The Power of a Three-Stranded Cord in an Unequal Marriage
. . . a three-stranded cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12, CJB)
In the verses prior to this, Solomon is speaking of how two are better than one because if one falls the other can help them up. They can keep one another warm when it is cold and they can defend one another against an attacker. Then in the last part of verse twelve, he changes things up a bit and speaks of three instead of two.
This verse is often spoken of in regards to marriage. It describes how a successful and strong marriage is one in which there are three participants, a husband, a wife and God. I’ve also seen it illustrated as a triangle in which the bottom corners represent the husband and wife operating in a horizontal (physical) relationship and God being the top point operating with both husband and wife in a vertical (spiritual) relationship. Regardless of the picture drawn, it makes sense. Anything we bring the Lord into will become stronger as He has strength far beyond anything we can ever begin to fathom.
The illustration of the three-stranded cord though makes even more sense when you speak to a rope maker. They will tell you that this is the strongest cord you can make because all three strands are touching each other. If you add more strands, the rope becomes thicker but not necessarily stronger because not all the strands are touching at the same time.
If one or even two of the strands becomes frayed or broken, the cord will remain intact as long as the third strand does not break. This gives time for the other strands to be mended. God works in this way in our marriages. During those hard times when both spouses are at a breaking point, God holds the marriage together until He heals the other two. And the good news is that God is a strand that can’t be broken.
So then why has an illustration regarding marriage that makes so much sense and should give so much hope, only saddened me in the past? The answer lies in the fact that I am in an unequally yoked marriage. My beloved does not share my faith, does not believe in the God that I so love and believes if there truly is a God, He doesn’t really care about us. So in my mind the three-stranded cord can’t happen as one of the strands does not “touch” or acknowledge the one unbreakable strand.
However, God in all His wisdom whispered a secret to me recently, a secret that caused that beautiful flower of Hope to once again blossom in my heart. He said, “Angela, my beloved, what makes you think that just because one strand does not acknowledge Me that I suddenly no longer exist? Since when does the unbelief of one person negate the Truth of my Existence and keep Me from working in their lives?” At that moment I realized, that even if my husband does not bring the Lord into our marriage, that does not mean that I can’t and it does not negate the presence of the Lord in our marriage.
Regardless what my husband chooses to believe, I can still commit to follow the Lord and to plead on behalf of my marriage and my husband at the Throne of Heaven. I can commit to love my husband unconditionally and to pray for him – his health, his success, his life (physical, emotional and spiritual). I can commit to respond to him in kindness and forgiveness even if he does not always respond to me in the same way. And if (when) I fail, I can go to him humbly and ask for his forgiveness. My commitment to the Lord and my marriage brings God, that third unbreakable strand, into our marriage cord whether or not my husband himself acknowledges it, because by doing so I am sharing God’s love and strength with my husband.
And as 1 Peter 3:1-2 says, by doing this who knows but our husbands may actually acknowledge for themselves the Lord and be won over to Him by how we have treated them – by the love, respect and submission we show to them and which strengthens our marriage.
I will be honest, in the end our spouse may still choose to walk away and break what God has joined. Our Creator has given us all free will, and our spouse may choose to exercise it by walking away from our marriage. However, by bringing God into our marriage through obedience and submission, we will make that break harder for them to accomplish. The strands of a cord not only touch one another, but are also entwined and woven amongst one another. Our spouse’s strand must be broken and disentangled in multiple places before they can truly and completely get free of the cord they have been woven into.
Asking the Lord into our marriage will only strengthen, not weaken it. It will only strengthen, not weaken us. In the end we will know that we have been obedient to the Lord and can leave the rest to Him, the One who created us and knows us best. Regardless of our spouse’s choices and the final outcome of their faith or our marriage, we will be strengthened by that unbreakable strand and we will have given our beloved spouse a glimpse of what that can look like in their own lives. What better gift can we bestow upon the one we have committed to love for the rest of our lives?
Thank you Angela. You have inspired me. Hugs, Lynn
Dineen and I also want to give a "SHOUT OUT" to our blogging friends who are profiling our book today at their place. Many are offering a free copy as a giveaway. If you keep entering, you are bound to win one eventually because there are many to give away.
A BIG THANK YOU to: