“A Cord of Three Strands is not Quickly Broken…”
Tabitha Dunkum, AACC Intern
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them 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, NIV).
As a future Marriage and Family therapist, I am a firm believer in the significance of relationships in the life of every individual. But what I really wanted to emphasize today is the significance of the marriage relationship. Now, I am not married, but I do know what the bible has to say about marriage, and I have learned a lot by observing the Christian marriages around me. For this topic I have come up with three points that I would like to emphasize –
- God designed marriage to be a representation of His unconditional love for His children — The Church, aka, The Body of Believers.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24, ESV)
There is no sugarcoating in the Bible. God said, very clearly, in Genesis 2:24 that marriage involves becoming one person. You are not a “singleton” anymore. You are the other half of a team. A partnership. A MARRIAGE. God designed a marriage to be sacred and to be a representation of His love for the Church.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'” (Ephesians 5:22-31, NIV).
- Marriage teaches us what it means to love like Jesus does.
When I think about what love should look like, I think of 1 Corinthians 13. And I want you replace the word “love” with your name. It really puts it into perspective and reminds us that we are all imperfect and incapable of completely loving unconditionally like Jesus does — however, we should always do our best to love like Him.
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, HCSB).
Doesn’t that put things into proper perspective? Love should not be watered down and made to seem not as important or sacred. Because it IS sacred. God IS love. And He created love, and He wants us to love like He does — not just to love our spouse, but to love EVERYONE.
- It teaches us how to be selfless.
The reason so many people are either against marriage or see it as being pointless is because they don’t see it the way it is designed to be. Marriage is a sacred union that binds two people to one another in the way God intended it. Marriage is beautiful. It may not be neat and tidy and put together 24/7, and it will get messy and difficult and feel intolerable. But I believe it is WORTH IT.
Referring back to the passage in 1 Corinthians, there is a part that says love “is not selfish.” That’s huge. We as human beings want things to go our way, and when that doesn’t happen, we feel cheated and we get upset. We blame the other person because we are selfish people and that is just how this fallen world is. But when we take a step back and realize that life isn’t about “numero uno”, we really begin to grasp how important it is to look out for others just as much as ourselves. The main passage of scripture for this devotional says that when we fall down, the other person can help us up. That is an act of service, which takes courage to do. Learning to be selfless and to look out for the other person is vital to making this happen. We begin to value other people more when we learn to work as a team with another person. Just like it says in Ecclesiastes, two really is better than one. Marriage is really a lesson in how much God truly loves us, and how infinite He is. How we will never be able to fully grasp or comprehend the magnitude of His commitment to us and to His unconditional, beautiful love toward us.
The way I see it… marriage is simply a glimpse of how glorious God is. It is a reminder that God is who He says He is, and that He is fully committed to us and He will never give up on us. Marriage, I believe, is about never giving up on the other person, even when we feel it would be easier. He is the third cord in the marriage relationship, and when you cling to Him and continue to surrender your selfishness to Him, that cord of three strands will remain strong for the rest of your life.
Tabitha Dunkum is a senior at Liberty University studying Psychology: Counseling and Human Development, and is an intern for the American Association of Christian Counselors. She plans to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree through Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Posted on: June 3, 2015, 2 p.m.