Song of Songs 2:16 – My beloved is mine, and I am his; he grazes among the lilies.
This is a series of selected excerpts from the new book “Real Romance: Sex in the Song of Songs”. To purchase the book, click here, and to access the sermon series that accompanies these devos and this book, click here.
One common fox in the vineyard is differing visions for the home that lead to repeated conflict. Most people would never live in a home that did not have an architect who designed it and a builder who constructed it. However, most people build lives that they have not intentionally architected.
There are several similar versions of a story in which a large boat was tied to a dock and two men walked up to survey it. One man asked the other, “In regard to that boat, who is the most important person?” Without a pause, the answer was, “The captain.” The man who asked the question then responded, “Incorrect. The most important person is the boat builder. The best captain in the world cannot succeed with a boat that does not float.” This analogy holds true for many areas of our lives but especially in our marriages. Too often a husband and wife are so busy working that they do not take the time to step back and work on their lives. The result is lots of foxes in the vineyard.
In college, we had a professor share with us the three common types of households:
- Random Homes: There is little order, structure, scheduling, or planning. People eat meals whenever they want, rather than sitting down together. Bedtimes are chaotic and sporadic, and sometimes there are not even assigned beds for the children because they simply crash wherever they choose every night. Guests come and go out of the house as they please, and curfews and chores are nonexistent.
- Closed Homes: There is much order, structure, scheduling, and planning. The family sits down at a regular time for dinner, weeks are scheduled and organized, the home has systems and chores to keep it tidy, bedtime is consistent, and people cannot simply drop by the home unannounced. Instead, they need to schedule an agreed upon time in advance.
- Open Homes: These are somewhere between Random Homes and Open Homes. There is more order, structure, scheduling, and planning than a Random Home but not as much as a Closed Home. Most of the time, the family sits down for dinner but not always. Approved friends and extended family members are welcome to drop by unannounced, but everyone else needs to ask in advance.
I (Grace) lean more towards extroversion and can feel energized by being with people. Mark, on the other hand, loves people but is extremely drained after socializing. This was a fox in our vineyard (and still can be) because I thought it was a sin that Mark needed to repent for rather than the way God created him so he can more effectively and passionately focus on preaching the Bible. Meanwhile, Mark thought my regular time with people was me neglecting my priorities. This issue ate away at our marriage until we were able to see that we could find ways to serve each other better by being gracious with personality differences, while also challenging each other to grow and not let our personalities give us excuses. I needed to pull back from having people over to our house constantly and look through the calendar to see when he had the most energy to give to house guests. Mark needed to be open to spontaneous social times when we couldn’t schedule them. I also make sure I am prioritizing my time with him so he knows our marriage matters to me rather than spending constant time with other ladies and giving him the leftovers. If we had let this go and not talked about it, then resentment and bitterness would have eaten away at both of us and ultimately wrecked our marriage. When left untended, issues big and small will cause destruction in the relationship and erase romantic pursuit.
I (Mark) needed to realize that Grace has the spiritual gift of hospitality. She enjoys having people over, feeding them, and caring for them. The problem was that when we had people over, it was a workday for me as a pastor because people would want to talk about theology or counseling issues in our home, and I wanted to save my home as a place to get a break from pastoring people. I also really appreciated all the ways Grace tirelessly served me and our kids. Honestly, we are all very spoiled by her, and I selfishly did not want to share her with others. Meanwhile, she was at home all day with little kids and just wanted to have some adult conversations, fun parties, and events. We learned, through repeatedly failing, to get time with people on our calendar so I could prepare for the emotional output, and Grace got more organized with our social life so we had a healthy rhythm with friends and extended family that we both enjoyed.
What type of home did you grow up in? What type of home do you currently have or aspire to have?
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