some things that come to mind are uncomfortable, that is totally normal. Here are a few examples:

  • The fox of spiritual dryness. If you’re skipping daily time with the Lord and in His Word, that will show up over time. Encourage each other in your personal time with Jesus.
  • The fox of scheduling conflicts/confusion. It seems like such a simple thing, but even little bits of communication go a long way! Take a step in syncing your calendars and having a conversation or text about your schedule or things coming up.
  • The fox of constant media. Consider your own consumption of media of all kinds. You might try taking a break, turning off the TV, putting your phone down and looking each other in the eyes. Maybe more hand-holding and laughing and making out.
  • After you spend some time dealing with these issues, answer this: How does taking care of these little things give you hopeful momentum?


Father in Heaven, You are the Gardener of all gardeners. You not only tend to us, but You know us. You designed us for relationship with You first of all. And You knew that we would need relationship with others. In all this, You are the only One who satisfies us and fills our every need. As we seek to follow Your lead in the garden of our marriage, we look to You. Help us identify the little foxes that might even be ruining our vineyard without our realizing it. We choose to turn to You right now, and every day, so we can tend to our garden well. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. — Proverbs 15:3

  1. Debbie Walter, “Beware of These 6 Little Foxes,” The Romantic Vineyard (blog), July 31, 2013,
  2. That’s actually the title of a great book for women by Linda Dillow, What’s It Like Being Married to Me?: And Other Dangerous Questions (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2011). Read it if you dare.

Excerpted with permission from The Marriage Devotional by Levi & Jennie Lusko, copyright Levi & Jennie Lusko.

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Your Turn

How is the garden of your marriage? Are you working on it or letting it go? What might the Lord be saying to you about little foxes that sneak in without the right boundaries? What about your daily relationship with God? Is He your primary relationship? ~ Devotionals Daily