It doesn’t take much to realize that greater strength lies in the cord of several strands twined together rather than a single strand alone. And so it is with marriage.
Marriage is often compared to this tightly woven cord of three strands though, admittedly, at times our strands were not as tightly woven as they should have been. But, isn’t that how we grow wiser, learning from experience? When we’re individually joined in marriage, we become a couple. I believe God created us distinctly men and women, establishing the marriage union first with Adam and Eve. As we read in Genesis 2:18, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” And in this, God joins the two to become a more efficient unit. As a couple, our differences or weaknesses are strengthened ; and, as we work together, we complement each other.
In joining our hearts, we are also united with God in a holy union, like a cord of three strands for greater strength. And we find biblical wisdom demonstrates this very point: “If one falls down, his friend can help him up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10a, 12)
Married in 1974 by Rev. Robert W. DeVries from Rochester, NY overseeing our Owego Christian Reformed Church, one of his examples was that if we attempt to do things in our own strength we will often fail. As a couple, we have a better chance to succeed in facing this journey of life when united in a common goal. But, an even stronger bond is created by the triangle formed as we keep God at the top with the lower horizontal points balanced by each of us as husband and wife.
“‘Haven’t you read,’ [Jesus] replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female… For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6 NIV)
For me and Ed, our marriage is especially close and strong when God is at the center of our relationship, so intertwined that we acknowledge Him in all we do. In seeking God’s wisdom through prayer on this journey, we find the answers we need to overcome obstacles and move forward in His will.
Like bookends, anniversaries hold between them the memories of our lives. And October 26 marks our 45th anniversary. Our love has seen us through both difficult and happy days as the decades witnessed change and growth within ourselves and our family. I’ve often said I wish I knew then what I know now, but God grew us each in unique ways as our tiny infants matured into the young adults He intended them, and us, to become. And though the years witnessed much sadness, including Ed’s disabilities and the loss of our oldest daughter at 25 years, the Lord also blessed our family with much joy and peace.
As part of our vows, Edward promised me his deepest love, unselfish devotion and tenderest care. He promised to direct our lives into a path of faith and hope in Christ as a faithful husband, no matter what lay ahead. Expressing deepest joy, I came into a new life with him as my husband, loving him, learning from him, and seeking to please him. As God had prepared me for him, I vowed to strengthen, comfort and encourage him, no matter what lay ahead. Though imperfect, we sure tried!
But I will admit that I have not always sought God first. As alluded to in my poems and blogs, life is not an easy road… at least it has not been for us, and I have to fight the desire to take the reins myself. Maybe it has something to do with being the oldest of six, and, with my husband’s disabilities, being responsible for much. Instead, I need to release that tendency and give control to the Lord.
Over the years, we learned true love cannot remain the same; without growth it ceases to exist. Yet, how often don’t we find that love grows by facing those difficulties of life together… the hard times which can either draw two hearts closer or tear them asunder. Love must be nurtured and fed, and given room to grow and expand horizons in order to complement and care for each other.
True love is all about teamwork that strengthens bonds. True love is a choice to remain committed to vows made before God on a joyous wedding day… because the tough times will come. We’ve been there. And those tough days will attempt to tear apart bonds once considered unbreakable… offering an easy way out to a seemingly better life. Little tears can either become permanent scars that irritate, or be scars which evidence the soul’s healing to bring wisdom and understanding with peace and a deeper love.
True love is also about making sacrifices… thinking more highly of our spouse than ourself… carrying the one who stumbles or becomes ill long term… opening up in total honesty with mutual respect and trust, extending forgiveness and grace with arms open wide… for true love grows deeper as the foundation is strengthened. As the words flow when writing a poem (and later writing its reflection), I find the Lord speaking to my heart… imparting His truth and wisdom. Coming from a family whose parents divorced amidst dysfunction, I’m thankful for the Lord’s guiding hand through life’s difficulties.
In writing the poem below, I had no idea there was a ministry named for the “God’s Knot or Cord of Three Strands”. Simply searching for the verse above which referenced the strands of three, I came across a ministry that provides three cords on a golden ring for the bride and groom to braid as a symbol of God’s presence intertwined in their marriage.
What a beautiful reminder of our Lord’s presence among us! Contemplating the sturdy cord made from three strands, it becomes clear we are not as easily pulled asunder when the Lord is intertwined within our marriage. United thus, we can better resist and withstand the temptations and trials which inevitably come our way.
Strands of Three
Linda A. Roorda
The day I said I do to you
Was the day we joined our hearts as one
Thinking we only were thus entwined
The Lord made three for a tight-knit bond.
When young we think our love holds secure
It’s all we need to face the great world
With hopes and dreams and wide-eyed innocence
We’re an open book, invincible team.
You let me know how great was your love
You’d never let me wander alone
You took my hand as we walked this path
Lit from above by wisdom’s grace.
Yet there were times we could not see
Life’s toughest road around the corner
Devoid of help or so it had seemed
We could only grasp the three-stranded cord.
Together we stood as the storms hit hard
When winds blew fierce like gales at sea
You held me close with a calming peace
Protecting my heart from disaster’s fate.
You set me free on a mountain peak
Your love released my soul to new heights
That with your gift others I may bless
For love is meant to be given away.
And so I sing as the love we share
Brings grace to each in the time of need
For who are we mercy to withhold
When the Lord above is woven within.
No matter the test when focus is held
Our loving Lord gives mercy and grace
For our journey’s steps reflect strength within
When our hearts are twined as strands of three.
Jan 2015 – 05/22/15
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