Three Strands Are Stronger Than One

Three strands Dollar Photo eight rope knot
Dollar photo

Have you heard the term used in the Bible, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken?” I was thinking how much this is true in marriage. If you apply this to the marital relationship, the husband and wife are each a strand within the cord of matrimony. But as Christ is allowed to encompass and enmesh Himself as the third and strongest strand, the marriage is all the stronger and more beautiful than it ever could have been without Him. Three strands are definitely stronger than one.

Here’s a little insight into just how those three strands, braided together can be. Dr Fred Lowery gives this insight:

The Strength of Three Strands

“Having two daughters, I know about braiding hair. It’s difficult. I can’t do it; the braid falls apart every time. My girls never mastered it either. My wife, however, can braid hair, and she often did it for out girls and for their friends as they grew up. The kids loved for Leigh to braid their hair because she knew how to weave the three strands together in a tight hold that looked beautiful and actually stayed in place.

“I’ve been told that it is the third strand of the braid that holds the other two strands together. The same is true with rope. In fact, a three-stranded rope is stronger than a rope with two, four, or five strands. Why? Because with three stands, each part is constantly touching the other two, forming the strongest and tightest bond possible. In covenant marriage, God is that critical third strand; and by weaving a husband and wife into a tight relationship with him, the three strands always touch each other, making the bond as strong as it can possibly be.” (From the book, “Covenant Marriage”)

Marriages of Three Strands

Referring to marriage being a three strand union, King Solomon said:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their word. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though, one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

A marriage fully dependent upon the Lord is to be interdependent… not codependent. In other words, it is not one that is loving out of “neediness.” We’re to consider the welfare of our spouse as “more important than” ourselves. We are to be “mutually submissive” and loving. This is what we are told to do in the scriptures. We’re to encourage one another and “consider how to spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” In our marriages, we’re to help to complete each other, not compete with each other. Unfortunately, too many couples do this in our world today. So many of us miss that point.

Separating the Strands

Even a cord of three strands is vulnerable if you separate one of the strands on it’s own. And then if you work on it, picking it apart, it can unravel. We continually see couples that degrade and hurt more than help each other. They pick away at the other until there isn’t a shred of love and care left within the relationship.

And then, when commitment is discarded, and as divorce is considered an option, there is nothing left to the covenantal vow that they once took to “love, honor and cherish until death do we part.” Divorce becomes the only option that appears reasonable and viable. But is that truly God’s choice for those of us who claim to be believers?

What we need to do, as married couples, is take our marital vows more seriously, as God does. Aside from abuse, we shouldn’t even consider divorce an option. Jay Kessler once said, “the absence of alternatives, clears the mind marvelously.” When you don’t even allow divorce to be an option, then you’re more motivated to look for healthier alternative.

The healthiest “alternative” would be to “choose this day, whom you will serve,” saying, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” And then as you choose to serve the Lord, allow Him to be the 3rd strand in one accord in your marital relationship. Don’t allow the world’s viewpoints on love to guide you. Look to the Holy Spirit to guide you into Biblical love. Biblical love isn’t dependent on feelings. Feelings change and can be very fickle. Feelings often don’t last. But Biblical love is eternal.

Looking Up From Your Knees

If you find your marriage in trouble, and if you have a spouse who is willing to work with you on changing your relationship for the better, I encourage you to get down on your knees together, as a couple. Become familiar with that posture. Divine power comes from the throne of God as you posture your lives together from the position of being in prayer together. This eliminates the barrier of pride and self-will.

When you are on your knees together, looking up to God for help, He is able to do His best work in both of you, and within your marriage. The Bible tells us, that, “God is Love.” His very name epitomizes LOVE. So, Who, but God Himself, could better teach you how to truly care for one another? Who could better teach you to love with a heart that is patient, kind, not envious, boastful, proud, nor rude, self-seeking, or easily angered… keeping no records of wrongs… not delighting in evil, rejoicing with the truth… loving so you protect, trust, hope, and persevere?

In humbleness, ask Christ to guide you in your marriage. Ask Him to “create in” each of you “a clean heart”… to “renew a right spirit within” you. Dedicate your lives and your marriage to His care and guidance. Renew your vows to live in Covenantal Commitment to each other. Ask Him to teach you how to love each other from hearts that are pure. This includes giving grace and love to each other so your marriage reflects the message that God wants for the world to read.

From This Day Forward

If you haven’t already done so, set your mind, “from this day forward” to make continual choices to “think and work together.” Work on your relationship so that it demonstrates the on-going miracles that can be accomplished when both spouses put their hands into the Lord’s. You won’t always think alike as a married couple. But you can vow to work to “think together”… making continual choices that line up with Christ’s will for you.

If you find it hard to think that you could ever love each other passionately again… remember that God is able to raise the dead. He is able to create beauty out of chaos. He is able to make heaven and earth and man out of nothing. So certainly, God is able to help two people flourish in a marital relationship, that is yielded to Him.

Keep in mind what we’re told in Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the Lord?

“If there ever was a scripture perfect for marriage it is this one. God created us and he is expert on all things that concern us including marriage. There is no problem too big for God. Despite how hard things may seem to us by faith we have to confidently know that God can fix any problem we face in our marriage. Next time you feel overwhelmed, like there is no way to fix your troubled marriage, remember that there is nothing too hard for the Lord. He is an expert on his creation.” (Damarquis Johnson, a friend of this ministry)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

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2 responses to “Three Strands Are Stronger Than One

  1. (ONLINE) I like how you say a cord of three strands can still be broken if you are able to separate the strands. I agree, we see that a lot in marriages. They start together, but slowly drift allowing things to work on them individually instead of as a combined cord.

  2. (USA) I truly enjoyed reading your post. It is very important that we continue to seek to stay together with Christ as a couple. When we lose sight of who God wants us to be, we will lose sight of the fulfillment of our marriage.
    Thanks again.