the little foxes

We have a family of foxes living in our backyard. Yep, it’s like Animal Planet over here – rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, a groundhog, deer, and now a mama fox & 4 kits. It’s cool to watch, no question – but it’s also brought a bit more clarity to the Scriptural idea of “little foxes spoiling the vine” and what that means.

There was a tradition in Biblical times of tying lit torches to the tails of foxes (how they caught the foxes I’ll never figure out, as ours are quite shy & skittish…) and allowing the frightened animals to run through wheat fields, thereby lighting the crops on fire and decimating what would have been a good harvest. Samson did this in Judges 15:4-5 and Songs 2:15 refers to ‘catching the foxes that ruin the blooming vineyards’ (i.e., the blooms that will become fruit & eventually harvest).

So, okay. Cool imagery, right? Except that you have to know it has more than just imagery for me – else I wouldn’t write about it.

The other night, my husband and I were on the sofa, on respective laptops. His Twitter-client popped up and I happened to be glancing at him, talking at the time. I noticed an avatar of underwear and said, “Who the heck has underwear as their Twitter icon?” He replied, quite nonchalantly, “Oh, that’s blahdy-blah site. I follow them.”

Once more, with clarity, please.

It was pretty clear that he didn’t see a problem with it, and yet – it seems like a pretty big problem to miss. At least to me. So I stewed for a while and checked the site myself. Then after about 50 minutes or so of trying to figure out what to say and how to say it, I settled on, “I’m going to challenge you…” and proceeded to ask why he’s following them. He said, “Because I’m interested in underwear,” with the tone that implied, ‘don’t YOU like me in sexy underwear?’

I kept my response evenly toned, non-snarky, and replied, “Ok. Do you think that’s a wise site to follow and partake in for a sexual addict such as yourself?” He was stumped for a moment and then replied, “I never really thought about it. Maybe not. D’you want me to unfollow them right now?” My answer was, “Sooner rather than later, but you don’t have to do it at this instant …”

This reminded me that (dammit!) I still have my own issues that bubble and lurk. In my head, I heard “I’ll do this now, but you’re being a controlling wench…” which is NOT what he said. At all. And when I said that I didn’t want to be a controlling wench, he said, “I don’t see you that way – at all!” This takes me back to a fundamental thing:  I don’t want to be his “cop” or “parole officer.” I want to be his WIFE.

Bleah. These are the little foxes which spoil the coming harvest. I’m convinced of it. Things are trucking along and my husband is involved in a newly-formed sexual integrity group at church. This is a good thing and he’s encouraged & excited about it all. But little things like following a website on Twitter that does nothing but advertise underwear? That’s a recipe for disaster. Maybe not a forest fire today or next week – but at some point when we’re unaware. When our defenses are down. The fire, which was tied to the tails of the foxes will catch and all of our hopes, dreams, future, and harvest will go up in smoke.

A very long time ago, someone at a Promise Keepers event said, “Sometimes as men, we do something and think it’s like dropping a feather on our wives, but our wives feel like we’ve dropped a boulder on them.” Since that time, we’ve talked about feathers & boulders – and I sincerely think my beloved just doesn’t get the fullness of what his addiction does to me. It’s a boulder of the greatest magnitude, size, and weight. I don’t blame him for not getting it, but I do think it’s reality. Maybe he’ll understand more the further he walks in healing. Or maybe it’s a gender-thing and he’ll never fully get it. Either way, I hold a boulder.

A friend of mine (I’ll call her Sarah) is dealing with a similar situation in that her husband is a sexual addict. I don’t have many words of wisdom to offer her, as my attempts to cope with sexual addiction are sometimes successful, sometimes not. I can offer her what’s worked for me and what hasn’t, but somehow, some way, she and her husband have to pick their way through this minefield.

But Sarah & I are blessed to be around other men who are Godly, wise, and willing to impart their wisdom. One of these people is my friend David Cowan, who wrote & produced “Oversold,” the movie I wrote about a while back. I thought Dave’s words were particularly wise and I’ll excerpt them here:

…this addiction most likely pre-dates you. The issues that drive him pre-date you. Therefore, you cannot be the cure… his only cure is Jesus and obedience to Him…

…his problem is the addiction… which is essentially a spiritual issue that deals with the core of who he is as a man. At some point when he was exposed to porn, he was hooked like a piece of meat. That hook still has him. Your sexiness, your availability… YOU cannot remove that hook. Only God.

