“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
When I was a kid we used to play this simple game: take a piece of paper and fold it in half, then tear it down the middle. It was easy to tear. Then take one of the halves and fold it again- this time it was harder to tear. Then take one of those halves and fold it again. This time it would be almost impossible to tear. Three simple folds really tested our strength.
The short verse above reminds us that we were never meant to live isolated lives. By working together we can achieve much, because when one fails, another can help. When one is attacked, the other can defend. When one is weak, the others can lend their strength.
Although this verse was not specifically written in relation to marriage, it is a beautiful illustration of the power of a marriage where Christ is acknowledged as sovereign over the relationship. In many secular marriages the two partners make promises to each other and try to abide by these promises. In a Christian marriage where Christ is Sovereign, couples make vows before God. They are promising not just to each other, but to God and as such it is a sacred covenant. Where there are problems and temptations within the marriage, each partner is accountable in their relationship to God as well as each other. I believe that this produces a much stronger and more sacred bond.
It’s sad to see Christians “going it alone” without fellowship in a church community, often as a result of hurts sustained in the past. The fellowship of other Christians is such a part of ministry life, producing results which couldn’t be achieved by one person alone. Together we are meant to share our sorrows and celebrate our joys, whilst Christians together support one another, giving comfort and encouragement, prayer and practical support. This is what makes the church strong.