…You don’t have to hold on to the stress of being his everything… being his cure for this. That’s Jesus’ job. Jesus said that in Him, we can be free… free indeed! PRAY FOR THAT HOOK TO LOSE ITS HOLD ON HIM IN JESUS’ NAME!

Dave’s words to Sarah are ones that comfort me.  They remind me that yes, there are foxes that will try to spoil what we’re doing – either now or in the long-run.  This time, God allowed us to see them clearly and to cut off their tails to prevent further damage.  But ultimately, knowing that my husband’s healing isn’t my responsibility is HUGE.  Enormous.  Gigantic.  It makes holding that boulder of his addiction more like a feather, which is exactly what God designs it to do.  Jesus said that if we follow Him, He’ll make our burdens light.

As we look for ways to keep the foxes at bay and insure that they don’t damage our future unwittingly, I’m humbled and awed by the realization that God really *does* care.  He cares enough to show us the sneakiness of the Enemy – He gives us plans to avert disaster.  He carries us through the worst of it and is our Hope, our Light, and our Shield.  It doesn’t mean we don’t have to fight the battle, just that He shows up & lends us His Strength, Peace, and Comfort.  And many times, He fights the battle for us when we’re too weak to do it ourselves.

His and his,

This entry was posted on 151933H Jun 2009 and is filed under Forgiveness, Path to Healing, Pornography, Sexual Brokenness, SSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • Hiswildcherry

    Hi Cori,
    Been thinking of you and praying for strength once again.

    During my marriage of 24 yrs. there have been all kinds of things which I have carried as ‘boulders’. This burden-bearing can be crippling to your personal development as you don’t have the strength to do anything other than hunch over and ‘haul it’.

    God revealed an amazing truth to me some years ago when my kids and I were struggling with something concerning their relationship with their dad.

    Instead of seeing and calling this weak chain in our family link for what is was, and adding to the frustration of it being constantly unfixable, God showed me an image of a crippled person being kicked again and again in the crippled portion of his body. The crippled limb was useless and even if the victim wished he could use it, it did not function anymore like it should have.

    Consequently, kicking the limb was a total waste of effort as it was dead to feeling! All kicking at the paralysis did was create tremendous bitterness in my kids’s hearts. They desperately needed an out for their disillusionment.

    With this new image of a cripple in our heads, my kids and I were able to create a different vernacular when we discussed the stuff that bothered them as I could relate their anger to the crippled limb theory and the direction of their rage could diffuse into that understanding.

    Did it make anything go away? No. What this revelation did was give us a vocabulary with which to communicate. A freedom for me arose out of giving up trying to be what their father could not be for them. Dual parenthood is impossible. I was free to be mom.

    This kind of image situation could bring a bit of relief to you in that you could see your man as being crippled in the area you both struggle with. Even though he would love to fix his crippling, only God can make this area of his heart get up off the pallet of paralysis and walk again.

    The most important focus I have imparted to my kids ( and my own mind) is that we must always be ready to be right there if oneday, their father begins to walk away from his paralyzed state of mind.

    I love their father and have been painfully and embarressingly open about my recent sexual awakening towards him. My children know I adore their father and they can still come to me to gripe and beef as long as they use the vocab. framework we all agreed upon.

    I join you in believing God for restoration in our spouses’ hearts.

    With love and a hug.

  • cori

    Hi WC –

    Wow – what a great image & understanding you provided! Thank you for that – it really does help to understand the mechanism behind the problems. There truly is something healing about comprehending the issue and providing vocabulary that relates to it, to the struggler, and to the struggler’s family.

    I’m gonna chew on this one more – and see what God enlightens in my heart and mind while I do.

    Joining my prayers with yours for our husbands’ hearts….


  • Annalea

    Hello Cori,

    Just came across your site on Sensuous Wife. Fantastic post. We deal a lot with SA in the marriage ministry we’re involved in and I thought everything you said was so enlightening and very “Right On” with regard to it. It’s clear from your writing that you are being a true helpmeet to your husband in this.

    So…no, you can’t be the cure, however you can help him be ‘released’ from the hook like you did so beautifully with the challenge you issued which, ultimately, was for him to be Christlike.

    Well done you!

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